Monday, January 18, 2016

A Few Hours Of Sunshine Make For A Decked Vertical Test

TRX-80 Decked Vertical - Blending In


I decided to take advantage of a bit of sunshine in between storms to tune around the bands with my portable TRX-80 vertical. Like many small, portable antenna's, there are limitations and hooking a coax up to such an antenna will not necessarily open up the world. But, with propagation on your side and a bit of elevation, an antenna such as this could yield some fun.


As mentioned, this antenna does have limitations (especially on the low bands). I found tuning it was not as simple as just moving the tap ring up and down the antenna coil. You can do that to find the "sweet spot" but to obtain a flat match or respectable SWR, it required a bit of patience. The tap ring (depending on band) might only need a slight adjustment to move the SWR up or down. The counterpoise length is also crucial. My plan is to use my Buddipole counterpoise & wrap to make it easy to deploy and pack. I will fine tune this antenna once I get a bit more time and when the weather cooperates for more than a few hours. I at least wanted to make sure my soldered connections were good and compare it to my indoor EndFedZ antenna's. 

As you can see from the photo at left, I was able to tune the antenna for a respectable SWR on 20 meters. I opted for 14.100 as I normally do CW or digital. I did not try to make it flat, only get it close. I figured I'd try to see how low it could go, so on down to 80 meters I went. 

I was able to obtain a near flat match on 80 meters (photo at the right, actually easier than 40) but of course, it's less than optimal for this band. But hey, it might yield a few contacts during a contest if the band is good enough. I'll take it. With favorable propagation, one can be pleasantly surprised what might end up in the logbook. But all in all, once I get the counterpoise dialed in and get the coil marked, it should not take me long to deploy this small vertical. I will gladly add it to my portable equipment as another field option. It breaks down into a small package with the tripod being the largest part. I'd love to try a portable loop antenna but I'll have to wait until the shack fund increases by a few hundred bucks.  

Having a small antenna analyzer is important and I'm glad I picked this up at Dayton. Having one that would sweep the bands would be nice. Either way, as I continue to build my portable setup, I'm making way for some outdoor fun. Testing equipment in a controlled setting ensures things are working as they should. Better to find out at home rather than miles from the vehicle.   



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