Building a portable Yagi Uda antenna was actually THE reason why I got my 3d printer. My first project was a fail. Since I wanted an antenna design that uses elements that can be split in half for easier packing and carrying around. My first try was with aluminum rods and drilled holes. I cut a thread in them and used a threaded rod to connect the elements. It did not work out as I dont have a drillpress and can’t cut threads 100% perpendicular by hand. So the project laid around until recently.
Back this summer, I passed my A level exam. Now I finally got my license. Since then I haven’t got time to push that topic further and to finish the bureaucratic stuff. Nevertheless, today my new license arrived and I am really thrilled about it!
So, my new callsign is 9A5ALX
Since my blog is running on 9A3AKF, I have to take another domain and do a redirect to this one. So my blog will be also available through 9A5ALX.com.
Now is time to change my callsign on all platforms, DMR, and logbooks. That’s the more unpleasant work I guess.
Finally, I had some time to try out my homebrew vertical. I set it up in my garden and measured the radial wire. I got around 25m of wire, I wound it on a wire winder to 5m which corresponds roughly to a quarter-wave of 20m. Soon I found a nice SWR on the coil and then fine-tuned the radial. I was quite euphoric!
Well, it was more of a hassle than I thought. The wire has springy tendencies and after I winded up almost 3/4, it sprang off the coil and tangled all together. Fortunately, I had enough wire left to try again. I laid out the wire on my yard to remove any coilings and windings. It helped a lot to remove out the tension from the winded up wire.
For a long time now I am drooling when thinking of vertical whips with tappable loading coils. I got the 3 band vertical from QRP guys but the setup is really annoying. Especially when hiking and trying to set up the antenna on spots, where vegetation took over. Lying down the radials, setting up the wire on a pole or tree, it takes a lot of times and costs a lot of nerves. Often I end up cursing because everything got tangled into the bushes. Wouldn’t it be great to have a whip for HF? Yes it would. But there is no way I am paying 130$ and more for that…
Well, there is this 3d printer in my basement and…
When using my trusty Yaesu 817ND in the field I often struggle with the fear that it may drop on a stone or gets scratched through other equipment. Also, the 817ND is quite small, so using the front panel is also a pretty cumbersome job, especially when the panel is not elevated from the ground. I always used my portable battery bank as an elevator for the radio, so I can reach the front panel knobs and buttons. But it was mostly a frustrating thing because it tended to slide down or fall of.
I often watched at those aluminum framings on the internet, but paying astronomical prices for them was a no-go. That money can be spent on other stuff that I can’t build myself – let’s say a SpiderBeam 12m pole. I really want that pole, I hope I’ll get it this year.
Anyway, after I got my 3d printer a whole new world opened up. I looked up on Thingiverse for usable rails to just print out, but the available files were not really useful to me. So I fired up my CAD software and designed the rails for myself.
The first version was a bigger rail without foldable legs. I really liked it, the radio looked sturdy and bigger as it is. But when looking at it, it was kind of too big and somehow neutralizes the advantage of the 817 which is its compact size. So again I started to redesign the frame and wanted to add legs which don’t make the frame wider as it is but are rather integrated.
As for now, I am very happy with the result. I am still waiting for a shipment of better printing materials to make the frame even sturdier and more shock absorbing. The current materials should not be exposed to direct sunlight in the hot sommer, nor left in the car in the direct sun. I have to try out other materials though.
If you are interested in those rails, contact me via the contact form.