When I first started in radio with my novice licence, I was restricted on HF to 80, 15 and 10m (if I recall correctly). At first, I tried using a commercially made G5RV. That wasn’t very successful for a number of reasons. Then I tried a homebrew dipole for 15m. I used copper wire for the elements and a 1:1 balun fed with RG213 coax. I made my first DX contacts into Japan with that antenna and I fell in love with 15m!
I also wanted to use 80m, but after the failed experiments with the G5RV, I decided that a vertical was the way to go. I pestered my parents to buy me a Butternut HF6V for Christmas in 2000. I remember putting it together on Boxing Day and after that I spent most of my radio time on 80m. My brother’s bedroom was nearest to the antenna and he could always tell when I was on-air because his stereo system would be overdriven by RF!
Fast forward to now… I use an inverted vee fed with 300 ohm ladder line. The antenna is 100 feet long and tunes all bands, some better than others! The centre support is a Spiderbeam squid pole which has been in service for just over 10 years now. Being a telescoping fibreglass pole, it used to collapse in strong winds and part of it broke in a storm. To prevent it from collapsing, I installed small self-tapping screws in each of the joins and it has been faultless ever since.
For portable operations, I use a dipole for 40m with a feedline of RG174 coax. It has a 1:1 balun which was made from a kit produced by SOTABEAMS in the UK. I recently bought an MFJ-2286 telescopic HF whip for $100(US) from DX Engineering. It is 17 feet long when fully extended and collapses to 27 inches. It comes with a loading coil for use on 40m. I’m looking forward to trying it out on-air soon.