Friday, January 25, 2019

Day 17 - Quartzsite, AZ

Today, there was an antenna walk-about with the emphasis on the simpler HF installations. There are actually three antennae mounted on the back of this older diesel pusher. Each antenna is for a specific band and the owner mentioned that he got a lot of interference from the engine. The large fiberglass mast is removed for travel. He mentioned that with any vertical, counterpoise or grounding is critical. With the fiberglass or wood roof construction, that is always the challenge with any vertical.

This magnetic loop antenna will handle up to 100 watts and for 40m he adds something I had not heard of before, a vacuum capacitor. Very directional, does not need a ground plane and covers a wide variety of bands with the variable capacitor. He mentions that while being used, you need to be at least 10 ft along the plane of the antenna due to the strong magnetic field produced.

This hitch mounted crank up mast fits in the back of the pickup. The mast has a capacity of 50 lbs including the rotator. The circular antennae on the roof of the camper shell are three magnetic loop antennae that are used while mobile. This setup looks really expensive.

These antennae are used for QRP or low power. The owner rarely uses more than 5 watts and morse code. He has made contacts halfway around the world while here at Quartzfest. But he doesn't travel light as the trailer is needed for all of the equipment.

This dipole in the back of the truck was used for National Parks. I guess you aren't allowed to anchor your antenna to anything except your vehicle. A much simpler system as the mast is extended manually and you need to lower the mast and change the length of the dipole when switching bands.

The hex beam shown in yesterday's post is a popular option as it works with six HF bands with only one coax connection. And it doesn't need a ground plane.

This is a screwdriver antenna mounted to a hinged mount and a linear actuator to raise and lower. It is an unusual design in that there are no externally moving items like a conventional screwdriver antenna. All of the movement is inside of the large section and the motor is in the lower tube. This vertical does need a ground plane and the roof of the pop-top camper is aluminum. He added ground straps to connect the roof to the body of the camper and eventually to the frame of the truck.

This was an interesting walk. Not sure how much new stuff there was but it was nice to see and hear what others have been doing and what kind of problems they’ve had.


  1. I have a simple, nosy question. Why the interest in antennas? Solely for ham radio use? Or do you need something like that to get internet in really remote areas?

    Another question... why the interest in ham radios? Just for fun, to see who you can manage to connect with in remote parts of the world? Or is there a more utilitarian purpose?

    1. I was interested in what kind of antennae people were using on their RVs for HF. These are the frequencies that could be used to talk long distances. So, yes, strictly for ham radio use.

      The interest in ham radio has been around for a while but only licensed recently. I heard that the tests were being offered free in Fairbanks so I went ahead and studied and took them all. The use is strictly hobby. I thought that it would be a nice hobby while RVing. The mesh network sounds interesting as a way to possibly get Internet when the cell towers are busy like they were here. Verizon seems to be working a lot better later in the week than it was last weekend.