Antenna for mobile HF????

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Ed Lang:
I have a IC-706MKIIG and would like to try HF mobile.  At this time, I'll be driving both a 1999 F250 Crew Cab truck and a 2001 Windstar.  Whatever antenna(s) I get I would like to move from one vehicle to the other.  I have been thinking about mag mounts since this is my first venture into HF mobile and do not know if I will keep using it.  Using the rig while camping would also be a use I expect to use quite a lot.  I would like to hear how you would solve the HF mobile antenna problem.  Cost is a factor I need to keep an eye on and I do not need to change bands every few miles so the screwdriver types are not a must have for me.  

Thank you for your positive comments.

Ed

Steve Katz:
I use the Hustler foldover masts and screw-on high-powered resonators for 40-20-17-15-12-10m (don't use 80 mobile) and once tuned, those work very well for their low cost.  The whole system, including the mast and six resonators, costs about $150 (new), and of course you needn't spring for all of this at one time -- you can start out with just the mast and one resonator for a favorite band (total cost about $50) and go from there.

I use the quick-detach stainless steel 3/8"-24 adapters also sold by Hustler to enable changing the mast from one car to another very quickly.  

The "Ham Stick" antennas also work quite well, and are inexpensive, and do not require the mast portion like the Hustler antennas do.  (Each Ham Stick is self-sufficient and requires only a base mount to screw into.)  At $24.95/each, you can have a lot of fun for a very small investment.

The mass of these antennas is far too large to use any kind of magnetic mount, but they will work in a "ball mount," a bumper mount, or, as I do, a trailer hitch mount.  I prefer the trailer hitch mount as it is totally unobtrusive, does not alter the car in any way, and is extremely strong -- but of course, you need to have a trailer hitch to make it work!

Without sounding negative, I would not recommend any kind of mag mount for HF mobile operations, other than possibly 10 meters.  A single-magnet type mount does not have sufficient coupling capacitance to the automobile sheet metal to really create any kind of usable ground plane, and performance suffers badly (I've tried a lot of them).  There are 3-magnet, 4-magnet, and even 6-magnet designs that are very strong and probably do have sufficient coupling to function reasonably well on the HF bands, but wow, those are big, very noticeable and quite expensive.

I have tried the Comet 4-band HF whip (40-20-15-10m) with a rather large and heavy-duty mag mount and was quite disappointed.  It worked "okay" on 10m, but not as well as the Hustler...but on 40m, it was horrible, with extremely narrow bandwidth (like 20 kHz) and overall poor results.  Plugging in the Hustler RM40S on its foldover mast, compared with the Comet, was like night and day...with the Hustler pulling in good, readable signals from 3000 miles away at night that the Comet couldn't even hear at all.

The IC706 is a great mobile rig, and I'm sure you'll have a lot of fun with it mobiling.  If you intend to operate a lot while camping, you might consider some larger, higher-performance antennas that will work fine for "fixed/portable" operations but may not be suitable for "mobile in motion."  Although my Hustlers work quite well, when camping at a fixed location, I usually throw a rope over a tree limb and pull up an inverted vee or something -- much better!

73 de Steve WB2WIK/6

Dick Knol:
Use the Stealth II "Mountain Topper" Portable,manually tunable, HF Mobile Antenna and work the world.

It is a center loaded HF multiband vertical, manually tunable from 80 -- 10 meter.

I use the same antenna WITH motorized contacor and work ZL2PQH in Wellington New Zealand twice a day when commuting. These are 22000 km long path pactor links FROM THE FREEWAY with a barefood ICOM 706MKII.
Also daily SSB contacts with VK5HX in Adelaide (18 000 km long path) are routine.

Check the website of Hi Q Antennas:
http://www.qth.com/stealthantennas/

Also purchase the Giant Quick Disconnect with an extra Male part and move your antenna from one car to the other in 5 seconds without special tools.

All the best and happy HF mobiling,
Dick PA3DUV

Uwe Koenneker:
Hello,
I use the ICOM Smartuner with my 706. As an antenna I use a Pro-AM 30m Vertical at the towbar. That may not be the most efficient configuration but it tunes well between 40 and 10m (80 and 160m efficiency is basically unusable). I prefer this because QSY is so easy to do.

Before I used a Pro-AM 4-Band Antenna. This one was good for more Power but was heavier and max speed was 140km/h. The new setup has some guy wires and holds well at up to 180 km/h, which is the max speed of my car.

Vy 73
     Uwe, DL8OBF

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