It’s safe to say if you’re reading this you already know it’s good to be prepared. Here’s some things you should carry in your kit to make your field expedient operations easier. These items are small, cheap and off the shelf.
Somethings we use in the field are non-negotiable, like radios, tuners, feed line, microphones etc. But……Somethings are more flexible……like antennas! Remember, why buy when you can make? Sometimes our operating location/conditions have “special” requirements. Unlike your backyard on sunday afternoon sometimes we have to hide or disguise our antenna system. With that said, making your own antenna allows you to customize it to your environment. Store bought antennas don’t always allow for this. Unlike a contester, who needs the best antenna as high up as they can get it, we have to compromise between performance and stealth. Sometimes all you can deploy is a wire laying on the bedroom floor or a dipole laying in the bushes. With the bedroom wire and the bush antenna, you are not going to break any pile-ups but they will work……and they are invisible to any on-lookers. Always try for the best antenna system but remember, if you have to get comms up, stealth may be paramount. As said before, I have a friend who was SF in Vietnam and they had wire antennas buried to keep comms running when the enemy bombed there main antennas. He said it worked good enough to stay in the net. That’s real world proof that where there’s a will there’s a way!
Feed line is hard to improvise (one of those things you just gotta have) so it’s good to have it in your kit before hand. Coupling your feed line to your field expedient antenna can be made easier by carrying these simple items:
The “Cobra Head” or center insulator. This small item cost only a few bucks on line. Search “binding post to bnc connector “. I picked mine up at a ham fest. Get a couple, there cheap and effective. This will work good for light gauge wire at qrp levels. No 1000 watts here, take it easy on those batteries!
Here’s a good source of wire for your field expedient antenna. Cat 5/6 cable. It’s everywhere…….It works great in a pinch. It’s in every building everywhere. In a bad situation you may find yourself “borrowing” some. The IT guy can fix it latter…… its a pain to strip out, but if it was easy everyone would be a radio guy!
Here it is opened up. Lots of little wires to make antennas out of.
Here we have two pieces ready to put to work.
Here the wires are connected. Once again, not super strong and not permanent but works like a champ for what we need!
Here is the few other pieces to make this work with what ever feed line you packed in.
As you see here where there’s a will there’s a way. Sometimes your special skills may be called to service when you least expect it. Be ready……..