QRP Aluminum Boat Dock Antenna

qrp antenna

Do you think this aluminum boat dock will work as an amateur radio antenna?

Today my good buddy and tormentor, Jim Cluett – W1PID, and I did a fun experiment.

We used my 40-foot aluminum crank-out boat dock as an antenna. Watch this video for the full story, then continue to read below.

We changed the feed point halfway through the experiment and had success. It’s important to realize the steel cable attached to the tree winch is also radiating and receiving radio signals. The steel cable from the winch has a metallic connection to another shorter loop cable that touches the aluminum frame of the dock.

If you’re an antenna expert, you can deduce or ponder how changing the feed point from the bottom of the dock rail to the steel cable at the tree would make a difference.

I was able to make two contacts in just ten minutes, HI3CC in the Dominican Republic and IO5O, a radio club in Italy. You can see here I was pretty pleased with the outcome.


It wasn’t too cold, but there was a stiff breeze from the north coming across the water. It can send a chill through you if you’re not wearing a dandy Irish wool scarf. I’m so lucky to have one!

It was a fun experiment and I recommend you try wacky tests like this to see how you might be able to make a contact.

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