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?
I first tested the roll-up antenna with a collapsible fiberglass antenna mast and an umbrella base. While this works great when I have my car nearby, I wanted something ultra portable for backpacking. Not finding anything on the market, I decided to build my own packable PVC antenna.
You should be able to figure out how to assemble the mast from the parts list below. All of this weighs about 5 pounds. The mast is durable and should easily withstand high wind conditions. Also, if you’re tracking satellites with this antenna, you could lead the antenna down one of the guy ropes to angle it skyward instead of vertically.
NOTE: This list of parts gets your antenna two feet off the ground. These antennas do not require a ground wire. You could make the mast taller with additional sections of PVC pipe and longer guy ropes. But then you would also need longer a longer antenna lead wire. Ultimately getting yourself to higher elevation where you’ll have better line of sight is what really makes the difference. This kit breaks down to about two feet tall. You could cut the pieces shorter and use additional couplers for a smaller back pack.
THE PARTS LIST (You’ll find everything but the tent stakes at Home Depot)
|2′ x 1 1/4″ PVC Sch 40 Pipe||$2.74|
|1 1/4″ to 1″ Reducer Bushing||$1.44|
|2′ x 1″ PVC Sch 40 Pipe||$2.13|
|1″ to 3/4″ Reducer Bushing||$0.91|
|2′ x 3/4″ PVC Sch 40 Pipe||$1.52|
|3/4″ to 1/2″ Reducer Bushing||$0.59|
|2′ x 1/2″ PVC Sch 40 Pipe||$1.24|
|Three 1/4″ x 1 1/2″ Eye Bolts||$2.27 x 2 packages|
|Three Tent Stakes (Walmart)||$2.82|
|6″ x 1/2″ Bolt||$1.58|
|Three ProGrip Better Than Bungees Rope Locks||$3.98 x 3|
|50′ of 1/8″ Paracord (To make longer guy lines.)||$3.98|
|A Velcro Strap||$2.98|
|A Carabiner Clip||$0.98|
|Total:||$38.01 (plus tax)|