POTA with a New Antenna

I looked at my log the other day and saw that I had only made a measly two HF contacts this month. Between the grandkids’ school functions, soccer games, horseback riding competitions, and my knee issues; I haven’t had much time for my QRP-portable activities. I set out to change that this morning with a drive to Valley Forge National Historical Park (K-0761, KFF-0761).

A few weeks ago, while nursing my injured knee, I made an impulse purchase. After watching some YouTube videos, I went on Amazon and bought a Gabil GRA-7350TC antenna. The last thing I needed was another antenna—I blame YouTube and Amazon. Actually, it wasn’t a totally frivolous purchase; I have plans to use it during a trip later this summer.

I also bought the matching GRA-ULT01 MK3 tripod for the antenna, which I planned to try out today. I put together some radials to use with the tripod setup. 

As I headed out the door this morning, I grabbed an old magnetic mount base I had from an 2M/440 antenna. Since I bought the GRA-7350TC with the ⅜-24 stud mount, the antenna was a perfect fit for the mag mount. I figured I’d give that a try, while I was trying out the antenna.

It was raining when I got to the park this morning, so I kept things simple and tried out the mag mount. In doing so, I learned something about my six-year-old truck: The hood isn’t made of steel. The rest of the truck is, but not the hood. Who knew? (Probably every Chevy Silverado owner but me, I guess.) I ended up putting the antenna on the roof where I could easily reach it. Inside the truck, I used my Penntek TR-35 (5 watts).

The Gabil GRA-7350TC on a magnetic mount from an old 2M/440 antenna.
The Gabil GRA-7350TC on a magnetic mount from an old 2M/440 antenna.

The sliding coil adjustment made tuning up a snap. Using my old MFJ-226 antenna analyzer, it only took a minute or two to get the antenna tuned up on 40M. I’m not a big fan of having to take an antenna analyzer out in the field, but this was relatively painless. Band changes only took about a minute. Most of that time was setting up the antenna analyzer for the band of interest. 

I used the new antenna on 40M, 30M, and 20M with decent results. In the end, I had 16 contacts, including five park-to-park QSOs. I’m sure my little magnetic mount wasn’t providing the best ground in the world, but at least I know it’s usable in a pinch.

Hopefully, June will provide more opportunities to get out portable. Since my old knee has been feeling a little better recently, I’m hoping to get back on the bike again at some point. I already have some ideas for a bike mount for the GRA-7350TC. 

73, Craig WB3GCK

5 thoughts on “POTA with a New Antenna”

  1. Hi Craig
    The bug but me too and mine will be arriving tomorrow.
    Don’t know if you know buts it’s in sale with a 25% discount

    C U on the air
    Greg WA3GM

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Greg. Of course it’s on sale now. That’s the way my luck runs! lol Good luck with your new antenna. 73, Craig WB3GCK


      1. I now use your “Pole Antenna in the back” idea. I put the pole in a flag hitch and attach a 9-1 unun simple wire antenna from Earci. Is the new antenna: easier to set up, transmits and receives well? Thanks for your innovations


      2. Peder: I’ve always had good results with a 9:1 unun and a 29-ft wire. Good luck with your antenna. 73, Craig WB3GCK


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