Take this Salt and Transmit!
Using saltwater as an antenna


That white tube hanging from the aspen tree is an ILA (Ionic Liquid Antenna). It is simply a 10-foot length of PVC tubing, capped at both ends, and filled with supersaturated saltwater. At the bottom is a stainless steel bolt glued into the end cap that acts as a probe into the liquid. It was my first of several saltwater antennas I have built and tested.


My intention that evening was to just test it with the MFJ analyzer and a manual tuner to see if I could even tune it. As you can see, my only ground is a 10" tent stake. I found a good match on 17 meters, so I ran inside and grabbed the FT-817 radio and fired it up. Not only did it hear very well, but I was able to work coast-to-coast from Georgia to California with five watts!

The idea for using saltwater as a radiating antenna is credited to David Hatch, N9ZRT, and I first heard about it from his antenna-related Yahoo group called Live-Wire.