My Chameleon MPAS2.0 comes with 50ft of coax that I sometimes use both for chaser setups and potentially activation. It doesn’t come with a spool. For my 10m 10mm think coax I use a camping power cable winder but that is overkill for this job.
You’re a resourceful bunch, but I couldn’t find anything on the reflector, does anyone have any suggestions? I don’t think a flat winder would be suitable, but that would be one option. Doesn’t seem anything out there the right sort of size. I have winders for everything else and they work wonders for both speed and ease of use.
Here the only 2 thing to do among 3 methods
sorry is in french
In my starts as a SOTA activator, I often used a GP made with a vertical wire along the fishing rod and 4 wire radials on ground or slightly elevated towards the 4 cardinal points (N, S, E, W) fed with a length of 12-13m on RG58, but winding/unwinding it on the field with the weather inclemences was such a pain that I soon switched to my current set up (endfed wire), where I just have a 1m length of RG58 which takes nothing to deploy and store back.
The following images show how I currently do my setup of the OCF sloper random wire I use.
Notice the blue box on the ground representing my rucksack with the SOTA-kit inside and just a minimal length of RG58 with the top end 0,8m above the ground.
73 & HNY,
For activating @EA2IF taking a shorter cable is the right solution.
I use the over/under technique when winding cables: How to Coil Cables | The Over Under Technique - YouTube
I know this wasn’t quite the answer you were looking for, but for my MPAS Lite I went with a shorter cable. I made up a small patch lead and a lightweight toroidal choke:
And then I use this with a 5-6m RG58 cable instead of the 50ft one that comes with the antenna. Halving the length of RG58 makes quite a difference in weight and packability, and I can also swap it for a short length of RG174 if I want further reduction.
This is really a portable chaser problem. The other scenario where having a long coax lead is handy is when using the MPAS in sloper configuration. I often sit on a bench when chasing on a local hill and it is handy to strap a pole to the bench rather than faff around guying away. In this case the slope is away to the matching unit, so I need a long coax to bring the signal back to me.
What I did find on the internet is high cost solutions which would fit the bill. I can’t help thinking there is something out there with the right shape that can be re-purposed, just not sure what. Obvious answer would be a used cable reel but they are normally cardboard these days, not a portable friendly material.
If you had thinner coax, you could use an old plastic welding wire drum?
I like the photo. There are figure-8 / kite-winders but the cable is not wound figure-8 on the winder.
I have been winding RG-174 on a home-made figure-8 winder for years and as long you keep the winding slack you don’t strain the wire nor get the kind of kink that damages the cable. It helps to have the cable laid out in a long straight run before winding and not to hold the cable tight in your fingers so it can release any twists.
RG-316 is less tolerant of this and I use over-under winding and again allowing any twists to unravel.
For heavy cable (Westflex, RG-213, LDF 4-50, FDJ 4-50) the cable is laid out on the ground in a straight run and coil made and then rolled along the ground. You need to be careful no to exceed the minimum bending radius on the Heliax types. Well don’t exceed it on any type but more easy to damage Heliax.
I also have the MPAS Lite. A short patch cable is fine for a summer-time activation when I’m happy to sit next to the vertical. But this time of year I’m usually sheltering in the heather or behind rocks maybe 5-7m away from the antenna.
The supplied (25-ft?) RG58 coax for the MPAS Lite ‘wants’ to knot during re-coiling and is the one thing that spoils an otherwise quick (un)deployment. So, I’m wondering if a small drum reel would help.
This is the cable on a SOTABeams winder. One about 50% larger would be ok, but it was a faff getting the length of cable on this winder, so not really a viable solution.
I use these when I’m using my aluminium mast. They’re Clark guy rope winders. They’d easily take 50’ of rg-174
My ones have a handle and the reel spins to deploy the rope or cable.
I wouldn’t want to yomp up a mountain with one, as they’re made from steel wire.
We use 8 of those in 2 sets of 4 for guying the contesting masts. One set low down and one set near the top each onto a rotator bearing. The rope is rather strong, suitable for guying 4x Tonna 55ele for 23cms or 2x M2 2M17 on 2m or 2x M2 432-13WL on 70cms all on 10-12m masts.
I use casting reels bought in the fishing section of a dept store to wind up cables and wires that I don’t want to kink in any way. I think I bought all their stock, now they have the same reels but are supplied with fishing line and hooks etc. I think I have 15cm and 20cm sizes. 6 and 8 inches in the ancient measurements.
Thinking a little bit “outside the box” and looking at your pack.
Could you wind the RG58 coax around the bottom pocket on the front of the pack and then fasten down those straps around the pocket, that seem to be ideally located for such an action, so effectively using the straps as the holders for the coax.
That’s a great idea. The pack I have is the pre-cursor to the one shown in the image and is big enough to house the MIL-EXT2.0 - quite frankly it is a monster of a rucksack! However, there is definitely merit to this approach. I’m coming to the conclusion that the weight of this antenna system does not lend itself well to activations unless very modest summits (we don’t have drive on summits in the Lake District). I do most of my chasing portable however and it is much better suited to that scenario.
This is quite compact, but probably still a bit big. It’s for 25m of mains cable but should take more RG58 if that’s what you have.
Yes, I think that cable winder would be very useful. I was thinking if it was possible to permanently attach one to the anvil I take up the summits. Then I’d be able to drop the anvil in place and run out the cable, the anvil keeping the reel in place. By using the anvil I’d save the weight of taking another tent peg to pin the reel down that way.
And now to be serious…
During the 1st lockdown I bought a kind winder from ebay to experiment with using it with Rg-174/RG-316.
It wasn’t that price back then, more like £4!
After some mods and tests the problem was it doesn’t hold enough coax and isn’t easy enough to use to justify the cost or more importantly the weight penalty. Learning and forcing yourself to coil the cable correctly works and has no cost or weight. The downside is when you are cold and it’s blowing a gale coiling up the cable is hard.
To steal a well known phrase “Winter is coming” when your coax stops being easy to coil! And it was noticeably difficult stowing all the cables last Tuesday when there was -13C windchill.
EDIT: that reel comes with kite string, mine was bare which was why it was cheaper.
Your probably doing this already but the Over/ Under technique for coiling cables works a treat.
Thanks. Every day is a school day