Portable QRP Antenna

qrp antenna
Portable QRP Antenna - ready to deploy
Most of my operating at this point is portable - lunch time portable to be exact.  So I have tried a couple different portable QRP antennas, in my search for the best QRP antenna.

I started out with an end fed half wave - one wire cut for 40 meters and one wire cut for 20 meters.  These fed into a small matching box that I built using a schematic I found online.  The wire was either thrown up in a tree or attached to my 20 ft. collapsible fishing pole.  This worked well, but was a pain to change bands, and I only had the two bands to work.

With the KX3 I wanted to be able to work all bands without switching a wire - tuned with the internal KX3 tuner.

Doing some web surfing I found the EARCHI End Fed plans on their club website.  You can order the matching box assembled for a reasonable price - but I like to build, so I ordered the parts and built my own.

I put it in a small Radio Shack box.  This setup uses a wire that is about 30' long and can tune multiple bands.  I have tuned 40-10 meters on my KX3 - I have not tried to tune any other bands.

Then I attached this box with some wire ties to a 31' Jackite pole.  The 30' wire is just some cheap speaker wire, again from Radio Shack.

I also wire tied on some clips that are used to secure PVC conduit to the Jackite, this allows me to store the 30' wire right on the pole for easy QRP portable operation.

I bungee tie the Jackite to a bollard, tie on the wire to the eyelet and extend the pole.  Then I have about 15' of coax that screws to the match box and I run it into my car window to my operating position in the drivers seat.  This portable QRP antenna takes about 2 mintues to put up - 3 if you get the wire tangled!

How well does it work?  The only way I have to judge is that I have basically been able to work anyone that I can hear!  And that is with just 5 watts CW.  Plus it is so nice to simply use the KX3 internal tuner and easily change bands.

Here are some pictures of my QRP portable antenna...(click picture to view full size for detail)

portable qrp antenna
On the work bench - inside the box

On the bench - box closed and wire tied to pole

Ready to deploy - top of wire storage

Ready to deploy - bottom of wire storage and match box

Coax connected and wire deployed with pole extended



In operation


Typical lunch time portable operating position

best qrp antenna
Lunch time portable QRP antenna deployed


23 comments:

  1. Simple and fast to erect, great! Have you ever checked this antenna with an antenna analyzer using this set up?

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  2. Ernest - I have not actually put an analyzer on it. I will do that and let you know. I have one, but all I have used it for is to tune an antenna.

    Is there anything specific I should be looking for?

    Thanks for checking in!

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    Replies
    1. Don't check it or change anything. It will stop working.

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    2. Don't check it or change anything. It will stop working.

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  3. I wonder how that jackite pole will hold up in the winter? How sturdy has that pole been for you (I know it is pretty light weight). Would you buy that jackite pole again as a solution, or go with something else? (You can see I am debating on buying that or trying to come up with another solution.) Thanks Burke. You do a nice job of describing your work. I enjoy reading all of your articles. 73. Pat. N0YCA

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  4. Pat - thanks for the nice comments. The pole has worked perfectly for me and the way I operate. I have used it many times on my lunch time sessions - where it simply gets bungie tied to a bollard next to a parking space. I have also used it at home bungied to my deck railing. Yes, I would get another one!

    I think it will hold up fine in the cold winter we have here in Kansas - but again it is a temporary solution. I would not leave it permanently mounted to the deck railing - it just does not seem built for that type of use.

    Let me know if you have any other questions! Thanks for reading my adventures!

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  5. Would the antenna radiate better with the Unum at the top?

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  6. John - Sorry this reply is so late! I am not sure, and the reality is that it would make erection of the antenna much more complicated.

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  7. Hello Burke, I was looking for an idea to store my wire. Your idee with the PVC clips is great. Thanks for the photos. 73, Bas

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  8. Try the saint Louis vertical
    For portable.
    Do a search on line.

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  9. http://www.amqrp.org/projects/stluisvert/STLV%20Project.html
    http://www.amqrp.org/projects/stluisvert/STLV%20Updates.html

    Haven't tried it yet.

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    1. Here is another antenna you can try. Maybe if you replace this with the one fed with ladder line, and maybe you will have less noise?

      http://www.southslope.net/~kb0sk/images/zepp.pdf

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  11. Thanks for sharing, Have been using two different end fed wires 124' and 84' #14 wire for abt 3 weeks now, made the 9:1 ununS with junk box toroids and #16 enameled copper wire. Having very good results using the tuner in 756 icom pro. Operate mostly psk. 17m 20m 40m have been active with very good results, seems to tune all hf bands, 10--160.
    The most significant thing is they were VERY noisy until I used counterpoise(s). Man made and atmospheric noise was just terrible, before using counterpoise.

    kd8nv

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    1. Love to know more on these antennas and the counterpoise(especially)

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  12. Nice work. You obviously spent time thinking about it (the clamps for wire storage in transit, for example.)

    Some suggestions about using a counterpoise are very good too. I use the same set up at you do except that, on my balun, I tapped off the grounded input side with a lug to a wingnut. The wingnut on the outside of the box is for attaching a counterpoise laid out over the ground. If people are a problem, an identical element to the vertical one can be used and it's easy to push a #18 solid copper conductor up into the hollow fiberglass. That's only necessary if people are around tripping on the counterpoise. Otherwise, I just lay it out on the ground. When no people are around, I have used a guard-rail for the counterpoise. I've even used an old, abandoned railroad track -- one of the best-performers I ever tried. It was directional in two lobes extending in both directions down the tracks. hi hi. Enjoy. PS: I have a Buddipole but, even at the beach, the only configuration I like is "vertical" more than horizontal. Dipoles close to the ground have never performed for me -- like I said, even beside saltwater. 73 and CU on CW. AA4BQ - Bill

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    1. Thanks for the comments Bill! I have yet to try a counterpoise, but it is on my list of things to try. I really enjoy portable operations!

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  13. Nice work. You obviously spent time thinking about it (the clamps for wire storage in transit, for example.)

    Some suggestions about using a counterpoise are very good too. I use the same set up at you do except that, on my balun, I tapped off the grounded input side with a lug to a wingnut. The wingnut on the outside of the box is for attaching a counterpoise laid out over the ground. If people are a problem, an identical element to the vertical one can be used and it's easy to push a #18 solid copper conductor up into the hollow fiberglass. That's only necessary if people are around tripping on the counterpoise. Otherwise, I just lay it out on the ground. When no people are around, I have used a guard-rail for the counterpoise. I've even used an old, abandoned railroad track -- one of the best-performers I ever tried. It was directional in two lobes extending in both directions down the tracks. hi hi. Enjoy. PS: I have a Buddipole but, even at the beach, the only configuration I like is "vertical" more than horizontal. Dipoles close to the ground have never performed for me -- like I said, even beside saltwater. 73 and CU on CW. AA4BQ - Bill

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  14. Good little portable antenna

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