I'm in the midst of constructing a fan dipole for 80, 40, 30, 20 and 10 meters. I have everything laid out and am about to start cutting wire. I have an ugly balun (RF choke) wound at the feed point but I'm wondering what I should do for lengths.
My sense from all of my research is that I should care about the wire length of the legs in the dipoles. For instance, each leg of the 40 meter segment will be 32.6 feet in length. I'm figuring that it's actually 32.6 feet, including the portion of the wire at the feed point that is loose and comes up to be bundled into the rest of the wires into the feed point. This would also include the piece that is folded over at the end through the egg insulator.
The alternative is that the overall linear length is more important, which feels wrong, but, admittedly, antenna calculations are not my strong suit. :)
So, should I be calculating linear length end to end from the feed point out or the actual wire length regardless of the way it comes into the feed point or the folded piece at the end for the insulator?
As a followup, I've now built and hoisted the fan dipole. I have it suspended from the center feed point / RF choke and from the ends at about 40 feet. It tunes up between 1:1 and 1.6:1 on 80, 40, 30, 20, 17, 15 and 10 meters. It's a big tangle of wires until you get it into the air but well worth the time and effort if you have the space, IMHO.