MODULAR PORTABLE ANTENNA SYSTEM (MPAS) 

For quite some time now, I have been talking about radio comms and electronics gear from the “Lego Block” perspective. Everything working with everything else. Everything supporting everything else and so on. Well for about a month now, I have been testing antenna equipment from a company called Chameleon Antenna.

Before we continue, I’d like to kick off this concept by coining the phrase “Modular Portable Antenna System” or MPAS to accurately describe the methodology of the functionality expected from this type of antenna system.

Most of the hardcore comms people will already know of the company. We also know that the company makes some rugged, high performance gear, which very well mimics the comms gear used by many armed forces’ and NGOs deployed around the world.

Well the Lego Block idea, having kept me awake quite a few nights, has finally become tangible. I’ve used lots of different antenna systems, but none striking a good balance between compromise and performance. Certainly none as modular as this (these).

The system is based on an endfed base called the Hybrid Micro. The Hybrid Micro has some accessories which make it possible to configure the antenna in a variety of different ways. That’s not to say the Hybrid Micro isn’t a fine antenna system on its own. It very well is!

In the following video, we demonstrate one configuration option, by deploying the Chameleon MIL WHIP, MIL EXT, and Hybrid Micro, in stationary configuration. The system is attached to the Land Rover, at the trailer hitch, using a Jaw Clamp bracket carried with the MPAS system.

If you’re one of the cool kids, you’ll already have arrived at the point. My bug out bag radio, the Yaesu FT-817ND. This man-portable all mode all band radio suffers from the lack of a good antenna system. Surely there are antenna systems we have seen like the ATX-Walkabout or ATX-1080, … But to be truthful, those antenna only work well between 17 meters and 50Mhz! There are also monoband antennas which are quieter, perhaps even more efficient, but lack the deployment options, and broadband nature of this system.

Part two of the series has been published on YouTube.

Today I really had a chance to sit down and try the antenna. Not having had experience with Magnetic loop antennas in the past, I decided to actually read their instruction manual. To my surprise that was a very wise and helpful decision. Had I not done so, I would have been pointing the Loop in the wrong direction, and blaming the antenna for my own ignorance.

To keep this story brief, I can tell you that the image at the top of this post is exactly how the station was setup at the time of the back to back QSO’s. The F-Loop antenna was inside my workshop, with my little FT-817 on the desk. To be honest, I was expecting this to be a fail, but it was nothing like that.

I heard M0WGI coming into teh radio. I adjusted the direction of the antenna to bring him up to 58. When he completed his QSO, I called him, and he immediately returned my call. Our QSO went on for a few minutes. He gave me a report of 55 in London near Heathrow airport. Then just as we closed the QSO, IZ5QRH from Tuscany jumped in and called me. He gave me a singal report of 57 from an antenna which is sitting in my workshop. Amazing.

For quite awhile now Survival Tech Nord has been talking about radio COMMS and electronics gear from the “LEGO BLOCK” perspective:

Well, Chameleon Antenna is proud to offer to the Survival Tech Nord listeners, the MPAS Kit.

The kit consist of the following:

1 X CHA HYBRID-MICRO

1 X CHA MIL

1 X CHA JAWMOUNT

Quite often I am accused of being a gear snob, because people see me purchasing high-end, quality gear. So I understand that on the outside, it may appear so, but it’s hardly true!  I don’t have lots of money, and gear is after all, a serious investment. So when I purchase something, i do so with the understanding thta it is going to be useful and functional for me during the next 10 year, regardless of how I use it. I’m going to beat the hell out of it. It’s going to get wet, dirty, based, scraped, and cant cause me any stress having me worry about how delicate it might be. It simply has to be up to the job! So I buy the most well-made, rugged gear i can find, full stop!

With that said, getting prepared for emergency communications is a constantly evolving process. Most people are not going to throw down the big bucks all in one go, and actually, they should not! Understanding your emergency communications needs, takes time and patience. Still, at some point, we need to get started. Well, lets get started.

I wanted to find a Wide-band Receiver for emergency reception of news and information to use during some sort of grid down scenario, which I would bnot be ashamed to introduce to my subscribers. My very first video in the Survival Comms Basics series was on Emergency News and Information from AM, FM and SW radio. This radio, the County Comm GP5 SSB is my choice for an entry level Wide-band receiver!

We’ll be on a trip into deepest, darkest Scandinavia for 5-7 days at the end of the month. Our goal is to properly test our off-grid comms capabilities, in a real-life scenario.

Although we are heading to the one of our north-easterly retreats, each person is only allowed one 3-day assault pack, including their food, and comms gear for all modes, HF-UHF!

We will be comms active during the trip, and hope to make some contacts with our Youtube crew, through satellites, and on HF-6meters. We also hope to manage full internet connectivity, through the trips duration.

Operational modes

SSB/CW

PSK31

APRS via PSK63

Packet through ISS

SSTV

Training goals

Keep comms gear powered up, and operational throughout the excursion

Correctly identify and report your position with 10 digit grid coordinate

Make DX contacts on various modes, and various bands throughout the excursion

Improvise antenna systems for low power overseas comms

Track satellites for scheduled comms on vhf/uhf

Gain experience operating comms away from the comfort of your ham shack

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