A New Antenna for VHF and UHF Operation
I don’t think I have ever promoted a commercial product in this column before, so this is a first. Disclaimer: I am not making any money off of this. This is not a commercial advertisement, but just a way to make hams aware of a new product.
I have actively promoted Summits-on-the-Air (SOTA) and Parks-on-the-Air (POTA) as a good way for hams to get out and make some contacts. However, if you are a technician class ham, you may feel left out because you have no HF privileges in the HF bands except for CW (Morse Code). Well, you need not feel hamstrung because you are restricted to 10 meters and above. Certainly, you can purchase a rig that is 10 meter capable and get on the air, but I guess very few technicians do this and perhaps fewer have the money to do so. Well, cheer up, because there may be a solution. Check out the ABBREE Tacticool Ham Radio Antenna. (See accompanying video.)
This is a “blade” antenna. Blade antennas are used on many military radios. They look like a painted-over tape measure, but they work.
I am a fan of the “Ham Radio Crash Course” YouTube channel. Josh, KI6NAZ just put out a review on this antenna series. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KDBC0azUa50&feature=em-uploademail. He did some testing on several ABREE antennas, and had very good results. One of them is 42 inches long. It might be a bit unwieldly, but according to the review, it did very well. Forty-two inches may be a bit boo much for some hams, but there are shorter versions, also.
Even if you use another antenna, (Even the stock antenna will give you some results.) you will likely have numerous contacts. Just let others know before you go.
Back to SOTA and POTA. Being on a summit gives you the effect of having a really antenna. With an antenna that has some gain, you can get your signal out a long way. Take, for instance, Brasstown Bald. It qualifies for both SOTA and POTA. All you need to do is announce your presence on the proper posting websites (For example. POTA.us) with the frequency you are working and you are just about guaranteed contacts. I can testify it is a lot of fun.
I have heard of one SOTA activist who was able to contact Metro Atlanta from Brasstown Bald on two meters. By the way, I saw a YouTube video where one ham went to a summit with his wife a few hundred feet away. His wife returned his call. They then switched places. They chased and activated each other. Apparently, it is not against the rules, so why not take a ham friend or spouse with you when you go.
Brasstown Bald is a national park and counts for a POTA activation, as do all national and state parks. Can you activate parks on two meters? I checked the POTA activation site and found one ham doing just that. Even doing that from a local location such as the Chattahoochee National Recreation Area can be activated on two meters. Many hams have a mobile rig in their vehicles. Just park in a parking lot in the park and try it. Again, let people know you will be activating the park. A couple posts on the Metro Atlanta area reflectors would certainly help.
Breaking News: There is another “blade” antenna made by HYS, called the AC-80, which provided excellent coverage to the GARS repeater from Dacula during the October SET. I will check this out as soon as possible.
Now that the hot, humid weather is behind us, it’s time to get out and enjoy nature with your radio!