For HF work, since the original setup post Foundation license, I have been using home-made fan dipoles in my loft.  These have allowed me to work contacts all over Eastern and Southern Europe with as low as 10W and up to 35W (for safety reasons).  Due to the North-South orientation of my loft, and also my dipoles, I have been limited to a beam pattern predominantly East-West which meant most of my QSOs have been Eastern European.  Also my signal reports have been typically low, due to (I think) large roof mounted solar heating panels situated right next to the dipoles.

Thankfully and due to a very generous G6ODA, I am now the proud owner of a Hustler 5-BTV vertical with a Hustler 17BTVS add-on for 17m.  This aerial is omni-directional and can take the full 100W from my FT-991 radio.  Excited is the wrong word.

As my QTH has restrictions I had to think carefully before finding a suitable location for this 8m+ vertical, it had to be stealthily mounted.  My only source of “visual protection” was a tall conifer located to the South of my property on a border with a neighbour.  I concreted a scaffold pole in next to the tree and mounted the vertical next to  it.  It was hidden enough but stood out like the proverbial thumb, being shiny aluminium.  My son (M6UGA) decided a touch of camouflage was necessary in order to satisfy the XYL – so after a couple of evenings of trap tuning, all bands (except 17m) were resonant and some spray paint was found.  M6UGA spent a couple of hours painting the aerial and the results are great.  The following photographs show the current version, it’s not invisible but an improvement on the normal.

Hiding behind tree (to the right)
Tree from front (aerial to the left)
View from East

After setup, initial QSOs have been had working Romania, Ukraine and Morocco – all with 5 and 9 reports.  I’m incredibly happy with the results and looking forward to working more countries on 10-80m.

[Updated 2016-11-09]

Below are the plots generated by my antenna analyser using the full feeder from inside the shack (click for full size images):

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