Tripod Mounted Portable Antenna Recommendations?

Discussion in 'On the Road' started by N4PEW, Jun 22, 2019.

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  1. N4PEW

    N4PEW Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm looking for a tripod mounted HF antenna I can put up in the back yard for occasional use, or pack and take camping. I've looked at the Super Antenna MP1s, the Wolf River Coils, and an MFJ-1699T. I'm leaning towards the Wolf River simply because of the price point and mostly good reviews I've read. Anyone want to offer their opinion on any of these three, or offer another solution?
  2. KC8VWM

    KC8VWM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Tripods and portable typically don't go well together.

    Quite simply, a 20' telescopic fishing pole and some wire is the best performing portable antenna. (Yes, I tried many different portable antennas) You are eventually going to find out that full sized wire dipoles will always win, and outperform any kind of short portable antenna.

    A SOTA link dipole or "Bandhopper" such as this one anyone can construct for themselves below, will cover everything from 10 through 20, or even 40 meters without an antenna tuner. They are also smaller than most commercially manufactured antennas and can fit inside your shirt pocket.

    link dipole.jpg

    I made up this link dipole "antenna kit" for travelling...
    (click for larger photo)

    20' telescopic pole from Bass Pro shop. This will easily support the portable wire dipole. It's very lightweight and can be attached to a variety of surrounding objects using a bungee cord. (no tripod required.)

    fishing pole.jpg

    See this thread for other portable antenna options / information:

    If you do this yourself, you're only going to spend around $35 or even less for this kind of high performance portable antenna setup.
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2019
    WD5IKX, K7WFM and N2PQW like this.
  3. KB3WFV

    KB3WFV Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Hi Josh,
    I'm not sure what your budget is ... but I would recommend the Crank IR made by SteppIR.

    Here is a link..

    There are also two photos of my CrankIR on my QRZ page. I have owned mine for 6 years now. I purchased it with the optional 80 meter extension kit, the optional elevated (ground radial, the optional tripod and the bag for the tripod. The antenna itself comes in a bag about the size of a gym bag. Super easy to transport.

    I have used mine, portable while camping, for field day, for lighthouse events, and even here at the house as an additional antenna for the MD QSO party. It's performance is awesome, rag chews, contests, whatever, I have even run nets while using this antenna. It does not need a tuner. It's manually adjustable elements allow a resonant match on any frequency from 2m to 80m and it is rated for a full 1500 watts.

    I love mine, if you want a no BS antenna that does what it is supposed to, then I would buy the Crank IR.

    Feel free to email me with any questions at


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  4. K3XR

    K3XR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Have used tripods with the Buddistick antenna with good results. Like the heavy duty tripods used to hold speakers on a stage. They are also telescoping.
    KI4YHX likes this.
  5. N4PEW

    N4PEW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Very cool antenna, but a little pricey. What’s the learning curve like on tuning?
  6. KB3WFV

    KB3WFV Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Hi Josh,
    The tuning is very easy. Simply crank up the vertical and crank out the radial until the appropriate color for the band you want lines up with the case and your done.

    The vertical radiator has color coded indicators at 1/4 wave length intervals for 10, 12, 15, 17, 20, 30, and 40 meters. The indicators are basically one inch colored pieces of heat shrink permanently attached to the wire. The ground radial kit has the same indicators however they are left loose and are meant to be permanently positioned (installed) by the user.

    There is also an SWR indicator on the case, but I have never used it. I set the wires to the correct color for the band I am on, and use the built in swr meter in te radio to fine tue the antenna. A simple twist up or down or in or out of either wire is all it takes.

    It is a pretty cool antenna. Your right it's pricey when you add in all of the accessories, but it is the only antenna (that I know of) that is ACTUALLY resonant on all frequencies from 2m to 80m (with the 80m option) WITHOUT a tuner.

    Don't ask why is this so exspensive? ask why are the others so cheap?

    There are no power robbing gimmicks, such as cheap matching networks, traps, coils or worse yet resistors that will trick a radio into a good swr while turning an rf signal into nothing but heat.

    For use as how you described, set up in the back yard for a few days, changing bands with the crank of a couple of reels, take it down, pack it up for storage or to take it portable, it is really the perfect antenna.

    You don't have to get the 80m option kit. the basic version does up to 40m just fine. Although the performance is a little better on 40 with the 80m extension kit. It helps but is not necessary. Get the basic version with the optional radial kit, the 9 foot tripod, and the bag for the tripod and you will have a very nice light weight, compact, portable resonant antenna system.


    N4PEW likes this.
  7. N8MLP

    N8MLP Ham Member QRZ Page

    I vote for the Wolf River Coil. They have a new center loaded model that is for exactly what you want to do!
  8. N2PQW

    N2PQW Ham Member QRZ Page

    I fall in the class of "Another Solution".

    KC8VWM has become legendary for his ingenious and usually inexpensive solutions, and my suggestion isn't meant to disparage his or any other suggestions, just offering a different approach to the issue.

    Instead of a "temporary" antenna, meant for portability, you might consider a full-sized multi-band antenna. I have a 40m > 10m vertical that is resonant on 7 bands WITH NO TUNER REQUIRED, and can be pressed into use on 80m or 6m with a tuner present. I've marked it with colored tape to break apart into approx 4ft sections, and it all fits in a duffel bag about the size of a 6-person tent.

    Not the kind of thing you'd carry on a bicycle journey, or wear on your back while free-climbing a mountain ridge, but if you travel to the campground by car/truck/motorhome, it's no big deal.

    The guy ropes are simple nylon cord, and the anchors are pet-leash corkscrews commonly available at hardware stores, Harbor Freight (practically FREE with all the coupons!), and I've seen them in some grocery stores in the pet aisle!

    Normally, I don't even use a tripod, but for this year's Field Day another ham brought out the speaker stand, and I couldn't refuse. Generally, I just drive a piece of black-pipe into the ground to stabilize the base, and slide on two 4ft aluminum poles to raise the radials 8ft off the ground.

    Having installed & removed this setup many times, I'm down to about 20 min from unzipping the duffel to getting on the air (radio setup time not included). The toolbox consists of a 1/4" Flat screwdriver (usually just the one on my Swiss Army knife), and a big hammer for driving the central pipe in the ground.

    That's my typing quota for the day, I hope it's helpful.

    David / N2PQW

    Cushcraft R7 at Field Day 2019.jpg

    PS - I'm open to suggestion on how to spell "duffel" correctly; my spell check dictionary was no help!
    KI4YHX and N4PEW like this.
  9. N4PEW

    N4PEW Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'd love to hear more specifics
  10. N2PQW

    N2PQW Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm not sure what you would like explained. Post your questions here, or "Start a Conversation" (private message), and I will be happy to answer them.

    David / N2PQW

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