Frankentenna – Stealth Mode

This is part two in my quest to make day activations more park (and park ranger) friendly. With day activations, you tend to be more out in the open and more readily observable. My idea was to reduce my visual signature. Part one was creating a desk for my radio so I could operate it from the cab. With this post, I am adding another modification to my Frankentenna. This antenna is set up to perform multiple roles in different configurations. The whole thing fits inside a regular Buddipole bag and stays with the truck. For this installation, I added a mount to my camper top’s cargo bars and made a ground wire attached to the truck bed. I had most of the parts on hand and spent about $10 for a piece of steel stock.

I start off with a pair of bar clamps I had from another project.

Taking the bar stock, I drilled two 5/16 holes in the end and one 3/8 hole in the center. I then cut it to length, deburred the edges and then gave it a coat of zinc chromate primer followed by a coat of Rustoleum Flat Black.

The ground wire was made from some surplus Flexweave I had. I took a grinder and ground a bare spot near the back of the truck bed, secure the wire with a sheet metal screw, and then painted it flat black.

The stuff they use on the bedliner was thick and took some doing to get even a little bare spot! Here are the parts I pulled out of the Frankentenna bag.

To install, I put a bolt through the bracket I made, then added the ground wire, then the Chameleon Micro, then the whip antenna (Buddipole). From there I add the choke and a length of RG-8X.

I can put this up and take it down while standing on the tailgate. No wires in the trees, no holes in the ground, and nothing to trip over. As you can see the visual impact is minimal.

How does it play? I think quite well. Checking the SWR, for 30 meters and above I am below 3.0:1. Forty meters is 3.4:1, 60 meters is 4.9:1 and 80 meters is 5.7:1. All are very usable with a good tuner. In fact, 160 meters is 8.8:1 but that’s a little sketchy.

Overall, I am pleased with the installation and I feel the performance will be similar to the other Frankentenna configurations using the whip. Now, finding the time to get out. Thanks to all who visit my blog, I appreciate you taking the time to read through my stuff. 73’s for now — Scott

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