While I was beefing up my communications capability I was trying how to maximize my Baofeng UV-5 and Yaesu FT60 handheld Ham radios. Both are great radios for different reasons. Read more about each radio at:
The radios are called “handhelds” or “handi-talkies” for a reason. They are meant to be lightweight, portable and carried on your person. However, there are times when transmitting or receiving over greater distances would be preferable, or even needed. So I was trying to figure out how to make them more useful. I had already purchased the mag-mount vehicle antennas with handheld microphones and antenna adapters. Then I decided to go back and write a mission for what I was trying to do.
An antenna system to provide longer transmitting/receiving ranges for handheld radios and to create a mini-communications center that is highly portable.
Yup, while I was writing the “mission” for this application I realized that if I did this right I could really use the ability of the handhelds to dual scan the UHF & VHF bands. And if I had a second radio then I could talk on two primary use freqs as well. Then it hit me that I was talking a mini-communications center using two handheld radios if I had the right antenna set-up.
Here is the result:
I took a 1-1/2″ x 36″ angle aluminum. then decided I could mount an antenna on either end. I already had a couple of new Tram 1600 1/2 wave marine antennas sitting in the shed for UHF/VFH radios that I wasn’t using.
I drilled out the center hole for mounting on a camera tripod just like had already done for the 8800 and 8900 radios. Then I drilled the holes for the Tram marine antennas and mounted them.
I attached the bracket to the camera tripod using a wingnut purchased at Lowes.
Nest came the big test, hooking up my Baofeng UV-5R handhelds and putting the SWR meter to it.
BINGO!! My SWR meter readings were well within acceptable limits and no tuning of the antennas were necessary. So now I have a mini-communications center with low-cost handhelds. Or I can hook up my more expensive Yaesu FT-60Rs. My mini-communications center gives me the ability to scan lots of frequencies at one time by a single person. The remote microphones is added comfort. Using headsets can add privacy if it is needed as well.
Be creative with what you have! There are solutions out there is you just think through what your need is and correctly defining the mission.
Have fun – create !
Note: The camera tripod has a hook located in the center of the legs that is designed for something, I am not sure what. But for my use it is a perfect place to attach a rope, bungee cord, or some 550 paracrod to hold the tripod to the ground.
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