Having been out of the hobby for a few years I’m now finding I have the time to be more active. I have a Yaesu 817ND and a 3 band Hyendfed antenna at present but Im looking for something commercialy produced for portable 2meter SOTA, ( I’m not that brilliant at DIY,hence commercially available) Any recommendations.
I recommend attempting the construction of a homebrew antenna ahead of purchasing a commercial brand. There is a great deal of personal satisfaction when you have constructed the antenna and you make your first SOTA QSO, go ahead give it a go!
Years ago I used to take a Moonraker HB9CV 2-element beam portable, not much gain but a good null to notch out a splattering station, and very lightweight and compact to carry. They are still available at £29.95, but for the same price they also do a 4-element yagi. Their website is www.moonraker.eu
Steve said he has an FT-817ND, so I’m guessing he’s looking at SSB - Hence horizontal polarisation. I think the two antennas you’ve mentioned are for vertical polarization (as used for 2m FM).
Steve - can you confirm whether you plan to activate on FM, SSB or both as the answer will affect your choice of antenna.
Well FM is more practical with roll-up J-Pole or Dipole antennas as Andrew has suggested, that can be hung off a fibre glass or wooden pole. Whether there are commercial versions of these if you don’t feel confident to build them (or don’t have the test equipment to set them up 100%), I’m not sure. Most examples given above are for beams, which in principal could be mounted in horizontal or vertical polarisation, but the J-Pole or Dipole are far easier to carry and mount even if they don’t provide the gain of a beam.
I have a couple of solutions for 2m work … depending on the situation
Homebrew dipole from telescopic 'TV rabbit ears", can be used horizontal for SSB (arms a bit in a V to get 50 Ohm), or vertical as a ground plane (one leg vertical, one under 45 degrees). Just feeding with 50 Ohm coax without balun, it works … the plastic tube is for mounting on a hotel window or balcony, for sota I just put this tube to my fishing pole with velcro strips.
Last year I bought a 4 elem logperiodic (2/70) from Anjo Antennen (http://www.joachims-gmbh.de/detail_blatt/LP145435E.html), I had a 250 km qso with it (SSB with 20W from FT857D). It packs small (fits in my backpack), but it is easy to lose some screws when in the woods … I do the assembly on a towel so I can find the parts when I drop them, hi
For my handheld FT1D, I have a flexible quarterwave from ebay , only 3€, works well
(search ebay for Nagoya NA-771). It looks identical to a Diamond antenna which has the same number (RH-771) … so probably from the same factory
I can’t really add to the good range of suggestions above, except to say do consider home brew. As others have said, there is great satisfaction.
Much of the difficulty is in making a neat, robust and weatherproof structure for a permanent installation. But, for occasional portable use, none of those is especially important. Give it a go while you are awaiting delivery! It has never been easier to find a design online…
Definitely try a home brew one
I’ve used a co-axial collinear, made up of several cut lengths of coax, performed quite well, and (just about) fits on the length of a sota pole. Also had several s2s qsos on ssb (cross polarised to the other stations, obviously not ideal, and also on 70cm using the same collinear)
Also used a j-pole, useful as you can get it fairly high off the ground on the pole, An Elk antenna (I replaced the ‘mount’ with a piece of plastic pipe, and a 15mm pipe clip which fits onto the pole, and also allows me to quickly change the polarisation if required.) The Elk is a bit of a faff to ‘build’ on a hill, especially when it’s cold and wet…
Latest one is a small moxon I built for an overseas trip which was very easy to make, using readily available hardware, I did put the details on the reflector somewhere, a search will probably find it.