by Dean W Manley KH6B Hilo HI BK29KP ARRL Life, HI Chap. 194 QCWA HI-QRP #001
Here in the Islands, I've done my share of camping. I've used just about all the antennas as shown in the ARRL antenna book. I've even used some not described.
I like the multiband vertical. Mine is the HyGain 14AVQ; good for 40, 20, 15 and 10M. For the ground, or counterpoise, here's what has evolved over the years: I used a trap multiband dipole antenna. Mine is described in the ARRL Antenna Book as an 80-10M trap antenna. It has one set of traps in the 40M band.
Mine is home-made, with trap frequency near 7050 kHz. The horizontal 80-10M antenna is about 8 to 10 feet off the ground, tied to a couple of supports, such as trees, or short poles/masts. The vertical antenna has its feed point at the center of the horizontal antenna. Note the height of the trap-counterpoise, so that people don't run into it. This makes for happy campers, me and others!
For routine DX (everything is DX from Hawaii):
The feed coax center conductor goes to the vertical, and the shield goes to the horizontal antenna used as 2 groundplane elements, or counterpoise.
For local work on 80 and 40M (NVIS):
I reconnect the coax to the horizontal antenna as a low trap dipole, with no connection to the vertical.
I now have a switch box at the junction of the base of the vertical and the center of the trap dipole. The rotary switch is 2-pole, 3-position mounted in an aluminum mini-box. It switches the vertical element and the two legs of the dipole.
The switchable combinations are:
If a 2-pole, 2-position switch is available, choose #1 vertical GP or #3 dipole combinations.
I remember one evening while using this antenna system. The vertical with c'poise worked very well to the East Coast USA on 40M. The following morning, Asia was pounding in with S9 signals. The vertical refused to get through. I switched to the horizontal (at 8 ft.), and made several nice contacts. This was also on 40M during my favorite time, the gray line window, about 15 minutes to about 1-1/2 hours AFTER local sunrise.
| | | <--trap vertical | trap | trap _____=__________o__________=____ | | <-- 8' mast Trap vertical with horizontal trap dipole.