Screwdriver antennas.

Discussion in 'Mobile Radio Systems' started by N0IOP, Oct 10, 2019.

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  1. N0IOP

    N0IOP Ham Member QRZ Page

    Do you have one? Have you had one in the past? What bands did you use it on? How long did it last? Was its demise brought about by overheating, by corrosion from road salt, or some other cause? Was it fun? Did it work out better than a box of hamsticks?
  2. NH7RO

    NH7RO Ham Member QRZ Page

    I love my Scorpion with a home-brewed radiator and cap hat. Used to have a Hi-Q which was OK but I'm convinced the SA-680 is the best screwdriver money can buy.

    tqandfultonmobile 010QRZ.jpg
    As you can see I also went for the extra large saltwater ground plane option, too...

    Attached Files:

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  3. M6AGL

    M6AGL Ham Member QRZ Page

    Did you dunk some radials in that? :)
    Like the cammo cover. Makes it almost invisible.

    I've asked a similar question recently - screwdriver or a bunch of hamsticks. Horses for courses I think. Pick your style, but I think screwdriver has the edge on fluidity and being able to tune around from your seat. But is a large bit of kit.
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  4. K0UO

    K0UO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Very nice set up great job
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  5. K0UO

    K0UO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Screenshot_20191010-183047_Chrome.jpg Scorpion is the way to go, as quoted above from K0BGs
    See site @
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2019
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  6. NH7RO

    NH7RO Ham Member QRZ Page

    No, I actually used two 10-meter long slightly elevated radials clamped on the the radial attachment points for good measure. First time I tried it out I had a 59+ QSO Texas>So. Carolina (no biggie) but was then called by an HP9 station who was incredulous that I was essentially a 100w mobile station with such a big signal. After signing with the HP9 a KH6 station called me to also give me another 59+ report and all of these Qs were ssb.

    I made my camo cover when I had my Scorpion parked out on our back fence with 5 elevated radials. I used to use it for 40m but decided to try fixed portable operating again to take advantage of our saltwater pond nearby (Aransas Bay, part of the Gulf of Mexico). I like having it being not so obvious as the antenna is the shiny stainless steel version with clear Lexan over it.

    Yes, it is a large bit of kit but really the only way to fly (almost) if one is serious about HF mobile, in my opinion. Next best option would be to build your own mast and radiator with a Texas Bugcatcher coil or similar; the copper radiator I built was fairly simple to make with plumbing pipe, silver solder and some fittings (and a 3/8th X 24 stainless bolt for mounting). If interested further please check out my "Crazy about cap hats" thread in the antenna forum that I posted a couple of weeks ago.


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  7. NH7RO

    NH7RO Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thank you, appreciate the compliment. I just noticed that the second photo (which was posted inadvertently as I using a new computer setup here) is of the top of my Scorpion before I put the copper pipe/cap hat on it---it is an MFJ-1979 17-foot telescoping whip that happened to have a large dragonfly perching near the top one afternoon.

    Using the tall whip is fun, too but bear in mind I'm doing all of this operating while parked, of course. I don't care much for trying to operate my rig while driving---there's more than enough distracted driving going on nowadays already. I do like parking by the seaside and taking advantage of the saltwater enhancement for low-angle dx whenever I can; we're moving to the Arizona desert (very poor rocky ground) next year in all likelihood so might as well chase the dx this way while I can...


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  8. WW2PT

    WW2PT Ham Member QRZ Page

    I bought a Tarheel 200A-HP to use at home, first on a tripod and later ground-mounted. I’ve only ever used it with Tarheel’s radial kit that includes 10 short (9’) radials, many of which disappeared one by one thanks to lawnmowers, etc., until there were only four left, and it kept on working fine.

    I used it on and off between 2009 and 2015, with a few long QRT periods, but managed to work over 200 countries with it. I took it down he last time I moved and haven’t used it since, though I do plan to lay down a real radial system at the new QTH someday and put it back into action. I didn’t have much luck getting it to tune 10m, but I’m fairly certain that’s because of the poor radials. The dealer gave me some ideas to try when I put it back up.

    It’s held up very well in both Central Texas and Florida Gulf Coast environments. The whole antenna and tripod got knocked over a few times by wind with no damage at all. It’s a great antenna!
    NH7RO likes this.
  9. NH7RO

    NH7RO Ham Member QRZ Page

    Next time you set it up I would recommend mounting it above ground with a small assortment of different length radials for the bands you want to work. Try to elevate them so that animals and people won't run into them, say 8 feet or more. A rooftop is a good place if your house isn't too noisy RFI-wise.

    You will be delighted if you add a cap hat and taller whip for the lower bands, too---it will help you in the ground loss dept. big time.


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  10. N4UP

    N4UP Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    My next one will be a Scorpion. But I have been using Tarheel 100-HP for five years. Mounted in bed of pickup truck. Using Tarheel cap hat, 20,000 mobile contacts, no sign of demise. Operating 80-12 meters. Usually 400-500 watts CW except 200 watts on 30 meters.

    Only problem is low tree branches. Some country/mountain roads with poor-if-any tree branch maintenance. One city ( Charleston SC ) with lots of low-hanging branches across even major streets. Surprised the antenna has survived all the whack whacks. Have replaced the whip several times. But the screwdriver itself and cap hat are still in near-perfect shape.
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