Most of my radio activity is done operating portable. And my favorite portable activity is POTA, or Parks on the Air. I like to keep several different antenna options with me at all times. Below is the contents of my portable antenna kit.
THE BNC COIL, V. 2
(For a copy of the plans to build your own coil, click on the picture to be taken to the downloads page)
My 'go-to' antenna, and easily my favorite! This loading coil was dubbed "The BNC Coil" by some members of the POTA Facebook group. The very first HF antenna that I purchased was a well known portable, bottom loaded, vertical antenna. While it worked well, there were some
40 - 20 METER TRAP DIPOLE
This is my newest antenna, a 40-20 meter trapped dipole kit from Pacific Antennas. I prefer to build my antennas, and this is only 1 or maybe 3 that I have purchased rather than build. But I was intrigued by their trap design, so I wanted to try one. At around 52' overall, it is much more compact than a 40m dipole, and allows instant band switching between the two bands.
40 METER END FED HALF WAVE
The end fed half wave is probably my favorite wire antenna. 40, 20, 15 and 10 meters with no tuner required.
80 Meter End Fed Half Wave
Similar to the 4010 end fed half wave, this antenna is tuned to the phone portion of 75 meters. As these resonate on all odd and even harmonics, this antenna allows operation on all band 80 through 10 meters with the exception of 60 meters. I will usually set this one up instead of the 40m EFHW if I have enough room.
20 METER DELTA LOOP
This Delta Loop is a full wavelength on 20 meters. Fed at the corner, it produces vertical polarization with a takeoff angle of around 27°. Setup is in a triangle with the point at the top, meaning this needs only one support. The bottom of the antenna is about 5-6' off the ground. The antenna can be fed with a 1/4 wavelength matching stub of 75 Ohm coax, which I did initial
CENTER LOADED 40M CW VERTICAL
I wanted an antenna that I could keep with my 40 meter QCX-mini CW transceiver that would not need a tuner. After doing some math, I ended up with a center loaded vertical antenna that is tuned to the CW portion of 40 meters using the very thin and lightweight 24ga SOTABeams wire. Overall length is right at 16', and I use a SOTABeams Tactical Mini mast with it. The
35.5' END FED "RANDOM WIRE"
One of the simplest antennas I have. At 35.5', it is not resonant on any of the amateur bands. Together with a 9:1 unun (unbalanced wire to unbalanced coax transformer) a set of radials, and a tuner, this antenna is usable from 60 to 10 meters. I set it up as a vertical using the MFJ-1910 33' mast and either lashed to the hitch mount, or self-standing using 3 guy lines
I didn't purchase this one, but it is basically a Bandspringer Midi from SOTABeams that will work from 60 to 10 meters. Consists of a 42' radiator and a 42' counterpoise. Both wires run to a BNC to banana plug adapter that plugs straight into the radio. Of note, this antenna MUST be used with a tuner, so it's perfect for my G90 or KX2. Setup is something like an offcenter inv
CHAMELEON 17' STAINLESS WHIP
While I'm not a big fan of Chameleon products in general, the 17' stainless steel whip they sell is built a tank! I can set this up on a tripod, the hitch mount, or the jaws clamp (below), attach a bundle of radials, and simply collapse it down to have a resonant antenna on 20 meters and up.
JAWS-STYLE ANTENNA CLAMP
You can clamp this to almost anything! I have used it with the above 17' whip, and with my BNC coil. Attach your antenna and clamp it to a picnic table, tree branch, tent or canopy post, whatever is available, and connect you radials. Would work great with hamstick-type antennas too. About $25 off Amazon.
FIBERGLASS PUSH-UP POLES
I have 4 of these that regularly use. And like my choice of antenna at the time, the setup I'll use dictates which one I'll grab.
Left to right:
Jackite Kite Pole: 28'
SOTABeams Tactical Mini: 19.6'
Goture Fishing Rod: 21'
The MJF is the oldest and has been used the most without any issues. The Jackite is VERY well built, and I have no doubts it will stand up to