The new 10-80 meter multiband military antenna for civilian use by Alpha Antenna is just as lightweight and sturdy as my ezMilitary, its former model described on another page of this web site.
What does the new improved antenna model have over my older ezMilitary model?
So I thought: What's the catch?
No catch ... but, admittedly, a few compromises which, after careful consideration, I found I would be ready to live with.
You see, the new antenna still presents SWR values above 2:1 on 80 meters and perhaps also on 20 or 30 meters, depending on how you choose to install it:
At least the manufacturer is up front about SWR. It posts two SWR graphs on its web site.
Each graph refers to a different way of installing the antenna. Each has a somewhat different set of SWR values.
You have to decide if your rig can live with those SWR values or not. If not, then a tuner is required to protect your transmitter's final amplifier stage.
There are always pros & cons about any antenna. This one is no exception.
Here is what I think this military antenna has going for it.
Yes, it is on many HF bands. Undeniably, this new military antenna has vastly improved SWR performance over my older ezMiitary model.
The manufacturer posts a SWR graph of the antenna, installed under ideal conditions, on its web site.
However, please note that, even under such conditions, the SWR is still over 2:1 on 80 meters ... and, depending on installation, 30 meters or 20 meters as well!
My own SWR measurements often told a different story on most bands. But 40 meters is my favorite band and the SWR on that band was always under 2:1 wherever I used it. Granted, I was always careful to pick the best spot I could whenever I was using it.
The good news is that being able to use the antenna under mostly "tolerable" SWR conditions means that you have that much less weight to carry!
No tuner keeps the equipment count down to a manageable level: one antenna carry bag + one tiny QRP transceiver - such as the very popular FT-817ND.
The antenna in its 16 inch carrying bag weighs a little over two pounds.
However, if you opt for the optional 6 foot light-duty aluminum tripod, the combined weight will go up by another few, not to mention the cumbersomeness.
It will normally take less me than ten minutes to install, ready for operation. This a must-have feature when setting up for emergency operations.
Alpha Antenna posts this video on its website:
Most people using this antenna will be working portable at QRP power levels. However, if you need a temporary base antenna for the HF bands, then it's comforting to know that it will handle up to half a kilowatt.
The manufacturer recommends that its military antenna be installed at least 6 feet above ground for it to perform as advertised. That can be difficult to achieve without the optional tripod and its extra weight. Why?
For example, when my wife and I go camping, I like to get on HF for a little bit of rag chewing in the evening. In such circumstances, a suitable support to put the jaw clamp 6 feet above ground is not always available!
The antenna is sold at $358 USD. To that you must add the following:
I hear you! That's a fair amount of money for an antenna you might only use occasionally.
But wait! Those occasions are precious. Most of you, and I, don't have that much time on our hands that we can take off whenever we want.
Therefore, when we can get away in the wild, we want to make the most of it. So, having a reliable, durable, portable and relatively effective military antenna with me when I want to QRP from some remote place ... is priceless.
The antenna's sturdiness convinced me that it would have a long useful life if I took reasonable care of it. I figured that the cost was acceptable when spread over ten years of occasional short expeditions, be they camping or hiking.
I like 80 meters for short distance contacts on local nets and some rag chewing. The SWR is too high for my taste on 80 meters - greater than 2:1 (about 2.3:1).
If you want the antenna to perform as advertised ... finding an appropriate spot will sometimes take an appreciable amount of time. Why? Because if you are in a forest, you will have to find a clearing
See the photo on the Alpha Antenna website.
A clear space of a few wavelengths is important, especially in the direction you want the antenna to favor. On 80, 60 and 40 meters the antenna operates in NVIS (Near Vertical Incident Skywave) mode. In this case, 15-20 feet clear of trees all around should be OK.
Complete details of the 10-80M Multiband Military 2.0 Directional tuner free antenna are available here.
Based on my experience with the earlier ezMilitary version, the Alpha Antenna 10-80M Multiband Military antenna is definitely worth considering.
73 de VE2DPE
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