When you see a notation like 2:14 and 3:21 that means how many turns on the primary and how many turns on the secondary part of the transformer. 2:14 means 2 turns on primary, 14 turns on secondary. Likewise, 3:21 means 3 turns on primary, 21 turns on secondary.

So, where does the 49:1 come from? That is the transformation ratio. To arrive at it we consider the ratio of turns on the secondary to the primary. With a 2:141 this becomes 14 to 2 or 7 to 1. Take the 7 and square it to arrive at 49:1. We’re transforming a roughly 2450 ohm feedpoint down to 50 ohms.

Other common ratios that are used with EFHW antennas are 36:1, 64:1, and 81:1. Respectively ratios of 6:1, 8:1, and 9:1. To make a 36:1 transformer you could have a 3 turn primary, and an 18 turn secondary.

Note: In these pictures, they are all 49:1 transformers.

Original 4S QRP Experimenter PCB 2:14 Original 2:14 Original 2:14

Original 4S QRP Experimenter PCB 3:21 Original 3:21 Original 3:21

2024 EFHW board with Double Stack FT82-43 toroids, 3:21 Double Stack Double Stack

2024 EFHW board with Single Stack FT82-43 toroids, 3:21 Single Transformer Single Transformer

Transformer Theory

The 100pF capacitor is often added to the primary side of the transformer in an End Fed Half Wave (EFHW) antenna for a couple of reasons:

  1. Improves Higher Frequency UNUN Performance: The capacitor can help improve the performance of the Unbalanced to Unbalanced (UNUN) transformer at higher frequencies2,3.

  2. Compensates for UNUN Primary Leakage: The capacitor can help compensate for any leakage in the primary of the UNUN2.

  3. Flattens SWR at Higher Frequencies: The addition of the capacitor can help flatten the Standing Wave Ratio (SWR) at higher frequencies2. This is particularly noticeable for frequencies above 20 meters2.

It’s important to note that the specific impact of the capacitor can depend on the bands you are interested in. For instance, if you’re building an antenna for the 40m band, you might not need the capacitor. But if you’re also using the 20m band, the capacitor can be quite beneficial4.

Please note that these are general observations and the actual impact can vary based on specific antenna designs and operating conditions. It’s always a good idea to experiment and see what works best for your specific setup2,4.

Does the antenna system need a counterpoise? There is always one present. With end fed antennas you also need to watch out for common mode current (CMC) on the feedline.5

Primary Source: Conversation with Bing, 3/20/2024

Antenna Length

An end fed half wave antenna is a half-wave length long and is fed from the end as the name implies. So, determine your wire length by first considering the lowest band you want to work on. For example, 40m, or around 7.030Mhz. Then use the standard dipole formula of 468 / frequency = feet. So, for our example, 468 / 7.030 = ~66.57ft or ~66 feet and 7 inches. As the adage goes it is easier to trim wire than add it. Therefore, I would start with ~70ft of wire and adjust back from there. A simple thing to try is to fold the wire back on itself at the end.

The normal dipole like radiation pattern for the EFHW is when it is being used on it’s primary band. You will have more lobes on the usable or harmonic bands. With more lobes the further you get from the primary band.

You will most likely need to use some small amount of tuning when using the antenna portable or on non-primary bands.

Primary Band Usable bands Initial length
160m 80m, 40m, 20m, 15m, 10m 265'
80m 40m, 20m, 15m, 10m 135'
40m 20m, 15m, 10m 70'
20m 10m 35'

  1. “80-10 end-fed half-wave antenna with 49:1 unun - Noji.” ↩︎

  2. “End Fed Half Wave Antennas: Is a Primary Capacitor Really Needed?” ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎

  3. “End Fed Half Wave Antennas: More About the Primary Capacitor.” ↩︎

  4. “49:1 Impedance Transformer for EFHW Antenna - DX EXPLORER.” ↩︎ ↩︎

  5. “Do I need a counterpoise for my EFHW? - M0VUE” ↩︎