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Author Topic: Your favorite portable antenna???  (Read 22624 times)
KATEKEBO
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Posts: 118




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« Reply #15 on: June 10, 2016, 02:18:55 PM »

I operate exclusively QRP (5W SSB) with a Yaesu FT-817ND.  I have several "favorite" antennas, depending on operating conditions:

- When operating from my car (stationary) I use MFJ "ham sticks" (MFJ-1640T, MFJ-1620T, MFJ-1615T and MFJ-1610T).  I like them because they offer very good performance, are cheap, and are super easy to use - once tuned you never have to worry about SWR, tuning, etc.  Just screw the antenna into the base and you're ready to go.  SWR is (almost) flat through the entire band.  I have worked Australia on SSB 5 W on 20 m with this antenna.

- Working from home, I sometimes use end-fed LNR Precision (Par) EF-10/20/40.  It has excellent performance on 20 m.  Again, once tuned it's plug-in-and-forget antenna (no tuner, no re-tuning).  The downsides are that it requires a tall mast (for DX-ing it works best high off the ground), and does not cover 15 m.

- For a quick table-top operation I use Miracle Whip (Miracle Ducker).  This tiny antenna is super easy to use, and offers very decent performance (for its size).  I have worked many stations well over 5000 miles away on 10, 15 and 20 m with the Miracle Whip.  On 40 m it's somewhat limited, although I have worked stations as far as 1000 miles away.

- Finally, for fully portable operations, I use a vertical telescopic whip (8 ft tall) with MFJ-67 loading coil, on a small portable tripod and 8 radials.  It fits nicely into a small backpack.  It is relatively use to tune to get a decent SWR, and performance is comparable to the ham sticks.  However I don't use it very often just because I find operating from the car more convenient.

For the upcoming Field Day, I will most likely operate from a park sitting in the shade next to my car, with the MFJ ham sticks.

73

S. Bucki
KD8KQH



« Last Edit: June 10, 2016, 02:21:53 PM by KATEKEBO » Logged
ONAIR
Member

Posts: 3536




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« Reply #16 on: June 13, 2016, 09:25:02 AM »

I operate exclusively QRP (5W SSB) with a Yaesu FT-817ND.  I have several "favorite" antennas, depending on operating conditions:

- When operating from my car (stationary) I use MFJ "ham sticks" (MFJ-1640T, MFJ-1620T, MFJ-1615T and MFJ-1610T).  I like them because they offer very good performance, are cheap, and are super easy to use - once tuned you never have to worry about SWR, tuning, etc.  Just screw the antenna into the base and you're ready to go.  SWR is (almost) flat through the entire band.  I have worked Australia on SSB 5 W on 20 m with this antenna.

- Working from home, I sometimes use end-fed LNR Precision (Par) EF-10/20/40.  It has excellent performance on 20 m.  Again, once tuned it's plug-in-and-forget antenna (no tuner, no re-tuning).  The downsides are that it requires a tall mast (for DX-ing it works best high off the ground), and does not cover 15 m.

- For a quick table-top operation I use Miracle Whip (Miracle Ducker).  This tiny antenna is super easy to use, and offers very decent performance (for its size).  I have worked many stations well over 5000 miles away on 10, 15 and 20 m with the Miracle Whip.  On 40 m it's somewhat limited, although I have worked stations as far as 1000 miles away.

- Finally, for fully portable operations, I use a vertical telescopic whip (8 ft tall) with MFJ-67 loading coil, on a small portable tripod and 8 radials.  It fits nicely into a small backpack.  It is relatively use to tune to get a decent SWR, and performance is comparable to the ham sticks.  However I don't use it very often just because I find operating from the car more convenient.

For the upcoming Field Day, I will most likely operate from a park sitting in the shade next to my car, with the MFJ ham sticks.

73

S. Bucki
KD8KQH




  I agree with you about those Hamsticks!  Super convenient and inexpensive.  Have used them for years while traveling, on vehicles, going portable, and even from the inside of hotel rooms!!  Roll Eyes
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N3IDG
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Posts: 118




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« Reply #17 on: June 13, 2016, 04:26:56 PM »

I use the honalulu end fed antenna as my primary antenna for short periods of operation and a NJ Squirt if I will be at a site for a couple of days. I own a buddi stick and a buddi pole and the mp1. But have never used them they came as a pckage with my 817.
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KE7FD
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Posts: 208


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« Reply #18 on: June 15, 2016, 07:47:57 AM »

The simplest solution is usually the best.  Since you didn't couch your question about Field Day antennas but for portable antennas, I’ll focus on that.  The simplest portable antenna I’ve found that works for me is a “random” length end-fed wire. The end-fed is also one of the oldest antennas used. The randomness of the length isn’t really random.  For multiband use you do not want the antenna to resonate on any amateur band so consult the same charts that show what lengths of coax to avoid.  Same thing for a few counterpoise wires (I use different lengths).  My favorite antenna length is 53 feet, with 20 and 25 foot counterpoise wires (but try whatever you want). You will also need a 9:1 UNUN, not a balun because you’re going from an UNbalanced line (coax) to an UNbalanced antenna.  Since we’re talking about portable use, everything can be lightweight.  You can buy such ununs for $30 - $60, but why?  Get a  T200-2 toroid and follow any of the simple instructions found on the web and roll your own unun.

There are other lengths you can use for an end-fed antenna, just google it.  I use a potato canon to put the wire into the trees but my buddy who goes with me uses the Armstrong method. Mine works on every band I try, due largely to my tuner I suppose.  With a few watts (PSK31) sitting at a picnic table in western Pennsylvania I manage to work into Europe and South America with ease. Wire in the trees, counterpoise wires laid in no particular way on the ground, coax from the radio/tuner to the unun, and the wires to the unun.  Power up, hit the tuner, operate.  

I built my entire end-fed antenna including all the parts for about $20.  Yes, you can spend a wad to buy one already built and that's fine if you do, but just know this: There's NOTHING magical going on with the end-fed and nothing beyond the building skills of most hams in order to build one for cheap that will work just as well as a commercially built one.  After 44 years of building a plethora of antennas, the end-fed antenna has shown me it doesn't need to be elaborate or expensive to work.  Almost every antenna we all use is a compromise in one way or another.  Once you've satisfied the requirement to not burn up the finals (low SWR at the radio), the antenna just needs to radiate.  The end-fed does that.

Glen - KE7FD
« Last Edit: June 15, 2016, 08:38:23 AM by KE7FD » Logged
WB4M
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Posts: 267




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« Reply #19 on: June 18, 2016, 08:30:44 PM »

MFJ-1979 stainless steel vertical.  It extends to 17 feet, collapses to 27 inches.  I use it with a jaws clamp and a radial or two, and my Z-817 tuner does the rest.  You can use it without a tuner for good SWR on 6-20 meters by adjusting the extended length, but so much easier to just fully extend it and use the auto tuner.   I have a Wolf River coil that gives me 30 and 40 meters.   I also have the LNR 10/20/40 endfed that does not need a tuner but minimum of 1 decently high support needed.  But again, the 1979 is by far the simplest and fastest, not to mention probably one of the cheapest.  Beats the so-called $350 "military" systems and loops for price and ease of use.
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N2RRA
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Posts: 718


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« Reply #20 on: June 20, 2016, 01:58:25 AM »

Mines is my ICOM AH-703 and Super Antennas YP-3 yagi are my favorite 2 antennas. The AH-703 is the quickest to deploy. The yagi is a bit more work, but great antenna with gain. I run an FT-817 on battery and either of the two antennas you can watch in action on my YouTube channel under:

N2RRAny

Hope you enjoy the vids.

73,
N2RRA
« Last Edit: June 20, 2016, 02:17:45 AM by N2RRA » Logged
JS6TMW
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Posts: 1192




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« Reply #21 on: July 02, 2016, 04:22:18 AM »

If you're Facebook-friendly, here's mine:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/qrpradio/permalink/1769666866630219/?comment_id=1769788483284724&notif_t=group_comment&notif_id=1467431711553200
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K7EXJ
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Posts: 875




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« Reply #22 on: July 02, 2016, 06:51:31 AM »

Mines is my ICOM AH-703 and Super Antennas YP-3 yagi are my favorite 2 antennas. The AH-703 is the quickest to deploy. The yagi is a bit more work, but great antenna with gain. I run an FT-817 on battery and either of the two antennas you can watch in action on my YouTube channel under:

N2RRAny

Hope you enjoy the vids.

73,
N2RRA

I haven't heard much about their yagi. Nothing on their new www.newsuperantenna.com web site (with links to their marketing page at Amazon.com) but on their old web page I found that they have discontinued the YP-3. http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/hamantht/5884.html

I'd consider it if I were to spend a week or more somewhere in my motor home. A little more than I want to deal with tent camping, though.

Decent performance from what the test on qsl.net indicated: http://www.qsl.net/dk7zb/portabel/test_yp3.htm

Not for the faint-at-heart? Cheesy
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73s de K7EXJ
Craig Smiley
KX3DX
Member

Posts: 13




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« Reply #23 on: July 02, 2016, 07:51:03 AM »

I've tried lots of different antennas in the last year.  In the context of a lightweight backpacking antenna for 20 and 40 meters I have found a crappie pole quarter wave elevated radial vertical to be  the best compromise.   The kit comprises of five pieces of number 24awg wire cut to 16.5 feet each.  The crappie pole is a Cabelas 16.5 foot version.  A four foot piece of 3/4 PVC pipe is lashed to a rock or fallen tree or whatever as the mount for the antenna (base of crappie pole slips over this).  I wrap one of the pieces of wire around the pole and four others are elevated radials.  I try to keep the radials a a foot or two above the ground.  The antenna is fed with 6 feet of RG-174 with clipleads at the feed point and a BNC at the radio end.  For 40 meters, I only use one radial (two 16.5 pieces of wire in series) and the main radiator is two of the wires in series in an inverted L fashion.  No tuner, no balun (for an end fed), no long runs of heavy coax (for a dipole).  Lightweight!  This antenna is backpacked in the Rockies several times a week and generally outperforms a low dipole.  A high dipole would be better but feed line weight and needing to bring support string and finding trees or other suitable tie points is a big negative, especially above the tree-line.  With the sunspot cycle where it is right now, I'm not worried about the other bands, but the antenna could obviously be scaled for the higher bands.  In another few short years, 20m will be closed too and I'll refine the whole approach for better 40m performance.  No 80m operation.....I'm off the mountain by dark.

This past Sunday during field day, I hiked to a 7200 foot peak nearby and set this antenna up in about five minutes.  On 20m phone with 10W (KX2), I worked just about everyone I called on the first or second reply.  No hassling with sling shots.  I operated for about two hours and hiked for about 4 hours.  The drinking water I carry almost always weighs more than the radio equipment......
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N1GMV
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Posts: 171




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« Reply #24 on: July 03, 2016, 08:25:45 PM »

Mine is the AlexLoop, takes me less than 2 minutes to set up and I don't need any trees.
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VE7JBT
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Posts: 1




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« Reply #25 on: July 05, 2016, 05:50:42 AM »

Mine is the AlexLoop, takes me less than 2 minutes to set up and I don't need any trees.


Hello N1GMV - I've got an AlexLoop as well, bought it second hand recently.  I've experienced issues trying to find a low SWR on certain frequencies in the 20m band.  For example, it'll tune to about 1.3:1 SWR around 14.285, but then when I tune the radio to 14.255, the lowest I can get is about 4.6:1 SWR.  And when I try it on 14.300 it'll only go down to about 5:1 SWR.  Anywhere on 40m it'll give a good match, and I've tried a few frequencies on 17m with good results.  I haven't really used it on any other bands so far, so can't really comment on results further. 

I'm using this loop with an Elecraft KX3 and I use about 2.5 watts CW signal to make the fine adjustments on the loop after tuning for loudest noise on the frequency I want to use.

So I'm just wondering if these are the same results you've had, or am I experiencing something that is unique to my AlexLoop?  Thanks and 73's VE7JBT
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WD4ELG
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Posts: 183




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« Reply #26 on: July 05, 2016, 10:35:52 PM »

K5LXP, AMEN OM!
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KB2FCV
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Posts: 2570


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« Reply #27 on: July 06, 2016, 09:08:59 AM »

I like end fed antennas with counterpoises. If you are travelling on foot they are light and easy to put up. The tuner in my KX1 handles them fine.. from a park or my back yard I've worked both stateside and DX with just a watt or two and this antenna. I carry a small roll of masons twine for support rope. a 1/2 filled bottle of water makes a nice weight to toss over the line.
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ONAIR
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Posts: 3536




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« Reply #28 on: July 06, 2016, 11:04:58 AM »

I like end fed antennas with counterpoises. If you are travelling on foot they are light and easy to put up. The tuner in my KX1 handles them fine.. from a park or my back yard I've worked both stateside and DX with just a watt or two and this antenna. I carry a small roll of masons twine for support rope. a 1/2 filled bottle of water makes a nice weight to toss over the line.
   Interesting!  Any specific brand/model that you recommend?  Smiley
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KA0USE
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Posts: 19




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« Reply #29 on: November 15, 2017, 08:36:49 PM »

i have to laugh. 'portable' is a relative term.

in the army, portable on an item's nomenclature plate is loosely defined as 'something that can be moved with the appropriate number of "volunteers" '.

'volunteer' is defined as "anyone within hearing range of 'YOU, AND YOU, AND YOU..' "
 repeated as often as necessary until the sufficient number of warm bodies has fallen in for the detail to move the nearly un-moveable object.

it would behoove you to not be within voice range.

all armies have lots of 'volunteers'.
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