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Author Topic: Outbacker Outreach/Outpost versus PAC-12?  (Read 4344 times)
AD5WY
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« on: January 07, 2008, 07:23:16 AM »

Has anyone been in a position to compare both the Pacific Antennas PAC-12 and the Outbacker Outreach when mounted on the Alpha-Delta Outpost tripod? ( ... and ... an idea ... what about the PAC-12 mounted on the Outpost?)

Common sense (?) tells me that the PAC-12 might outperform the Outbacker. How much? A *LOT*? Or will the two antennas be "in approximately the same general range, with one *somewhat* outperforming the other".

Both can operate on the 160 meter band. (The PAC-12 with a 160M coil. For other bands, I think I would use the PAC-12 with the multiband coil kit. OR I could just build other coils for bands). The Outreach has a problem tuning the CW segments, but there is a fix (homebrewed capacity hat, or longer "stinger").

The outreach strikes me as being more convenient and easier to tune;

Just change a plug/wanderlead to change bands, and basically if you have it tuned on 40 meters its usually OK on other bands.

With the PAC-12, I would have to change the tap on a multiband coil, OR change coils.

The Outreach/Outpost combination *shouldn't* require a counterpoise (Texas soil, fairly dry but not bone-dry).

BUT maybe the PAC-12 might work with the Outpost, *perhaps* it wouldn't need a counterpoise (or minimal counterpoise-ing) on the Outpost tripod.
----- -----
I am in a restrictive environment. My apartment manager actually suprised me on the subject, he said he wouldn't mind if I put up an antenna, IF I took it down in the daytime (basically - he said I could operate at night, and MAYBE during the day on weekends, DEPENDING on how intrusive the antenna looked).

I brought up wire strung on bushes (not good, I could only get maybe 6-7 feet of elevation - I dont have any trees or other supports available), and I described "some kind of antenna on a tripod and a mast, in front of my apartment" (I DID NOT explain that the Outpost was large-ish (not THAT big, some people's barbecue pits are bigger), or that with an Outreach, the antenna would be maybe 15 or so feet tall. The apartment manager indicated that he wouldn't mind as long as wires were not strung on bushes during business hours, or that a "weird looking mast and gizmo" wasn't up during business hours.

I will be buying a new ICOM 703+ next month - strictly QRP, mostly CW. I *will* buy an Outbacker Joey / Micromount tripod (80 - 2 meters); I think it would be a nice thing to have, and it might work indoors for casual operating (or even just outside a window).

BUT I also want (need) a better *vertical* antenna that can perform (as well as can be expected) just outside my apartment ( 3 to 10 feet from the building / window).

- Thanks,
Jeff / AD5WY
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AD5WY
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Posts: 18




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« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2008, 08:54:13 AM »

Ooops - I was wrong, the standard PAC-12 kit / parts do not include 160 meter operation (might not be a big deal).

The outreach apparantly can work at 160.

A big problem (for me) is that I can't put out lotz of radials for the PAC-12 (in the reviews section, people are talking about 8 to 16 radials).

Again, *maybe* the PAC-12 could work on the AlphaDelta Outpost mount, and at least lessen the need for radials?

(Its looking like the best solution for me is the Outbacker Outreach / Outpost, for a smaller overall footprint (no radials for neighbors to complain about)).
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W3LK
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« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2008, 11:08:17 AM »

Of the two, I would go with the Outbacker.

That said, the outbacker, like all helically-wound, short antennas, is a marginal antenna, at best, despite all the advertising hype. It will give you some usable performance on 10 to 20 meters, will be mediocre on 40m and essentially useless on 80m. Don't even try 160m.

Trying to run QRP into this antenna just compounds the problem. Oh, you will undoubtedly can make contacts with the combination, as long as your expectations are not very high.

A Hustler vertical with a dozen radials laid out on the ground will give you much better performance, and there are mounts available to lay it over when not in use.

73,

Lon - W3LK
Naugatuck, Connecticut
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K5LXP
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« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2008, 07:50:09 PM »

For what you're about to spend on a contraption like that, a length of wire and a tuner would be cheaper, be more versatile, and work better.  Loaded verticals, with poor counterpoises and operated QRP are a sure formula for disappointment, unless making contacts isn't one of your objectives.

In your scenario I would consider a permanent set of radials and a buried pipe you could set a vertical into when you wanted to operate.

Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
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AD5WY
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« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2008, 03:22:51 AM »

Thanks for comments;

Some of us are just "stuck".
Sad

All I have is a small grassy area in front of my apartment, about 10x20 feet for a *total* antenna footprint.

There is NO place to string wire; Just a couple of bushes / clusters of bushes.. a kind of 'horizontal L' is possible by wrapping a wire around the NE corner of the building, on top of / through bushes, maybe 70 feet or so total length, BUT *MAX* elevation can only be about 6 or 7 feet. The manufacturer of PAR End-Fedz emailed back to me and basically said 'dont bother trying a horizontal wire so low'.

The manager will NOT allow radials strung out all over the place, even at 3 in the morning, and definitely NOT crossing the sidewalk in front of my apartment (about 10 feet away). I didn't ask (specifically) if I could have *one* coax cable cross the sidewalk into a larger grassy area, BUT again, a lot of radials won't be allowed. Two of the apartment maintenance people live near me, and the staff has been known to evict people (usually for good, justifiable reasons). If necessary, 2 or 3 radials would probably be okay, but they would have to fit in that 10x20 foot area (they couldn't be streight, they would have to snake and curve around a bit, and I can't dig up the sidewalk to bury any...)

Its looking like an Outbacker/Outreach is my ONLY option. The only other thing I can think of is a Petlowany (TAK-tenna) on a mast, and a large base (probably PVC) ... I might try that later on (kind of a hassle to tune / change bands; I will have to homebrew some kind of mount / mast / base, guy lines of ANY kind will NOT be allowed).
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K5LXP
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« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2008, 07:31:02 AM »

> Some of us are just "stuck".

Well, that's where you're wrong.  And I know there are other readers here nodding in agreement.  Where you're "stuck" is in the paradigm of what you *think* are your only options.  So before you go out and spend the big bucks on a compromise, high-inconvenience factor rube goldberg contraption, consider that there *might* be other alternatives.

I, along with thousands of others over the years, have operated where antennas were "prohibited".  We always managed to find some way to snake a wire through, around and over things to get on the air with a reasonable level of performance.  Whether it's a rain gutter, eave flashing, stealth wire run to an adjacent tree, light pole or building, you name it, there is almost surely some other way to put up an antenna better than what you're proposing.  You have  to be willing to "think outside the box" and try something that is perhaps unconventional, and maybe do a little "clandestine" coax routing or wire stringing when everyone is asleep.  Sure, you can spend upwards of $500 on your solution, and you will make contacts, but there are better, and less expensive ways to do it.

Buy some wire antenna books.  The ARRL even has one on "Low Profile" antennas.  Since you're running QRP, chase down some QRP operator antenna links on the internet.  Typing "Stealth Antennas" into Google nets hundreds, if not thousands of links to explore.  Since we can't see your building and surrounding area it's tough for us to make specific recommendations, but by looking through books and links you just might spot one that will fit your operating conditions, or inspire a "eureka!" moment.  The risk here is that you're going to drop a bunch of cash into equipment and a crappy antenna, then become discouraged and give up.  Your antenna is everything, and you should do everything you can to get the most efficient one you can for your circumstances.

Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
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KG6WLS
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Posts: 507




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« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2008, 01:22:04 PM »

You can do a lot with an auto coupler (Icom or SGC). look here: http://www.sgcworld.com/technicalInfoPage.html

SGC has a section just for the "stealth" operator".
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N3OX
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« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2008, 06:56:16 PM »

My magloop is remotely tunable and a good performer.  I don't use it much because I'm not restricted... I just have always been intrigued by them and came across a vacuum variable capacitor and decided to try it.

If I were in your situation, it would be my #1 choice.

It's also happy to sit out on a tripod:

http://n3ox.net/projects/magloop/magloop1_lg.jpg

It would work very well and you'd be able to tune a wide range (mine tunes 5-21.5 MHz) from indoors.

Here's a good resource for them:

http://www.aa5tb.com/loop.html

So add that to your list of options.  It's a very serious small antenna.

Like any small antenna it's a trade between bandwidth and efficiency... but it's fairly easy to motor drive the capacitors used for these loops and so you can tip the scales more toward efficiency.

Good mobile screwdriver antennas use the same principle, but you need a good radial system to get the most out of one of those if mounted on a tripod.

Mine uses a very expensive vacuum variable capacitor because I had it... that allows me to run 100W... but since you're going to have an IC-703 and 10W an ordinary air variable capacitor would work.

Maybe it's too much of a weird gizmo for your landlord but I think they look pretty cool.

73,
Dan


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73,
Dan
http://www.n3ox.net

Monkey/silicon cyborg, beeping at rocks since 1995.
AD5WY
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Posts: 18




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« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2008, 02:11:29 AM »

Thanks all for further comments...

K5LXP; I have that book ("Low Profile..."), and one of my QRP books has a chapter on "stealth operating". Suffice to say... an *outside* horizontal antenna just isn't in the cards. Ho high supports (trees etc.). I could run a wire loop around the inside my apartment, near the ceiling, but there would only be about 7.5 feet or so elevation above the ground. I *could* perhaps "spot-glue" near-invisible wire along the seams between the bricks outside; near the roof, early in the morning, I MIGHT not get caught. I don't see getting a ladder and attempting to put up a wire along / near the top of the building through. Even at 3 AM, there is still occasional foot traffic - the people in this apartment complex LIKE to complain about each other - thats *why* I spoke to the apartment manager first and "secured permission", he imposed limitations, but at least he will allow *something*.

N3OX; Yes, at first (when I got interested in ham radio again) I thought about magloops. Intruiging, and would probably work (even as an indoor antenna, they SEEM to have some tolerance for lower elevation). I might still try that. The only thing that turns me off on them is (a) narrow bandwidth, frequent re-tunes; BUT I think one could get used to it and proficient at it (b) High voltages, even at QRP levels, apparantly. There is a lot of foot traffic where I live, a lot of them are younger people; sometimes intoxicated, probably curious, and someone grabbing an outdoor magloop is BOUND to happen. Of course my manager DID authorize a ("reasonable") mast support. Thanks for those links, expecially the second one, I bookmarked it.
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W4FID
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« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2008, 06:21:43 AM »

Consider the Buddipole delux. It comes in a self contained bag including the tripod. It's very well made. It's very well supported by the manufacturer and even has an active user group. It can be deployed as a dipole or as a ground plane with stuff already in the kit -- no extra wires, etc. Sets up fairly quickly, works anything from 40 meters to 6 meters easily, and isn't too obtrusive. I have used mine in my yard (I am highly CCR here), from hotel balocnies, from my RV in campgrounds, on field day, etc. Had it over 2 years and love it.

John  W4FID
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KE4BIW
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« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2008, 09:21:56 AM »

I second the Buddipole suggestion. I use one very successfully on 40M and higher. If you don't want to spend the money for the tripod, go to a home improvement store and buy an extendable painters pole. Buddipole sells and adapter that screws into the antenna and is a perfect fit for a painters pole threads. Obtain a 4 or 5 foot piece of PVC that is just slightly larger than the painters pole. Using a garden hose, jet the pipe into the ground until it is flush with the ground. When you're ready to operate, drop the painters pole in the pvc pipe, screw on the antenna and extend the painters pole to its fullest height.

Also, don't get hung up on only being able to get a wire up 6 feet. My 40M dipole runs along the top of a six foot wood fence. The only caveat for low height is put it somewhere where a person would be unlikely to touch it.
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K4RCH
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« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2008, 07:12:24 AM »

http://www.eham.net/articles/2621

"When setting up portable or space restricted antennas, stand-alone mobile whips are often avoided due to the lack of a good grounding method. Stringing ground radials or using a ground rod in the field or the attic becomes increasingly difficult. While using one mobile whip by itself requires a good ground or counterpoise (usually the car body), a pair can be operated as a dipole. Lakeview (www.hamstick.com) makes a universal dipole mount for $13.95. They also supply quick-disconnect fittings with 3/8 X 24 threads which allow push-and-twist assembly of the mobile whips to the dipole mount within seconds for those of us wishing to make a quick setup or band change without tools."
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K7DAA
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« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2008, 07:07:48 AM »

Just wanted to put in a plug for the PAC-12--and the idea that the simplest thing might just be the best way to start.  

After looking at a number of the "portable" hf antenna designs, I decided to try the cheapest one--the PAC-12.

I'm in a "no antennas" neighborhood, and I bought a PAC-12 two months ago to see if a small vertical might be better than my 22Ga stranded 50-foot long wire hanging out my second story window.  It definitely beats the long wire every time.

I am as pleased as I can be with its performance as a low-visibility antenna.  It's easy to build, only stands about 8 feet tall (you can control that, depending on how many turns you put on a coil, or where you tap the multiband coil).  It is thin, and I am using the stock grounding method supplied with the kit.  I have used it on 15-80 meters so far, with no matching problems.

I'm VERY pleased at how efficient such a small antenna appears to be.  I've worked anyone I can hear with 100 watts, even DX.  My record so far is Brazil on 20m SSB, and I haven't been trying very hard.

I'm in the San Francisco area, and I left the antenna up with the 40m coil on it during the torrential rain and winds we had a couple of weeks ago.  The antenna is completely unguyed--just the little ground stake holding it up.

What can I say?  It continues to impress me with its simplicity, ease of construction, etc., and the bonus is that it is very friendly to any modifications I might want to make.

Oh, and it's cheap enough that I decided to order a second one for an emergency "go kit".  I'm keeping my original one right where it is--planted in my (small) backyard lawn.

One more thing you might want to consider regarding 80 or 160:  With these small antennas, you can certainly wind a coil to work on 160, but I doubt you're going to like the very narrow bandwidth and lower efficiency you'll get.  I'm getting about 20 khz 2:1 SWR bandwidth with the 80-meter coil on my PAC-12.  That's also just about exactly what I get with a mobile Hamstick as well.

(maybe I ought to copy this into the "reviews" for this antenna ;-)
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W8LV
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« Reply #13 on: February 07, 2008, 12:44:11 AM »

I can only tell you about the Outbacker (and the buddipole.)  My outbacker has been outside in the Ohio weather for many years now. It is a wonderful antenna, very well built.

Performance?

Last week JPL in Pasadena, CA was running a special  event station to celebrate the anniversary of Explorer I. With my trusty three watts, I was able to reach them with a report of '55' (they were using 1000 watts). Sure, I had to repeat a few words to make the QSO. But the band was up and down all afternoon.

You won't reach everybody 100% of the time. What you really have to ask yourself is this: If you were into another hobby, what would you choose? Say, If you were to go hunting, would you prefer a rifle, or would you prefer a bow? For boating, would you prefer a powerboat, or a sail boat?

Now, it's rare that I even work SSB, but don't let anybody out there tell you you can't work SSB QRP into an itty bitty vertical, like the Outbacker because you can!

Now I digress, but when I think of all the hours of enjoyment that the very trusty and dependable outbacker has given me, I just HAVE to recommend it to you! Hope to work you on one someday!

I DO also own a buddipole, now don't get me wrong! GREAT ANTENNA for portable, and you get the best customer in the business from W3FF!  But for windy outside everyday use, unguyed, it would certainly blow over.  The Outbacker, I set three of those flat concrete sidewalk squares from Home Depot on the very edges of the three long flat ground pieces, maybe under four inches inward, and that unit has never tipped over. Actually, I don't even think that I need the sidewalk squares, But I do have some serious wind here most of the time, so I didn't want to take the chance.


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