Portable antennas for easy deployment

This weekend I operated portable HF from the car, but I wanted to try out both a multi-band vertical and an EFHW. The advantage is both are quick, easy to deploy, and relatively cheap.

EFHW

These can be made of purchased and much will depend on the power level required. The length of wire required can be calculated using the formula 141/f (in MHz) and this will provide the length in meters.

Use the lowest frequency required, so if you would like the antenna to operate from 7 to 28 MHz, use the formula for 7 MHz. If you use 7 MHz, the wire length should be just over 20m (a half wave on 7 MHz)

The EFHW transformer would often be described at 49:1 or 64:1, this ratio is required to transform the impedance from 4 to 5,000 Ohms to around 50. This provides a multi band antenna that requires no ATU. The antenna is easy to deploy out portable, as it can simply be run in a vertical or horizontal configuration.

If you would like to build your own, then have a look at this article

Or you can purchase one ready-made online. Be sure to check the power handling, as some models are QRP, and will be better suited to lower-power radios (cheaper and lighter) like this QRP version.

Here is a picture of my EFHW setup on a field day.

The antenna is highlighted in blue. Red circle EFHW 49:1 transformer.

Telescopic Vertical antenna

The addition of an adjustable vertical antenna provides another easy-to-deploy multi-band antenna. The vertical will cover 14, 18, 21, 24 and 28 MHz

The vertical antenna is nothing more than a large telescopic whip antenna, that can be adjusted from full height around 5.6m to 50cm. The antenna are small, portable, and easy to transport. The whip antenna can be purchased online from eBay or Aliexpress. You will need to purchase a mounting plate and earth spike, so the antenna has something to connect to and you can attach your 50 Ohm coax.

Vertical feed and radial options.

Fully extended (5.6m) the antenna is resonant on 14 MHz, you can lower it down to achieve resonance on other lower bands.

Vertical antenna lowered for 18 MHz with radials.

I would also suggest using a 1:1 choke close to the feed point, this will stop the coax from radiating and improve the match of the antenna. Elevated antenna and radials would improve the performance further.

It’s also possible to buy a complete vertical kit for around £140 online (this would be £300 for ML&S), it includes the whip antenna and a loading coil.

So your options for the vertical are as follows.

1/Purchase a 5.6m whip, base, and ground spike for £60 (will cover 14 to 28 MHz)

2/ Purchase the PAC12 that includes whip and loading coils (will cover 7 to 28 MHz) for £140

Over the weekend I worked mostly on digital modes FT8 and completed around 250 QSO using Icom 7300 and 50w into the antennas described above.

Portable setup using V2L and Icom 7300 in the car.
QSO Map for the weekend.

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