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What antenna(s) do you use for HF QRP portable operation?

Discussion in 'Antennas, Feedlines, Towers & Rotors' started by KA0HVE, Jan 22, 2013.

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  1. KA0HVE

    KA0HVE Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm getting ready for HF QRP portable operation. For antennas I'm thinking of a W3EDP and/or a long (not random) wire. For a portable tower I'm considering a push-up fiberglass mast maybe as tall as 50'.

    What do you folks use for this type of operation?
  2. ND1W

    ND1W Ham Member QRZ Page

    I made a 4 band dipole out of multi conductor ribbon type wire. Suspended either vertically, horizontally, or somewhere in between depending on available vegetation it works great!
  3. KB2FCV

    KB2FCV Ham Member QRZ Page

    I use a KX-1 as my portable QRP rig with the auto tuner. They suggest a 24-28 foot long wire antenna for the bands I want to be on, with a counterpoise of 16' for 40m. I use masons twine for the support rope. To get the antenna 'up there', I simply use a 1/2 filled water bottle. I use an underhand "swing the bottle around" that gets it up there pretty high. Using 1-2 watts I've worked into Europe and all over the US.
  4. KA0HVE

    KA0HVE Ham Member QRZ Page

    My problem is that we built our house in the middle of a hay field a few years ago and I have no trees tall enough to use. I'm in a good spot as far as elevation of surrounding land and there are not really any issues with having my line-of-sight blocked for several miles. I can use the fiberglass tower for setting up my home station as well as using it while working portable if there are not natural supports available.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2013
  5. KB2FCV

    KB2FCV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Ah, that complicates things a bit, but I remember seeing a nifty video some years back of a guy who had some sort of lightweight fiberglass collapsable mast. They used a center fed inverted V dipole. The dipole was a sloper as it also made up two of the three guy lines (it used insulators and ropes to go the rest of the way). The third guy line was a piece of rope. The mast had a simple base that steaked into the ground. One person was able to set the thing up in just a few minutes. and just pull it up by the third rope guyline. I wish I knew where the link was or where I saw it but I think you get the idea. No trees required.

    Edit: The fiberglass poles I'm thinking about are something like the Jacktite poles (telescopic), not the military surplus ones.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2013
  6. KA0HVE

    KA0HVE Ham Member QRZ Page

  7. M3KXZ

    M3KXZ XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Check out - Richard G3CWI has got some great videos on there showing how to set up HF antennas with fibreglass poles. This is the way I've always done it when there are no trees around. I tend to use a wire as an end fed inverted V, with a set of counterpoise wire on the ground where I'm sitting with the rig. Direct links to a couple of the videos: and

  8. G7DIE

    G7DIE Ham Member QRZ Page

    I use many, a miracle whip, home brew centre loaded antennas, a Buddipole, through to 1/4WL wire verticals from 10 through 40m supported on various length fibreglass fishing poles.
  9. KB2FCV

    KB2FCV Ham Member QRZ Page

    That is the video I was thinking of from my earlier post!
  10. KL7AJ

    KL7AJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have a rolled up "Shorty-Forty" I got from the inventor, W0SVM. (I think he's now a silent key). Great antenna.
  11. KC8VWM

    KC8VWM Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    For portable operation, I made a 6 band rotatable HF dipole out of some aluminum painters extension poles.

    I like it better than "wire" antennas, because you cant always find trees to install the ends of a wire antenna. The other reason is because you can rotate the dipole in different directions for better coverage and it also functions as a "flat top" antenna which also helps to improve things. No coils or traps are used in the build to reduce any losses and the antenna elements are near full sized, so I can achieve a maximized signal when working QRP power levels.

    Also, since these poles are "telescopic" by design, I can tune them to work on any band I like between 6m-20m. These aircraft quality aluminum painters extension poles are very rugged yet lightweight, cheap and they pack well too. :)

    I made the feed point using a hardware store variety PVC electrical junction box. I think the whole thing cost me around $35 bucks to construct.

    ..You need pictures? :)



    Here below it is thrown together in under 2 minutes and attached to the fence line at a park using another painters pole rigged up as a makeshift mast...

    As you can see, it wasn't very high but it had no problem working many stations that day using QRP levels...


    Hope that helps. :)
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2013
  12. K8ESE

    K8ESE Ham Member QRZ Page

    For my FT 817ND portable operation running qrp, I use a yo yo inv vee works the best!....easy to throw up and have the wire marked for the bands 40 to 6 meters....I just wind the wire to the band markings...have tried the mfj all band adj ant for the 817, miracle antenna, telescoping indiv band bnc connecter type antennas, the MP 1 super antenna, and ham stick antennas...the yo yo inverted vee is the best performing qrp portable antenna out there in my opinion...had many good solid qso s running 5 watts with it....good K8ESE Harold
  13. N3AWS

    N3AWS Ham Member QRZ Page

    I used a Yo-Yo antenna from around 2001-2004 until it had a bad encounter with a lawn mower. Now I have a Superantennas YP-3 yagi and the matching 21 foot portable mast. Definitely on the expensive side, but truely a great portable antenna system. Covers 20 - 6 meters. Assembly time is 15 - 20 minutes (and that's in Mississippi summer heat and humidity).

    73, Jim N3AWS
  14. K8JD

    K8JD Ham Member QRZ Page

    For my campground portable operation, over the last decades, I tried using some random long wire lengths thrown up in trees with a MFJ versatuner but the results were also random and the tuner sometimes would not get close to a low SWR.
    I finally cut some halfwave dipoles for my most reliable bands of 40 and 30M.
    I used light insulated wire and a length of RG58/u coax, some heavy twine to support ends with a weighted end to toss over high tree branches..
    My dollar investment for the antennas is pretty much Zero, using odd scraps of wire and coax , the connectors came from the junkbox.
    Most of the places we camp have enough trees to hang antennas in.
    With the 5 W MFJ 9030 and the 3 W 40M MFJ Cub I always make plenty of contacts. I tried my using my MFJ 9017 on one long weekend but only got one Russian station to answer my calls but nothing in the US. Very frustrating on 17M. I recycled the wire from that dipole.
    I find with QRP the biggest antennas work best with the littlest radios.
    I would not ever consider using a small, loaded antenna like a buddipole or miraclewhip for QRP. Maybe if I took a 100 W rig in the camper.
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2013
  15. N0AZZ

    N0AZZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Charles very slick I really like that how long are the painter poles you use when collapsed for travel. By chance would you have a complete set of directions for building that complete antenna with approx dimensions for length of elements? How high are you able to go with a set of guy wires in very mild wind conditions. This appears to be superior to anything I have been using for the high bands for QRP portable. If you have something could you please email them to me if not to much trouble?

    What I have been using with my KX3 the most for an antenna is a 31' fiberglass telescopic windsock pole with an eyelet on the tip. Mostly I use as a vertical with 6 33' radials will tune 10-40m most of the time using the internal tuner in my radio. It works great on 40/30m as would be expected and 20-15m a good job but lacking on 10/12m some. It's a vertical and to be expected I guess when I have another support I rig it in an Inverted L and also in an Inverted V but the ends are close to the ground usually.

    The downside to this setup is that I do have to have guys with it unless I setup very low then the antenna doesn't work well. When I ordered the poles in the beginning I ordered 4 of them with big ideas of a 4 sq loop after one time of setting it up I decided that even though it worked very well it took to much time (3 hrs for me) and was a pain with all the guys.
  16. KC8VWM

    KC8VWM Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

  17. N0AZZ

    N0AZZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks Charles!

    I have been using a 31' telescoping fiberglass windsock pole with an eyelet on the top and a Par End Fed 10/15/20/40m dipole. My QRP rig is an Elecraft KX3 most of the time using a 7AH battery or the self contained ones in the radio with them 5w max.

  18. KU3X

    KU3X Ham Member QRZ Page

    I use numerous antennas depending on the location.
    Simple dipole, multi band dipole, true off center fed antennas, table top verticals and even a magnetic loop. My home brew loop covers 12 to 40 meters.
    My setup can be seen on the following web page:

    Barry, KU3X
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