If you could have just one band...

Discussion in 'On the Road' started by KB8FGC, Jan 10, 2019.

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  1. KB8FGC

    KB8FGC Ham Member QRZ Page

    If you could choose just one HF band for mobile use, which one would it be?

    I ask because I'm considering adding an HF rig to the car (the last time I carried one it was a 100 watt 10 meter rig back around 1990 or so). I already have vhf/uhf installed, but am looking for something that offers a bit more activity and a chance to work more distant domestic stations as well as the occasional dx. Operate mostly daytime and early evening hours (commuting to and from work as well as traveling between offices, plus vacation travel, errands, etc).

    I've been considering a 40 or 20 meter SSB/CW radio (SSB when mobile, CW when camping or otherwise fixed location). Given the current solar conditions, 40 meter is the most versatile band, but of course any mobile antenna for this band is a serious compromise. 20 meters is primarily daylight use (which does fit my anticipated usage pattern) plus with the benefit that it's easier to mount a reasonable antenna (likely a big stick or something similar). Power output would be around 10 to 20 watts. (Don't want to spend the money on a multi-band 100 watt radio given that it's only for part time use).

    So...given the parameters, what would you prefer?

    K4AGO likes this.
  2. AE1N

    AE1N Ham Member QRZ Page

    Antenna considerations are paramount ... I'd pick 2o meters
    AG5DB likes this.
  3. WD5IKX

    WD5IKX Ham Member QRZ Page

    I spend most of my time on 20 and 40 meters when I am out in the mobile. When the bands are hot I also use 17 and 15 meters. You can pick up a used multi band radio for not too much money probably less than a low power two band radio. I use an Icom 706 so I have VHF and UHF as well as the HF bands. Your antenna makes all the difference for HF mobile so stay away from mag mounts and short antennas

    John WD5IKX
  4. K0UO

    K0UO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    K3SZ likes this.
  5. K1SZO

    K1SZO XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    5ghz wifi!
  6. N5CM

    N5CM Ham Member QRZ Page

    20m or 40m using an old bug catcher antenna similar to the one shown above by WD5IKX. I operated mobile phone and cw years ago, and the bug catcher and my Kenwood TS-440S did a fine job. 40m is open to somewhere just about all day/night long.
    WD5IKX likes this.
  7. K8ERV

    K8ERV Ham Member QRZ Page

    One band? I liked Fred Waring.

    TOM K8ERV Montrose Colo
    WR2E and WA7PRC like this.
  8. K7TRF

    K7TRF Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    If I was forced to one band and expected mostly daylight use I'd choose 20 meters. But realistically I've used both 20m and 40m quite a bit (and a bit o 17m) when operating mobile and use a Bugcatcher design that allows fairly easy band changes (or frequency changes on 40m) by moving a clip lead.

    But if I had to pick one, it would be 20m and I'd use a RM-17 Hustler Resonator up on a 40-60" lower mast with a bit longer whip than what they sell with that resonator. I ran that combo on 20m for about a year and it performed really well, covered the whole 20m band with no re-tuning necessary and is a pretty stealthy mobile HF antenna.
  9. WD8LIC

    WD8LIC XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I prefer 40m if I could have only one band. Usually open to somewhere.
  10. KD8ZM

    KD8ZM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I operate mobile CW and I am always on 40m. I use a hamstick that is about 7 feet tall, running 100W. 40m is almost always open, unlike 20m or 30m. I do not find this antenna to be seriously compromised, as I almost never have problems making good contacts. Of course it isn't as good as a dipole, but it's pretty good.
    I tried 20m for a while but it was usually closed during drive time and much harder to make contacts.
    Having really good grounding is important, I've found. I lay a 32' long aluminum wire in the bed of my truck as a counterpoise attached to the outer coax, which entirely solved any noise or gain issues I previously had. Works very well!
    WN1MB likes this.

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