A Junkbox Bugstick For 20m, 17m, 15m, 12m, and 10m

Bonus at the Bottom: A Junkbox Bugstick For 40m


This is a really simple idea. I wanted a hamstick that will handle 500 watts so I took an old 10m hamstick and removed all the wire. I sifted through my junk box and found some coil stock that is 6 turns per inch with a 1.5-inch diameter and made out of #14 wire. This is a very common coil and is available from Surplus Sales of Nebraska. MFJ has a range of similar coil stock and part number 404-0600 is a 2" diameter, 6 TPI coil. These high-Q coils are a lot more efficient than the original hamstick coil.

I replaced the original hamstick coil with 25 turns of this stock and tie-wrapped it in center-loading position on the fiberglass rod. (Be sure to use the black, UV resistant, tie wraps.) I soldered a piece of #14 solid wire to each end of the coil and extended each wire to the 3/8"x24 hardware at the two ends of the fiberglass rod part of the hamstick and attached a 3/8" crimp lug to the ends of the wires. This avoids having to solder the wires to the hamstick but it is a good idea to solder the wires to the crimp lugs. The fiberglass rod portion of the hamstick is used for mechanical support only. The RF current is carried by the lugs, wire, coil, and stinger. Some hamsticks do not have 3/8" hardware at both ends but the upper connection should not be hard to figure out. A small stainless steel hose clamp would work.

Now I had a 20m hamstick with the stinger adjusted for 14.2 MHz. It didn't take a genius to figure out that this same 20m super hamstick could be used on any higher HF band by shorting out the proper number of turns on the coil. ala bugcatcher style. The shorting is done with a wire containing miniature alligator clips on each end. Here are the resonant bands Vs the number of turns shorted out from the bottom of the coil. The configuration is a 3-magnet mount on the cab of a GMC pickup measured with an MFJ-259 analyzer.

20M, 0T; 17M, 10T; 15M, 16T; 12M, 19T; 11M, 22T; 10m, 23T


Figure 1: Photo of the antenna mounted on the cab of my pickup, jumpered for 10m.


Figure 2: A closer view of the coil tie-wrapped to the fiberglass pole.


Figure 3: A close up view of the lug on the bottom end of the antenna.

This is a really simple (and inexpensive) way to get efficient 500-watt, 5-band bugcatcher performance from a single old hamstick. Enjoy.
And Here's the Coil on the 40m-Version that turns a hamstick into a real 40m mobile antenna.

It's 48 turns from 8 TPI, 2 inch diameter coil stock.