I'm finally getting to the point of hopefully putting up a HF antenna. The idea is to start with a simple, straight wire dipole using trees as support points. (No traps or coils.)
However, with the layout of my property and the location of the trees thereon, putting up a fully balanced antenna might be difficult.
I'm not aiming for an antenna that is resonant on any particular frequency to begin with, so will be using an ATU in any case. I'm also going to be operating on most of the HF bands, so the feedline will essentially be random length at least on some relevant frequencies.
I'm aiming more for local-ish contacts than DX; with what I'm planning to do right now I won't really be able to get the antenna up high enough to get the takeoff angle down far enough for DX anyway.
The general idea for station setup is to have the transceiver, then 50 ohm coax to the ATU (which in turn is just inside the window, and which has a built-in 4:1 balun), then attached to its binding posts balanced ladder line (through the window) which eventually splits into the two legs of the antenna to actually radiate the signal. There will also be a bleeder resistor somewhere along the length of feedline, to help reduce the buildup of static, and a physical/electrical disconnection point between the bleeder resistor and where the feedline enters the house (allowing for true electrical disconnection of the antenna when I'm not on the radio). I'm aware of the need to keep balanced ladder line away from other conductors that it could parasitically couple to (as e.g. Hamsterdave illustrated just recently, though perhaps not quite as extreme).
With such a setup, which approach is likely to lead to better operating results, as well as less problems with RFI and friends?
- As much antenna wire in the air as possible, disregarding the relative feedpoint, possibly leading to an off-center-fed antenna?
- Keeping the antenna as balanced as possible, even if this means less wire in the air?
Bonus if answers also touch on how the choice is likely to impact antenna tuning (it'd be nice if I don't have to retune every 10 kHz).
The ambient HF noise level, as far as I have been able to determine by completely unscientific testing, is quite low, and I'd love to be able to make the most of that.