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Sota
                        Beams - Lightweight 2 metre & 70cms Yagis,
                        Dipole, Accessories & Poles
SOTA Beams
Lightweight 2 metre &
70cms Yagis, Dipole,
Accessories & Poles
www.sotabeams.co.uk




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Simon's Cat - the funniest, naughtiest
                        cat!




PORTABLE OPERATING    /P


Fancy going portable to escape the man made electrical QRM and the ever encroaching blight on the radio spectrum by BT Vision Broadband by Power Line Adapters - (PLT), HomePlug, and other disastrous PLT / PLA / BPL devices?

Well, after viewing Diana Eng's inspiring video (below) I was prompted to look into what's required and so I started compiling a list of ideas which I noted down and have now presented on this page in case it may help others.

Portable operations could simply be a few hours on any hill with lightweight and minimalist equipment such as a hand held with a separate lightweight antenna, or a weekend away camping in a bivouac or tent with a more comprehensive set of equipment. Additionally a portable operator may take part in an award scheme such as SOTA or HuMPs ('HOTA') where by a hill is 'activated' by operating from it with the aim of 'qualifying' it by obtaining a minimum of four valid contacts (QSO's) so that points can be awarded to an overall score. 
 
M0MTJ/P on Long Mynd
M0MTJ/P on Long Mynd
M0MTJ/P on Long Mynd
Click to View larger photographs of MØMTJ/P on Long Mynd, Pole Bank - G/WB-005
Thanks to my ever patient XYL Jules for taking these great photographs


M0MTJ activating
                                    and qualifying The Wrekin G/WB010
                                    August 2013

Here I am on August 27th 2013 in Shropshire on The Wrekin - G/WB010
(This time the camera was on a tiny tripod using a self timer)




Setting up an HF rig for Portable SOTA operating by Diana Eng, KC2UHB


Here is a superb video article made by Diana Eng KC2UHB. Diana's video shows how to set up an Amateur Radio station for Summits On The Air (SOTA) activating Summit W2/NJ008. Diana was accompanied by W2VV in the making of this excellent video.

Her video is also featured in the October issue of the online publication Make Magazine in an article titled 'How-To: Set up an HF portable radio while hiking'

Watch Diana's excellent video:



MAKE Magazine describes itself as the first magazine devoted entirely to DIY technology projects, it unites, inspires and informs a growing community of resourceful people who undertake amazing projects in their backyards, basements, and garages, see http://makezine.com/

Diana Eng, KC2UHB's excellent video prompted me to find out more about what's required for /P. So here is a list of information that I compiled and have presented here in case it can help others too.



PORTABLE EQUIPMENT

Important considerations for survival:
Suitable warm & protective clothing - waterproofs, boots, jumpers, hat, scarf etc.
Map and Compass; GPS / Satellite Navigation; Torch; Matches; Water & Food; First Aid Kit; Whistle; Mobile Telephone.
Vango 60 litre + 10 litre backpack /
                            rucksack

Bag: Suitably capacious Back Pack, Ruck Sack, Carrying Bag or Case. Ruck sack liner and / or rain cover. Protective case or box for the transceiver.


A suitable Transceiver: From as small and basic as an FM Hand Held, to a more versatile Multi-Band Multi-Mode with SSB.


Antennas etc: Appropriate aerials (h.f. / v.h.f. / u.h.f.); Support poles, Masting, Telescopic fibreglass fishing pole etc; Guy ropes and Pegs;
(Para Cord/  Nylon Cord), Cleats (e.g. Clam Cleats Line-Loks guy runners), Ground spike; Counterpoise wire(s), Balun or UnUn; fishing swivels (American Snap Swivels Size 2) can be useful.


Cables: Feeder cables; ATU; VSWR meter; Patch Leads; Adapters - e.g. BNC to SMA, BNC to PL259, PL259 to N type or PL259 to SMA etc.


Power: Often in the form of a (SLAB) sealed lead acid battery or Batteries or NiMH Battery Pack; Suitable and safe Power Cables with PowerPole connectors.


Accessories: Headphones - use headphones so as to not disturb nearby people who want to enjoy peace & quiet.
Watch or Clock; Log Book; Clip Board; Velcro Straps; Hook & Loop Tape; Small Bungees; Insulation Tape; Check List; Pens & Pencils; Morse Key.
Download & print example /P log book document      Download & print example Check List document


Tools: Tools needed for erecting aerials and adjusting aerial wires, for example: Mallet, pliers, screwdrivers, wire cutter, pen knife etc.
High Gear Neutron lightweight 2
                          person tent

Other things: Camera with mini tripod; Foam Seat Pad or very lightweight chair & picnic table to rest on;  Perhaps some kind of shelter -  tarp or basha / bivvy or bivouac / tent / spiked fishing umbrella with spike (?) /car / van / caravan / motor home etc. (N.B. Motor vehicles cannot be used to operate from during SOTA or Summitsbase award schemes and the use of tents is discouraged. More about SOTA here).






TRANSCEIVERS

Perhaps the obvious first choice for simple lightweight portable operation might be a handheld transceiver. There are a great many to choose from such as a Yaesu FT-60, VX-6, VX-7, Icom IC-E90 or IC-T70E, Kenwood TH-F7E, Alinco DJ-C7E or, indeed, any other 'handie'. A handheld is inexpensive, small, lightweight and obviously easily transportable.

Handies can be single band, either 2 metres or 70cms but will often be dual band giving access to 2m and 70cm from one transceiver.  A dual band model is probably a better choice as it give more flexibility. Some models provide the bonus of additional bands such as 6metres or 23cms while others offer the 4 metre band. The limitation of handheld transceivers is that they can only provide access to a limited number of VHF and UHF bands, have low transmitter power, typically only 5 watts, and generally only provide FM as the mode of transmission and so can consume batteries quite quickly. A spare battery or batteries will almost certainly be needed for lengthy periods of use.

For handheld transceivers a separate full size antenna will almost certainly be required for reasonable results as the supplied helical 'rubber duck' antennas supplied with most hand held radios are electrically very short and inefficient. The Sotabeams MFD or SB270 are good examples of lightweight designs that are easy to carry.

SSB is far more efficient, especially for DX, and will also consume considerably less power than when operating using FM which is a very important consideration when operating /P in a remote location with a limited power supply. SSB can therefore enable the battery to last much longer. To work SSB a multi-mode transceiver will be required. The transceiver will also need to be small and light enough to be carried around. Many small multi-mode portable and mobile transceivers will also give access to the HF bands - escaping the QRM of a populated area!

Yaesu FT-857D
                            multi-mode, multi-band amateur radio
                            transceiver
Yaesu FT-857D multi-mode, multi-band amateur radio transceiver


The most popular transceiver for portable operations is possibly the FT-817, a QRP rig by Yaesu. The FT-817 provides 5 watts on HF, 6m, 2m and 70cms and has a built in battery pack. Other mobile radios such as the Yaesu FT-857D, FT-897D and Icom IC-706mkIIg, IC-7000 and IC-7200 are a little larger and heavier, but are also attractive transceivers for portable operations, bearing in mind that they all need a separate external power supply. All these rigs offer the HF bands plus 6m, 2m and 70cm (except the IC-7200 which misses 2m and 70cm) and with much higher power capabilities than the FT-817. Other H.F. rigs to consider are the popular Elecraft K2 or KX3 or the compact Alinco DX-SR8.

CW  -  If you're into Morse code most of the radios mentioned above will work CW, but you could also consider miniature QRP and home-brew transceivers. If you enjoy building equipment and are proud to operate 'home brew' radios then the "MTR" could be just the radio you need:

Angel, M0HDF, built the MTR (Montain Topper Radio) in 2014. This is a 3 band, 5 watt CW radio is indeed tiny! Read more on Angel's web pages here:
http://m0hdf.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/mtr-v2-sn-370-sota-dx-activation-debut.html

Mountain Topper Radio (MTR) by Angel,
                              M0HDF
Mountain Topper Radio (MTR) by Angel, M0HDF




POWER

Yuasa NP7-12 12 volt 7AH SLAB

Power can be supplied from the car or van battery if working in close proximity to the vehicle, but this might not be the best solution since there is always the possibility of flattening the battery and getting stranded! It's not a good idea to flatten a car battery anyway as this can cause damage so it's best to use a separate dedicated battery.

S.L.A.B: 
For QRP operation many operators use a compact sealed lead acid battery known as a SLAB. Typically a SLAB will need to have a capacity of around 7 Amp hours to 12 AH to provide enough power for several hours work. The battery is charged at home using a mains charger.

Yuasa produce good quality batteries while Ansmann produce suitable sealed lead acid battery chargers.

Prolific SOTA and HEMA operator Mike, 2E0YYY, made a very important point to me: "Never, ever, ever run a SLAB flat. If you get down to about 11 Volts, stop transmitting. NEVER store the battery uncharged. As soon as you finish an activation, charge it. Even if you only use the battery for an hour... Charge it. Slow charging is best, anything from 300mW  to 1.5Amp. The SLAB will give you years of service, if you follow these tips."


NiMH Battery Pack: Power could also be derived from a pack of high capacity rechargeable NiMH cells, as is demonstrated in the excellent video by Diana Eng, KC2UHB that is featured near the top of this page.
Leisure / Marine Battery
For longer or higher power use a battery with higher capacity is needed. A standard car battery is unsuitable for this type of use as it is not designed to be fully discharged and re-charged repeatedly as this type of treatment will damage the plates of an ordinary lead acid car battery, a 'leisure battery' should be used.


Leisure Battery: Leisure Batteries are also known as Marine or Motorhome Batteries and are designed with thicker plates that are more able to withstand being regularly discharged and recharged. Such a battery may have a capacity of around 75 to 110 AH. As with other rechargeable batteries a leisure battery would generally be recharged using a mains recharging system.


Deep Cycle Battery:
A true Deep Cycle Battery is more substantial than a leisure battery and are even more able to withstand regular discharge and charge cycles.


POLARITY: Always take car with the polarity of power leads and connectors when using batteries - a simple rushed mistake can be very VERY costly indeed! 30 Amp Anderson PowerPole connections are excellent for use in amateur radio. G0HWC has some good information here:
http://www.g0hwc.com/anderson-powerpole.html  The UK Supplier is Torberry Connectors:  http://www.torberry.co.uk
Anderson Powerpoles - modular polarised
                          power terminals
Anderson Powerpoles - modular polarised power terminals
Excellent information here:  http://www.g0hwc.com/anderson-powerpole.html
Manufacturer website: http://www.andersonpower.com/products/singlepole-connectors.html
UK Supplier: UK Supplier:  Torberry Connectors, 34a Aston Road, Waterlooville, Hampshire.  PO7 7XQ
 http://www.torberry.co.uk/superbasket/category/1/Single+Modular+Connectors



PORTABLE AERIALS


Supports and Poles

When operating /P a good lightweight pole or mast may be required to support the aerial. The simplest tall support might be a tree, as suggested in Diana's video (above). A lightweight and handy alternative is a telescopic fibreglass fishing pole of somewhere between 7 and 10 metres in length. The top two or three sections of a fishing will be too thin and flexible to support a substantial aerial such as a Sotabeam or the centre of a wire dipole so, for example, a 7m long telescopic fishing pole will support a Sotabeam vhf/uhf aerial at about 4m a.g.l., while a 10 metre long fishing pole will support a Sotabeam vhf/uhf aerial at about 7m a.g.l.

The full vertical length of a 7m or 10m pole could be used to support a single vertical wire of a 1/4 wave ground plane antenna or an end fed half wave antenna for HF work.

Other options would include sturdier, but heavier, aluminium or fibreglass telescopic poles or, alternatively sectional swaged poles of either aluminium or fibreglass that may be bought from suppliers such as Sandpiper, Moonraker and other well known amateur radio suppliers. These will be strong enough to support standard type vhf and uhf beam aerials, but will be heavy to carry.

Spiders or guy rings will also be required together with guy ropes, cleats and pegs that are suitable for the supports being used.



VHF and UHF AERIALS

As usual, the accepted convention for VHF and UHF is that vertical polarisation is generally used for FM while horizontal polarization is adopted for SSB working.

When working portable and 'QRP' it's especially important to ensure that both stations are using the same polarisation otherwise the resulting signal losses will be very significant indeed - typically 20dB - i.e. 1/100th of the e.r.p. compared to using the correct polarisation. I have seen cases where a signal that is almost undetectable and inaudible using the incorrect polarisation has become an easily readable S4 or S5 when both stations have matching polarisation.

Accepted Convention for VHF and UHF
FM = Vertical Polarisation
SSB = Horizontal Polarisation


Pretty much any typical 2m or 70cm aerial such as a dipole, yagi, ZL Special or 'slim jim' or other vertical etc could be used for portable operations as long as the size and weight can be accommodated. If walking, rather than driving, to a remote location such as a hill top, then a compact, easily dismantled and very lightweight aerial will be appreciated - there are some aerials that are specially designed for this purpose:


Sotabeams:
Perhaps the most famous lightweight portable aerial system is from Sotabeams - http://www.sotabeams.co.uk - the current version is the SB270 which is a 3 element beam for 2m with 6dBd gain and 6 element beam for 70cm with about 8dBd gain. The SB270 is designed to be mounted on a 7m telescopic fibreglass fishing pole at a height of 4m above ground level. The SB270 is a superb design that is very well engineered and produced. The SB270 is shown below.

Sotabeams also produce a simple lightweight dipole for 2 metres called the Multi Function Dipole MFD for when very light weight portable working is required, without the need for a directional yagi. It can easily fixed to a gate post with ties, stood upright in a back pack, or used standing in a vertical psition on the ground guyed in place with lightweight line and guy pegs. The MFD is also shown below.

SB270 from Sotabeams  SB270 from
                            Sotabeams
SB270 from Sotabeams
http://www.sotabeams.co.uk

Sotabeams MFD - Multi Function Dipole
The Multi Function Dipole - MFD - from Sotabeams
http://www.sotabeams.co.uk


Sandpiper: Sandpiper Aerial Technology produce a huge range of aerials, some of which are especially suitable for portable work. Shown below is the Sandpiper 145 / 435 Dual Band Yagi with 7.3 dBd gain on 2m and 8.9 dBd on 70cm.

Also shown are the Sandpiper Dual Band Portable and the Dual Band Open Sleeve Dipole:

Sandpiper Dual Band Yagi
Sandpiper 145 / 435 Dual Band Yagi
http://www.sandpiperaerials.co.uk

Sandpiper portable     Sandpiper Dual Band Open Sleeve
                              Dipole
Sandpiper Dual Band Portable Yagi and Dual Band Open Sleeve Dipole
http://www.sandpiperaerials.co.uk

Lam Fox JS270 dual band 2m & 70
                              cms portable yagi aerial
Lam Fox JS270 dual band 2m & 70 cms portable yagi aerial
uncannily similar to the Sandpiper yagi (could be made by Sandpiper?)
http://www.lamcommunications.net



SIMPLE H.F. AERIALS


Norcal Doublet: A simple, easy to erect, portable HF antenna might be a doublet aerial, as described by the NORCAL QRP Club. This is a simple aerial fed from an ATU and balun via twin feeder for low loss. As described, the Norcal Doublet is 44 feet long i.e. 22 feet per leg. The Norcal Doublet is made from a length of 4 conductor computer cable, but other methods could be used. The ends could be supported by nearby trees, and/or the centrepiece could be supported by a lightweight fibreglass telescopic pole.

If using a
telescopic fibreglass fishing pole to support the centre of the aetial, fix the centre of the doublet at the bottom of the top section, or the bottom of the next section down for more stability and guy the pole using light tension so that the pole sections do not collapse.

Norcal HF Doublet -
                            http://www.norcalqrp.org/norcaldoublet.htm
The Norcal Doublet by
Doug Hendricks KI6DS, Jim Duffey KK6MC/5 and Dennis Foster KK5PY

Norcal HF Doublet -
                            http://www.norcalqrp.org/norcaldoublet.htm
Norcal HF Doublet - http://www.norcalqrp.org/norcaldoublet.htm
Fishing swivels (American Snap Swivels) are used on this antenna as a fixing method.

Norcal HF Doublet -
                        http://www.norcalqrp.org/norcaldoublet.htm
The wire ends are connected to the balanced line terminals on the
a.t.u. or to a separate balun, see this link:
http://www.norcalqrp.org/norcaldoublet.htm
and the "Crappie Pole" antenna:
http://www.norcalqrp.org/crappieantenna.htm



Link or Fan Dipole:
A lightweight Link Dipole or Fan Dipole could also be suspended with the help of a nice telescopic fibreglass pole, or other support, at its centre. If using a telescopic fibreglass fishing pole fix the centre of the dipole at the bottom of the top section, or the bottom of the next section down for more stability and guy the pole using light tension so that the pole sections do not collapse. With a link dipole the bands are selected by connecting, or disconnecting the jumpers to lengthen or shorten the dipole to make it resonant on a particular band. A fan dipole has a number of dipoles arranged in a 'fan' each cut to be resonant on a different band.

Fan
                          Dipole - ARRL
Multi Band Resonant Link Dipole - very efficient and simple
Ref. ARRL 
http://www.arrl.org/



"Band Hopper"

A commercial version of a link dipole antenna is available to buy direct from SOTA Beams: The 'Band Hopper' link dipole H.F. antenna:

SOTAbeams Band Hopper Link Dipole H.F.
                          Antenna
Buy a complete Band Hopper H.F. Antenna from SOTAbeams
SOTAbeams Band Hopper Link Dipole H.F. Antenna



Delta Loop: A great multi-band aerial!

Using fibreglass fishing poles
(
Sota Poles) again. Two 7 metre long poles can be erected in an inverted V shape and used to support a 20 metre delta loop which will be useable on 20m to 10m and also adaptable for use on the 40 metre band.

The two aerial wires used are connected directly to a 4:1 balun which is, in turn, connected to an ATU such as the Z-11 Pro or Z-100 via coaxial cable. See
this page which shows the W6ZO delta loop to get for the general idea of what will be achieved. The finished aerial will be very much like the commercially available DMV-Pro.

W6ZO Delta Loop - 40m to 10m
W6ZO Delta Loop - fed with 4:1 Balun - 40m to 10m
http://www.fros.com/KI0GU/w6zodelta.htm

Even simpler would be to use one single post or pole as a support. A loop consisting of a 17 metre length of thin antenna wire, for example, will work well from 17 metres to 10 metres. My own loop is made from an 18 metre length of wire and can work from 30 metres to 6 metres with the lowest VSWR of 1.9 being in the 20 metre band. Performance will depend on height and orientation.

Feeding the loop at the top or bottom will give horizontal polarisation, while placing the feed point on the side will give vertical polarisation. Ideally a loop should be fed with balanced line back to the transceiver, connected to a balanced line ATU or other ATU using a 4:1 balun. Alternatively use a 4:1 balun at the antenna end and run 50 ohm coax back to the ATU / txvr - though losses will be greater doing it by this method if the coaxial cable is quite long.

A loop should be really very easy to install using a single support pole and very cheap too! All that's needed is the supporting pole, some cheap wire, a 4:1 balun which can be 'home brewed' and some thin cord and insulators.


Multi Band Delta
                          Loop using 4:1 balun at feedpoint
Diagram from the excellent article by W5SDC
http://w5sdc.net/delta_loop_for_hf.htm


Band
Length of antenna wire at
mid band in metres
10
10.617
12
12.282
15
14.432
17
16.90
20
21.502
30
29.622
40
42.842
80
82.234
160
161.223



A Multi Band Wire DX Loop Antenna by KC8AON

http://www.i1wqrlinkradio.com/antype/ch10/chiave1827.htm




Long Wire: A fibreglass telescopic fishing pole (Sota Pole) can be used to support a long wire, end fed, aerial. A wire that is a 3/8th wavelength for the lowest frequency of operation can be used as the radiator, fed against a counterpoise wire of the same length run out along the ground.

The aerial wire is suspended in an inverted V shape
, attached to the pole at the bottom of the top section, or the bottom of the next section down for more stability and guy the pole using light tension so that the pole sections do not collapse.

Long Wire aerial sopprted by a 'Sota
                          Pole'

Sotabeams
( http://www.sotabeams.co.uk ) suggest that a wire of 42 feet (approx 12.8 -14 meters) will be ideal for efficient portable use on 40 metres and up when using most types of A.T.U. as it presents a moderate impedance on most bands. Sota Beams pdf Leaflet 

The complete Bandspringer antenna is available to but at a modest price from SOTAbeams:

SOTAbeams Bandspringer H.F. Antenna
Buy a complete Bandspringer H.F. Antenna from SOTAbeams
Covers 40m through to 10m with most A.T.U's.




End Fed Half Wave Antenna

Allan Copland, GM1SXX very helpfully comments: "....There are many choices and permutations, but in general, dipoles are centre fed at a point of current maximum (and minimum voltage). A normal dipole is current fed but of course can be voltage fed instead. This is what’s done in the End Fed Half Wave Antenna, or Fuchs aerial, where a resonant half wave wire is fed at one end (max voltage / min current) from an L/C tank, against a very short counterpoise wire.

The End Fed Half Wave Antenna (EFHWA) is fed at a voltage node via a parallel resonant circuit against a ‘short counterpoise’, it is a favourite of backpackers and outdoor types.  It can be considered as a half wave dipole that’s end-fed at a voltage node rather than the current node, as is more usual. This is a very handy arrangement for portable QRP work."

EFHWA Link: http://www.aa5tb.com/efha.html



End
                          Fed Half Wave Antenna by AA5TB
End Fed Half Wave Antenna by AA5TB
http://www.aa5tb.com/efha.html

How-To: Make a multiband EFHWA for amateur ham radio by Diana Eng:

http://blog.makezine.com/2010/03/09/make-a-multiband-end-fed-half-wavel/




W3EDP Antenna


W3EDP Antenna
Frank, G3YCC comments on his website: The W3EDP needs a simple matching unit is needed to couple the wire to the rig and a counterpoise is required for some bands, however there is room for experimentation. It has been shown that different lengths or removal of the counterpoise altogether, can improve performance, as described in RadCom, August 1996 by G3LCK.

The Tuning capacitor in the AMU can be a 365 - 500pF broadcast type or a miniature version is OK for QRP use.

Counterpoise lengths: 3.5 & 7.0Mhz - 17ft ; 14Mhz - 6.5ft ; 28Mhz - none

Tuning Unit: Values for coils in the unit, based on a 2 inch former and 16 swg wire:
3.5Mhz 21 turns ; 7.0Mhz 7 turns ; 14.0Mhz - 5 turns.

K3HRN Notes: "Some folks have told me the modifications below make the antenna something other than a W3EDP. I can tell you that it works very well with 5 watts. Create a "bundle" of counterpoise wires, 1/4 wave length for each band you will use. Attach the bundle to the tuner in place of the counterpoise pictured above. Be cautious, 1/4 wave length elements can have high RF voltages present, even at QRP power levels. I've been able to work 160-10, including WARC bands with this type of antenna".




Off Centre Fed Dipole (OCFD) - Windom Antenna

The "Windom Antenna" was described by Loren G. Windom W8GZ. It could be an ideal wire aerial for use in restricted spaces for multi-band operation. It may also be an good candidate for portable work.

It is a wire antenna, similar to a dipole, but unlike a dipole or doublet which is fed at the exact centre, a Windom or Off Centre Fed Dipole, as the name suggests, has the feed point off center. Current versions of the Windom have a balun at the feed point which is fed with coaxial cable. As with all aerials the aerial should be as high as possible. With the feed point at between 20 and 40 feet above ground the typical claimed impedance will be somewhere in the region of 200 Ohms so a 4:1 balun will typically be required. At greater heights, and depending upon the exact position of the feed point, the impedance may be higher and a 5:1 or 6:1 balun might be a better choice although balun losses will be greater.

The point at which a Windom is fed in the original design, which used an open wire to feed the aerial, was 15 percent off-centre. The current designs, which are fed with coaxial cable, are typically fed about 33 percent off centre, so one leg is 67 percent of the total length and the other leg is 33 percent of the overall length of the aerial.


The bands that are covered depends upon the overall length of the aerial:

11 metres long (approx) should cover 20m, 15m and 10m and the WARC bands with a tuner.

21 metres long (approx) should cover 40m, 20m, 15m and the 10m bands and WARC with a tuner.

41 metres long (approx) should cover 80m, 40m, 20m, 15m and 10m and WARC with a tuner.

80 metres long (approx) should cover 160m, 80m, 40m, 20m, 15m and 10m and WARC with a tuner.

Cut the aerial for the lowest band to be used. In imperial measurements using a familiar formula:
The longer leg will be 468 divided by the frequency and multiplied by .67 = length in feet
The shorter leg will be 468 divided by the frequency and multiplied by .36 = length in feet

Given the fairly simple formula it should be quite easy to make an OCFD Windom - however a Windom can be purchased at very reasonable cost commercially, for example from M0CVO at http://m0cvoantennas.webs.com

Windom
                        design - Buckmaster




Resonant H.F. Vertical: A telescopic fibreglass (not carbon fibre) fishing pole makes a great support for a lightweight VHF or UHF aerial or a doublet or dipole, but it can also be used to make a very effective vertical for HF. e.g. a 10m long fishing pole could support a vertical wire of 10 metres in length, approximately the correct length for a resonant antenna for the 7 MHz band. The aerial feeder would be connected to a connection point at the base of the pole along with a 10 metre long counterpoise run out along the ground away from the base.

Similarly a vertical aerial for the 14 MHz band would have a vertical radiator approximately 5.5 metres long and for the 18 MHz band the wire for the vertical radiator would be about 3.9 metres long etc.

Maybe more ground radial wires could be used for a more effective ground-plane.


Non-resonant broadband antenna - "Untenna" ?
Alternatively a non-resonant design could be employed using a 10 metre radiator and 10 metre counterpoise fed to the ATU by a 9:1 unun at the aerial's base - commercial examples are available from GWhip Antenna Products and ProAntennas - similar to the non resonant Comet CHA250B design. This arrangement may not be as efficient as a resonant aerial due to quite considerable power losses on most bands, but at least it could get one on the air from 80m to 10m.

Martin G8JNJ, suggests that a slightly better way to home-brew a broadband HF aerial might be to cut a vertical aerial for about 8.5 MHz, i.e. not a resonant 1/4 wave on any amateur band, but optimised to present a moderate impedance on as many bands as possible. In which case the vertical wire would be about 8.8 metres long, working against the counterpoise, and fed to the a.t.u. via an unun - perhaps 6:1 or 9:1
- this is all open to further research and experimentation! See
http://g8jnj.webs.com/currentprojects.htm.

G0KYA has also written a couple of interesting pieces about using a 9:1 unun and a length of wire. He found that a wire length of 19.8 metres offered a good compromise for a multi band aerial. Read G0KYA's blog here:  http://g0kya.blogspot.com/search/label/antennas

Interestingly 2W0SAK of Snowdonia Radio Company recommended an antenna wire length of 7.13 metres with their 9:1 unun - or for better efficiency a wire that is 19.8 metres long which would be run out as a horizontal wire. Both the 7.12 m and 19.8 metre lengths should cover the 80m to 10m bands.

G-Whip supply the excellent WideBander antenna that uses a very high quality 9:1 UnUn for best efficiency together with a 17 metre long radiator wire, see below.



Commercially Available Portable Antennas

Half Wave End Fed Zepp Antennas
G-Whip single band End Fed Zepps are resonant, mono band antennas available for 4 6 10 12 15 17 20 and 40 metres and employ top quality construction techniques.

G
                          WHIP "EFZ" - High efficiency,
                          resonant, mono band half wave End Fed Zepp
                          antenna
G WHIP "EFZ" - High efficiency, resonant, mono band half wave End Fed Zepp antenna
http://www.gwhip.co.uk


Multi-Band non-resonant antenna using an UnUn: G-Whip WideBander

G-WHIP WideBander Antenna
G-WHIP WideBander Antenna
http://www.gwhip.co.uk


Sandpiper Aerial Technology offer a huge range of aerials at a very reasonable cost such as the Sandpiper Buttie Pole or Walkabout MkII and others. Sandpiper products are usually good value. http://www.sandpiperaerials.co.uk

Moonraker have a wide range of antennas available that may be worth investigating.
http://www.moonrakerukltd.com


Some commercially made aerials can be very expensive indeed, but other options might include the TW2010 from Transworld Antennas, The Sigma 5 from Force12 and aerials from SuperAntennas. ProAntennas offer the interesting DMV-Pro and the I-Pro (similar to the Sigma5 and TW2010), or well known GWhip products for example. Many other portable antenna products are available - just check out your local ham radio emporium.

More Links: I have put some links further down this page here.

ProAntennas I-Pro antenna
ProAntennas I-Pro antenna
http://www.proantennas.co.uk/


More Ideas:

Field Deployable Antennas by Eric McFadden WD8RIF : http://home.frognet.net/~mcfadden/wd8rif/field-antennas.htm#w3edp



ANTENNA TUNING UNIT  -  A.T.U.
LDG
                        Z-11 Pro
Depending on the type of HF aerial being used an ATU may be required. LDG make some excellent automatic ATUs that are very compact and lightweight an that have extremely low power consumption making them ideal for battery operated portable operation.

Examples of compact lightweight ATU's include the LDG Z-11 ProII and LDG Z-100 Pro.

Visit the LDG website at: http://www.ldgelectronics.com


Elecraft T1 autotunerElecraft offer the very compact T1 autotuner which measures only 5 x 3 x 1 inches.

The T1’s 7-inductor, 7-capacitor L-network provides a wide matching range, and its re-tune time from memory is just 1 to 2 seconds and can be used with any 0.5-W to 20-W transceiver covering bands in the 160-6 m range. This includes kits, home-built rigs, and commercial transceivers such as the FT-817, IC703, Ten-Tec Argonaut, SG2020, etc. More information from http://www.elecraft.com


MFJ also produce some very small manual ATUs that are ideal for /P. Examples are the MFJ-901B, MFJ-902B, MFJ-902H, MFJ-904, MFJ-904H, MFJ-941E, MFJ-945E. http://www.mfjenterprises.com



MFJ 945E Antenna Tuning Unit
MFJ 945E Mobile Antenna Tuning Unit


BALUNS or UNUNS

Small compact antenna tuning units such as the LDG Z11 Pro or MFJ 945E, for example, do not have a built in 4:1 balun. Depending on the type of aerial being used a balun (or unun) may well be needed and so should be added to the equipment list.

A resonant dipole or doublet fed with twin lead for lightness will need a 4:1 balun at the ATU. Alternatively a simple vertical (random length) wire up the 7 metre tall fishing pole with a counterpoise run along the ground could be used. Such an aerial would then an Unun as a more appropriate matching device.

To save having to carry both a 4:1 balun and a 4:1 unun, I decided to make a combined Balun / UnUn unit housed in a small plastics case measuring a mere 76mm x 50mm x 28mm. Since an Unun is merely a balun with the PL259 socket wired in reverse it seemed logical to make an impedance transformer with two SO239 sockets, one wired as a Balun for doublet antennas and the other wired as an UnUn configuration for unbalanced antenna wires.

As a quick test I fixed a 7.2 metre length of wire to my fishing pole, supported vertically, and ran out a similar length of counterpoise wire. Connected to the Baln/Unun unit with the coaxial feeder connected to the UnUn socket, I could obtain an easy match using my MFJ-945E on 40m; 17m; 15m; 12m and 10 metres. Surprisingly 20 metres was a more tricky band, the best SWR that could be obtained using the ATU was about 1.5 on this band. No doubt with a bit more experimentation I will find a more suitable length for the radiator wire for the, admittedly compromised, but easy to erect antenna.

If using a twin lead fed doublet antenna then the coaxial cable is plugged in to the other socket so that the Balun configuration is used.

Combined 4:1 Balun and 4:1 Unun by
                                M0MTJ
Combined 4:1 Balun and 4:1 Unun
4:1 Balun wiring
                                            diagram
4:1 Balun wiring diagram     
4:1 Unun wiring diagram
    4:1 Unun wiring diagram

For further constructional details please see my Projects page here >.

The top socket is used when using the unit as a 4:1 Balun while the second socket, mounted on the side of the case, and is wired for use as a 4:1 Unun. Swap the coaxial cable that connects to the ATU between these two SO239 sockets depending on the type of antenna being used. When used with a balanced antenna the twin feeder connects to the two binding posts (red and green) either way around; When used with an unbalanced antenna, such as described above, the radiating wire connects to the red terminal post while the counterpoise or earth wire connects to the green terminal.

The materials used suggest that the unit should handle >100 watts which should be ample for portable low power use of perhaps around 10 watts to 50 watts. Read more constructional details here >



CONNECTORS - FEEDER - CABLE

Ensure that the necessary feeders and cables are available along with any adapters that will be needed such as
BNC to SMA, BNC to PL259, PL250 to N type or PL259 to SMA etc. The necessary power cables and PowerPole connectors or adapters.



Small A5 Clip Board for portable log
                          book

Small 'home brew' A5 Clip Board for portable log book using lightweight plastic board

ACCESSORIES & OTHER EQUIPMENT

Vango 60 litre + 10 litre
                          backpack / rucksack
Equipment Check List   -   Download & print example Check List document

Pencils & Pens.

Log Book   -   Download & print example /P log book document

Clip Board. I made my 'home brew' clip board from an off cut of thin but strong plastic modellers board - it's slightly larger than A5 size to make writing at the bottom of the page easier. The log sheets are A4 folded in half to make them A5 size, with the (blue) headings repeated half way down the sheet. The transparent plastic cover is simply a standard A4 plastic wallet which helps protect the paper from the elements and is held in place by a couple of small 'Bulldog' clips. Pencils are better when its damp.

Clock or Watch - preferably digital set to UTC / GMT.


A suitably capacious Backpack, Daypack, Rucksack.

Rucksack liner for water protection. This can also be used to store things in while the backpack is used to hold the transceiver to protect it from the elements - or vise versa.

Rain cover for backpack / rucksack.

Protective (lightweight) case for transceiver - lightweight aluminium or small strong plastic storage box that can be lined with protective foam for padding.


Headphones - use headphones so as to not disturb nearby people who want to enjoy peace & quiet.

Morse Key for CW.


Velcro Straps; Hook & Loop Tape; Nylon Cord / Para Cord; Cleats such as Clam Cleats Line-Lok guy runners; Small Bungees.

Ground Spike, Counterpoise wires as necessary. Perhaps a VSWR / Power Meter if the a.t.u. does not have one. Balun or UnUn as necessary; Fishing swivels (American Snap Swivels Size 2) can be useful.

Foam Seat Pad for comfort.

Small ground sheet.

Tools needed for erecting aerials and adjusting aerial wires making or repairing cables for example: Mallet, Pliers, Screwdrivers, wire cutter, pen knife etc.

3 x 3 metre tarp by DD HammocksOther things: Camera with mini tripod; Very lightweight camping chair & picnic table to rest on;  Perhaps some kind of shelter - tarp or basha / bivvy or bivouac / tent / spiked fishing umbrella (?) /car / van / caravan / motor home etc. (N.B. Vehicles cannot be used to operate from during SOTA or Summitsbase award schemes and the use of tents is discouraged. More about SOTA here).

Don't Forget: Suitable warm & protective clothing - waterproofs, boots, jumpers, hat, scarf etc. Map and Compass; GPS / Satellite Navigation; Torch; Matches; Water & Food; First Aid Kit; Whistle; Mobile Telephone.



Tarps and Tents : http://www.backpackinglight.co.uk/page112.asp        How To Build Tarp Shelters - http://www.equipped.org/tarp-shelters.htm

Tips on How To Build Tarp Shelters : http://www.ddhammocks.com/tips/tarp-tutorial        Video : How to build a bivouac shelter

Tarps for sale : http://www.ddhammocks.com/products

Line-Lok guy runners from
                                  ClamCleats
Line-Lok guy runners from
                                  ClamCleats
Line-Lok guy runners from ClamCleats  -  fantastic for guying antenna masts quickly and successfully
http://www.cleats.co.uk                                          http://www.clamcleat.com


Nylon Hose Clamps - Nylon Clips
Nylon Hose Clamps - Nylon Clips
Reusable Nylon Hose Clip / Reusable Circular Clamps
Useful for securing telescopic fibreglass poles
- e.g. holding each
section in place in windy weather or to use as a guying ring (spider)
(Herbie Clips)  (Kaf-flex Nylon Clamps)
http://www.malpasonline.co.uk
http://news.thomasnet.com
http://www.hclfasteners.co.uk/acatalog/Herbie-Clip.html
http://www.cheapham.com/products/S9V31-Replacement-Clamps.html



SOME USEFUL LINKS
and SOME MORE VIDEOS....



Richard Newstead G3CWI of Sotabeams demonstrates
how to erect an H.F. field antenna in under two minutes!
http://www.sotabeams.co.uk



Operating H.F. QRP From A Campsite
with KA1YBS




How To: Backpack QRP HF Portable With The Yaesu FT-817



Portable QRP Operating with the Yaesu FT-817
from KI4KSY




LINKS to suppliers and other information:


SOTA - Summits On The Air. Qualifying SOTA Summits are 'Marilyns' i.e. hills / summits with at least 150 metres prominence:
http://www.sota.org.uk/

SOTA Summits: http://www.sotawatch.org/summits.php

SOTA WATCH:
http://www.sotawatch.org/


Humps Excluding Marilyns Awards (HEMA) - Summitsbase Awards. HuMPS
= Hundred Metre Prominence. Therefore qualifying hills must have at least a 100 metre prominence but must not be SOTA Summits (i.e. not Marilyns): http://www.summits.org.uk    ("HOTA, Humps On The Air")

Find SOTA Summits and HuMPS on the Summitsbase Wiki: http://www.summits.org.uk/Summits

WOTA - Wainwrights On The Air - summits in the Lake District - http://www.wota.org.uk/

The Mountains of England and Wales:  http://www.hill-bagging.co.uk/index.php

The Saturday Walkers Club map of Marilyns and Humps: http://www.walkingclub.org.uk/hills/humps_map.shtml

Choosing a backpack for SOTA: http://kd0bik.com/sota/

30 Things to include in your survival pack :  /30-things-to-include-in-your-wilderness-survival-pack/



ACCESSORIES

Line-Lok guy runners for support pole guy ropes by ClamCleats: http://www.cleats.co.uk         http://www.clamcleat.com/cleats/cleats.asp?menuid=7

Reusable circular nylon clips / reusable hose clamps / Herbie Clips / Kaf-Flex Clips: http://www.malpasonline.co.uk  http://news.thomasnet.com
- good for securing telescopic fibreglass poles or making guying rings. http://www.hclfasteners.co.uk/acatalog/Herbie-Clip.html Also try ebay.
http://www.cheapham.com/products/S9V31-Replacement-Clamps.html
http://rotocon.homestead.com/shoponline2.html
http://www.vehicle-wiring-products.eu/VWP-onlinestore/hoses/hoses.php
http://export.rsdelivers.com/product/rs/nylon-66-plastic-hose-clip-65-79mm/0291587.aspx
http://www.modelfixings.co.uk/ties_and_clamps.htm



Portable Power

Sealed Lead Acid Batteries and Deep Cycle Leisure Batteries & Chargers

MDS Battery: http://www.mdsbattery.co.uk

Hardware Express for Ansmann chargers and Yuasa, Ritar & CSB s.l.a.b. batteries: http://www.hardwarexpress.co.uk


Tayna:  http://www.tayna.co.uk


Alternative Energy Store: http://www.alternativeenergystore.co.uk



Backpacks - Rucksacks - Bothy Bags - Tents - Tarps & Bashas or Military Ponchos to make Bivouacs, Bivvys or Shelters

Resources:

Summit Bothy Bags from SOTAbeams

Tarps and Tents : http://www.backpackinglight.co.uk/page112.asp3 x 3 metre tarp by DD Hammocks

How To Build Tarp Shelters - http://www.equipped.org/tarp-shelters.htm

Rigging A Tarp Tent - http://www.youtube.com  &   http://www.youtube.com/watch

Tips on How To Build Tarp Shelters : http://www.ddhammocks.com/tips/tarp-tutorial

Video : How to build a bivouac shelter

North West Woodsman - Tips, info' & products - http://nwwoodsman.com/Articles/Articles.html

Tarps for sale : http://www.ddhammocks.com/products3 x 3 metre tarp by DD Hammocks

Backpacking Tips - http://www.easybackpackingtips.com/



Outdoor Equipment Manufacturers:

DD Hammocks Tarps & Hammocks - http://www.ddhammocks.com/products

Vango Tents & Outdoors - http://www.vango.co.uk

Coleman Tents & Outdoors - http://www.coleman.eu

Gelert Tents & Outdoors - http://www.gelert.com
Vango 60 litre +
                            10 litre backpack / rucksack
Outwell Tents - http://www.outwell.com


Outdoor Equipment Suppliers:

Summits Online - http://www.summits.co.uk/

Anchor Supplies - http://www.anchorsupplies.com/tents.html - Ex Government & Military Surplus

Sky Blue Leisure - http://www.skyblueleisure.co.uk

Backpacking Light - http://www.backpackinglight.co.uk
High Gear 2 person
                          tent 'festival tent'
Outdoor & Commando Shop - http://www.meanandgreen.com

Green Man Bushcraft - http://www.greenmanbushcraft.co.uk

Cheap basic tarps - http://www.clarketooling.co.uk/tools/Tarpaulins.html

http://www.tarpaflex.co.uk/acatalog/army-camouflage-tarpaulins.html

Cheap basic tarps & Backpacks etc - http://www.surplusandadventure.com/...woodland-camouflage-tarpaulins

The Family Tent Shop - http://www.thefamilytentshop.com

Singers Outdoors - http://www.singersoutdoors.co.uk

Outdoor World Direct - http://www.outdoorworlddirect.co.uk

Go Outdoors - http://www.gooutdoors.co.uk

Cheap Tents - http://www.cheaptents.com
High Gear Neutron
                          lightweight 2 person tent
World of Tents - http://www.worldoftents.co.uk

Millets - http://www.millets.co.uk

Outdoor World - http://www.outdoorworld.co.uk

Tents Direct - http://www.tents-direct.co.uk
Line-Lok guy runners from ClamCleats
The Outdoor Shop - http://www.theoutdoorshop.com

Clam Cleats - http://www.clamcleat.com     http://www.cleats.co.uk



VHF / UHF Antennas

SOTA Beams - portable VHF and UHF antennas.telescopic poles and useful amateur radio accessories: http://www.sotabeams.co.uk

Sandpiper Aerial Technology offer various 2m, 4m, 6m and 70cms aerials including ZL Special: http://www.sandpiperaerials.co.uk

Moonraker offer various aerials for 2m, 4m, 6m and 70cms including ZL Special aerials: http://www.moonrakerukltd.com

Homebrew VHF antenna: http://www.vhfman.freeuk.com/radio/antennas.html

Portable 2 metre - 145 MHz - Pocket Beam by Richard Price BSc, MSc, GW0VMW :
http://mw0idx.co.uk/2mPortPockBeamGW0VMW.html

Homebrew horizontally polarized 2 metre halo stack: http://www.kr1st.com/2mhalo.htm

Homebrew horizontally polarized 70cms halo stack: http://www.kr1st.com/70cmstack.htm


Cables - Feeder - Patch Leads - Adapters

W H Westlake: http://www.whwestlake.co.uk/


Poles and Supports

'Sota Poles' - lightweight telescopic fibreglass fishing poles available from: http://www.sotabeams.co.uk

Tecadi - for heavy duty fibreglass pole sets: http://www.tecadi.de

Sandpiper Aerial Technology offer various supports: http://www.sandpiperaerials.co.uk

Moonraker - a range of aluminium & fibreglass poles and tripods:  http://www.moonrakerukltd.com

Skyblue Leisure: http://www.skyblueleisure.co.uk/acatalog/Telescopic_Poles.html

see: Bowmanarcher on ebay for 7 metre and 10 metre long telescopic fibreglass 'roach poles'


Portable HF Antennas

LDG Auto Antenna Tuners + baluns etc - excellent products:  http://www.ldgelectronics.com

GWhip Antenna Products:  http://www.gwhip.co.uk

Norcal Doublet Antenna:  http://www.norcalqrp.org/norcaldoublet.htm

The Norcal "Crappie Pole" antenna: http://www.norcalqrp.org/crappieantenna.htm

How-To: Make a multiband EFHWA for amateur ham radio by Diana Eng: http://blog.makezine.com/2010/03/09/make-a-multiband-end-fed-half-wavel/

The End Fed Half Wave Antenna by Steve Yates - AA5TB : http://www.aa5tb.com/efha.html

Field Deployable Antennas by William Eric McFadden: http://home.frognet.net/~mcfadden/wd8rif/field-antennas.htm

Sandpiper Aerial Technology offer various portable antenna options: http://www.sandpiperaerials.co.uk

Moonraker antennas:  http://www.moonrakerukltd.com

ProAntennas:  http://www.proantennas.co.uk

ProWhip Antennas: http://www.prowhipantennas.co.uk/

N4JTE Ribbon (fan) Dipole Design:  http://n4jte.blogspot.com/2009/04/n4jte-6-band-ribbon-antenna-35.html

More ideas on the Antennas 4 page and more links on the links page here and here


QRP Antenna Ideas

Field Deployable Antennas: http://home.frognet.net/~mcfadden/wd8rif/field-antennas.htm

Portable Antenna on a fibreglass pole: http://www.amqrp.org/projects/crappie/crappie.htm

Reflective Sky - QRP Portable: http://www.reflectivesky.co.uk/qrp.html

Adventure Radio - http://adventureradio.wordpress.com/portable/


4 Metre Transverters

Spectrum Communications: http://www.spectrumcomms.co.uk


4 Metre Tranceivers

Spectrum Communications are the British suppliers of the former GAREX range of products; Transceivers, PMR radios plus Patch Leads, Components, Aerials, and VHF UHF Accessories. http://www.spectrumcomms.co.uk/  (Formerly http://www.garex.co.uk )


Portable Transceivers

Yaesu
FT-60, VX-6R, FT-817 or FT-857D or FT-897D etc:
Yaesu UK: http://www.yaesu.co.uk  Yaesu America: http://www.yaesu.com  Vertex Standard Japan: http://www.vxstd.com 

Icom IC-E90, IC-703, IC-706mkIIG, IC-7000, IC-7200 etc:
Icom UK: http://www.icomuk.co.uk    Icom America: http://www.icomamerica.com   Icom Japan: http://www.icom.co.jp

Alinco: Alinco UK: http://www.alinco.co.uk   Alinco USA: http://www.alinco.com   Alinco Japan: http://www.alinco.com

Kenwood:  Kenwood UK: http://www.kenwood-electronics.co.uk  Kenwood USA: http://www.kenwoodusa.com

Elecraft:  A range of popular high performance transceivers such as the K2 and KX3:  http://www.elecraft.com


Amateur Radio Dealers

See our links page here: Suppliers







Mike Smith - MDS975.co.uk © 2003 - 2016





M0MTJ
Subjects covered on this page:
Portable Operating /P ; Summits On The Air ; SOTA ; Humps Excluding Marilyns Awards or HEMA ; ("HOTA" "HuMPS On The Air")
Amateur Radio; Ham Radio; Radio; Transceivers; HF; VHF; UHF;
Antennas ; Aerials ; Cable ; Coaxial Cable ; Twin Lead ; Masts ; Poles ; Tents ; Tarps ; Bivvys
Headphones ; Morse Key ; SWR ; Antennas ; Inverted V ; Dipole ; Doublet ; Norcal





09/08/2012