Quick run back to communications

So, I would like to start off by saying comms are far from the first prep you should consider. The best way to start prepping is camping, in my opinion. Camping shows you what you need to survive without modern amenities. We are going camping. We love camping. We love getting away from life for a while. Who doesn’t? Especially this year, in 2020, when everything you thought you knew now offends someone.

So, going back to comms. I am running a POTA (Parks on the Air) station for a couple of hours during my camping trip. A buddy of mine, and fellow prepper, will be out running his new emcomm (Emergency Communications) set-up as well. We will both be running qrp(ish) (Low-Power) stations. I am not sure his rig, but I will be running the X108G. It goes from .5 watts to 20 watts. I will start at 5 watts. I also bought some new antennas for this POTA activation.

At first I bought 1 5-pack of hamsticks by Shark Antenna. This came with 10,15,20,40 and 80 meter hamsticks. I tried this like you would a CB radio antenna. I knew I would not be attached to metal, like a car, and my SWR would probably be bad. I wanted to try this anyway. Guess what, my SWR was horrendous. I could not find a spot that it was close to decent. I had 2 options, get wires as radial, or get another set of hamsticks. Luckily for me, I was mandated a few times at work, and I was able to get a second set of hamsticks.

Now I needed an adapter to make the hamsticks into a dipole configuration. MFJ has one, but it was like $36. I did not want to spend that, and it wasn’t exactly what I wanted. I, instead, found a seller on ebay selling something that was more what I wanted.

I got this in, and was happy. The price was half that of the MFJ, and I needed this for a vertical dipole. The second 5-pack of hamsticks came in and I went out to tune the antennas. This went very well. I need to make some adjustments to 20 and 40 meter because they are in the extra only section of the band, and that is not ideal for any contest. Here is the data I collected after tuning. 80 meter was not tuned because I am afraid to cut the whip part, which I have seen you have to do, and I will, but not today. Now, keep in mind that these are compromise antennas, so they are sort of narrow banded.





These frequency ranges are where the antennas are 1.5:1 or less. Usable without a tuner. With the tuner, I will get a lot of additional bandwidth. Their is one thing I was able to learn today. There are 2 antennas you are adjusting. Keeping them equal means you cannot put the wrong hamstick in the wrong position (Facing up connects directly to the coax, facing down connects to the ground, sort to speak.) With the 15M, I have them adjusted slightly different. When the shorter one is on top, I am in the listed above frequency range. When the slightly longer one is on top, I am at a little lower frequency range. I am going to play with this a little more after the camping trip to see if, perhaps, I can cover twice the amount of band just by switching the antenna positions. That would be very nice for Emcomms.

Keep in mind, our emcomm set-ups are running off batteries and charged with solar. They are relatively compact. Mine is fitting in a Harbor Freight pelican wannabe case. Easily transportable. Also, the antenna mast (PVC Pipe) will be connected to a nylon boating antenna which is connected to the case.

Nuts, bolts and washers will connect this. The antenna mast will only be about 5 feet tall, and will have the antennas inside of it. This makes in easily transportable in your car, and if needed to be carried, would work well for that as well. We will probably run some uhf/vhf as we will be in a really good place for those kind of communications. Running POTA, you cannot use land repeaters, although you can use satellite. I am not doing all that during my camping trip, my vacation.

This is where we are at the moment, and still collecting our preps and ensuring we are set-up for whatever may come moving forward. Make sure you are safe, stay prepared and keep moving forward.

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