Occasionally, I like to forego fighting with a really long telescopic pole, and deploy a ground mounted vertical antenna. Problem is, up until now, all I had were make shift mounts to mount a 3/8 x 24 stud mounted antenna to. No longer! The Wolf River Coil ‘Mini-Pod’ tripod has arrived! The Silver Bullet 1000 mounts right up to this stout little guy. I have a series of whips at home, but always opt for the telescopic whips, because with set length whips you’re very limited with your antenna parameters. The only downside is the telescopic whips are generally a bit weaker, and tend to wear out a bit faster due to repeated use.
I had only used the Wolf River coil on my Toyota Tacoma previously, so wasn’t really getting the full potential out of the antenna. Once I threw a few radials underneath the antenna, I was hearing like I had never heard before with this thing! KB1HQS writes an excellent review in the July 2017 issue of QST magazine, check it out for yourself!
Tuning the antenna takes a bit of practice, but my practice usually involves moving the sleeve to the ‘known’ area for the band (after awhile you’ll learn the general areas to put the slide contact at – though they are never consistent). I’ll then do a quick wide sweep to see where the antenna is resonating, and then moving the sleeve up and down again for a general adjustment. Once I think I’m close, i’ll switch to the real-time SWR meter and make small sleeve adjustments by ‘screwing & unscrewing’ just as a screwdriver antenna would.
Here are a few shots of SWR plots for 30/40/80m (note the 80m plot range was 500kHz):
You could probably move up and down a bit in the 80 meter band without having to retune, but too far, and a readjustment would be required. The other bands have a bit wider bandwidth of course. This is one reason why I use the MFJ-1979, to get more bandwidth. With shorter CB type whips, I was retuning more often. (Not sure if there’s a telescopic whip longer than this one!)
Check the video out above as we test out the antenna on digi modes with WSPR & FT/JT modes!
73 & TGIF!