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Author Topic: Robust Antenna  (Read 948 times)
N5KZW
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Posts: 3




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« on: April 01, 2008, 12:01:34 PM »

My current installation is an IC706 in an F150 pickup.  At least once a week, I need to drive on a mile or so of unpaved paths with lots of overhanging trees.  

On my previous truck, I had a homebrew screwdriver mounted inside the bed of the truck.  It was ok, but even inside the bed, it got pretty beaten up.  I also tried a bumper-mounted bug catcher, but it got bent at the guy point.

On my current truck, I made a stake pocket mount at the rear of the bed on the driver's side.  I have sheared off uncountable numbers of antennas in this location.  Ham Sticks usually last me a month or two before I have to drill out the stub of the fiberglass and re-glue it back into the base.

I was wandering if one of the shorter screwdrivers might possibly be more robust?  I could re-locate the antenna behind the cab where it would get some protection from the headache rack, but I worry about coupling to the cab, electronics, and driver.  I don't need to go below 40m or above 10m.

Can anyone offer any advice or suggestions?

Thanks,
Ed - N5KZW
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K0BG
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« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2008, 12:48:01 PM »

The answer to your question is no.

While screwdrivers work well, and there are several good ones on the market (High Sierra and Scorpion to name two), none are "shortened" versions. For all screwdriver type antennas, one basic design limitation has to do with the fact they change length with frequency. When they are extended, they are less rugged than when they're collapsed.

In really rugged areas, you probably should bite the bullet and buy a HiQ. The performance is slightly better than most screwdrivers, but because it doesn't change length, it will handle vibration much better than the aforementioned. They cost about $100 more than than most decent screwdriver type antennas.

Alan, KØBG
www.k0bg.com
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N5VSB
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Posts: 36




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« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2008, 03:09:51 PM »

I have run a tarheals M75 (short screwdriver) on a pickup going down gravel roads on a regular basis.  My whip regularly hit limbs but no damage except for a damaged whip.  The big problem I had was the dirt would get into the antenna due to the lack of seal.  You sound like you are going completely off road which would be a different story with much lower limbs.

Also, as Alan mentioned, the antenna worked OK on 20 meters but was getting marginal on 40 meters.  I use a Hi-Q now except for 10 and 6 meters now.

Jimmy N5VSB
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WW5AA
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Posts: 2086




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« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2008, 08:14:25 AM »

I have the Little Tarheel II on a quick disconnect. Although I seldom worry about low branches, I swap the antenna between the car and airplane. Seems to me that you could use a quick disconnect with any screwdriver and just lay it in the bed while off road. You might look into a capacity hat also.

73 de Lindy
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W3LK
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Posts: 5639




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« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2008, 08:23:47 AM »

My HS-1800DX has a whip foldover. If I am in a very low clearance situation, I just lay the whip forward below the roof line ('03 Windstar).

73,

Lon - W3LK
Naugatuck, Connecticut
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A smoking section in a restaurant makes as much sense as a peeing section in a swimming pool.
NA0AA
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Posts: 1042




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« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2008, 02:35:46 PM »

Would a 102" stainless whip with a spring base hold up OK?  If you you could use an SGC tuner at the base - then the matching system is out of damage area and those whips are cheap if you do manage to waste one.

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N5KZW
Member

Posts: 3




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« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2008, 09:23:14 AM »

Thanks to everyone for their suggestions.  I had not thought about a whip and the SGC.  That would probably be the most rugged installation.  I will check into it (and some of the other automatic random wire tuners).

Regards,
Ed
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