This project is a great way for beginning builders to hone their skills at circuit construction. The receiver plans were originally printed in a September 2000 article in QST. I built mine from scratch, not on a printed circuit board, with no ill effects due to strange parts placement. The author provides very good advice about the audio/volume and regeneration controls placement and hookup (by being careful, no shielded audio cables are necessary). Since I used a large value tuning capacitor from my junk box, I added the optional fine tuning control to add better selectivity to my receiver, which is very helpful when tuning. By following the author’s recommendations about how to assemble the receiver the average builder should have no problems with this project. When in doubt, the provided voltages on the schematic are a handy way to test your completed project.
This is perhaps the cheapest gain antenna for 2 meters that can be built. Total cost for this antenna is under $10 (excluding coax) and it can be built in about an hour. Using what is called “Plumber’s Delight” construction I soldered all joints using a propane torch, lead-free/non acid core solder, and some soldering flux. While there are several iterations of the J-Pole that can be built, I liked this one because it does not require the builder to directly solder the coax to the copper pipe. Instead, a SO-239 is soldered to the T connector and a short piece of wire (I used insulated #12 stranded copper) is soldered to the center conductor to feed the driven element. My version of this antenna is mounted on my chimney and works very well, providing 2:1 or better SWR on the entire 2 meter band. It is incredibly strong and I have experienced no problems with wind or other weather.