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I've currently got a long-wire antenna (made from 24 ga. wire recovered from CAT-5) running to a receive only MW/HF radio. It is hung from a tree bough down to a window and looks approximately like this:

Approximate configuration of my long-wire antenna

I have seen other configurations of wire antennas that recommend a "right-angle" configuration like this:

Allegedly better configuration of long-wire antenna

Is the latter more likely to yield better reception? Does it really matter for receive-only?

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If the antenna is sloped upwards towards the end of wire, chances are it works as an effective backbeam. Ie. It receives signals better from opposite direction. This can be enhanced by dropping wire vertically over the branch to the ground . That flat height is ideal for antenna that is purposed to receive as well from front and back.

Naturally the actual pattern will change a lot according to the length of wire and received frequency. At some point antenna will behave omnidirectional, at some point it receives better from the sides of wire.

For all practical purposes a slight angle doesn't matter anything.

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  • $\begingroup$ So, if I understand you correctly, slope as well as orientation matters. I'll have to do some more playing with this configuration since I've noticed that receive on 30M was excellent for Europe and east cost stateside (TN, SC, NY, etc). However, when I attempted to listen to a QSO by a friend of mine who is ~5-10º (and several hundred miles) off north from me was barely audible. Likewise other stations who should be clear to my north are not nearly as clear as folks from UK/DE. $\endgroup$ – nvahalik Jun 11 '15 at 16:21
  • $\begingroup$ More than likely, skip is the reason that you could receive the UK and not the QSO of a friend several hundred miles away. For example, I sometimes participate in an Elecraft CW net where the net control operator is about 200 miles distant from my home QTH. I often have to have signals relayed by stations that are 1000 or more miles distant since the Skip prevents direct communication with the station 200 miles away. $\endgroup$ – K7PEH Jun 11 '15 at 16:40
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    $\begingroup$ Well, yes, experimenting is profitable if you are able to do it. You didn't tell how much space you have and to which direction. In ideal world you would have antenna farm with wires to 4-8 directions. Unused wires can be connected to receiver ground to give pattern a boost. Then you would have a luxury to choose the best combination... But now it's me talking here in midst of endless forests... $\endgroup$ – Finn Dxer Jun 11 '15 at 19:39
  • $\begingroup$ After leveling the antenna wire to be much straighter and to have a more pronounced ┐ shape as well as improving the ground connection, there was a marked improvement on 20M and a previously inaudible transmission from due north are comprehensible. Need to add a bit more wire and perhaps add a vertical antenna, but it is definitely better now. $\endgroup$ – nvahalik Jun 13 '15 at 19:10
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The sloper configuration will yield more omnidirectional reception with a bias toward the direction of the slope. A horizontal configuration will have some nulls towards the ends of the antenna and will work well for signal sources broadside on. For a non bias omnidirectional antenna you could try adding a support in the centre and creating an "Inverted V" style layout.

You could also try feeding the antenna from the tree end and connecting back to your receiver with coax cable (75ohm or 50ohm) which will reduce the amount of electrical noise that is being picked up from the house.

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