what do you guys use for mobile hf?

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bluestallion

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I'm looking at getting a icom 706 for mobile use. Looking for a antenna. Was wondering if you guys use hamsticks? Or saw the antenna uhv-6, but looks little flemsy. Anyone used these? dont really want to use a bug catcher. looking to see what you guys use, any pics of your setup is a plus. Thanks and 73s
 

LtDoc

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I won't be much help, I used a bug catcher for years, then switched to a screwdriver antenna. But I did 80 thru 20 meters mostly. Hamsticks and such are fine for 20 meters and up, but terrible for the lower HF bands. One rule of thumb is that if it ain't big and ugly it isn't going to be much good. Oh well...
Good luck.
- 'Doc

(The switch from bug catcher to screwdriver was because I got tired of stopping and changing coil taps.)
 

prcguy

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I've used a lot of radios mobile but my favorite is the 706MKIIG, its receiver and noise blanker work great, the audio DSP is good, transmit audio gets lots of unsolicited great reports and so on.

I've also used just about every kind of mobile antenna out there from Hamsticks to SGC autotuners with the SGC multi would whip, Hustler resonators, screwdrivers, home made loaded whips, you name it.

A Hamstick can work surprisingly well even on 80m if mounted and grounded properly and you can extend its BW some by using a 50 ohm to lower impedance transformer or shunt coil matching at the feedpoint. Its hard to beat a Hamstick if you only need use 1 band at a time and your on a tight budget.

A few years ago I got a Tarheel 100HP which is a large 80-10m screwdriver and will never look back at anything else, it works fantastic, especially on 40 and 80m where its more than an S unit better than a Hamstick. Almost every night on my drive home from work I check into nets from coast to coast (from CA) on 40 and 80m while mobile.

The 706MKIIG also has a nice SWR graphing feature that is great for screwdriver antennas, it will scan 100KHz or more and show where the antenna sweet spot is which helps when remotely tuning the antenna.

Too bad they stopped making the 706MKIIG, its a far better radio than its IC7000 replacement and I know many people that thought they were upgrading when they bought 7000s and now they wish they had their 706s back.
prcguy
 

W3DMV

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I have had more than 40 different HF mobile antennas over my 50 ham career.
For single band work, there are many selections, and many work ok when properly
installed. LtDoc is correct, that the big ugly ones almost always out perform the smaller antennas. If your a multiband operator like me, then the screw driver antennas are hard to beat..
Jumping out of your vehicle along the road to change the antenna gets old real quick.
Don't understand the comment regarding the IC-706 vs IC-700. I have both rigs in my vehicle
and the 7000 is by far a better performer.... Good luck
 

prcguy

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In a mobile environment you may not notice the shortcomings of the 7000 receiver but put it on a good base antenna and its much more prone to overload problems than the 706.

I also hear lots of complaints of 7000s not doing well with moderate low voltage like running from a car battery with no charger and they shut off when you try to transmit.

Check Rob Sherwood's site where he tests various receivers and publishes the specs, the IC-7000 is near the bottom of the list where the 706 does surprisingly well in close spaced dynamic range tests. Here is a link to Rob's site: Receiver Test Data
prcguy

I have had more than 40 different HF mobile antennas over my 50 ham career.
For single band work, there are many selections, and many work ok when properly
installed. LtDoc is correct, that the big ugly ones almost always out perform the smaller antennas. If your a multiband operator like me, then the screw driver antennas are hard to beat..
Jumping out of your vehicle along the road to change the antenna gets old real quick.
Don't understand the comment regarding the IC-706 vs IC-700. I have both rigs in my vehicle
and the 7000 is by far a better performer.... Good luck
 

zz0468

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I'm looking at getting a icom 706 for mobile use. Looking for a antenna. Was wondering if you guys use hamsticks? Or saw the antenna uhv-6, but looks little flemsy. Anyone used these? dont really want to use a bug catcher. looking to see what you guys use, any pics of your setup is a plus. Thanks and 73s
I've had excellent results from an SGC autotuner and a full size CB whip on a ball mount. The key element to my success is electrically bonding things like doors and hoods and trunk lids to the body and frame. Also, use extremely short leads from the tuner to the antenna and ground.
 

Token

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I have used a Tarheel 400, I have also used Hamsticks and loaded a 102” whip using a tuner. Realistically I find they all work about the same, it is just the ease of use factor that changes.


Hamsticks are cheap and easy. Of course, you need one for each band you want to work and you must change them as you change bands. Most of my mobile HF requires one of four antennas (80, 40, 20, 12/10, last covered by a 102” whip). So not a huge deal. A tuner is required to flatten out the antenna. Even if you can get it tuned to a good SWR where you want it the acceptable SWR will be pretty narrow banded, especially at lower freqs like 80 meters. A tuner can stretch a Hamstick to the full band, depending on the specifics of the tuner.


The Tarheel is great, never have to go outside, never have to change the antenna. But, still need a auto tuner in the radio to flatten out the response. Or you have to tweak the Tarheel every time you change freqs.

And a good tuner can work a 102” whip on almost any band you want.

On either one of my 4x4s (both with Kenwood TS-2000x radios and RS-2000 remote control heads) I prefer the Hamstick or the 102” whip route. The heavy off-road use has damaged Tarheels for me. The Hamsticks and whips are much more robust, less to break. And low cost, break one throw it away and get another. I store the unused ones inside a PVC tube strapped to the overhead rack. On my wife’s SUV that never goes off-road I prefer the screwdriver antenna.

T!
 

prcguy

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The Tarheel 400 is bigger than my Tarheel 100HP but otherwise similar and should not require any additional antenna tuner. These antennas come with a shunt coil for matching on the lower bands and my 100HP at worst has about a 1.5:1 match on the lower bands and a perfect match on 20m and up.

On 80m my Tarheel 100HP is over 1S unit better on transmit compared to a Hamstick and on 40m its about 1S unit better.

I also use the Ameritron screwdriver motor controller thing which stores 10 preset frequencies for the antenna and when changing bands I just push a button and the antenna is perfectly adjusted and tuned there. If you have to move very far from one of the preset positions the Icom 706 built in VSWR sweep function draws you a graph of the antenna sweet spot which makes it very easy to center the antenna on any new frequency.

Except for a very large dedicated 80m or 40m "bug catcher" mono band antenna, the larger screwdriver antennas from Tarheel, Scorpion and others will give you a bigger signal on air than most any other mobile antenna.

My Tarheel is mounted behind the cab of a big Toyota Tundra 4X4 and when offroading I do remove the top whip and collapse the coil to cut down on leverage to the mount from bouncing around.
prcguy

I have used a Tarheel 400, I have also used Hamsticks and loaded a 102” whip using a tuner. Realistically I find they all work about the same, it is just the ease of use factor that changes.


Hamsticks are cheap and easy. Of course, you need one for each band you want to work and you must change them as you change bands. Most of my mobile HF requires one of four antennas (80, 40, 20, 12/10, last covered by a 102” whip). So not a huge deal. A tuner is required to flatten out the antenna. Even if you can get it tuned to a good SWR where you want it the acceptable SWR will be pretty narrow banded, especially at lower freqs like 80 meters. A tuner can stretch a Hamstick to the full band, depending on the specifics of the tuner.


The Tarheel is great, never have to go outside, never have to change the antenna. But, still need a auto tuner in the radio to flatten out the response. Or you have to tweak the Tarheel every time you change freqs.

And a good tuner can work a 102” whip on almost any band you want.

On either one of my 4x4s (both with Kenwood TS-2000x radios and RS-2000 remote control heads) I prefer the Hamstick or the 102” whip route. The heavy off-road use has damaged Tarheels for me. The Hamsticks and whips are much more robust, less to break. And low cost, break one throw it away and get another. I store the unused ones inside a PVC tube strapped to the overhead rack. On my wife’s SUV that never goes off-road I prefer the screwdriver antenna.

T!
 

Token

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The Tarheel 400 is bigger than my Tarheel 100HP but otherwise similar and should not require any additional antenna tuner. These antennas come with a shunt coil for matching on the lower bands and my 100HP at worst has about a 1.5:1 match on the lower bands and a perfect match on 20m and up.
I use the MFJ-1924 controller with the Tarheel 400 and it does very well, but I still find the tuner in the radio nice for flattening out the SWR a little.

T!
 

KZ9G

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Icom 7000 and a HI-q 5-160 for the antenna. Yes it is big but it radiates well.
 

N2MWE

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Way back when I ran mobile HF, I used an Outbacker. Granted, you had to change the tap when you changed bands, but it was a hell of an antenna. I had the Stealth, four foot, on a Diamond mount. Worked 75 through 2 meters. No matter which antenna you use, make sure it is well grounded.
 

KD4FUN

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I'm looking at getting a icom 706 for mobile use. Looking for a antenna. Was wondering if you guys use hamsticks? Or saw the antenna uhv-6, but looks little flemsy. Anyone used these? dont really want to use a bug catcher. looking to see what you guys use, any pics of your setup is a plus. Thanks and 73s
Icom 706 MII with a Tarheel M100, previous set up was a Kenwood TS-50 and Hamsticks, I really like the Icom 706 and Tarheel setup, I have worked Africa, Russia, France etc on 20 mtrs. Daily I check into the Navy/ Marine Corps M.A.R.S. net on 4 Mhz while mobile in the truck...if I can hear em I can work em. 73 De Brian KD4FUN
 

skidplate

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I use the outbacker Pearth with an old 706mkII. I like it because it covers all bands 80-10 mtrs. It's fairly well built, I have to get out in the bush and a screwdriver just wouldnt take the abuse. If I just drove on tarmac I would probably go with a tarheel.
 
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oneoclock

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mobile HF

I used a IC 706, SGC coupler at the antenna base, and a 40 meter hamstick. Very seldom strayed far from 40 meters. The 40 meter band is always open to somewhere, can always get a QSO, anytime. CW worked best, covered eastern half of US day or night.
 
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