Warning: Ham Radio-related content. If that bores you, better steer clear of this post.

I don’t know what inspired me to do it, but I have undertaken the construction of a portable antenna for my Ham Radio operations. Probably just for something to do, or curiosity to see if such a small antenna can really be effective.

I usually use some method of shooting a wire up into tall trees for this type of operation, camping or just operating “Field Style” for fun. I’ve been pretty happy with the fishing-reel-on-a-slingshot method and I built a Pneumatic Launcher that can be very effective at putting a line over even the tallest of trees. I’ve also acquired some telescopic fiberglass masts (fishing poles) that work quite well as supports for vertical wires. But this design caught my eye and I decided to try it and see.

The idea come from a web page that I saw mentioned on the QRP-L email list: VE3GAM. There are commercially-made antennas that are similar, but this looked easy to make. It might be fun to try.

The idea consists of a shortened dipole on a portable mast and tripod that can be disassembled when not in use. The central portion of the antenna is built using a plastic electrical box and some aluminum tubing. Loading coils are made out of plastic PVC conduit and tapped for the various bands. Further tuning from band-to-band is done by varying the length of the ends of the dipole, which are made out of long telescopic whip antennas. Think of rabbit ears or a transistor radio antenna, but longer. Continue Reading…