We recently retired our old pop-up tent trailer and acquired a small hard-sided travel trailer. The antenna I used with the pop-up camper evolved over 19 camping seasons to a pretty decent all-band antenna. It covered 80 through 6 meters (with a tuner) and required almost no space at all when deployed. I needed to come up with something similar for the new trailer.
For the first outing, I went with a modified version of the Pop-Up Vertical. In a nutshell, I used a 30-foot vertical wire, fed through a 4:1 unun. The ground side of the unun was attached to the frame of the trailer. My 31-foot Jackite pole supported the wire. I used my drive-on mast support to hold up the pole. Instead of parking one of the trailer’s tires on top of the drive-on mount, I put it under one of the trailer’s stabilizer jacks to hold it down.
On our first camping trip with the new trailer, I was able to quickly set up the antenna. For the feedline, I used an 18-foot length of RG-8X coax, which I ran through a window to the dinette table inside the trailer.
Using the tuner in my KX3, I was able to get the antenna to load up on 80 through 6 meters. The 80M band was a bit touchy but the KX3 was able to get to 1:1 SWR. I had a nice CW chat on 40M with N1ESZ up in Connecticut. Tony gave me a great signal report. This thing appeared to be radiating! I was a little concerned because part of the antenna was close to the metal wall of the trailer but my signals were going somewhere.
I made another half-dozen QSOs on 80, 40 and 20 meters over the weekend. The antenna performed well during some lousy band conditions but I did encounter some issues.
There was some noise that appeared about every 25 or 30 KHz that moved around a bit. It was loudest on 40 meters. I suspect that the trailer’s converter, which converts 120 VAC to 12 volts DC, is the culprit. My antenna was pretty close to the trailer’s power cable that connects to “shore power.” I could have picked up the noise from there. Also, during a QSO with KK0I in Wisconsin on 40 meters, I noticed that a LED on the trailer’s control panel was flashing in unison with my CW. My 5-watt signal was finding its way into the trailer’s circuitry. The extra amenities and gadgets in the new trailer are convenient but not necessarily radio-friendly.
Not unlike the antenna on my old camper, this will be a work-in-progress. On our next trip, I’ll be relocating the antenna to a corner of the trailer that’s further away from the electrical stuff. I also have some tweaks to the antenna configuration that I want to try. If all else fails, I’ll just have to mount the antenna further away from the trailer.
72, Craig WB3GCK