HF Mobile Antenna(s)??

Discussion in 'Mobile Radio Systems' started by N5NUK, Sep 6, 2020.

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  1. N5NUK

    N5NUK Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am planning on installing an HF rig in my 2002 Pathfinder. The radio I plan to get is the Yaesu 891, and the antenna (tentatively) planning to be the ATAS 120. The problem I'm discovering is the ATAS 120 will not cover 80 meters.

    So, keeping that in mind, I'm looking for either: #1 a separate antenna for 80 meters and using an antenna switch inside the vehicle, or #2 another antenna to cover 80 through 10, or 80 through 6 and using a tuner.

    VHF/UHF is already taken care of.

    Any input/recommendations of antenna(s) and mounting will be appreciated.

    Thanks de N5NUK
    WD5IKX likes this.
  2. N7WR

    N7WR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I had good luck with the Little Tarheel II 80-6 meters. Avoid the Yaesu ATAS 120. It is a successor to the AT 100 and both have problems. Mine was on a larger SUV than yours but I mounted it on a ball mount through the L/R fender just ahead of the tail light. The tip of the antenna extended a bit above the roof line but not so much as to prevent parking it inside the garage without removing the antenna. A good ground is the key to the Tarheel (or any antenna) performing well. Good luck
    WD5IKX likes this.
  3. WA4SIX

    WA4SIX Ham Member QRZ Page

    Read up on K0BG.com
    I agree with N7WR about the ATAS antennas. Might as well use hamsticks.
    Tarheels or Hi-Q antennas can be had new & are vastly superior.
    I use an old High Sierra HS-1800 with a 6' whip.
    I have run a bunch of tinned braid & have a good choking system in my 08 Ranger.
    After finally getting the fuel pump replaced, I am down to an S1 on the meter, which I think is good. Started at S7.

    Yeah, the ATAS can be controlled by the rrig, but it really is crap.

    K0UO and WD5IKX like this.
  4. N5PNZ

    N5PNZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I use the MFJ version of "hamsticks". They are "adequate" and get you on the air inexpensively. I've had real good results with the 40 meter one and can be weakly heard on the 75 meter one . Competing with the "big guns" on 75 is the biggest problem.. Key is make sure there is a good ground from the mount to frame. These antennas are about 7 feet long and I mount them in a stake pocket of my Ram pick-up. That puts the tip at around 11.5 feet so I have to be careful with drive-thrus and tree limbs. Mounted only on the right side lets me sneak around many drive-thru roofs but low limbs on country roads are still a problem. I will get a 20 meter one eventually. With the stainless steel whip separated they stow under my backseat. Be aware that I have had occasional issues with 40 meters and the anti-lock brake system. I use an old ICOM 725 and have to use the noise blanker to kill the ignition noise. Also use a IT-100 autotuner that gives a little bit more band spread on the antennas.
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2020
  5. WD5IKX

    WD5IKX Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi Bill

    I agree with the others to skip the ATAS antenna. I would also skip using a tuner with non resonant antennas. A screw driver antenna will work well and allow ops on many bands. For HF mobile big is good but you will have to decide how big you can go. I decided to go BIG and have not regretted it. Drive throughs are a problem but I can live with that.

    The K0BG website is a great source of info for mobile ops.

    WD5IKX and Casita.jpg

    Hope to see you at Okie-Tex next year. Maybe we operate from the Tri State marker again.

    John WD5IKX
    MU0CHN, K0UO, W7TCT and 2 others like this.
  6. KU3X

    KU3X Ham Member QRZ Page

    WD5IKX has a very impressive high performance setup. Don't sell short the Hustler mobile antennas. Out of the box they are reasonably priced and perform well. I still use them but mine are modified to increase the bandwidth and performance. I provide the instructions on how to improve on


    If you want high performance on 75/80 meters, you better look into something along the line of what WD5IKX has.

    Hi-Q-Antennas makes some very impressive products. Get out your checkbook, these are not cheap. But if you want High Performance on the low bands, this is one way to go and you can cover 10 through 80 meters without leaving the driver's seat.


    Barry, KU3X
    WD5IKX likes this.
  7. AA9GP

    AA9GP Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    After reconfiguring vehicle ground with direct line to antenna base, I had a blast working the ATAS 120. Before making this change, I would get inconsistent tuning and SWR issues on a LR Discovery despite what I believed to be a solid antenna mount-to-ground connection . I replicated the problem on a tripod while deciding to tear the ATAS120 apart and look for issues, clean, etc and then discovered my ground issues. That being said, I really enjoyed a 10ft whip and AH-4 on that same truck. Have fun experimenting!!

    N5PNZ likes this.
  8. F5VHZ

    F5VHZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Some vehicles just aren't made to provide a nice antenna mounting position for HF, the wd51kx solution is not optimized at all. The lower section is far too close to the bodywork. if you have to mount a HF whip so low down, then use a tow bar and extender plate to get the antenna at least 25 cms away from the body. If the vehicle doesn't permit then try and get a higher percentage of the lower section above the metalwork, ie use a longer bottom section under the loading coil. I would recommend not more than 50 % of the lower section at least 25 cms away from the tail section TAILGATE or BOOT whatever. If you can't do this then go for a front bumper mount.
    Let's face it, it's going to be very visible wherever you put it, so just bite the bit and mount it in the best operating position. Also on off road machines mounting the antenna at the rear is a liability as you won't se when it's got hooked up on a branch, I learnt that the hard way on an alpha with the rear mounted position, well away from the bodywork it worked great and loaded up well but I managed to get it caught up through backing under some trees for shade.. When i drove off the antenna fouled a branch and bent the antenna right back before it released. It didn't actually damage the antenna or mount but a weaker commercial antenna would have snapped. good job I built mine with a solid steel base section.
    My home brew antenna for mobile measures 3.8 meters high, and im making a new one for my latest car peugeot 607 ill post that when it's done on my qrz page. I love HF mobile, and have had some terrific qso's including CW to japan .
  9. KL7KN

    KL7KN Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    KU3X likes this.
  10. N5PNZ

    N5PNZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    That is an impressive setup. BUT.... I have trouble with my 11.5 - 12 ft height 40 and 80 meter antennas catching tree limbs and have to avoid many drive through services. Bank atms are out of the question even with the shorter 4 ft 10 meter firestik mounted in a stake pocket.
    I will say it makes the vehicle much easier to find in a crowded parking lot. lol
    KL7KN likes this.

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