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Author Topic: 10 Meter antenna for hiking  (Read 6984 times)
K1MDA
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Posts: 8




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« on: January 29, 2012, 03:01:55 PM »

I really enjoy hitting the woods and hiking to a high spot, run up a roll up j-pole and make some contacts on 2-meters.

I am waiting to receive a new-to-me FT-817 and since i am only a tech and barely understand what CW means i'm would like to know what antenna people use for 10 meters in a hiking situation.

Ideally i would like something small and compact. Thanks in advance for any suggestions
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WB6BYU
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Posts: 13039




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« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2012, 05:22:47 PM »

You can certainly use a J-pole:  the first one I built was for 15m.  I've also had good luck with dipoles.

Part of the choice will depend on where you go hiking.  I am usually among trees, so I don't bother
carrying my own antenna supports.  Those times I've been above treeline or on a beach I've made
use of rocks or whatever other supports were available.  If you expect to be in an area with no
trees or other natural supports, you'll have to bring something along with you.

The choice of supports will determine what antennas are practical to some extent.  A dipole
requires enough of a support to hold up the weight of the feedline and the wires, while for
a vertical it only needs to hold a thin wire.   If you have a support that goes to 20' then
an end-fed half wave vertical is practical, otherwise a quarter wave with two elevated
radials may be more practical.

How far you plan on hiking also makes a difference to the extent that it affects the weight
(and bulk) you are willing to carry.  The weight of the antenna and feedline is negligible
if you are using a wire dipole - mine are made from about #22 or #24 stranded, insulated
hookup wire, though you can go small to #28 or so if you want.  You'll need some string to
tie off the ends - I use Mason's twine, but dental floss is also a good alternative that
comes in a convenient dispenser package.  I also carry a length of tight-braided rope
specifically for a throwing line, and pick up a local rock (the size and shape of my fist
works well) rather than carrying a weight.  On a beach with no rocks handy I used an
old sock filled with sand.

If you have to carry your own support for a distance, then something like a fly fishing
rod might be the best choice.  If the weight and bulk is acceptable a set of aluminum tent
poles or a larger telescoping fiberglass pole makes a good portable mast.

I carry 25' of RG-174 coax, which weighs about 3 ounces.  I lose about 1/4 of my power
on 10m, which I consider acceptable for getting my antenna up in the air.  The wire for
a dipole is probably around 1 ounce, and we can add an extra ounce for the center
insulator (made from a slice of radiator hose.)  Even with the ropes and carrying pouch
it is still under half a pound.  Personally I wouldn't consider any commercial antenna
that weights much over that unless you are looking at a beam of some sort.  (Which
isn't entirely impractical if you are mostly interested in working one direction, such
as into Europe.  But that is a different conversation.)


So the first step is to decide what weight and bulk are acceptable for your hikes.  (You
already have a heavy radio to carry, and you have to consider an external battery as
well if you plan to operate for very long.)  Also what sorts of supports you are likely to
have on hand at your operating site.

Once you make those decisions you can choose an antenna.  If you can get a horizontal
dipole up more than about 12' or so it likely will outperform a vertical, but that will depend
to some extent on the ground type and the local terrain.  If you can a rope over a branch
at 40+ feet then consider a full wave loop fed at the bottom with 5/4 wavelength of 75
ohm coax.

If you have to bring your own mast, either the telescoping fiberglass or the aluminum tent
poles are relatively light for heights up to 20' or so.  You can use either as a vertical (with
thin flexible wire running down the fiberglass for the conductor), either lashed to a stake,
leaning against a branch, or guyed to keep it upright.  If you want to try and end-fed
half wave, either use a J-pole (with twinlead matching section and light wire radiator)
or build your own matching circuit with a small coil and mica trimmer capacitor, which will
be lighter than the commercial offerings and work as well.  If you are also limited on height
then a quarter wave vertical with two sloping radials (kept a foot or two above ground) will
give you an efficient antenna - you can even use it with a telescoping whip.  (But don't
expect the antenna to survive too long if you try to hike with it extended - I've broken
antennas that way before.)
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K1MDA
Member

Posts: 8




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« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2012, 11:14:45 AM »

My main area of operation will be in the woods. I did find this antenna and it looks like it will fit my needs, I don't think i have a problem hoisting this into a tree.

http://www.lnrprecision.com/endfedz.htm

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WB6BYU
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Posts: 13039




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« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2012, 12:07:52 PM »

The EndFedz are certainly popular, though I'd build my own much lighter version instead.
The radiator is the same as for a J-pole, which is another option for building.

If you have a rope over a branch at 20' (which is about what you would want to get the
bottom end up off the ground) then an inverted vee dipole is likely to work somewhat
better than the vertical half wave over most types of soil, but the difference may not
be enough to worry about, especially when the band is open (then it doesn't matter
too much what sort of antenna you use.)
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K1MDA
Member

Posts: 8




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« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2012, 12:55:11 PM »

The EndFedz are certainly popular, though I'd build my own much lighter version instead.
The radiator is the same as for a J-pole, which is another option for building.

If you have a rope over a branch at 20' (which is about what you would want to get the
bottom end up off the ground) then an inverted vee dipole is likely to work somewhat
better than the vertical half wave over most types of soil, but the difference may not
be enough to worry about, especially when the band is open (then it doesn't matter
too much what sort of antenna you use.)

Awesome, thanks for the help.
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KD6KWZ
Member

Posts: 276




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« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2012, 12:18:57 AM »

I'm using a homemade delta loop, using 2 fiberglass tent poles, fed at the bottom:

http://pa0fri.home.xs4all.nl/Ant/Quad/quadeng.htm

Or this, using 10 meters sizes:

http://www.livecbradio.com/11-meter-loop-antenna.htm

You could use fishing poles, but that may be hard to explain if you don't have a fishing license.  Wink

It's a full wavelength of wire, I used like 28 gauge magnet wire, with a matching section of RG-59 1/4 wavelengthstimes the velocity factor of the coax. Once the length is set, you don't really need an antenna tuner.  Grin

I do actually need a tuner if I use the AM & FM sections, above 29.0 MHz, of 10 meters,  but I have it tuned so that 28.0 to 28.6 MHz has a low SWR. Even though I have a General class license, I normally stick around the SSB & CW sections of 10 for DX & talk.
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K5BJS
Member

Posts: 50




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« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2012, 05:38:17 AM »

This one looks interesting:

http://www.kd5fx.com/FXportable/fx_portable_antenna.htm

Works on 6 meters through 20 meters.  He has photos showing it set up for use on 10 meters and 20 meters with radials cut for 20 meters.  You could go with shorter radials for portable operation on 10 meters.  MFJ also sells a shorter telescopic whip (MFJ-1977) that would work on 6 meters through 15 meters.
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K1MDA
Member

Posts: 8




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« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2012, 05:38:03 AM »

I ended up going with a Radiowavz end fed 10 meter. I was able to make my first HF contact running 2.5 watts down to Texas.
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AD6KA
Member

Posts: 2232




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« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2012, 11:46:08 AM »

While camping in the woods I usually use either
a fan dipole or a wire vertical. With QRP you want
the antenna as efficient as possible, and not use
compromise or "do everything" designs.

I launch into conifers using a "wrist rocket" slingshot pulling
monofilament fishing line which then fulls 3/32"
Dacron line, or whatever that black stuff is that
HRO sells.

Works FB for me, though at a campground
in Yosemite once there was this woman who thought
I was trying to kill birds & squirrels and reported me to
a Park Ranger. Had a talk with the Ranger, who was very
cool, looked at my setup and just told me to be safe,
stay as far away as I could from the other campers,
and take my stuff out of the trees when I was done. (DUH!)
Now I don't operate from campgrounds very often, I go
find my own spot in the woods.

When operating from the desert I operate out of the
back of my friend's 4 x 4. I take a very heavy round cement
"Patio Table Cover Support" which you can get at any
big hardware store. They come with an 8" center pipe that
is 1.75 ID or so and has two large wing nuts. Then I use a telescoping
 fiberglass mast to support either a wire vertical
or inverted vee. It's windy in the So Cal high desert so
we typically have to guy this also. The desert in winter
is magnificent, too. Nobody around for miles and
electrically quiet, too.

Just some ideas to consider.....
Good luck with your new setup, hope CU on the air!
73, Ken  AD6KA
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AK7V
Member

Posts: 249




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« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2012, 03:16:09 PM »

Ken, nice to see another high desert QRPer here on eHam. Smiley  Your idea for a mast support out in the desert is a good one - I will have to get one of those and try it next time.  I have a PAC-12 vertical that I use out there with decent success.  Up in the woods, I use full sized dipoles or ladder-line fed doublets.
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K5TED
Member

Posts: 699




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« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2012, 08:37:24 PM »

Take a look around that internet auction site for "military whip" or "military dipole" and you will find several different types of field ready ground mounted highly portable antenna sets.
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KB9BVN
Member

Posts: 116




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« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2012, 11:41:01 AM »

I think for hiking you can't beat an end fed halfwave.  You can make one and a matcher for less than $10.  They weigh almost nothing, depending on the wire you use.

All you need to know is right here:  http://www.aa5tb.com/efha.html

72 es OO
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