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The Copper Cactus Antenna

Since its conception The Copper Cactus Multi-Band J-Pole has become World Famous due to its simple design, now cost, ease of assembly and supurb performance.
The Designer, Builder and Author also has other unique J-Pole designs, such as the Stacked-J and the Mirror Image-J.  The Stacked-J has found favor amongst numerous Repeater Clubs across the country and abroad.

Copper Cactus Antenna


To:       All Amateurs
From:  Gary - KGØZP
RE:      The Copper Cactus Antenna

Dear Fellow Hams
Here are the measurements you have requested for the Copper Cactus Multi-Band J-Pole antenna you've all heard so much about recently.
I'm sure you are already familiar with the construction of the standard J-Pole antenna, so I won't go into any unnecessary detail. Besides, a picture is worth a thousand words, this link will open the image shown on the right, so you can more easily zoom in on the detail areas.

The antenna may be built as a MonoBander, DuoBander, TriBander, QuadBander or whatever with great success.
You can either feed it with separate coax's for each band or a single coax, however, separate coax's make it much easier to tune.
Theres no trick to building them, just remember the overall length is for the lowest frequency of operation. In other words, a MonoBander, DualBander and TriBander are all exactly the same length overall 58.09" on 2 meters.

Feed the coax up the center of the pipes. Use T-Fittings at the proper distance below the top of the antenna for the desired frequency. The only problem is that the more bands you try to incorporate into the antenna, the harder it is to get the SWR flat on all bands.

Here are the numbers you have been looking for!

The Copper Cactus Antenna
Frequency  52 MHz   146 MHz   223.5 MHz   435 MHz   912 MHz   1265 MHz 
Pipe Dia. 1" 3/4" 1/2" 1/2" 3/8" 3/8"
Stub 54.70" 19.36" 12.65" 6.46" 3.02" 2.16"
 Overall Length  163.92" 58.09" 37.94" 19.39" 9.07" 6.49"
Separation 5" 2" 1-1/4" 3/4" 1/2" 1/4"
Connection 6" 2-1/4" 1-1/2" 1" 3/4" 1/2"

For best results, build the highest band first, for eg. the 435MHz antenna, If you really want it to look neat, use 3/8" copper for the vertical and 1/4" copper for the transformer section (stub). Naturally the finished product will be in the shape of a "J".
Now build the next band, for eg. the 223.5MHz antenna, by adding pipe to the T-connector that is the base (mast mount) of the 435MHz antenna, I use 1/2" for the vertical and 3/8" for the stub of this section.
Now build the 146MHz antenna, don't forget the overall length of the antenna is the lowest frequency you will be using. I use 3/4" for the vertical and 1/2 for the stub.

The stub must be parallel to the vertical, however you can point the base of each stub in any direction you like. I prefer 3 equal distant points, but you can make them all on the same side if you wish. I feel the three points make it look like a cactus.

My measurements on overall length, and stub length are from the centerline of the separation pipe (horizontal) to the top of the antenna. The Separation distance is technically from centerline to centerline, but inside measurements are fine and visually look better.
Some of the measurements are less than physically possible, in this case just push the T-Fitting and elbow as close together as you can get them, no need to trim the fittings.

The Connection measurement is from the top of the horizontal member to the point of coax connection.

Final Note: If you use 1/2" pipe for all the construction, on the 2-meter stub, add 1/4" to its length, or use pipe-caps and adjust them up or down to get the 1/4" additional length.
For ultra-fine tuning, you may use a brass machine screw in the pipe caps
The antenna should be in perfect tune, SWR less than 1.2 - 1 on all bands, using separate coax for each band.
Solder all the joints before installing the coax, any pipe you have left over can be used as the mast.

To install the coax, drill a 1/4" hole in the top of the horizontal part of each T-fitting closest to the vertical, then tilt the drill at an angle, so that the drill bit is sorta heading down the vertical.

Enjoy Building: If you have any questions just ask, or for further instructions, just send me a message and I will promptly respond. My e-mail address may be found on the home (index) page.

PS Until you are familiar with the construction techniques of the J-Pole, I wouldn't attempt any more than three bands the first time out. In fact, A dual-bander, using the above dimensions will be perfect every time.

73s de Gary - KGØZP

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