HF Portable Antenna Choices

I am quickly settling on the Buddistick as my HF portable antenna option to cover 20m through 10m. The reasoning for this has come from analysis of different configurations using EZNEC. First let me just state this:

“You can’t change the laws of Physics”

Antenna design is a harsh reminder of this. In many ways I am glad I started this exploration by looking at the special case of portable HF antennas. The reason for this is that portability imposes some interesting constraints over antennas used in a fixed installation. The first major constraint is height. I set out with the idea that I may find myself in a location without a natural height source (i.e. trees) so that the antenna would need to provide its own support. Portable masts, painters poles camera tripods, PVC pipe…anything that can be compactly packed and then used as a mast. The higher you go the more you also have to deal with stability and that means guy wires. So far I have not dared beyond 8 feet for the feed point of the Buddistick, On 10m this gives me a vertical antenna height of about 20ft and a bit more when configured for 20m.

Doing some calculations on the Buddipole, which is essentially a horizontal dipole shows that for best results I need to get it up at least 16 ft on 10m and considerably higher for 20m. The gains of this configuration look promising and I intend to at least test this on 10m. The vertical may end up being the easiest to safely deploy in the field. A portable beam looks really interesting but the height constraint really kills its use in practice. a 2 element 10m beam is possible but getting this to work on 20m would be a challenge as 16 feet is about minimum.

So for now I am going to focus on the Buddistick configuration for portable HF. I will test the Buddipole on 10m and my ability to setup a 16-23 painters pole as a mast. If I can feel good about setting up the mast I may try the 10m beam but frankly not sure if it is worth the added expense of two long whips.

That still also leaves wire antennas which may be the best choice of all given that the portable mast up to 20 feet can work. I can use a dipole in inverted V configuration as only one support would be needed. Also have an end fed antenna to try in different configurations.

Well I think you see what I will be working on in the short term….

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