LAST UPDATE: 19 FEB 2000
My travel/portable antenna systems over the years have including everything from 450 ohm feed doublets to full size 160m dipoles and in between. I have make a great deal of for portable operation of Hustler resonators with their 2 foot mast and various mounting options and the wonderful Hy-Gain HA-4000 military stainless steel tape-reel doublet antenna.
My current portable antenna systems have evolved to a combination of commercial and home made systems suitable for various types of physical mounting situations. The MP-1 antenna by Vern Wright, W6MMA is my most compact antenna that is the easiest to set p and use.
Vern describes this antenna as a portable manual screw driver antenna. I was lucky to be able to buy one of the first of Verns production in October of 200. I have used this antenna in a number of configurations and run it daily mobile, as does my good friend K2DE. I can attest to the fact that is is very a well designed and manufactured portable antenna that is well worth its asking price.
The standard antenna covers 40m through 6m and with the exception of the mount and counterpoise, the loading coil, whip sections and 8 inch mast (mobile requires a 24 inch mast and fixed whip) all fit inside the loading coil which in turn fits inside the frequency tuning tube.
The last time I checked W6MMA sells the basic antenna for $150 and he also has options such as an 80m add-on coil, a wonderful tripod floor mount. 2 foot mast and 4 foot stainless steel whip and telescoping 4 foot whip.
Click here for the W6MMA website
The photo below contains all the standard MP-1 pieces. The 8 inch lower mast, mount, C-Clamp, counterpoise and the antenna tube with loading coil and aluminum rods that screw together like a standard rifle/shotgun cleaning rod.
The next photo is just a close up at a different angle.
This photo is as the previous one, but with the mount taken away.
The next photo adds a 12 inch rule into the picture along with the 80m coil.
This photo shows the lower 8 inch mast and whip rod elements packed into the coil.
This photo is as the previous one but closer and at a differnet angle.
The next photo shows the pieces of the antenna coming out of the tube.
This photo is a shot of the optional screw together tripod.
Again the tripod, up close and from the bottom showing the SO-239 connector.
My first discovery is for any use where the antenna is not vehicle mounted (heavy duty mag mount is recommended for travel) that a coaxial RF choke is a very good idea.
This shot is the 25 foot length of RG-58 and RF choke.
A close up of the RF choke.
Here is a shot of the antenna mounted on a pouch railing.
Here is the MP-1 and the standard C clamp mount attached to a wooden railing with rf choke coax feed and counter poise. For travel I leave the heavy C clamp home and carry plastic spring clips with swival jaws sold at Sears hardware. They are much lighter and great for attaching ground cabling as well.
Here is a close up of the MP-1 antenna mounted to a wooden railing.
Here is the MP-1 antenna mounted to a wooden railing with the 80m coil attached.
Here is a close up of the MP-1 antenna mounted to a wooden railing with the 80m coil attached.
Another close up of the MP-1 with the 80m coil attached.
Here is a close up of the 80m coil attached.
Here is another close up of the 80m coil attached.
Here is a close up of the MP-1 coil looking up from below.
Here is another close up of the MP-1 coil from the side.
Here is the MP-1 antenna mounted on the optional tri-pod.
The following photo is of the MP-1 mounted on the optional tripod with the rf choke feed line and counter poise on the ground in close up.
Here is the MP-1 mounted on the optional tripod with the rf choke feed line and counter poise on the ground looking down from the antenna.
For all non-mobile operation, using the same mast height (I prefer 2 foot mast minimum) and whip length presets from a chart are good to get going, however an antenna analyzer is a good idea. The meter in the FT-817 if that is your radio is ok, however it does not yield readings that I believe 100%.
My choice for a portable antenna analyzer is the small Autek VA-1 as pictured below. It is small, light and runs off a single 9 volt transistor radio battery. The VA-1 is full featured, a less expensive model is available with less features. The only draw back is that it does not get up to 6 meters.
MP-1 Mobile Operation
The MP-1 is a wonderful design and very well made, I am so please with it mobile that I plan to order a second one. Mobile use of the antenna is on my Ford Bronco, on which I am using the MP-1 mounted on a Hustler fold over 54 inch mast using a 4 foot whip that I bought from Vern.
Normally I run 20/17/15/12 meter resonators mounted in a ground plane looking configuration for automatic band switching as I hate to get out of the vehicle to change bands. I also am not interested in a HUGE screwdriver antenna. However the MP-1 is a great compremise as when I change bands for 10m it is just a matter of dropping the slider all the way down.
For 12m and lower I use a wooden ruler calibrated in milimeters with a scale on the back of the settings in milimeters from the bottom of the coil to the bottom of the slider, it takes less than one minute to lossen lock locking set screw and adjust the antenna and jump back behind the wheel. because the installation never changes the presets are always the same. No need to check VSWR with any meter.
I have also found that the MP-1 configuration is a much quieter antenna than the Hustlers, almost no ignition noise now as well and in change over comparisons I am getting better signals with the MP-1 as well, it may be my only mobile antenna.
I do however recommend placing a stainless steel flat washer between the top of the slider and the lock washer for the whip and between the bottom of the coil and the lockwasher of the mast.
For more information on my mobile use of this antenna see the Mobile selection on the menu.
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Entire contents Copyright © 1999-2001 by Stephen B. Hajducek, N2CKH. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.