More 88ft doublet notes

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From: Gary & Jean Hanson (hansongr@uts.cc.utexas.edu)
Date: Thu Aug 15 2002 - 01:31:52 CDT


Hi gang,

I've been using the 88ft doublet as my portable 'vacation' antenna for the
last two years and have erected it at many different heights using a V,
inverted V and flat horizontal configuration. I use #26 hookup wire with
plastic buttons as the center and end insulators and a 300 ohm twinlead
feedline about 70 feet long. With a slingshot and some fishline, I can get
it installed in under a half hour just about anywhere I go. Guess what? It
works well under all kinds of conditions. I've made contacts on 40 and 20
meters when it was only 16 feet off the ground and I've made contacts with
it mounted at 60 feet. In July, I made contacts on 15, 20, 30 and 40 meters
all in the same day, different times of course. One evening I worked an XE2
in Mexico from northern Minnesota with a 589 report on 30 meters.

Having experimented with this antenna for awhile, I do have some
observations about it's performance. First, I agree with Stuart Rohre that
the inverted V format really works. I generally get out with better signal
reports with it configured that way than I do when it is horizontal and it
doesn't work nearly as well for me when mounted in a 'V' mode. Sometimes the
trees aren't in the right spot so you have live with what you can get. I've
tried all three configurations on the same day, same location, same basic
height at the feedpoint and I just get better results with the inverted V
format. Yes, it is a great multi-band antenna if you have a tuner. I use the
Kanga Super Tee and have no trouble loading the antenna on anything from 40
and up. I haven't tried it on 80 meters yet. I carry the antenna, a
feedline, the slingshot and nylon twine in an old tennis shoe box that I
throw in the trunk of the car. It's just an easy-to-use antenna that works
great in all kinds of placements.

One other observation is that the far field ground makes a difference and
when the antenna is placed on the north side of lake and you are trying to
make contacts to the south, it is hard to get out even when the antenna is
up at 50-60 feet. I can make contacts to the southeast and the southwest,
but when I have to go straight south across a large lake, it's hard to be
heard. We all know that freshwater isn't a great reflector :-)

In addition to the 88ft doublet, I also use whatever is handy. You may have
read my earlier post this week about the pontoon vertical. When I got home
from vacation, I didn't have time to put the 88ft doublet back up, but I had
a 20 meter dipole made out of hook-up wire and a short 15 foot section of
300 ohm twin lead that came in through the second story window. The antenna
was on top of my first story sun deck so it was actually below my K2
operating station. One leg was at a 90 degree angle to the other and I
worked from Austin, Tx to Albuquerque, NM and had a nice 20 minute ragchew
with a 549 signal report. Moral of the story is to get some wire in the air
and start calling. With good propagation, you will have a great time and
meet some wonderful operators. When the propagation gods frown, the 88ft
doublet mounted at 60 feet isn't going to work very well with 5 watts so
plug in the soldering iron, take someone to a movie or read a good book
until the band opens up again.

Hope to hear you on the bands,

Gary, KJ5VW


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