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Author Topic: Best HF Portable Antenna to Purchase (80- 10 M)  (Read 2653 times)
K9BAY
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Posts: 144




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« on: March 15, 2010, 05:57:01 PM »

I have a budget of $250. What is the best HF portable I can buy that comes with a tripod with a way to anchor it down. I will probably mount it in my back yard, as well as use it portable.

I have a FT-897D w/ a LDG Z100 Plus Auto Tuner, 150' of RG 213 coax (approx 75' to the backyard).

I have checked out the reviews here at eham.net. I am kind of leaning toward the Buddipole dipole portable, but the add-ons required push up the cost considerably. Main features I want to consider:
(1) Ease of initial assembly.
(2) Ease of setup and take down.
(3) Easy to tune, (how would an auto tuner work with a portable?)

I have tinkered with wire dipoles with no luck. I want something that I can erect easily on weekends and take down, use portable, and remove in case of thunderstorms.

Please advise:

Barry

K9BAY
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N6EY
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« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2010, 06:02:02 PM »

A dipole on a tripod.
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________________________________
73,
Jason N6EY
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W4VR
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« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2010, 06:04:28 PM »

I can't find a good bottle of single malt scotch for under $250!  Good luck my friend.
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K9BAY
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Posts: 144




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« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2010, 06:23:17 PM »

You apparently haven't read the reviews in portable antenna listing forum on eham.net.

http://www.eham.net/reviews/products/75

Hopefully someone will chime in soon!

Thanks!
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VA7CPC
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« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2010, 06:52:41 PM »

Try Google for:

. . . Buddipole homebrew

That will get your cost _way_ down!

The "commercial" Buddipole is really slick.  But the "guts" are just loading coils and adjustable-length stingers.  The loading coils can be home-brewed on PVC (or CPVC) pipe.  The stingers are available at reasonable cost (from Buddipole and other sources).

You can pick up tripods at camera stores, I think -- they're used as lighting supports.

I use a Jackite 31' windsock pole, to support a homebrew vertical dipole (31' total) with 40m loading coils (built on plastic Coke bottles).   The pole, and a LDG Z-11 Pro autotuner, would just about fit within your budget:

www.jackite.com

www.ldgelectronics.com

The 31' pole is just a bit big for a ground-mounted tripod -- but if you could arrange some guy wires, it would do OK.  It works without guys if you have a picnic table to tie it to.

                 Charles
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W0ZS
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« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2010, 07:08:01 PM »

I built one of these mounts.  I used a Hustler mobile antenna with differerent stingers. Very easy to set up and take down.
http://www.eham.net/articles/1784

73,
Terry, W0ZS
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K5LXP
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« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2010, 06:16:21 AM »

If you weren't successful with dipoles, you sure aren't going to be successful with a compromise dipole like a buddipole or equivalent.

You need to resolve whatever issue you had with dipoles before you attempt to use a similar antenna with even further diminished performance.

Tell us about your dipole experience, maybe we can help you figure that out and save you a few extra frustrating steps.


Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
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WA3SKN
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« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2010, 06:34:20 AM »

Let's keep things simple and in-expensive!
One (or two) 1/2 inch 10 ft copper pipe from the hardware store (about $10 each), a 2 ft by 2 ft piece of 1/2 inch plywood (or a wood post), and a 500 ft spool of 14 gauge wire (under $50).
Mount the pipe vertically on the flat plywood, make a space wound coil with about 20-30 ft of the wire, and use the other 470 ft to make radials.  You can place the tuner at the base of this in a weather resistant container.  Short the un-needed portion of the coil for each band... you will need to find where to tap the coil for each band planned, the tuner will do the rest.
Your biggest problem is finding something to store the radials on when not in use.  And you can get this set up in about 15 minutes.
73s.

-Mike.
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K8KAS
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« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2010, 08:32:52 AM »

Berry, if you played with 1/2 wave dipoles and had no luck I would say your in trouble, no Buddy Pole or like toy antenna will outperform a full size dipole. I use a 66 foot flat top fed with 300 ohm balanced twin lead (good stuff) and then into a simple tee type tuner with a balun, I have worked the world camping with my IC706 and this antenna strung up in a tree 20 to 30 feet.
Don't believe 90% of the BS you read about these toy antenna's as stated in the Ham rag's.
My other camper antenna is a 31 foot MFJ fiberglass
mast with a wire taped to it AND 15 radials on the ground about 30 feet long. This keeps me out of the next door campers hair. With the antenna tuner I can work 75 thru 10 meters with very good results. PS
it's cheap and simple as well.
73 Denny K8KAS
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KB8ASO
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« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2010, 04:11:39 PM »

http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/2737

http://www.ventenna.com

HFp-Vertical (40M-6M) $193.45
80M Coil (80-75-60 Meters) $26.90

A note to CAP and SWL enthusiasts - This antenna is so configurable that it can actually be set to resonate at ANY frequency between 6.5 and 35 MHz.
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A22EW
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Posts: 15




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« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2010, 04:34:45 PM »

Best antenna in my opinion remains a delta loop. Look up H5ANX Delta loop that i developed. You will find that it works tremendously well and will you results which are exceptional.

A 20m version will give you full coverage from 20 thru 10. While a 40m version will give 40m-20m (no need of tuner on 40 and 20). An 80 becomes rather too large.

I have used 40m with great success and over long haul dx using portable fibreglass poles of 8m length. The key is the 4:1 balun which i have explained in the article.

Let me know and I will guide you through the construction. Total cost should be no more than 10dollars.
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K9BAY
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Posts: 144




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« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2010, 06:34:00 PM »

Thanks for everyone's feedback.  I have to disagree with some of the the forum posts in this thread about "if you have difficulty with wire dipoles you are in trouble.."  I had my dipole on an eave of my house and I couldn't get a descent SWR match EVEN when using a tuner and an LDG balun.  If you had the money would you purchase this type of antenna?  I really don't think these antennas are tinkertoys. I tinkered more with my wire dipole than I will probably do with a portable.  If you watch the video below (in the link below) you'll have to agree.  Reviewers have been also indicating MANY DX contacts on their portables. It is not a dipole 50' in the air, but I made DX contacts to... Smiley Smiley Smiley

The fantastic thing about Amatuer (Ham) Radio hobby is the options you have when installing an antenna.

I don't think it can get any easier than this:  Expensive, perhaps, but very versatile.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ujp_N0ljFAo

156 reviews with a 4.7 out of average. Do some of you disagree with the reviews on eham.net?  They are usually failrly comprehensive (hams are hams) in my eyes.

I am also looking at the MP2 from Superantenna with the servo motor for remote tuning.  The MP1 has 102 reviews and a 4.4 out of 5 average. I have been trying to get in contact today as I have some questions, but

Connecting, shortening and lengthening a counterpoise in this configuration, doesn't seem like rocket science to me.  Everything fits together in a very nice package. I can easily move the antenna and take it portable, a big plus.  It doesn't have the appearence of a "clothes line" in the sky (XYL perception). Or renting a cherry picker (man lift) to attach the wire to a tree.

I am just wondering why the ham community didn't reccommend purchasing an antenna anlyzer. Especially when I was having my problems.  It could have been related to wire length, etc.  I think this would have saved me lots of time and frustration.  I might have been able to borrow an analyzer and I feel it would been helpful.

Again thanks for all of your help.  I hope to be writing my own portable HF antenna review soon! DX to Japan on 5 watts Smiley  Lightning didn't hit my dipole wire and ignite my trees on fire. The portable will be indoors tucked away in it's bag or in its mount in the garage.

Barry
K9BAY
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WG8Z
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Posts: 190




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« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2010, 08:01:54 PM »

Take a chill pill Barry.
You walk in here admitting you don't have a clue, asking for opinions. Then you disagree with the guy that had the best advice I heard so far. "K8KAS"
Find an Elmer,hit a couple of field day sites(coming up in the not to distant future) Maybe do a little research.....
My portable set-up consists of IC-706mkIIG,AH-4 autotuner,132' doublet fed with 300^ ladder line
works 6 thru 80 FB and does a resonable job on 160m
fed as a marconi against a 1/4W counterpoise.
Key ingredient is the fishing reel mounted on the slingshot...
When my YL made a comment about the "closelines",
 I showed her a picture of the 190' Pirod tower I thinking about sticking up in the FRONT yard...
Took care of those closeline comments right away. HIHI
Wish you luck on you mini-ants....
JA on 5W,,been there, done that.....
Sunspots are a comin.
Learning to Fly Fish frustrated me,then I tied a wire to the tree my line keep getting hung on.
Now I just sit on the bank,drown a worm or two waiting for a Big Hungry Catfish to come by.
If I get bored I can pick up the Mic and call CQ.

 Good Luck and Enjoy the Hobby
73 Greg
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KE6VG
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Posts: 297




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« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2010, 08:27:15 PM »

K8KAS has the right idea. I have tried them all. Small verticals, portable this and thats. Sigma5 etc.

A half wave dipole on a 32'-41' fiberglass pole will run rings around them for a fraction of the cost.($50-$100)

I put together a 41' Spiderbeam pole with the portable dipole idea of AD5X
http://www.ad5x.com/articles.htm
He used small sliding switches to changes bands when portable. You can also use the pole for a 40-80 meter vertical.

I drove a metal pipe in the yard and can just walk out and slip this fiberglass mast over it in seconds. I can have the entire antenna up and on the band I want in under a minute. No messing, no tuning, and only one wire.

This works great for camping/portable or antenna restricted neighborhood.

Placing a dipole on the eaves of a house makes it very difficult to get a good match, not to mention TVI/RFI into the house.
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K5LXP
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« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2010, 06:03:37 AM »

"Placing a dipole on the eaves of a house makes it very difficult to get a good match, not to mention TVI/RFI into the house. "

Not to mention crappy performance.

You're not going to get much better with the toy antennas you mentioned.

Any conductor can be an antenna.  Look up "Everything Works" by N6BT.

You can make contacts with bedsprings, window frames and lawn furniture.  But it will be a lot easier and better with a real antenna.


Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
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