One of the things I love to do is hunt for POTA activators from my backyard. I do this for a couple of reasons but mainly because it is fun to do it outside rather than in the shack and it allows me test my field setup. It also allows me to make sure that my GoBag has all the necessary components for activating a park. If I discover that I have forgotten to include the correct coax connector for a new antenna it is easier to go back into the house and get it than it is if you discover it mising 30 miles from home when you are setting up in a park. Best to work the kinks out of your equipment before hand.
I have two new antennas that I am experimenting with to make sure they work okay for me. One is the Elecraft AX1 with the AXE1 extension for 40 meters and the other is the Spark Plug EFHW.
I set up the Xiegu X6100 in my front yard today for the first time to chase some parks and I used three different antennas. I started with the AX1 then moved to the Spark Plug EFHW and closed out with my speaker wire antenna hooked directly to the radio.
The speaker wire antenna outperformed the more expensive antennas and I ended up with contacts from RI, PA, and NJ to my north. Running westward (I am on the east coast of Florida) I worked MO and AR plus Mike, K8MRD in Texas at K-3019 – Huntsville State Park.
The speaker wire antenna was set up as a vertical using my 21′ telescoping fishing pole leaning up against my privacy fence and it was about 15 feet to my right and slightly behind me.
To be honest it kind of sucks that my homemade speaker wire antenna out performed the other two which combined set me back well over $300. But it is also very cool and satisfying to make contacts on something I built for less than $15. But to be fair, the AX1 is somewhat of a compromise as it is such a small footprint highly portable type of antenna. I am still working on tuning the Spark Plug antenna which is still resonant above the amateur bands. I’m sure both antennas will work fine once I get them properly setup.
All of my contacts today were on 20 meters as 40 meters was just too short for any of the activators to hear my little 10W signal. I could hear the activators and the hunters and the hunters were all within a few hundred miles of the parks indicating that 40 meters was short. Too short for me. If this speaker wire antenna works this well when hunting and trying to bust through the pile ups I can only imagine how well it will work when I am the activator.
Thanks to Thomas K4SWL for the inspiration for the speaker wire antenna.