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Old 11-18-2017, 08:37 AM   #1
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Amateur Radio in Airstream

Wanting to set up HF ham station in my AS. Looking for antenna options and pros and cons of each. Not sure where to ask in these forums.
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Old 11-18-2017, 08:46 AM   #2
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Are you looking for something to attach to the AS or string up at a campsite? There’s a lot of material out there on antenna options for small/restricted spaces. For HF if you have a good antenna tuner there’s a lot you can do in a campsite that would work fairly well.
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Old 11-18-2017, 09:25 AM   #3
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Amateur Radio in Airstream

I prefer not to mount on AS. But, many rv parks do not seem to have lots of room for long wire antennas. Also, some have rules in that regard. I have an MFJ949E that I am not using in my QTH, so was thinking of using it in the AS. But, may get an auto tuner like the LDG I hav at the home shack.
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Old 11-18-2017, 10:32 AM   #4
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I keep a Buddypole in the rear compartment. It beats drilling holes in the AS.
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Old 11-18-2017, 10:35 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frjeff View Post
I prefer not to mount on AS. But, many rv parks do not seem to have lots of room for long wire antennas.
I wouldnít want to mount on th AS either, although that big piece of aluminum would make @ fine ground plane 😀
Depending on which band you want to operate you can look at a folded dipole or something like that. Forget long wire. You just want to make sure your antenna has something to work against (other half of dipole) and that you have a good match at the antenna & rig. Let me look at some of my books for ideas.
Stand by.
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Old 11-18-2017, 11:45 AM   #6
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I keep a Buddypole in the rear compartment. It beats drilling holes in the AS.


Which model did you get and are you pretty pleased with it?
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Old 11-18-2017, 12:05 PM   #7
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Hi

At HF, grounding will be an issue. Unless you run something like a beam or a dipole, you will get RF hot spots. The trailer is a great ground plane ... until somebody has one foot on the wet dirt and another foot on the step Without the trailer as a ground, you will have a tough time getting much efficiency out of a vertical.

A 20 meter dipole is .. errr ... about 30' long Set it up as an inverted V. Fiberglass poles to get it above the usual clutter are not that hard to come by. A "flagpole mount" on the hitch works pretty well for the center. Keeping the ends inside a typical site is normally do-able. Same basic idea works fine for 10, 15, and 20 with simple traps.

Bob
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Old 11-18-2017, 12:19 PM   #8
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Which model did you get and are you pretty pleased with it?
I have the Buddypole deluxe, but if I had to choose again, I might go for the deluxe - long version. You can't have TOO much metal in the sky! The nice thing about the Buddypole is that you can configure it as a vertical or dipole - pending on your QTH.
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Old 11-18-2017, 03:21 PM   #9
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Hi

At HF, grounding will be an issue. Unless you run something like a beam or a dipole, you will get RF hot spots. The trailer is a great ground plane ... until somebody has one foot on the wet dirt and another foot on the step Without the trailer as a ground, you will have a tough time getting much efficiency out of a vertical.

A 20 meter dipole is .. errr ... about 30' long Set it up as an inverted V. Fiberglass poles to get it above the usual clutter are not that hard to come by. A "flagpole mount" on the hitch works pretty well for the center. Keeping the ends inside a typical site is normally do-able. Same basic idea works fine for 10, 15, and 20 with simple traps.


Bob
AS as a ground plane was only a joke😂 but Bob has the right idea. You can also toss a line over a tree branch for a center support. Just make sure itís well camouflaged and removed when you leave.
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Old 11-18-2017, 03:54 PM   #10
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AS as a ground plane was only a joke😂 but Bob has the right idea. You can also toss a line over a tree branch for a center support. Just make sure itís well camouflaged and removed when you leave.
Hi

Actually if you put up one of the screwdriver verticals on the roof of the trailer, it makes a pretty good counterpoise for the antenna. The loss in the trailer operating as a ground is a lot less than the loss in the vertical radiator. I'm still not quite sure how people get around the "hot step" problem ....

One nice thing about an inverted V with a "flagpole" center mount - you can put a VHF vertical on the pole as well. That way you kind of have one structure to deal with each time you set up camp.

Bob
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Old 11-18-2017, 04:03 PM   #11
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https://www.dxengineering.com/search...s?autoview=SKU

Thereís an example of single band dipoles. Like was mentioned before you might also consider a trap dipole for multi band operation. The nice thing about traps is they add to the electrical length of the antenna, making the required physical length of the antenna shorter and more compact. If youíre going to use coax as a feedline make sure you have a balun or youíll end up with the feedline radiating which can have some undesirable side effects.
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Old 11-18-2017, 05:06 PM   #12
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Hi

An "old time" twist on the dipole would be to feed it with ladder line and mount a tuner in the vicinity of the propane tanks. I suspect that the traps / balun / coax would be more practical.

Bob
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Old 11-18-2017, 05:40 PM   #13
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Hi

An "old time" twist on the dipole would be to feed it with ladder line and mount a tuner in the vicinity of the propane tanks. I suspect that the traps / balun / coax would be more practical.

Bob
Actually the ladder line is a very nice way to go in my opinion. Balanced line into the tuner. Very clean.
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Old 11-19-2017, 08:42 AM   #14
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Actually the ladder line is a very nice way to go in my opinion. Balanced line into the tuner. Very clean.
Hi

The issue I see with ladder line is storage and setup. My guess is that it would be a bit of a pain after several "cycles". That might not be as true of the plastic insulated stuff as the open wire / porcelain insulator variety. I had some issues with the plastic variety early on. I tend to avoid it.

Bob
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Old 11-19-2017, 10:18 AM   #15
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Several of us use the Tarheel antenna mounted on the roof with Tarheel's "Lift and Lay kit
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Old 11-19-2017, 10:18 AM   #16
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We just picked up a new Basecamp. Not much room but I'm still planning to have a station available. I've tested a Buddipole and it works pretty well. Even at 15 watts (Elecraft KX3) I've worked people reliably on 40 meters. My only worry was wind pushing the whole antenna over so I devised a very simple way to hold it down. I took a 3 foot chunk of aluminum angle and drilled a single hole in it on one end that a bungy cord hook would hook to. When I set up the Airstream I simply place the non-hole end under one of the jacks at the back. When I set up my antenna I place the center of the tripod over that hole and bungy it down tight and it's not going anywhere. I tried it and had it up for 4 days while changing the antenna configuration once in a while to see what worked best. I was receiving pretty well with all of them. Good luck and have fun! Dave, AI7R Chandler, AZ
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Old 11-19-2017, 10:26 AM   #17
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Jeff, if you want to know about the Tarheel layout, my details and contact has been updated now
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Old 11-19-2017, 11:19 AM   #18
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Besides Bob Caldwell, talk with Jim Cocke, the WBCCI President. Both of these guys have extensive antennas mounted on the roof of their respective AS & are active in the AS ham community.

Richard Wills
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Old 11-19-2017, 02:38 PM   #19
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Smile

Fr. Jeff

I have worked HF mobile for the last 40 years or so. When the bands are great (solar maximum) the antenna doesn't matter that much. Today's bands, well ????.

That said, simple is better. For years I used the Hustler large coil verticals and they played well. Today I use one of the Tarheel antennas with either a 8' whip or a telescoping 12' whip for 160M. Not a perfect antenna but easy to go outside, screw to the mount, plug and play, no antennas to change when you change bands. The down side is that you really need a screwdriver antenna tuner for convenience. I use a TurboTuner. True, you can manually run the antenna up and down while watching the SWR but automatic is the way to go.

I have played with portable dipoles and Yagi's and even have one of the last Super Antennas Yagi's made by the original designer, along with the Portable Rotation rotator and a portable tripod and push pole mount. Takes about an hour to set up and guy but works really well. Unfortunately a band change means lowering the antenna and adjusting the three elements, typically a 15 to 20 minute job.

The Tarheel takes about a minute to screw into a Diamond clamp on mount and I'm on the air. Remember, if your not on the air your not working them. I almost always can make a contact including some DX when band conditions are good. In the last year I have worked most of Europe, and into the Middle East (Israel) with the antenna mounted on my Prius. My 1989 Excella 32 is a much better mount (but not going down the road). Keep it simple and sturdy.

As for the RF between the AS and the ground? Discourages people handing out Bible tracts.

Joe WK0G
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Old 11-19-2017, 04:21 PM   #20
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Jeff, if you want to know about the Tarheel layout, my details and contact has been updated now


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