Best Portable HF Antenna

Portable HF Antenna – Bestsellers

Bestseller No. 1
HFJ-350M Toy Box Original Comet Portable 9 Band Telescopic HF Antenna with 160M Extension Coil
36 Reviews
HFJ-350M Toy Box Original Comet Portable 9 Band Telescopic HF Antenna with 160M Extension Coil
  • Frequency Bands: 1.8, 3.5, 7, 10, 14, 18, 21, 24, 28, 50 MHz
  • Telescopic Element with 3 Coils
  • Minimum Length: 14.25", Maximum Length: 75.6"
Bestseller No. 2
OPEK HVT-400B HF/VHF Multi-Band Mobile Antenna
39 Reviews
OPEK HVT-400B HF/VHF Multi-Band Mobile Antenna
  • High Performance HF/VHF Multi-Band Mobile Antenna
  • Frequency: 80/40/20/15/10/6/2 Meters and 70cm
  • Connector: UHF Male (PL-259)
SaleBestseller No. 3
Usmile LW1650 Portable Long Line shortwave Antenna shortwave Radio Antenna for RTL SDR Receiver shortwave Radio Stations
51 Reviews
Usmile LW1650 Portable Long Line shortwave Antenna shortwave Radio Antenna for RTL SDR Receiver shortwave Radio Stations
  • This portable long line short-wave antenna is a simple suite, including all necessary kit.
  • It is simple and easy to install. Lightweight, compact, and easy to carry, widely used to receive short wave and medium...
  • Especially suited for camping, emergency communication, etc.
Bestseller No. 4
Portable Wire Antennas
161 Reviews
Portable Wire Antennas
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Hill, John (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
Bestseller No. 5
GEZICHTA Magnetic Antenna Portable Passive Magnetic Loop Antenna for HF and VHF.
4 Reviews
GEZICHTA Magnetic Antenna Portable Passive Magnetic Loop Antenna for HF and VHF.
  • Low-loss wide-band BALUN with 0.28 dB loss typ.
  • This antenna is not waterproof, if it is used outdoors, please do the waterproof treatment by yourself, such as...
  • Passive design, no tuning required.
Bestseller No. 6
GRA-1899T multiband HF VHF (80m-6m) 3.5-50MHz Handheld Portable Telescopic Antenna Max QRP for YAESU FT-817 FT-817ND FT-818 FT-857D MFJ X5105 or KX3 ICOM IC-705, BNC
60 Reviews
GRA-1899T multiband HF VHF (80m-6m) 3.5-50MHz Handheld Portable Telescopic Antenna Max QRP for YAESU FT-817 FT-817ND FT-818 FT-857D MFJ X5105 or KX3 ICOM IC-705, BNC
  • Designed specifically for the Yaesu YAESU FT-817, FT-817ND, FT-818, FT-857D, KX3 and other QRPrigs.
  • Cover all HF bands, including WARC bands, from 80 Meters to 6 Meters.
  • Band changing is achieved by plugging the "wander lead" into the appropriate socket on the base coil.
Bestseller No. 7
RTL.lu
289 Reviews
RTL.lu
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Last update on 2021-04-21 / Affiliate links

I do am really prompted by questions from fellow hams and questions I got to ask recently from a newly licensed operator actually, was he wanted to go out and operate hf portable? What was the best antenna for it? Well, that’s a very wide topic. And there are many answers. And, as always, I suppose as simple and quick off the cuff answers, will it depends. But of course, that’s no answer.
Elecraft kx3 Portable HF Antenna
If you want to know what is the best antenna for hf pause operation. I’ve been licensed for over 60 years, believe it or not. And I’ve done a lot of portable operations in my time, and I’ve come to learn what works and what doesn’t work in particular circumstances.

I think the first thing to probably understand is that most people that go out and operate hf portable, do it for fun. It’s the fun aspects. And the fun aspect will only come if you make some contacts. If you go out and you operate and you come back with zero contacts Well, okay, you could argue had a bit of fun. But it’s not the same as working substations is Rola going out fishing and not catching any fish and you come back you think Well, okay, it was not when the bad day, I got out in the sunshine, but I really didn’t catch any fish. And so what I’m going to try and do is to perhaps help you to have more success.

Power is the Key

If you’re going to operate hf portable, the choice for a lot of people is to run q or P anyway, because it’s so much easier. Five or 10 watts is fairly easy to do on batteries. And if you’re going to operate high power with bigger batteries, then probably you’re going to have more success anyway.

So it really is key. The antenna is key if you’re going to operate, low power, and my experience, the majority of people that go out and operate hf portable, operate low power, I personally use the little Elecraft KX2 which will give them up to 10 watts, a lot of people will use the FT 817 or the FT 818 which will give you up to five watts or six watts with the 818.

And I guess quite a few people will be using the IC 705 when it comes along, there are other qR p transceivers, of course, as well. But we’re talking about power levers all around about 10 watts maximum, I personally try to travel light. And quite a few times I’ve used some commercial antennas.

This is the coil loading call from the body stick, where you’ve got a shorting point that goes down, then you plug sockets in there and you can just change the band by changing the tap. The good thing about that is that if you get it right you don’t need an 80 it will give you a good natural as an 80 to another antenna which I have used is the Elecraft XX1. Practice this, this is very small, take the width off, screw comes off. That is your HF antenna for 20 meters and for 17 meters.

You can also get a loading call for 14 meters but that’s how compact is that. So we’re talking about the short whip short loaded whips. And the short loaded whip. As I say you don’t need an antenna tuner, I try to avoid antenna tuners these days because it’s, it’s easier and it’s more immediate. And my experience is if you need an 80 you to resonate the antenna when you’re out operating portable.

Very often you don’t get particularly good results. If you’re the antennas not you end up with a sort of random length of wire and this sort of thing. And I’ve tried to avoid that. I want to order a Simple compact system that works without an antenna tuner. So the sort of loaded whips that are resonant is my choice if I want something really small and compact with any whip antenna, you do you need a, an earth or ground plane.

And the easiest way to achieve that is simply to run out a length of wire along the ground, which is connected to the earth side. And that acts as a ground plane. That is absolutely essential. And don’t ever try to operate with a wit without having a ground connection or preferably with a wire or sort of counter-voice connection. It just won’t work.

So short loaded, whips are one answer, and they work, they work reasonably well. I’ve always found that an alternative if you’ve got a car and the car is nearby is to actually mount the whip on the roof of the vehicle, I tend to use a magnetic mount.

And that always seems to work extremely well compared with a whip. And the ground plan. I think the reason is, is a big chunk of metal underneath the car anyway. And of course, it has the added advantage of it starts raining, you can always pop into the car with the regen operated inside. So I whip mounted on a car is not a bad option. It certainly works.

Alexloop Antennas

For me, it works very well. And I’ve often used that, particularly in the winters when it’s cold. Now one compacts antenna that does work extremely well is the Alexloop. And I’ll put a picture of that up on the screen now the Alexloop I’ve used quite often in the past. The advantage of is of it is that it’s very compact when it’s all folded up in its circle carry bag, it covers 40 through 210 meters, it covers all the bands, including the walk bands, and it doesn’t need an antenna tuner, the antenna, when it’s resonant, provides a very, very low SW R.

And it’s actually very easy to adjust. Because what you do is you adjust the tuning control at the base of the antenna and you’ll hear immediately, the signal suddenly pop up is quite sharp, the position of tune is quite sharp. And once you’ve heard those signals pop up, if you just then look at the SW meter, you can then finally trim it down to almost zero SW r dot probably flip over to FM or am. So I’ve got a steady carrier and just adjust it. So you’ve got minimus Wi-Fi, that antenna does work very, very well. I’ve even used it indoors, and I’m quite impressed with it, it’ll it’ll handle up to about 20 watts anyway. So it’s a good antenna. It is not cheap, you know, but it is very, very well made. And just bear in mind that, again, you don’t need an antenna tuner. So you’re saving 80 euros, but it’s a very, very nice antenna. And also is quite low noise as well, because it’s a magnetic loop, which is quite low noise. So I’ve had a lot of fun with that. And if you’re serious about security operation, take a look at the website, the Alexloop bit may well be the answer you’re looking for.

Full Size HF Antennas

Now I have seen videos and examples of operators putting up a sort of a full-size antenna like a full-size court wide vertical on 20 meters or, you know, a loaded 40-meter antenna which stands about sort of 16 or 20 foot high. And then I’m the run out of the radios and so forth is not a favorite antenna of mine. And I’ll tell you why. First of all, you’ve got to take a lot of extra paraphernalia with you. You need to put some decent radios out, you got to support it, you got to stop it falling over in the wind, etc. And it has quite an eye glow radiation. Now I know that a small whip has a low angle of radiation as well in theory, but if you want to improve your performance and you do it by putting up a sort of either a full size or near full size vertical, you’re actually not going to get the results that you expect.

So why is this? Well, first of all, a vertical has like radiation which means to say that the takeoff angle from the RF is quite low, which favors dx. The problem is that currently and very often when you’re out, there is no DX to be worked on. I mean, we are at the sunspot sock minimum at the moment, very often the bands are, are pretty poor, the certainly no chance really of working, real dx. And yet, all your energy is going off of that lowering the which favors dx.

Currently, and probably for the next couple of years, you’re not going to work much dx on your QR p portable system. So what you want is an antenna that gives you some higher angle radiation. Now bear in bear in mind that at the beginning of this video, I said qR p operation is all about foreign, you want to come back with some contacts in your log, you don’t know sort of putting your fishing line out and not catch anything.

So you really want an antenna, that gives you higher angle radiation, that will give you the contacts that are available, I mean, the 20 meters, generally speaking, it’s open. And you can work some German stations, you can work into Eastern Europe, or you can work down into Spain and so forth, you can work up into Scandinavia, the band is generally speaking openly for that.

And the antenna that you want for that is certainly not the vertical antenna. And this applies probably even more so to 40 meters where I’ve seen ham operators trying to get contacts on a vertical on a tall vertical of 40 meters and without too much access.

And the reason is that then they’re losing a lot of the signal that they could otherwise achieve. Because it’s going to lower angle radiation, you want to use something fairly steep for 40 meters and really 20 meters as the band’s standard at the moment. Now, last year, I went to the Republic of Ireland and operated there. And I stayed in a chalet and there was really, it was really difficult to put up an antenna on the audit take a short walk with me. But I also took a half wavelength of wire for 40 meters.

So in other words, it was 20 meters long. And one end was attached to the guttering of a chalet. And the other end was attached to a bush down the garden onto the average height was about 10 or 12 feet. So it was pretty low. I also took the precaution of cutting it in the middle and then putting a little joiner so I could actually disconnect it and use half the length. So half the length, which will be 10 meters will give me a half-wave on 20 meters.

And the reason I did that was that I didn’t know how long the garden was going to be. And if all else failed, I’d have an antenna that little ratio on 20 meters. Well, in fact, there was enough room to put out 20 meters of wire, so I was able to operate on 40 meters now. That means to say that my half-wave antenna would resonate on 14 meters and 20 meters and 15 meters and 10 meters, which is quite nice.

And the good thing about an infrared half-wave is that provided you’ve got the matching transformer, you don’t need an 80 you not only Don’t you need an A to you, you don’t need any kayaks cable at all. So my half wave for 40 meters, my 20-meter long length of wire would really sort of slip into my pocket. And you can’t get an antenna which is more compact than that. Now I know there’s a lot of things we published about infrared wires and people disregard them.

Do you know I can’t think of anybody that has put up an infrared half-wave with a proper transformer and come back to me and said it’s a load of rubbish? Those that settle under rubbish are generally speaking those that haven’t used one or they’ve just attached a random length of wire we’ve attached a random length to the wall. Yes, it will be rubbish. It’s absolutely essential that wire is resonant, get yourself 20 meters of wire, attach it to a 49 to one machine transformer and in fact, I did a video about making your own machine transformer. And I’ll try and remember to put a link at the bottom of this video so you can have a look at that one as well. If you use that machine transformer and that length of wire, it will resonate on 40 meters 2015 and 10 you don’t need an antenna tuner. The good thing about that arrangement is apart from the fact these are new coax cables it’s very easy to run out you can throw it over a bush and so forth, but it gives you high angle radiation. And that is the thing that’s going to give you context when you’re running qR p as we are at the moment okay perhaps in four or five years’ time. ‘ll bands will be different and new verticals.

Start to work in a better fashion at the moment they want. If you’re going to go q RP, seriously, consider using an end-fed half-wave resonant wire with the correct matching transformer. If you don’t want to make your own antenna, then there are commercial ones available, we’ve got a range of infant half waves on our website now made by Vibro Plex in the USA. And there’s a full-size one when I say full size that is 40 meters long, which gives you at 2015 and 10, plus the walk bands. Or there’s a shorter version of Audible, which is what I was talking about just now. And that gives you four bands, it gives you it’s 20 with Islamic if you 14 and 10 meters. And either of those will do the job. If you want to operate just 20 meters, then, of course, you can just use 10 meters of wire. In fact, the 10 meters of wire will also resonate on 10 meters. But I shouldn’t get too excited about that. And this is some strategy about you and getting the contacts on 10 meters. So that really is my take on qR p hf operation and what antenna you should use. The infant halfway resonant wire is extremely compact. You don’t need an 80 you don’t need coax cable, it’s got good resonance, good low SW are, generally speaking, operate, operate right across the band, you shouldn’t have any problem at all and operating right across the band with it. It makes a very compact system. But above all, it works. It’ll give you the context. So give it a try. You won’t be disappointed.