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Ultralight Portable Antenna Quest

Discussion in 'Antennas, Feedlines, Towers & Rotors' started by KC8VWM, Jun 18, 2017.

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  1. AK5B

    AK5B Ham Member QRZ Page

    Just as long as she hasn't bought the farm your quest is still a viable one, I guess.
  2. WD0BCT

    WD0BCT Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I feel I have to report on my laundry reel antenna/pole/ and tripod after operating at Chatfield Reservoir for a few days. Up until this week I've always employed the inverted vee so that it would act as a guy with the prevailing wind. Since the wind was minimal I set up with the legs extended North/South with a wind coming out of the west. Well the wind picked up and blew over my antenna. I scattered some laundry reel parts but located them all for redeployment. All I suffered was a little embarrassment as the campers near me got to watch the failure. Lesson learned!
    KC8VWM likes this.
  3. AK5B

    AK5B Ham Member QRZ Page

    Charlie; You just experienced the downside of ultralight portable antennas. We are sorry for your loss.

    Here at VWM Industries TM we are constantly hard at work researching new construction materials, safety methods and aerodynamics in order to provide longer lasting and more durable antenna products for the rigorous, real-world field conditions that our antennas regularly encounter.

    I wasn't supposed to make this public just quite yet---but Charles is developing a new and much improved Ultra Yo Yo Tenna that will include carbon fiber reel housings, your choice of 14, 18 or 26 gauge Polystealth antenna wire and Phyllystran guy lines at the ends of the antenna.

    Perhaps Charles will consider sending you one of the first prototypes for beta testing soon. I'll send him a memo today.

    Best of luck to you meanwhile and I hope the wind is at your back next time out.:)



    V.P. Marketing and Public Relations
    VWM Industries TM
    KC8VWM likes this.
  4. WD0BCT

    WD0BCT Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    The horror....the horror.... Actually only my ego was bruised. The antenna was redeployed in minutes.

    Gee....could you get that prototype here prior to Field Day? I've always wanted to be a beta tester. ;) But....based on my neophyte wind disaster you may wish to find someone a little more competent. :rolleyes:
    Looks like you've had experience with high winds yourself from your bio photos. In my defense my upsetting gust came up quick.
    AK5B likes this.
  5. AK5B

    AK5B Ham Member QRZ Page

    Good to hear that you redeployed quickly, Charlie---that's the way to do it!

    Yes, too much experience with high winds here already---fortunately only one of my DIY antennas was damaged and that was also quickly taken care of.

    I'll leave it up to Charles as to the beta-testing for now.


  6. KC8VWM

    KC8VWM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yeah, we only have this sneak preview available at the moment...






    VWM Industries TM

    vwm industries.jpg
    AK5B likes this.
  7. AK5B

    AK5B Ham Member QRZ Page

    Totally slick, Charles; by all means do keep up the good work. I reely like having the reels at the top of the support, too.

    Maybe we should omit the "Yo Yo" part and call it the VWM Ultra Tenna?
  8. WD0BCT

    WD0BCT Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Looks like a pair of fly reels...with some swivel snaps. Do the reels have adequate stops on them to hold the radiator wire at the proper length and tension? That was the nice thing about the laundry reels...the tab loop for the wire held up well under tension. Also appears that you are still using the "rope lay" multi strand copper wire. I believe that wire reels in nicely without kinking. Do you employ a dipole BALUN on this rig?
  9. KC8VWM

    KC8VWM Ham Member QRZ Page

    The wire I am using is much lighter than flex weave but it's still plenty strong. It's actually copper fishing line which actually doesn't tangle either.
    This antenna covers everything from 10 through 80 meters.

    So instead of wrapping wire around the reel tabs like the Yo Yo antenna, the way the wire "stops" work like this:


    These are spring loaded push terminal connectors. Press down to open and the "jaws" bites down on the wire.


    Side view:


    Here's another view showing how the wire stops work...


    Snap swivels are used to connect the ends of the wire to the insulators and "catfish line" rope. The rope ends up connecting to a set of titanium steel tent pegs you see in the photo. This seems kind of funny, but these are actually a military grade tent peg. You can actually see the stamped military markings on them LOL

    So here's the snap swivels in action...


    The antenna insulator you see also functions as a rope winder at the same time.



    So let's talk about the feedline...

    The coax is 30 feet of RG-316 which is very light weight and extremely portable. It has much, much better loss characteristics than using RG-174. It does have some loss compared to using other feedlines though, but if you keep it around 30' the loss is around 0.5 dB on the 20m band and never exceeds 1 dB on 10m. It's a good tradeoff for the idea of carrying an entirely self contained and lightweight portable antenna.

    Here's the feedline, antenna and the carbon fiber pole it's mounted on...


    I think you asked if I was using a balun or not. What I am going to do here is use a series of small snap on ferrite beads installed directly on the feedline. (I need to get more)

    This photo also shows how the feedline is connected to the two spring loaded push terminal connectors.


    The reels are mounted using screws from the back:


    More to follow...
    Last edited: May 31, 2018
  10. KC8VWM

    KC8VWM Ham Member QRZ Page

    The frame used to put this all together is called a "Dipole Antenna Fixture" and it's manufactured by the Hughes Aircraft company.


    You can buy these Dipole Antenna Fixtures from Fair Radio Sales in Lima, Ohio. These were originally used by the US Military in the following way...

    dipole fixture.jpg

    Of course we are using them for our portable reel antenna so a few modifications were made. :)

    The entire antenna is light enough to mount "near" the top a lightweight carbon fiber fishing pole.


    The pole is a relatively inexpensive "Black Widow" 20' model and the reel antenna is shown beside it for a sense of scale. (not the kind you find on a fish)


    So that's my new and improved portable and lightweight 10m - 80m band HF antenna setup...

    Last edited: May 31, 2018

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