Last weekend my wife (Julie, KN6AOC) and I tried transmitter hunting (also known as amateur radio direction finding or ARDF) and antenna building for the first time. The Fullerton Amateur Radio Club setup the event and had mentors available for us.
A while back I purchased an Ed Fong dual band (2M/70CM) DBJ-2 antenna for field use. Roll up “slim jim” antennas are an excellent choice for your go bag. You can hang them from a tree branch in the field, but what do you do when there are no trees around?
Over the past year, I have experimented with a lot of antennas trying to find a good combination of gain and portability since the majority of my contacts are in the field. I will summarize my observations and make some recommendations broken down into two categories: packable and transportable. There are plenty of good vehicle-mounted and home base antennas to talk about, but since this article is about emergency communications in the field (as in, on foot or on a bike – my experience), I won’t discuss those here.
By “packable”, I literally mean an antenna that can …