Originally written and posted 8 July 1996.
Content last modified Saturday, 9 January 2021 .
External links last verified Tuesday, 1 February 2005.

How Come My “T” Antenna Is Sooo Wikwack?

Is it a folded dipole (2 wires in each half of the “T”, continuity between the terminals)? Make sure it is connected to the 300 ohm terminals of your receiver, or to a 300 ohm to 75 ohm matching transformer if you are using coaxial cable (fig. 1 top right). Is it a plain/simple/unfolded/cheaps**t dipole (1 wire along the “T” top, two on the shank, no continuity between terminals)?

dipole building illus.

A plain/simple/unfolded/cheaps**t dipole had better be hooked up to the 75 ohm terminals, or directly to 75 ohm coaxial cable (doesn’t matter which side of the dipole goes to which contact - try both ways). Are the connections broken or shorting? Did your pet weasel teethe on it? Have the mutant children with 3 arms who live next door been using it for a jump rope?

mutant child at play

You don’t really expect your T to work all crumpled up on the floor like that, do you? On the serious tip, i tried three mounting positions of all dipoles: crumpled on the floor or dangling behind the receiver, held up limply (more of a “Y” than a “T”), and rigidly mounted with the top of the “T” quite straight and flat (wire not twisted). The latter is denoted as “Jesus-Mount” in this article (known as the RJM-1 in some circles—ask at the Soundwell).

T dipole mounting positions

Jesus-Mounting performed substantially better than limp- or crumple-mounting in all tests (but your results may vary). Note: best reception may not occur with the antenna flat against the wall. Some folks get better results twisting the downlead (the shank of the “T”) to reduce its ability to pick stuff up (only the top of the “T” is supposed to do that), thereby reducing the dreaded multipath (ooooh scary). In case no one’s ever told you, reception happens broadside (perpendicular to the “T” top, not along its length). Stand on the imaginary line between the transmitter site and your antenna (or visualize if this is physically ridiculous in your situation) and pretend you’re the transmitter tower—if you see a perfect letter “T”, you’ve positioned the antenna correctly.

T broadside position

So what if it’s in the middle of the room? As a non-mainstream music listener, you should know RADIO AIN’T NECESSARILY PRETTY! Besides, you can always decorate it:

Jesus-mount T antenna with birds on it.