LDG vs. Balun Designs QRP UNUN Test

Elecraft KX-3 with Begali Adventure Mono Key

I have a long wire antenna deployed at a top secret (spy) location, and am testing QRP UNUN’s for use with this end fed antenna

I threw a “super secret spy antenna” up in the trees where I am at

The antenna is only up 20′ at the highest end and 10′ at the lowest end. Being lazy, and with very little sunset left – I put the Balun Designs 4:1 QRP UNUN on the antenna and the feed 10′ above ground, and the counterpoise is a 500′ spool of flexweave antenna wire – that has about 15′ laying on the ground and “terminated” with the rest of the spool. I don’t know if that is a good counterpoise or not, but from my super secret spy location (lets call it “Grandmother’s House”) I was able to check into The Mission Trail Net on 75M – so its a “good enough” NVIS antenna. I am pretty surprised that a station in Colfax, California and Kooskia Idaho heard me very well – oops – I might be giving away my spy location.

I’ll also try these UNUN’s and compare against the Balun Designs 4:1 QRP UNUN which is working like a champ

The LDG UNUN’s are certainly nice looking – and the binding posts at the top are actually nicer than the wing nuts on the balun design unit. I don’t know if that was an option – Bob at Balun Designs usually offers several options as far as how you connect the antenna wire. But lets just say this – right now – these LDG have their work cut out for them performance wise. Theoretically, the 9:1 unun should be a better match than the 4:1 as far as an end fed wire (long wire with counterpoise) is concerned.

This little antenna is getting out well – at least as far as Calgary, BC, Utah and Kansas is concerned . . .

The Balun Designs QRP 4:1 unun – it works like a champ!

But today’s “rush” test with the Balun Designs 4:1 QRP unun has me VERY impressed – ALL of Bob’s Baluns and Unun’s have been the best of the best over the years.

Bob’s work is always very FB. Notice the teflon wire and teflon tape. Very neat and clean

The LDG 9:1 unun (red) and 4:1 unun (green) – both QRP models

The LDG unun’s are $29 and the Balun Designs is just over $50. My initial take is that the LDG boxes might be a tad bit better packaging wise for a temporary SOTA operation – mainly because of the binding posts. I’m going to guess in high winds they might become loose – but I will try them out today for sure – I am just guessing at this point. For a permanent installation, I would go with the Balun Designs unit because of the teflon wire and tape – and I would have purchased the version that has nuts and lock washers instead of wing nuts. But my use of these will always be portable and temporary.

I was able to get a 1.0:1 match using my KX-3 ATU on all bands from 80 – 10M. I am sure its not the most efficient antenna on all bands – probably not the greatest on any band, but I am still very impressed that I could actually make a decent contact on 75M with SSB!

I will try both of the LDG baluns today – I’ll check the SWR on all of these bands and then try to make a few QSO’s on a few bands. There is a blizzard coming our way starting later today, so I will test this around lunch time and then commit to the Balun Designs – by soldering the solder lugs and tightening the wing nuts. We are supposed to get winds up to 75 mph – so lets see how this works out.


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