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Author Topic: Portable 2 meter antenna for camping  (Read 3207 times)
K8RBT
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Posts: 29




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« on: March 27, 2001, 10:03:40 PM »

I'm looking for suggestions for a portable 2 meter antenna that I can use when camping or staying at rental cottages. I would like something that is portable and can be made compact for travel and is ground independent. Maybe a jpole or a smaller vertical. Trying to see what solutions others have come up with.

I'll be working with an Icom 706IIG (won in an Icom contest, thanks Icom!). I'm also wondering what other s do as far as station grounding in this type of situation.

Any thoughts or suggestions would be most appreciated.
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KA1DBE
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Posts: 121




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« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2001, 05:36:33 PM »

OK, don't laugh but I have used a 1/4 wave mag mount on a cookie sheet.  Seem to work well.  I am sure any metal surface would work or make some small counterpoise wires for it.  Good luck.

73/72 .-.-.
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2001, 03:56:28 PM »

2m antennas are small by nature, so it's easy to make almost anything "portable."  If you have your automobile nearby, I'd recommend just use its mobile whip, that will be as effective as anything else you can put up temporarily and requires no additional thought or investment.

If you're really backpacking it into the deep woods, then of course size and weight are very important and the "roll-up" J-pole antennas made from 300 Ohm twin-lead are great!  Rolled up, they fit in a shirt pocket and only weigh an ounce or two.  Unrolled, they provide excellent performance and can be hung from a tree branch or anything else handy.

Regarding "station ground," it's totally irrelevant on 2m, don't worry about it.  Using 50 Ohm antennas (not end-fed wires) on HF, it's pretty irrelevant there, too.  I've operated portable from campsites and also the Great Outdoors (no campsite except the dirt, rocks and whatever Mother Nature put there), and have never had a problem on any band, anywhere, without a ground.  I've never even given a "ground" a thought, except when attempting to use an end-fed longwire antenna on HF, where, without a ground, they can be really poor performers that are nearly impossible to match.

73 & happy camping!

Steve WB2WIK/6

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KB1EXM
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Posts: 17




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« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2001, 10:05:14 PM »

WB2WIK suggested a role up J-Pole which I agree with.  I have mountaintopped with one a couple times with great results.  There are several sites which describe how to build them and they can be bought commercially through MFJ.  If you are looking for a little more gain a beam can be built to pack easily I built the two element from http://members.home.net/ac3l/antenna.htm
with alluminum arrows from a sporting goods store and have had good luck with it.  You can also buy one from Arrow antennas.

73 and good luck
KB1EXM
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KG6FUT
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Posts: 16




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« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2001, 10:26:41 PM »

A good ant. is the simple ground plane ant. wich is simple cheep and easy to bild.
It's in now your talking! and arrl handbook (wich has some other good ones too).
73 de KG6FUT
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« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2001, 12:19:40 AM »

try www.cebik.com
page to technical
to to vhf antenna section

find the half square for 2m.

It is great, cheap to make
and use, has 3 units gain
over the jpole and has very
good side rejection.

give it a try, you'll like it.

73 walter
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MAGENTA
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« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2001, 08:11:35 PM »

For 2M camping I use the MFJ 300 ohm roll up. I love it. Cheap, compact and works great! Shoestring Antennas also makes a 300 ohm roll up for a couple of bucks cheaper. http://www.qth.com/shoestring/ They call it the Traveling J I think. Its listed under J poles in there web page.

73! Ryan W7SFO!
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K8RBT
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Posts: 29




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« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2001, 08:03:16 PM »

Thanks for all the recommendations. Although I haven't done any type of antenna building, it sounds like a good time for me to start. I really like the idea of the rollup J-pole as one solution since it would be handy, especially with an HT.
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K1BRF
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Posts: 36




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« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2001, 12:43:08 AM »

I am going to be a contrarian and disagree with all the folks.  

I am a purist about backpacking. Nevertheless, being a ham, I carry a GPS in the woods and a 3-element black anodized Switech antenna with a light collapsible small fiberglass pole with my micro-rig. Also carry a short length of coax and a BNC connector TAPED to the unit. The whole thing rolls together in a very small package, you can strap it to your backpack easily AND it is light. You never know you have it.  If you want to carry weight, then carry additional batteries. Small is good, light is critical, performance in the field is everything. When you are in the woods, you are not downtown. Several dBs of gain are great to have.  Takes 2 minutes to set up - sit it in rocks, prop it againt a dead limb but boy will you notice the difference versus a J, et al.   You can work "anywhere you want".  In the woods or in the rain you are going to experience signal absorbtion but I have had hundred mile QSOs in rainy deep wood (admittedly deep HIGH woods). And if you have an opening or are on a rock outcropping with a view, just swing the puppy around and you can really hear where the traffic is. It'll make you smile.

The others are great when you have nothing else. But if you want to relax and have fun and not come back frustrated with dead batteries, no QSOs and everybody else thinking you are lunch meat, consider this.  The package is so small, so light, and you can put it in a tent rod or fishing pole carrier for $5 so it is not like you are carrying anything extra and it is not like setting up for Field Day. I leave it strapped to my backpack it is so small.  It is also great to throw into the trunk for emergencies.

The test is results.  And if you need results, get a 3-element yagi.  By the way, you are also more likely going to get rescued if you have a problem because they can hear you. And you do not have to run at full power, extending battery life.

It's a lot of fun to operate portable like that!  I know that whatever you choose, it'll be a blast.
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K8RBT
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Posts: 29




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« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2001, 05:26:25 PM »

Brian, I'm really interested in the antenna you mentioned so I went digging around on the internet looking for more information without much luck. Do you know of a website for the company or other contact information. Thanks again for the suggestion.
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K1BRF
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Posts: 36




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« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2001, 11:32:24 PM »

Antenna source was is Swiech Communications Systems
32979 Regina Drive, Temeluca, CA 92592 and it is
Model COY2M3EL for $64.95 plus shipping when I bought it. Phones I had were 619-748-2286, 909-693-3192 and 909-302-0230.  Think the latter one is active and the first two may be old when they were moving. The thing is well made.  I have had the black anodized version on the roof near the ocean for 5 years and it looks brand new so it takes to the rigors woods very easily. Good luck.
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K1BRF
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Posts: 36




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« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2001, 11:35:19 PM »

Antenna source was is Swiech Communications Systems
32979 Regina Drive, Temeluca, CA 92592 and it is
Model COY2M3EL for $64.95 plus shipping when I bought it. Phones I had were 619-748-2286, 909-693-3192 and 909-302-0230.  Think the latter one is active and the first two may be old when they were moving. The thing is well made.  I have had the black anodized version on the roof near the ocean for 5 years and it looks brand new so it takes to the rigors woods very easily. Good luck.
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N4UIF
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« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2001, 01:41:42 PM »

HI N4UIF here
         When I go camp I have used what is commonly called a coat hanger 1/4 wave.   You take a PL259
and a peace of #10 copper wire 19"5/16.    Affix the #10 wire to the inside center of PL259 then make a
small loop on the end of the wire.   Screw your coax on the PL259 and tie some string to the loop at the end of the #10 wire.   Chose your least favorite tool or some kind weight to tie to the other end of the string.   With care throw the weighted end over a limb and pull your antenna to the desired height.   This antenna works well on both 2m and 440.
                                                                                      Good Luck and God bless
                                                                                       73's Vonnie N4UIF
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K7LA
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« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2001, 05:03:11 PM »

I have had outstanding results with a SWIECH COY2M3L, 2M 3 ELE BLACK ANDONIZED BEAM currently priced at $89.95 through Ham Radio Outlet.  Designed for T-hunting and rapid deployment emergency portable stations, this machined aluminum antenna goes together in a couple of minutes yet is light enough to backpack.  The antenna breaks down in quickly and I put mine into an old storage sack that came with a nylon backpacking tent for transport.  You can't beat a yagi for signal punch especially when using low power to conserve batteries.  I have packed mine to the top of Mount San Jacinto, CA, elev. 10,804' at the summit and used a Kenwood TH-28A two meter HT at only 1.5 watts output to work a station (simplex) at Chatsworth, CA about 120 miles away receiving a S5 report from him.  At lower elevations expect 50 miles easily and full quieting into any repeater you want.  I have won two ARRL VHF section contests in the old QRP category using the Swiech antenna. This antenna isn't cheap, but the quality is solid, usage is convenient and the results speak for themselves.  It's a fine weapon in your portable station arsenal.  7 3 de Jim K7LA /6, http://www.qsl.net/k7la
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K8RBT
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Posts: 29




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« Reply #14 on: May 08, 2001, 11:30:30 AM »

I ordered and received the Swiech 3 element Yagi direct from Swiech. The price was $65.00 and they shipped it the day I ordered it. Although I have not gotten on the air with it yet, I'm very impressed by the construction and finish. Nicely made product at a fair price. If the performance is as others have stated, I would say it is good deal.

Thanks again for the suggestion.
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