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Thread: Portable HF While On Vacation?

  1. #1
    Administrator Supporting Member K7VZ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Arizona
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    3,126

    Portable HF While On Vacation?

    Portable HF while on vacation? There's not much time left in the day between national parks, driving, and all of the other family activities, but I was able to squeeze in a little ham radio time. On an 11 day trip, this was the only night that I was able to get the radio out. I had originally planned on setting it up 3-4 times on the trip, but found many nights we didn't get back to camp until late and I just wanted to go to bed.

    I had AC power from the campground for the power supply, so I didn't bother with battery connections. Add the Yaesu FT-857D radio with a LDG Z-100 tuner and we're ready to go. Evan was out riding his bike around and we keep in touch via FRS radios.

    20170727_200906.jpg

    I borrowed a Buddipole antenna from Leonard AD7AS and attached it to the top of the mast. Instead of the supplied Buddipole mast and tripod, I used a Harbor Freight 20 Ft. Telescoping Flag Pole Item#62285 that I attached with hose clamps to the rear tire carrier on my camper. This setup yields the antenna about 22ft. above ground level and 14ft above the camper roof.

    20170727_202916.jpg

    Normally, I use wire antennas strung up in pine trees. I'm searching for an antenna solution that is quick to setup and does not need support other than being attached to my camper. Since I was only able to operate 1 night, the verdict is still out if the Buttipole antenna fits the bill or not. Their guide says for 40m to have 5-5.5 sections on each side. I found that resulted in it tuned around 5Mhz and had to reduce it to 3-3.5 on each side for a good 7.2Mhz SWR. 20m acted the same way. The campground I was at had horrible RF noise, S9+, which didn't help. I don't know if it was from nearby campers or just the band conditions that night. Probably both. I'll try the antenna again soon, away from civilization. Also, I haven't tried it as a vertical or other possible configurations yet, so those may work better.

    Not much luck on HF, but the sunset was beautiful.

    20170727_205426.jpg
    Virgil - K7VZ
    Offroad and on the air.

  2. #2
    4x4 Ham Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Chandler, Arizona
    Posts
    407
    Noise probably had a lot to do with all the AC/DC converters and usb adapters in the camp ground

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