For our review this week we will be looking at the 2M 1/4 wave ground plane antenna we built in our last project. Construction of this antenna was very easy and I already had many of the materials needed. If you have not seen the post on the construction then click this link. 2M 1/4 Wave Ground Plane
The enclosure where all the connections are made is 3d printed. Not a lot of time was spent on the design of the connection box. There was just enough room to fit connections. In future revisions of this antenna the enclosure will be larger. Even though this is designed as a portable antenna, more screws will be added to help keep water out.
The printed insulator worked well. It was perfect for bending the radiating element around for tuning. I left the zip ties a little lose for tuning. Future revisions may have small changes, but over all the insulator worked well.
I was not able to spend a lot of time tuning. After the first adjustment , the sky turned dark and I started to hear thunder. On my base station, I was able to hear traffic being passed about with bad weather passing through.
About 5 min after hearing thunder in the distance, lighting was right on top of me. Hastily I disconnected power and antennas from my base station. Still wanting to hear traffic being passed about the weather, I turned on the handy talk.
My shop has a metal roof and causes issues transmitting and receiving with a handy talk. I decided to connect the ground plane to see if I could receive better. Even though the ground plane was hanging at around 6 feet and in the shop, it received beautifully. When traffic died down, I did a quick check to see if i could hit to repeater. A fellow ham gave me a quick report of 5 and 9
When the weather died down, I decided to see if I could get a couple more reports. Most of the regulars I talk to were unable to tell that I was using the 5w handy talk and homebrew ground plane. When told what I was using, they were all surprised.
To check out some of the farther repeaters and see if I could get a little simplex, I hung the ground plane up out site about 12 feet. I was able to hit most of the regular repeaters that I work off my base station. I was only able to make 1 simplex contact. I do not blame this on the antenna. There usually isn’t much happening on simplex on sundays in my area.
Overall, I am surprised at the performance of this antenna. With very little fuss I was able to get it on air. There will be revisions made to this antenna to make it easier to take potable. I would like to have a way to wind up the elements for better storage. May also use SO-239 instead of direct coax connection. As this design changes I will post updates!
Make your own ground plane and post your results in the comment!