Field Day antenna suggestion

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stantorres

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Looking for some antenna advice. I go on the air only 1 time each year, for Field Day. I have a Technician license. I operate on 10 meters, 6 meters, 2 meters and 440 only.

My setup consists of an Icom IC706mkiig with a pair of deep cycle marine batteries. This year i switched between two Larsen nmo mag mount verticals, factory tuned to 10m and 6m bands. The other mag mount is a diamond dual band nmo mag mount for 144/440. I drive my 4x4 to the top of a 1200' high hill where I have unobstructed LOS from horizon to horizon.

My question is about antennas. I only use mag mounts because they are easy. I setup and operate alone.

Here are my questions:

Should I use an automatic antenna tuner on those mag mounts?

Would a disconne be as good/better?

Can you use an automatic antenna tuner on a disconne?

If I put a 119" whip up, and the automatic antenna tuner, would that be decent?

Are there any other compact, easy to setup antenna setups that you would recommend (longwire maybe)?

For 10m/6m, is my vertical polarized wrong for distant beyond horizon qso's?

Any other advice?

Thanks so much for reading!
 

ko6jw_2

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Too many questions. Are you looking for advice for net year? Field Day 2020 was last weekend.

For 6 and 10 meters I would look at wire antennas. Get rid of the mag mounts. Discones are not going to work very well on 6 and not at all on 10 no matter what their bogus specs claim. Suggest getting an ARRL Antenna Book and studying some theory. You can make pretty compact beams for 10 and 6. Also for 2 meters and 440. Have fun.
 

mmckenna

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Looking for some antenna advice. I go on the air only 1 time each year, for Field Day. I have a Technician license. I operate on 10 meters, 6 meters, 2 meters and 440 only.

My setup consists of an Icom IC706mkiig with a pair of deep cycle marine batteries. This year i switched between two Larsen nmo mag mount verticals, factory tuned to 10m and 6m bands. The other mag mount is a diamond dual band nmo mag mount for 144/440. I drive my 4x4 to the top of a 1200' high hill where I have unobstructed LOS from horizon to horizon.

My question is about antennas. I only use mag mounts because they are easy. I setup and operate alone.

Here are my questions:

Should I use an automatic antenna tuner on those mag mounts?
2 meters/70 centimeters = NO. It's not difficult to tune an antenna to resonate properly across those bands. Using an antenna tuner just hides the issue from the transceiver. If you don't already have a decent quality SWR meter, get that instead of a tuner and simply tune your antennas.

10 meters? As a Technician, you only have access to part of the band, just tune your antenna properly, again, SWR meter is your friend.
Same with 6 meters.

Would a disconne be as good/better?
Better than the verticals? No. A discone has 0dB of gain. It's not hard to get a 2 meter or 70 centimeter antenna that will have 3dB of gain. And like ko6jw said, the consumer/hobby grade discones are not going to do you any good at all on 6 and 10. You would need a big antenna for that. Since the Tech portion of 10 meters is SSB/CW, I'd recommend a horizontal antenna, wire or copper pipe, a yagi, etc. 6 meters a vertical would be fine if all you are doing is the FM portion of the band, but a horizontal dipole probably makes more sense on SSB, and again, not hard to make a 6 meter yagi that will give you some gain. I did a 6 meter contest a LONG time ago and just made a 1/2" copper pipe dipole and used a 10 watt radio, did pretty well.

Can you use an automatic antenna tuner on a disconne?
You could, but why? The beauty of a discone antenna is that they are very broad banded and don't need to be tuned to cover a wide portion of the spectrum. While they are not perfectly flat, and a tuner might hide that from the transceiver, you're still using a 0dB gain antenna. Sort of like polishing a turd, at the end of all that work you simply have a shiny turd.

If I put a 119" whip up, and the automatic antenna tuner, would that be decent?
Again, an antenna tuner simply hides the issue from the transceiver. It makes much more sense to actually tune your antenna to the band you are using. A 119" vertical is a bit long for 10 meters, so you could shorten it down, add some ground radials and have a decent 10 meter quarter wave antenna.

Are there any other compact, easy to setup antenna setups that you would recommend (longwire maybe)?
For 10 meters and maybe 6 a dipole would probably be a good choice. For 6, 2 and 70, take a look at building your own Yagi antenna, that'll give you some better performance and gain that you can actually use to your benefit.

For 10m/6m, is my vertical polarized wrong for distant beyond horizon qso's?
Horizontal is going to serve you better on the 10 meter band SSB. As for 6, depends on if you are working FM/repeater or SSB. For SBB, you'd probably benefit from horizontal.

Any other advice?
Get an SWR meter that will cover your bands and tune your antennas. Better use of your money than a tuner.
 

popnokick

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And when you apply the excellent suggestions in this thread why wait a year for another Field Day to try them out? There are ARRL VHF Contest events in Sep, Jan, and June.
 
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