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Author Topic: Single op field day antenna for campsite  (Read 5774 times)
N4OGW
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Posts: 308




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« Reply #15 on: February 29, 2012, 01:09:32 PM »

As someone that does a fair amount of operating in the woods, I stay away from non-50 ohm antennas.  Not that a balanced line antenna and tuner wouldn't work well, but especially in a Field Day setting, dorking with a tuner will get very old, very quickly.  An autotuner is an option but it would take some careful forethought to plan antennas that will be easy to deploy, work for the bands you want, and work within the limits of the tuner.

Field Day is a 40 and 20 meter event.    As a single op you will not likely run out either of those bands. My antennas of choice are multiband ("fan") dipoles pre-cut and ready to go. One 40/20 dual dipole covers 40, 20 and 15 and once it's up, you're ready to go.


Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM

Just put a piece of paper behind each dial on your tuner. Make a pencil mark for each band, and you are set for the weekend. No more dorking needed except for the first 10 minutes Smiley

If you are in the eastern half of the country you might want 80m in addition to 40/20. This was my band breakdown the last time I did field day as single op/qrp (2007). Antennas were two ~135' dipoles fed with ladder line to johnson matchboxes. All CW.

 160:      0             
   80:  137             
   40:  380             
   20:  384             
   15:   53             
   10:     0             

Tor
N4OGW/5 (MS)


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WB6BYU
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Posts: 13343




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« Reply #16 on: February 29, 2012, 04:07:23 PM »

I was looking at the radiation patterns of various options discussed here in preparation for
giving a talk on portable antennas to the local club.  On the bands above 40m, the 80m
horizontal corner-fed loop has lobes off the corners and nulls between.  (On 10m it breaks
into 8 lobes rather than 4.)  While the gain increases in the main lobes, they get narrower
on the higher bands, so that there are large portions of the compass that radiation is
worse than a dipole.  That probably accounts for more contacts but a lower state count
this last year.  At least it works pretty well up and down the West coast and due East,
but not as well NE or SE.

That's often true of long wire antennas - the gain goes up, but the pattern gets narrow,
and they aren't always convenient to rotate if you want to work a particular direction.

With the improvement in sunspots I'll have to think about a better high-band antenna - or
borrowing my beam back.
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VE3FMC
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Posts: 987


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« Reply #17 on: February 29, 2012, 04:48:29 PM »

I still contend you have to KISS Joe.

I have done the single OP thing from home in the past. I made the majority of my contacts on 40 meters to start with. Then I did some 20 M, then back to 40, then to 80 (remember I was the only FD op the time you came and operated with us that could take the noise levels on 80 in the summer  Grin)

I would say operate 40 & 20 M with a simple coax fed dipole if you don't want to mess with ladder line. You can cover 3 bands with that dipole and a tuner. If you resonate the 40 and 20 meter legs you can operate without the tuner, and then use the tuner on 15 M if it is open.

Other option is 40/80 but you need the real estate at the campsite to do that.

Rick VE3FMC
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N4NYY
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« Reply #18 on: February 29, 2012, 04:58:11 PM »

Quote
I would suggest maybe 12m too as there is a surprising about of activity on 12m CW when band is open.

I think the WARC are a no-no in a contest. The 20/40 works for me.

I think your right but I was surprised the amount of CW i heard on 12 when it was open.
    And on 10 as well!

I am Field Day chairman for my radio club. We had a blast on 10M last year. I operated on 10 and 40 last year. The 10M station has a CB vertical about 50 ft. The map coverage was outrageous. We covered NA better than any other station and had all the sections. We made about 400 contacts on 10M.
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N8TI
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Posts: 115




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« Reply #19 on: February 29, 2012, 07:35:13 PM »

I could see 10 with the sunspots would be interesting.
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KF7IPW
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Posts: 47




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« Reply #20 on: March 02, 2012, 02:15:05 PM »

I've been following this thread with great interest.
Not just for field day but also for an easy camping set up.

I was thinking of getting a Yo-Yo antenna with the add ons for 80.
I know I could probably build it for cheaper but not sure where to
look for the wire and parts.  Or I was thinking about a ZS6BKW.

Could you list any favorite sites for buying those antenna parts to build my own?

Thanks.

Stan

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WB6BYU
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Posts: 13343




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« Reply #21 on: March 02, 2012, 04:05:37 PM »

Any stranded, insulated hookup wire will do for the antenna.  I grab periodic spools at
the local surplus electronics outlet - usually a few hundred feet per dollar, depending
on the gauge.  #22 or so seems to work well.

The reels used to be sold in the Camping section of Wal-Mart as clotheslines.  Take
off the rope and replace it with wire.  I don't know if they still carry it, as the last
store I checked had a very minimal camping section.
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N8TI
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Posts: 115




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« Reply #22 on: March 02, 2012, 06:29:16 PM »

What about the slinky antenna for camping? I always wondered if they were any good.

Joe
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K5LXP
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« Reply #23 on: March 02, 2012, 07:39:51 PM »

What about the slinky antenna for camping? I always wondered if they were any good.

http://www.eham.net/ehamforum/smf/index.php?topic=65811.0


Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
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WB6BYU
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Posts: 13343




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« Reply #24 on: March 02, 2012, 08:08:41 PM »

Quote from: N8TI

What about the slinky antenna for camping?



I don't think there is any particularly good use for them.

For general camping and backpacking, I haven't found anything that beats simple dipoles
for versatility, small size and low cost.  I carry 25' of coax with a center insulator on the end,
and as set of wires for each band of interest.  That allows me to connect the wires that are
appropriate for a particular setup, toss it into a tree, and operate.  Sometimes it is just one
band when I'm stopping for lunch, or it might be all 5 pre-WARC HF bands simultaneously.
The wires are pre-cut so I don't worry about tuning them in the field, and I usually don't
even carry an antenna tuner.  I can set it up in 10 minutes or less (though it took me half an
hour for all 5 bands in Tasmania, in the dark, while holding a trout in one hand.  But that is
a different story.)  And, when circumstances permit, I can use the wires to form other specialized
antennas such as a half square or a loop.

For Field Day I'm not as constrained by weight, size, or setup time, and performance is more
important (especially when most stations are over 1000 miles away.)  So I can experiment with
other antenna types, even multiple antennas.  But I've operated Field Day with just dipoles and
still done well on QRP - in many cases it really isn't a compromise at all.
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KO7I
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Posts: 106




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« Reply #25 on: March 03, 2012, 10:46:14 PM »

For single op, I agree with the others, 20/40 mtrs will be your main producers. You said you had access to trees, how high are they? Do you have a way of getting a line up and over them? You are talking single op, you have to plan for simplicity first. Very important. Using a spud gun to launch a string over each of the trees is probably the safest way to go. Using a Bow or a Crossbow will get you kicked out of a public (or private) camp ground. I think a 40M flat top dipole 60-70 ft up between a couple trees would be pretty hard to beat. If you fed it with ladder line it would work real nice on 20 & 15 mtrs too. At one tree I would add an extra pulley for running a 80M inverted vee up in the air.
73, Don KO7i
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VE3FMC
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« Reply #26 on: March 04, 2012, 06:05:23 AM »

What about the slinky antenna for camping? I always wondered if they were any good.

Joe

Slinky's are for kids to play with! Grin

Joe, keep it simple. A fan dipole, coax fed for 40, 20 and 10. You can cover 15 with that too. 4 bands, 66 feet total length, coax fed. Your tuner can be put in line to cover 15 meters.

It's FD, a fun day to operate. Make it as easy as possible and go have fun.

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WA7NCL
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Posts: 625




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« Reply #27 on: March 04, 2012, 07:32:18 AM »

Dipole 1/2 wave on lowest frequency, fed with window line.  Hopefully you have trees, so use a sling shot launcher to put up the dipole using a tree.  If possible get the legs up a so there isn't too much droop.  This time of the cycle, 20m and 40m CW should be your main bands.  If you are SSB then I would consider 15m to be a substitute for 20m since SSB QRM on 20 is very high unless you are a big dog.

This system has proved its worth in many FD outings.

Keep it simple and have fun.
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KG4NEL
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Posts: 373




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« Reply #28 on: March 05, 2012, 12:02:30 AM »

Could you list any favorite sites for buying those antenna parts to build my own?

I've had good luck ordering from The Wireman, but they aren't the cheapest option out there. Good "one stop" selection, though.
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