Monday, August 01, 2011

Keeping it simple in the future

Yesterday's FOBB was an eye-opener for me.  I tend, some times, to get overwhelmed with the gadgetry of Ham radio.  I fall into the old trap that purchasing fancy antenna accessories is going to make for a better portable operating experience.

Yesterday's experience using a simple End Fed Half Wave wire with a counterpoise forced me to look at things anew.  Due to the success I had yesterday, the EFHW will be my antenna weapon of choice of choice for portable ops on the future.  It's basic, it's simple and it's a no-brainer in fact.  Get the wire up in a tree; and you're good to go.  I know I used the 20 foot crappie pole as a support yesterday; but it dawned on me today that even that was not needed.  I could just as easily have gotten the vertical portion of the Inverted L accomplished by using the tree I was sitting under as a support.  I would have gotten more vertical, that's for sure, as the lowest tree branch outdid the crappie pole height-wise by a longshot.

For instances where trees are not available at a given location (ie. the beach, for example) , I will keep the Buddistick in the portable antenna arsenal; but it has become my last resort.  The EFHW and counterpoise is less to carry and is way easier to use - to the point where you don't even have to think about it.  Using the end fed wires makes the need to carry an antenna analyzer unnecessary.  I can't imagine setting up the Buddistick without one.  I suppose you can; but I "ain't" Budd Drummond and I don't have his tribal knowledge or skill.  I had the EFHW up and working yesterday in minutes.  My only concern was not getting the wire all tangled up as I deployed it. The Buddistick, by its nature, is never that simple for me.  Now please don't misconstrue - the Buddistick is great piece of equipment and I've used it many times with great success.  It's just that it's not as "simple"; and that seems to be what I crave at this point.

The idea is to get on the air as quickly as possible and OPERATE - not futz around with equipment all afternoon trying to get a decent antenna match.  That is not to say that there aren't folks out there who own this commercial antenna stuff and know it like the back of their hands.  They probably can have it up and operating just as quickly as my EFHW.  I'm just not a member of that fortunate group.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!


  1. Although not strictly an EFHW, I typically have two small rolls of light gauge wire, 33' each for my antenna when I am portable/qrp. One goes up as high as I can get it in a nearby tree (I can throw it with a 2 oz. weight attached) and the other just lays on the ground usually in a straight line to the direction I favor ... and that's it! The KX1 tunes it on 40 and 20 no problem and it works well. 73

  2. I am like you Larry sometimes thinking I am making the portable operation more slick....but in fact I have complected what should be a very simple outing. It just gives Murphy more of chance to get a hold of us and the operating time.

  3. Great article Larry, and very true! I've been using a W3EDP instead of my Buddipole for the past 6 months for exactly the reasons your write about.