The ¼ Wave Droopy Ground Plane 2 Meter Ham Radio Antenna

¼ Wave Droopy Ground Plane Antenna

In the past we’ve talked about the many benefits of Ham Radio, and how every good survival plan should include some type of emergency communications equipment. When the power lines go down and cell phones stop working; the ability to send and receive information is going to be a critical factor in determining the outcome of your situation

In the coming month’s we are going to give some attention to the topic of emergency communication, and show you what it takes to communicate when the grid goes down.

Today, I’m going to show you how you can easily build a homebrew 2 Meter ¼ Wave vertical antenna for under $10. This antenna is perfect for HAMS that need a quick reliable solution for local 2 meter communication. It’s also a great antenna for emergency communication and can be fabricated and launched in a matter of minutes.

The ¼ Wave Droopy Ground Plane Antenna


Keep in mind that this, and most HAM antennas, can be made with parts that you probably already have lying around your home. The parts below are what I used to build the antenna, but you can substitute most of these parts with whatever you have around your house.

  • 1- 1 1/2″ PVC Pipe
  • 2 – 1 1/2″ Adapter
  • 1 -1 1/2″  Cap
  • 1 -SO-239 Connector
  • 50 ohm Coax
  • Galvanized Utility Wire (16-14 Gauge) – Straightened and cut into 5 pieces (lengths below)
  • 4 – 6-32 Stainless Machine Screws
  • 4 – 6-32 Stainless Machine Hex Nuts
  • 4 – #6 Crimp on Ring Tongue Terminals (16-14 Gauge)
antenna parts

Assembling the Antenna

The first thing I did was to assemble the actual working part of the antenna. To do this I cut and straightened 5 pieces of the galvanized utility wire down to about 20 inches.

antenna wire elements

To figure out the length of your antenna’s vertical and radial elements, you can use the following formula:

Length (in.) = 2808 / F
F= 146 MHz.

I used the middle of the band which is 146MHz. This calculated out to about 19.25”, which is what I eventually cut the wire down to when I had everything assembled.

Attaching the Vertical Element and Radials

Antenna Radials on a SO-239 Connector

Take 4 pieces of wire, which will be used as the antenna’s radials, and attach them to SO239 mounting holes using the machine screws and the ring tongue terminals.

vertical element soldered to SO-239 center connector

Next, solder the vertical element of antenna to the center connector of the SO239 connector. After you are done soldering and connecting the radials, your connector should look like the picture above.

Final Antenna Assembly:

PVC – The PVC is used to stabilize the antenna so you can attach it to a tree, a tripod stand or anything that gets it up off ground. If you don’t have PVC, you can use any non-conductive material to build the base.

PVC Antenna Base with Cap

Take the 1 1/2” adapters and glue them to your PVC pipe; one on the top and one on the bottom (the bottom adapter can be used to mount the antenna to a flange for stability). Next drill a 5/8 inch hole in the top of your 1 1/2” cap and then attach it to the top adapter.

Slide the coax through the PVC pipe and connect to your SO-239 connector.

Wire Radials attached to Ground Plane

Bend your radials at a 45 degree angle; you now have a working antenna.

homebrew 2 meter antenna

Antenna Performance

2meter 1/4 wave antenna

For under $10 worth of material, I was able to build a reliable antenna that can easily access all of the local repeaters with only 5 watts of power. At 25 watts, I was able to hit repeaters over 100 miles away

For more information on Ham Radio and Emergency Communication, check out these articles:

Shirts of Liberty

OFFGRID Survival book



  1. I have built one very similar to this…some scrap wire and a $2.00 SO-239 and you get a very cheap but good antenna. I cut my center element a bit long, bent the top into a small loop for a zip tie, then trimmed it about 1/8 inch at a time until the SWR was down to 1.1:1. I was wondering if a 1/8 wave would work though…looking for something really tiny for a BOB. Maybe I’ll just try it and see.

  2. I am disabled and unable to build things anymore. I like your antenna. Have you thought of adding 440 to it? Can you build me an antenna

    Randy ka4nma

  3. My dad made one similar back in the 60’s for fox hunting, he used a steel beer can and a bakerlite ceiling rose for a light and soldered the ground plane elements that was 6mm earth wire to the can and used a section of brazing wite for the main eliment and used the terminals of the rose to join the coax to the can and brazing rod. It is still working to this day. The fox hunters would pass over the can thinking it was just a discarded beer can in the bush and then the signal was behind them.

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