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3D printer makes Ham antenna portable

3D printer makes Ham antenna transportable

Usually a 3D printer is not seen as a necessity for an antenna project. However, if you are interested in making a handy portable antenna, you may want to melt some plastic. [N2MXX] has an end fed antenna winder design that also includes the required mating toroid. This is just the thing to stow your backpack for portable use.

The end-feed configuration is also handy for portability as you can easily secure one end and feed the other end. Compare that to a dipole where you have to feed a high point and secure both ends.

Of course, you’ll also need wire and some other components – we don’t know how to 3D print a usable ferrite toroid. In all fairness, there is some controversy over how these antennas actually work, but people swear they work well.

There are a few ways to operate a portable station depending on your definition of convenient. Verticals are popular, although laying ground wires can be painful. A dipole isn’t that difficult to set up, especially if you’re staying in one place for a while. However, we really like how small this design is and it should be easy to clip one end and just play the wire off to work. Our only concern is how plastics will behave in the elements over the long term. When it’s worn out, you can just print a new one.

Our own [Dan Maloney] made this type of antenna and got lucky. If you really want to get tiny, try surface mount.