K0GKJ – Just Another Ham
The New QTH – A Floating Shack

A Second Portable Tower & Antenna – for VHF/UHF… Works Great!

When you gotta sneak around, slipping antennas toward the sky without anyone bitching about it, the results can be rewarding in a rather perverse manner. Especially when the results are SPECTACULAR !!!

Plus, with portability as a priority, it’s a lot of fun knowing you can set up anywhere, literally in minutes, and get on the air.

Enter my second portable tower and antenna (recall the first was for HF, i.e., longer range communication).

This one is a two inch fiberglass pole in four foot sections resting atop a heavy-duty five foot satellite dish tripod. Gets my homebrew copper tube slim-jim up about twenty feet, and THAT, my friends is a recipe for a satisfying afternoon in the garage!

I’m in dark territory for HTs (handheld transceivers) with small (“rubber duckie”) antennas at ground level. Not much better standing on a second or third floor balcony. The nearest repeater is over twenty miles away, and HTs with those little antennas need serious help out here. While I might be able to hear them, they don’t hear me.

So I needed an antenna with some altitude and some gain.

Enter the copper tube slim-jim. Ostensibly, with over 6db of gain, my only remaining challenge was altitude, and the tripod and fiberglass pole sections (government surplus poles for supporting camo screens over artillery, etc – they sell ‘em at most hamfests), the results today were very satisfying…

 I had earlier tuned the antenna for minimum SWR, so I was confident it could now “be all that it could be”.

With my trusty VX-8R HT with speaker-mic attached, and an adapter to attach a PL-259 connector to the radio’s SMA antenna jack, I connected the HT directly to the newly erected antenna.

I was delighted to have made some great contacts through a repeater on the 440MHZ band over forty miles away!

VHF UHF antenna VX8R on 440 009

This repeater (in Murdock, FL) is linked to several other repeaters in the Sarasota, Tampa and Bradenton area, so I was chatting loud and crystal clear with several guys on their commute home one to two hundred miles away. Very cool.

Now repeaters are terrific, and provide great capability, as long as they’re operational.

In an emergency (remember I’m now focusing on emcomm with what promises to be an energetic hurricane season only a few short months away), you can’t count on ‘em, and an antenna/tower like this one that can be literally thrown up in five minutes immediately after a storm, for example, when repeaters may or may not be on the air, operating simplex without repeaters can be a tremendous asset to disaster relief agencies.

And now I’M PACKIN’ !

73 dit dit

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