Thursday, November 24, 2011

Simple antennas for the Hawaii Island Amateur Radio Operator, a continuing series

Happy Thanksgiving to all!  I'll return to my diet after I eat the traditional feast of turkey, sweet potatoes, cranberries, assorted vegetable, and some pumpkin dessert.  I walked an extra 2 miles today to compensate for my once a year indulgence.  I know, what I consume will take a marathon run to erase.  I'll try to limit my portions--at least that's the idea anyway.

Among the articles I read over the past few days, were some of the comments from hams living in CC &  R and otherwise restrictive environments.'s antenna forum contains several interesting articles that may prove useful to those of us challenged by our lack of real estate.  One operator whose call escapes me at the moment mentioned his successful use of the MFJ-1622 Apartment Antenna that allows coverage from 40 through 2 meters.  The antenna is described on page 69 of MFJ's 2012 Ham Catalog.  The antenna consists of a sturdy clamp for attachment, a "bug catcher" loading coil, a telescoping 5 1/2-foot whip, coax, a RF choke balun, counterpoise wire, and a safety rope.  The antenna resembles an earlier model marketed by Barker and Williamson (BW) back in the mid-1980's.  I still have one of these temporary antennas.  Late yesterday, I found the antenna in the corner of my radio shack and decided to see if it still worked.  It does!  I attached the antenna to the porch railing of my qth, stretched out the counterpoise, taped the coil in the proper place, and had some nice reports on 20-meters shortly after 1300 W.  The reports ranged from 556 to 558...not bad for a temporary lash up running about 20 watts.  So, if you are hard pressed to find a good temporary antenna and are willing to spend $99.95, you can have one sent to you by MFJ.  I've put the old BW apartment antenna in the van as an emergency antenna, now that I know it works.

On a somewhat related topic, you can use the loaded coil and whip idea in a variety of ways, ranging from the expensive "tar heel" mobile antenna to the old 18VS loaded vertical still being sold today.  I once used my homebrew 40-meter vertical on 80-meters by attaching an 80-meter coil to the base of the vertical.  The possibilities are many--just use your imagination.  While many have criticized MFJ for quality control issues, some of the company's antenna ideas, such as this model 1622 appear to do the job at a modest cost.  The MFJ 1622 might be worth a try.  Or, if you feel ambitious, you can wind your own coils and base load a homebrew vertical.  The ARRL and RSGB have several antenna books that contain many small, inexpensive, and effective verticals that may solve your space problems.

That wraps it up for today.  There is some serious eating to do today.  If you have some time, crank up the ole rig and bang out a few qsos.  You might even run across me on the lower end of 20-meters.

Have an excellent weekend.  Aloha es 73 de KH6JRM, Hawaii Island