Anyone get the Field of Dreams reference? 😛 Great movie btw.
Band conditions haven’t been the greatest lately, maybe it’s just me? I’ve had a difficult time making contacts on voice & digi modes for the past few weeks. So I’ve shifted gears a bit, and put my crafty gloves on. I love to build things – always have. If you’re a nerd too, chances are we share this passion. 🙂
There are so many things I want to accomplish this year & so little time! However, there’s one thing in particular that I’m passionate about, and that’s going portable (I’ve been quite inspired by some other hams outdoor activities – VK1AD, WG0AT, KB1HQS, just to name a few!). That means I need a new antennas! Wait what? I just put together this OCF 4 bander for portable use, why do I need more? (More antennas = more fun) 🙂
I’ve noticed the past few times I’ve gone portable just how hard it can be to elevate the feed point for a dipole, worse yet, getting the legs up high enough for the dipole to be effective. Inverted V’s usually suffice, but they are most effective at 1/2 wavelength above ground. Don’t get me wrong, a dipole is a very effective portable antenna, and if you can effectively (and quickly) hoist it up, then go for it! Not only are they cheap & easy to build, they offer good performance & have all the bandwidth you’d ever need. But, I like to have other options, just in case that situation doesn’t always present itself! I also don’t like having to get ‘permission’ from a park office, or land owner to erect a portable antenna, so I’m going vertical! Plus elevating your feed point means carrying another 25 ft or more of coaxial cable, with a vertical, I carry a straight 25′ piece of RG8X or LMR240 so it fits nicely in my rucksack! Though I do have the added weight of the telescoping pole… everything is a trade off!
So what am I going to build? Lots of things as of this point. I’ve gathered tons of ABS plastic boxes up, slowly sourcing quality toroids, and I’ve got tons of hardware that I’ve been collecting over the years. I want to see just how budget friendly I can keep each one, but yet not sacrificing in quality or attention to detail. I’ve seen kits online for about $45 shipped, but I’m certain I can do it cheaper. I’d like to pair my first matchbox, with a telescopic pole of some sort. I spotted u/Prima13 post over in the Reddit Amateur Radio group and this gave me the inspirational boost I needed to get going! Over the past 2 years, I’ve used my Jackite pole so much, that it has become quite worn, and requires special securing when extended so it doesn’t collapse upon itself. I think I got my ‘moneys worth’ though, the poles usually run close to $80 online. Another alternative I’ve been considering is the Spiderpole from Spiderbeam. It’s a 12m (40ft) telescopic pole ($105) with rave reviews from other hams. Apparently a lot stronger, the pole can also be used for small VHF/UHF beams. I wonder if its worth the additional $40? I sure don’t want to be messing with securing joints when I’m out portable.
As a little way of saying thank you to all of my blog followers… Each of these antennas will be given away as I make them/test them/operate them at least once! Wha wha? You heard right! So keep an eye out for future posts on how to get in on this action 😛 I’ll probably pull random names from a pool just to be fair, but I’d like to share the shortwave love :). The only catch is that the winners will shoot me a photo (or better yet – video!) of them operating w/ it!