The biggest allure to me about HAM radio is that with a very simple setup, anyone can communicate wirelessly with another person thousands of miles away. I understand there are a lot of physics and a myriad of ionospheric variables going on; it just amazes me that a wire cut to a specific length resonates at a given electromagnetic frequency. Upon that frequency we can modulate information to be demodulated at some other place on the planet. In this day and age, it is something completely taken for granted.
Rant aside, I really enjoy building antennas. The never-ending quest is to find the most bang for my limited buck while staying tactical. I live in a housing area which is not friendly or understanding to the needs of a HAM to communicate. My first antenna was an inverted-L for 20 and 40 Meters. It looked like a Frankenstein creation gone wrong. Hastily made ground radials were flung about and the vertical wires were tied with string up the nearest tree trunk outside my shack. I loved it because it was my first antenna and it actually worked. I managed to talk with someone in New Zealand from Alaska on it.
Since then I have experimented with others. Luckily I have trees nearby to allow quick access to throw a line up and make things happen. My second vertical with upgraded ground plane connection plate was good and stealthy, until the community yard maintenance ate up my ground radials with their industrial lawn mower. My homebrew inverted-V with homemade ladder line worked well until someone questioned if I owned a monkey (ladder line into the trees) and the HOA came calling shortly thereafter. I had good success with an end-fed wire antenna, but it lacked one very desirable quality: directivity. And that brings me to the point of this all...Please see my next post on the Moxon antenna.