Having traveled on several ‘light-weight’ radio trips, one thing I’ve learnt is to have flexibility in the antennas I’m taking.

The 10m long fibre-glass poles are great to give an antenna a bit of height, or to tape a vertical to. As for the antenna itself, here is an example of a cheap, lightweight and low-profile dual band (12m, 17m) antenna.

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Before travelling, set up the support pole, measure and tune a ground plane for 12m using two radials. Once resonant, add traps or wire jumpers onto the end of the elements and retune the antenna on 17m. If traps are used for 12m, the 12m antenna will need re-tuning too.

This antenna offers versatility – it can be used as a GP with 2 radials; one of the radials can be removed and then it can become a dipole – horizontal or vertical, or it could become a vertical with a single, sloping radial (a variation on the vertical dipole).

A further band could easily be added to this design, either with wire-jumpers or with lightweight coax traps. Click on the pictures below to see more detail.