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Author Topic: HF Antenna Ideas for Stationary RV  (Read 8885 times)
N3WAK
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Posts: 274




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« on: July 15, 2011, 01:13:57 PM »

Hello.  I anticipate buying a small class C motorhome, a pickup truck camper, or a smallish travel trailer.  (I know, pretty indecisive at this point.)  I'd use this with my boys for periodic camping trips--we're not "full-timers."  Anyway, I would be interested in knowing what kind of antennas other RV owners use when their rig is stationary and they've brought along their ham radio.  So, I'm not talking about using a relatively inefficient mobile antenna, but a more efficient antenna that I can put up at the campsite. 

I am interested in 80-10 meters on HF, and in 6 meters.  I enjoy using wire antennas on HF, so I'm curious if other RV owners use coax-fed resonant dipoles, or a doublet fed with ladder line, or a vertical with a few temporary radials.  And, if you use a dipole or inverted vee, what kind of mast are you using--PVC conduit, telescoping fiberglass, or what?  I am also interested in knowing how you have chosen to run the coax/ladder line from inside your RV out to the antenna. 

Thanks a lot for your time.  73, Tony N3WAK

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VA7ION
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« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2011, 06:16:12 PM »

Hello Tony,

I use a Deluxe Buddipole, that comes with the long (16') mast. Do yourself a service and buy the 9' telescopic arms. With this set-up I was able to work Japan on 20m with only 5W SSB from middle of British Columbia. Takes me 10 minutes to set-it up, just be sure you download the field guide from their website. For 40m I use a full size dipole, apex hanged on my Buddipole mast, and sides at about 6' off the ground. I'm not a fan of 75m, so I can't advise you, however, I experimented with a magnetic loop: not very impressed. I used a halfwave vertical with mixed success as well, however, if you backpack, is easiest to deploy and use.

Good luck,
Ion VA7ION
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WA8FOZ
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Posts: 187




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« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2011, 09:13:36 PM »

Not an RV owner, but I do operate portable, often from my car.

Quote
I'm curious if other RV owners use coax-fed resonant dipoles, or a doublet fed with ladder line, or a vertical with a few temporary radials. 

All of the above. Usually an inverted-V with ladder line: simple, efficient, flexible all-bander. Sometimes the vertcal with temporay radial - telescoping fiberglass pole holding up a wire. May be better for DX in some situations. Both of these are easy to do, and one can go back and forth in munites.

Quote
And, if you use a dipole or inverted vee, what kind of mast are you using--PVC conduit, telescoping fiberglass, or what? 

Telescoping fiberglass. Easy to use. Attach and support it however you like. With the car, I drive a rear tire over a board, with a short pole coming up vertically - then clamp the fiberglass pole onto it. Whatever.
 
Quote
I am also interested in knowing how you have chosen to run the coax/ladder line from inside your RV out to the antenna.
 
Vertical: I use my ball mount on the rear quarter panel for the mobile antenna - I just attach the wire to it.
Dipole: Coax with the rear door closed on it. Remote current balun hanging there. Ladder line from there. On an RV, perhaps you would put in a permanent  coax feed-through - a "barrel" with female UHF fittings on each end.

Have fun!

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HS0ZIB
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« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2011, 05:40:53 AM »

Zero-Five 43 foot vertical!!

I'm not joking.  That is what I had attached to the back of my 4x$ pick-up.  i used to drive to the nearby beach, park up and extend the antenna with a few ground wire radials.

My signal was rather good!

Simon
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W5DXP
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« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2011, 08:59:26 AM »

The best mobile antenna at the CA shootouts was a 30 foot monopole mounted on a 30 foot RV. It had an erection motor and a base loading coil. As I remember, it was about 5 dB better than any of the other 75m mobile antennas but was disqualified for exceeding the 13.5' height limit.
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73, Cecil, www.w5dxp.com
The purpose of an antenna tuner is to increase the current through the radiation resistance at the antenna to the maximum available magnitude resulting in a radiated power of I2(RRAD) from the antenna.
KC3EF
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Posts: 69




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« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2011, 07:00:10 PM »

Tony,

I am a full time RVer and I have used a varity of antennas.  I currently have a 20mtr dipole, a 10mtr dipole, and a 30 ft wire verticle with 4 radials.  Not a super antenna setup, but I have worked alot of stations.  I have also used a 21ft fiber glass flag pole mounted on the ladder to hold up a 27ft wire with one gound radial.  Worked MI for FL with 5 watts on this setup. My strangest was ten feel of pvc mounted on the ladder with the wire run to my toolbox setting on the picnic table.  Worked a few stations that way.  I also have a 23 ft marine hf ssb antenna and a tuner,but have not used them as of yet.  I have talked to several hams using this type of setup, some mounted on the ladder and a few on the ground.  My current antennas are #20 gauge wire and RS insulators.  I have run acrossed a couple of hams using commerical verticles that they erect on the ladder when the are parked.  I have worked a fellow in CA that was using a Buddypole and had a great signal.  I would love to have a  beam, but don't have the space for it in the RV.  If you have any questions drop me a line at my call at ARRL.NET.

73's and good RVing
Dick
KC3EF
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K8KAS
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« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2011, 06:39:16 AM »

I camped and used a 32 foot fiberglass telescopic mast with a wire inside it, this slid over a short 1 and 1/4 in pipe stub on the rear bumper of my camper. I laid 10--30 foot radials on the ground ( I had them soldered together and a battery clamp on one end) I could lay them out in 30 seconds. I fed the antenna with a short run of 300 ohm twin line to the balanced output of my tuner in the camper. I worked 75 meters thru 10 with very good results with this antenna. I liked it over wires/dipole,etc  in that I could keep it out of my next door campers lot (which could and sometimes did cause problems). The antenna was fast and clean and on my lot. It would go up fast and not draw a lot of attention...73 Denny K8KAS
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W2RI
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Posts: 53




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« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2011, 08:13:25 AM »

You might be interested in reading this book, by KL7JR : http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/amateur-radio-in-canadas-north/15719312
In it he gives some details on operating from his RV in Alaska and the Yukon using some homebrew antennas such as this one : http://www.hamuniverse.com/kl7jr5bandvertical.html
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AC4RD
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Posts: 1236




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« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2011, 09:14:53 AM »

You might be interested in reading this book, by KL7JR : http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/amateur-radio-in-canadas-north/15719312
In it he gives some details on operating from his RV in Alaska and the Yukon using some homebrew antennas such as this one : http://www.hamuniverse.com/kl7jr5bandvertical.html

Interesting!  I'll take a look for the book.  I worked John a couple of months ago, caught him on 20m phone while I was in the car.  He was signing HI3/KL7JR ... which is not a call you hear every day.  ;-)
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N3WAK
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Posts: 274




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« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2011, 10:19:48 AM »

Thank you all for the advice!  Lots for me to think about.  I will let you know what I've decided when I get the RV.  73, Tony N3WAK
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W3HKK
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« Reply #10 on: July 28, 2011, 05:46:51 AM »

IMO, multiband antennas  often come at  a real sacrifice in signal strength.  Id start out  with 2-3 bands  and go from there.

With current conditions, 80 and 40m are great night time bands. You can use  a single 80m horizontal loop, some string, and fishing pole to  get lines into trees  for hoisting.  With most rigs with tuners  that one antenna will work very well on 80-10m and maybe even 6m, for  out to about 1500 miles.  For rag chewing and nets, its a good choice.

Another option is single band inverted L's and a single radial.  Again use the best available tree and  hoist it up.  My 160M inverted L is  15 ft vertical and 130 ft horizontal...maybe 5 ft off the ground at the far end.  It works all over the US and even into Bulgaria and Israel, Japan and KH6.  So low antennas are fun too. 
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N6DMR
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Posts: 34




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« Reply #11 on: August 03, 2011, 11:24:18 PM »

I full time in my MH and have had great success with a Trans World Antenna TW-2010 multiband.  It is easy to set up and store and I have found that if I can hear them, I can usually work them.  Last field day I had 67 attempts and 65 contacts with this antenna.

I am currently rebuiding a Butternut HF6V vertical.  This requires ground radials, I borrowed an idea I saw in QSt and will use 16 each 25 foot tape measures as radials.  I expect good results for DXing.  

The 43 foot vertical with a base mount tuner has had great results.  You would have to figure a way to make it collapse down for travel.

You also can easily put up an end fed dipole, most campsites have a least a few trees around.  

K3AL
« Last Edit: August 03, 2011, 11:26:21 PM by K3AL » Logged
K7LA
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Posts: 60


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« Reply #12 on: August 10, 2011, 07:53:09 PM »

Tony,

I am a full time RVer and I have used a variety of antennas.  I currently have a 20mtr dipole, a 10mtr dipole, and a 30 ft wire vertical with 4 radials.   I would love to have a  beam, but don't have the space for it in the RV.  73's and good RVing
Dick
KC3EF

Dick,

I recommend the N6BT Q52 2-element Yagi.  Designed by Tom Schiller, the founder and former owner of Force 12, it weighs in at 17 pounds and breaks down into 3-foot sections.  You get 5 band coverage (10-12-15-17-20M) with the click of a relay box, instant bidirectional change without waiting for motors and a gain: >3.2dBd all bands, min 8-10dB F/B all bands. The gain is comparable to the hex-beam arrays without all the parts or clothesline wires.  Can be re-tuned for any installation.  The quality of the build and machining is outstanding.  DXpedition grade stuff.

Took delivery of one of these at Visalia International DX Convention in April 2011, and was one of the first manufactured.  
The performance has been superb mounted on my rooftop.  You use standard 8-wire rotator cable to wire the relay boxes, which are all color coded and screw into terminal blocks.  It took us 20 minutes to configure the aluminum, which was already pre-tuned at the factory and marked on the elements when telescoped. Once the simple wiring was done, and a connection to the rig's power supply, you're off to the races.  An inexpensive TV rotator turns it.

Signal reports are excellent compared to a wire dipole and I work a lot of DX with it.  If any questions Email (my call) at ARRL dot net.

7 3,
Jim K7LA

http://n6bt.com/n6bt-Q52-p1-1.htm
« Last Edit: August 10, 2011, 08:00:15 PM by K7LA » Logged
ALCO141
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Posts: 71




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« Reply #13 on: August 15, 2011, 03:04:41 PM »

found some ideas for a portable set up from this review of the icom ah-4 antenna tuner:

http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/1071


alex
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