CQ CQ... This is a question for amateur radio operators with fiberglass trailers. I have seen a few of you on this forum, but to the rest of you, this might sound like Greek because of the “ham speak.”
I hope to operate portable 40-2 meters from a Scamp 16
and I am looking at antenna options. I have poked around on a few other web sites for suggestions but found most discussions were centered on larger motor homes. Of course, fiberglass trailers present some unique issues for HF operation.
I have not been on the air for about 15 years until this summer. At home, I just put up a half size G5RV dipole (which, despite its name, will not work with RVs
We all know the G5RV is a compromise antenna with serious shortcomings, but I have been quite happy with it, making a number of DX contacts. With the auto-tuner, it’s a simple matter to work all bands (40-10), and similar simplicity is what I am aiming for in the Scamp
No mobile operation is contemplated, only stationary. I was thinking of using the 2-inch hitch (bike rack) receiver on the back of the camper to mount a mast. I do not want a setup that requires guy wires. Instead, I was thinking that a bracket on the spare tire carrier would be sufficient for a small HF antenna in normal weather. I will be using an Icom IC-7200
(100 watts max) and maybe the companion LDG Auto tuner
I considered mounting a screwdriver antenna
above the camper on the mast for some reduction in RF exposure but as I understand it, the screwdriver would then need ground radials or a counterpoise. I doubt the body and frame of the scamp
would be effective for that, and I do not want to bother with running wires every time I deploy.
I thought maybe I would forget about the mast and use a TW antenna
on the ground, but in small campsites it might not be a good fit, and it could become an attractive nuisance at a campground. It is also quite expensive.
Next on my radar was the Buddiepole
. This one seems like it would be a good solution on a hitch receiver mounted mast up about eleven feet or more. But the Buddipole requires changing taps for each band, which I do quite often. If the antenna was at 11 feet, I would not be able to reach it to change the taps. Looks like it performs very well if you spend the time to tweak it however, one reviewer said, “Setting it up takes time to do it right” and another said, “is very difficult to tune.” I do like that it can cover all bands.. even 2 meters. Still I wonder if there is something easier to use so now I am leaning back in the direction of a screwdriver with radials, or maybe a BuddieStick
. Seems its going to be a bit of a pain to set up anything that works reasonably well.
Maybe I should forgo 40 meters and just use a 20-meter dipole, inverted V style with the center on the top of the mast. Then again, it seems like there are often too many trees in the way to do that.
So I am open to suggestions.
The Shelby (NC) hamfest
is this weekend so I will be looking for an antenna there at a fair price.
My wants and needs for this portable antenna are:
• 20 / 15 /10 meters at the minimum (40 and 6 would be nice too)
• Less than 10 minutes to set up.
• Limits exposure to RF both to operator in the dinette and any curious passerbyers.
• Reasonably compact and lightweight
PS, I am also out of the loop (so to speak) when it comes to logging. Any suggestions for logging software that is both eQSL and LOTW compatible, and is a good general purpose logger but at least OK for contests. I am leaning toward DXLabs suite of software. However, I used Winlog32 in the past so the learning curve would be less with it.