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Author Topic: Your favorite portable antenna???  (Read 22695 times)
KD2E
Member

Posts: 281




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« on: May 31, 2016, 06:08:30 PM »

Last year, I operated portable Field Day from a VFW location.
I had dipoles for 20 and 40, and whipped them up a tree with that
sling shot thing.
They didn't work!  I think the V angle was wrong, or too much twisting around tree limbs, perhaps the coax was too close to the
wire....I don't know.
This year, bringing the Boy Scouts to Williamsburg that weekend.
I'd like to put up the fastest antenna I can.
I don't know what the tree situation is where I will be, so I want to use one of those quick set up jobs.
Is the Buddipole the overall favorite??
I am most concerned with portability...Is there any others I should look at?
Not interested in quad loops, vee beams, zepps....G5RV's....I know they have fans, but I don't know if i'll have trees!!!
Thanks for your input!
....Dave
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K7EXJ
Member

Posts: 875




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« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2016, 06:20:23 PM »

The fastest antenna by far that I've found is the MP-1 Vertical by SuperAntenna. Under $200 with a go-pack from Amazon last I looked.

The package includes a nifty mount that accepts a clamp for a pipe (I have two and one is more-or-less permanently mounted on a chain-link fence post about 10' above and west of a lake) or something flat using a C-clamp (supplied), OEM radials that work pretty well (mine are 40/30/20 and they also worked well enough on 15 to work the Philippines), a tuning template that you hold up next to the coil (which is a manually operated screwdriver-type... just push it up or pull it down... easy peasy) and the antenna ready to go.

When I'm portable I usually mount the antenna using the OEM clamp to the front winch-bumper of my Jeep Wrangler, lay the 3 radials out, hook up the coax (with air wound choke), put the K1 on the dashboard and connect battery, headphones and key and I'm off to the races. Not much more time than it takes to write about it.

I've had good contacts on 40m, 20m and 15m but so far 30m has eluded me. And 7,000 miles is the record so far.

No trees out here...

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73s de K7EXJ
Craig Smiley
ONAIR
Member

Posts: 3536




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« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2016, 07:13:54 PM »

Last year, I operated portable Field Day from a VFW location.
I had dipoles for 20 and 40, and whipped them up a tree with that
sling shot thing.
They didn't work!  I think the V angle was wrong, or too much twisting around tree limbs, perhaps the coax was too close to the
wire....I don't know.
This year, bringing the Boy Scouts to Williamsburg that weekend.
I'd like to put up the fastest antenna I can.
I don't know what the tree situation is where I will be, so I want to use one of those quick set up jobs.
Is the Buddipole the overall favorite??
I am most concerned with portability...Is there any others I should look at?
Not interested in quad loops, vee beams, zepps....G5RV's....I know they have fans, but I don't know if i'll have trees!!!
Thanks for your input!
....Dave
   Hamstick dipoles??   Wink
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KK4YDR
Member

Posts: 673




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« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2016, 09:55:44 PM »

I have considered buying a BuddyStick, not Buddypole, but the vertical.

Not sure if it is worth the expense.
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WB6BYU
Member

Posts: 17190




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« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2016, 10:11:00 PM »

Quote from: KD2E

...I had dipoles for 20 and 40...  They didn't work! 



That would be an interesting discussion in itself - we use dipoles regularly in trees
with good results.  But it would be a tangent to this specific discussion.



Quote

I'd like to put up the fastest antenna I can.




Probably the fastest would be a man-pack radio with a whip antenna on it and a built-in
wide-range auto-tuner to match it.  I used a 6' 40m helical whip as a "rubber duck" antenna
on a PRC-104 once, and it actually worked on 40m, though it would have been a lot more
effective with a good ground system.  But it's not difficult to put up a better antenna, so
somewhere there will be a trade-off between set-up time and performance, and that's a
decision that you have to make for yourself.

Are you planning multi-band operation, or just a single band?

A reasonable trade-off between setup time and performance might be a 20' telescoping
fiberglass fishing rod holding up a wire with a tuner at the base, feeding it against either
a good set of ground radials or a car body.  If you find a size of pipe that the bottom of the
fishing rod will slip over (or into), you can make a drive-on mount using a length of 2x6 with
a pipe flange mounted on it.  Park one wheel of the car on one end of the 2x6 and slip the
fishing rod over or into the pipe on the other end.  If you have a convenient luggage rack
you can make a bracket attached to that to support the mast up higher as well.  Otherwise
you can just secure it to a sign or fence post with a couple bungee cords.

With a 20' wire that should work well enough on 40m through 10m.  You can get taller
masts:  a taller vertical will improve performance on the lower bands (especially 40m
and 80m) with some drop in performance on 10m (and 15m when it gets too long.)

Of course, once you get a sturdy enough mast with enough length, you can hang an
inverted vee off of the top, which won't take much more time to set up, doesn't require
a tuner, and will probably work better (assuming you have  horizontal space to tie off
the ends.)

Another useful material would be 3/4" aluminum tent poles with swagged ends.  I've
collected several tents' worth of these over the years from various thrift shops, in lengths
from 18" to 54".  They can be stacked to serve as a vertical antenna, or a lightweight
mast to hold up an inverted vee, with a similar sort of mount to the fishing rod.  The
easiest way to put up a sectional mast like this is to pick up the mast with one hand
and insert the next section on the bottom with the other hand.  These are light enough
that a full quarter wave vertical on 40m is practical.  You can use telescoping aluminum
sections from Texas Towers or the local hardware store in the same way, or the various
military surplus mast sections.


We used several Buddipoles for a recent ARES exercise.  While the design can be quick to
set up, they took a lot of time to tune, especially on 20m and 40m.  I could easily set up
a pre-cut wire dipole on the same mast and have it working faster than the Buddipoles,
which needed several iterations of lowering and readjusting to get them on frequency.
Then, if you changed bands, you had to go through the process again (though you might
be able to repeat the settings more quickly if you carefully measure the lengths of the
adjustable ends once you get it set the first time.)  I was, in fact, surprised at the number
of users who packed antenna analyzers with them to adjust the antenna each time they
used it - my philosophy has been to pre-tune my antennas so I can just set them up and
operate without worrying about tuning them, since that saves time.  (That's what I do
with my wire dipoles.)

For single band operation, you can hang a quarter wave ground plane with 2 to 4 wire
radials from a fishing pole or mast (though the radials will end up being pretty flat if
you use a 20' pole on 20m.)  That's not a bad approach, especially if you can keep
the radial wires out of the way of visitors.  Again, you shouldn't need a tuner with
such an antenna for single band use.


Personally I haven't had particularly good results using verticals on Field Day, but that has
been due partly because I've had trees and such to put up better antennas.  A dipole or
inverted vee up 20' - 30' will probably outperform a quarter wave vertical, especially back
in the East Coast where there are a lot more stations within short skip range.  (From here
in Oregon, most of the stations we work are at least 1000 miles away, requiring radiation
angles below 30 degrees.)  My general favorite for portable work is dipole wires for
multiple band on a common feedpoint, installed as a dipole / inverted vee / sloper or
whatever the local supports allow.  I use that for QRP operation, typically a heights of
15' - 20' (I only carry 25' of RG-174 coax for feedline).  One of the locals built such as
set to suspend on a fishing rod - he had to remove the top section because it was too
flimsy, but even at 17.5' his dipoles outperformed the 6BTV set up by another group
in the same parking lot.  (He got the same signal report from net control with his FT-817
that the other group got running 100W.)  You'll want thin coax and wire to reduce the
weight on the top of the fishing rod, or a stronger mast, but it certainly can be done.
Then you just have to tie off the ends of the wires to nearby supports, vehicles, clumps
of grass, or cinder blocks (with enough rope to keep the ends of the wires well off the
ground.)

For multi-band operation, a 40m OCFD on a short mast would allow you to use multiple
bands with a single antenna (and a tuner.)  Or a G5RV, or a doublet fed with twinlead,
also become practical in such an installation, without relying on any trees.

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AB1LT
Member

Posts: 105




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« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2016, 06:19:15 AM »

Dipoles work great.  I can't imagine why your setup didn't.  My favorite is an end fed half wave:. LNR or equivalent.  The feed line can be short, and I only need to get one line up in a tree. 
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YT9TP
Member

Posts: 22




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« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2016, 07:00:01 AM »

I use dipoles. Most frequently I use 14/18 Mhz dual band trapped dipole. Just hang it on 6m high fishing pole as vertical, and it works great.
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WB6BYU
Member

Posts: 17190




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« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2016, 09:51:10 AM »

Another option that I use for holding up an antenna or mast is a roof tripod for a TV
antenna.  I have a couple of them that I've picked up used over the years.  If they
don't provide enough stability you can bolt the feet to 2x4s and put cinder blocks
or sand bags over the extensions.  That should work on pavement where it isn't
convenient to drive stakes for guy rope anchors.

It's also worth checking your local thrift stores for tripods for cameras, speaker
systems, etc.
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N9AOP
Member

Posts: 672




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« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2016, 11:37:13 AM »

27 feet of wire tossed up a tree with a like amount on the ground hooked to the radio with a BNC to dual binding posts connector.  I also like an Outbacker on an Outpost tripod but that is a $600 solution rather than the wire which is less than $5. 
Art
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KJ6DRG
Member

Posts: 81




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« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2016, 03:07:08 PM »

How much power are you putting out? EFHW with a fiberglass pole support works for me pretty well, especially if you've got any elevation.
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W5WSS
Member

Posts: 2272




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« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2016, 02:23:03 PM »

DXE acquired Trans World. The TW 2010 works great is portable and really handles higher power not just over ratings.

The antenna sets up in a few minutes has a 5 band network inside a center hub and includes a desk top control box with a 65' control cable to switch bands.

I've used with great success from upstairs indoors and outside.

I worked N5E today from the tall ship and he was strong while using A TW 2010 resting on the quad stand located on deck.

Price or expense is not relevant to this question as the TW 2010 is quite an excellent design.

73
« Last Edit: June 05, 2016, 02:26:42 PM by W5WSS » Logged
K4LJA
Member

Posts: 46




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« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2016, 03:34:05 PM »

I want to add one of the EdFedz designed by W4OP - Dale Parfitt ... and now sold by LNR, I believe.  I have one of his original QRP 40, 20, 10 versions and I have liked it for years.  I've made some amazing CW contacts on it through the years --- without it being at a great height. Hard to beat for a roll-up antenna you can take with you.  Thanks -- Randy - K4LJA
PS-  Be sure to check out W4OP's QRZ dot com web page and be ready to drool !
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KB1GMX
Member

Posts: 1505




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« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2016, 03:54:52 PM »

I generally use one of three for HF....

PAR EF40/20/10 with precut wires for 17M and 15M.
Two 20FT Shakespeer crappy poles for artificial trees.

A homebrew vertical with a big whip(11ft).  for spaces and places
totally devoid of trees...  sometimes.

Now for VHF/UHF that's a different story.
A small 3 element for 6M, portable 4 element for 2,
a tiny 6 element for 432.

Allison
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K5LXP
Member

Posts: 5340


WWW

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« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2016, 07:37:54 PM »


My go-to "treeless" antenna is a jackite pole on either a drive-on mast support, or just lashed to whatever is handy.  Something to wedge it against and a taut guy or two in the opposite direction holds well too.  The 31' jackite is just long enough to hold a vertical 20M half wave, or an end fed 40M inverted V with a bit of extra string to get the ends off the ground.  Using end feds helps minimize feedline length and how much weight the pole has to support, vs a center fed antenna.

The so-called "portable" antennas like the buddi-whatevers, loops and whatnot are just expensive novelty antennas.  "Everything Works" to quote N6BT.   You can decide to spend your time dorking with those and being thrilled to work a few Q's on a $500 gadget, or putting up a $5 wire antenna and spending your time making contacts.  Your choice.


Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
 
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W1JKA
Member

Posts: 2088




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« Reply #14 on: June 07, 2016, 04:59:41 AM »

Dipole, 25 Ft coax with attached insulator and 3 connection points to attach any combination of cut tuned 20/30/40m wire radiators to in various configurations and supported by trees, mast from blow downs or top of rail fences and bushes.
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