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Categories | Antennas: HF Portable (not mobile) | Alpha Delta Outpost Help

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AH6RH  Rating: 5/5 Nov 30, 2002 21:24  Send this review to a friend!
I love it!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I really enjoy portable operations -- HF, VHF, UHF and microwave -- for fun, emergency communications, DX and contests. So, I was hesitant on spending $200 for an aluminum tripod mount wondering how it would perform and if the money was better spent on antennas. On the other hand, I've experimented with quite a number of portable and hand-held HF antennas and was never really satisfied with the performance. So I figured I had nothing really to lose.

Was I in for a joyful surprise!

I unpacked the antenna tripod, took it to a nearby park next to the ocean, placed it on the ground and began setting up. It unfolds nicely, and requires no tools. Just your fingers to tighten the wing nuts which are used liberally for each joint.

For the first outting I used a loaner Outreach 12-foot antenna, but soon I would be using my Hustler center-loaded HF mobile verticals on the tripod. It was a Saturday afternoon of the North American QSO Party. I unrolled the RG-8U coax, screwed in the PL-259 into the base, hooked up a Yaesu FT-817 with a manual MFJ tuner, an external 12V gel cel battery, and began replying to the mega-stations calling CQ on 10m SSB. It surprised the heck out of the guest sitting next to me that I was consistent worked stations up and down the band as far away as the East Coast with RS reports of 51 through 59 with 5 watts! (They loved getting the new multiplier.)

This was no fluke! The capacitive coupling works wonders. I haven't had the need to string radials. I often go on 40m through 10m, with nothing more than the Hustler mobile verticals and tuned the whips using an MFJ-259B and getting the SWR to practically nothing.

I consistently snag good reports on the FT-817 and the IC-706 MKII G. I've worked Europe from Hawaii on 5W SSB on 15m with this setup, and beat state-side stations trying to work a station on Saipan, again with 5 watts. Running 100 watts, I easily get state-side, Oceania and sought after DX stations during contents. It gets out surprisingly well when you have reasonably clear line-of-sight to the horizon.

Of course, it can't compare with full-sized verticals or stacked beams up 150 feet, but for relatively low cost ($200 for the base, plus $100 or so for the Hustler components) you get a small, light portable package that you can set up in 5 minutes -- something you can't do with full-sized verticals or beams. And, you can probably get by in a lot of antenna restricted settings, especially for stealth night operations. The quick setup and takedown really helps to get on the air quickly on weekends so you get the most enjoyment out of each moment.

I've tried using a marine Spider Antenna on the tripod, and while it works similar to the Hustler, the weight of the Spider begins to exceed what the base can reasonably endure.

I recommend getting a heavy duty quick-disconnect mount to thread onto the tripod and antenna. That way, it's even faster to set up and take down.

So, looking back, the $200 investment in the Outpost tripod was the best portable HF antenna investment to date, as it makes the portable vertical antennas I've already bought come alive! No regrets here. It's a keeper. See you on HF and 6m! 
Product is in production.
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