Recently, Thomas K4SWL over at QRPer.com featured an excellent guest post from W2AEW describing a car window mount Alan built for his Elecraft AX1 antenna. Inspired by Alan’s post, William KR8L, did some experimenting and came up with his own window mount. These folks got me thinking—a dangerous thing, sometimes.
I remembered a commercially made window mount I bought 25+ years ago. (I think it came from RadioShack, but I’m uncertain of that.) Back then, I was traveling for work a lot, and I usually took my old RadioShack HTX-202 HT along with me. When I was using a rental car, I used the window mount with a rubber duck antenna. When parked, I used a 2M half wave telescopic antenna on it. I hadn’t used it—or seen it—in years. It was somewhere amongst the miscellaneous stuff acquired over my 48 years in ham radio.
It took a little searching, but after rummaging through some old parts, I found the old window mount. The mount is made of steel with a female BNC connector on it. It also has six feet of RG-58 coax attached. The coax is more than enough to reach the center console of my truck from the passenger side window.
The next task at hand was to figure out a way to connect a counterpoise wire to the mount. The steel mount has a black coating on it, which electrically isolated the BNC connector from the mount. To resolve that, I removed the BNC connector and used a rotary tool to remove some of the coating around the mounting hole. Then, I drilled a hole for a small bolt that I could use as a place to attach an alligator clip for the radials.
I already had an Elecraft AX1 antenna that I bought years ago when they first came out. I usually carry it in my backpack as a backup antenna, but I really haven’t used it very much. So, I guess it’s time to put it to use.
To see how this setup worked, I drove over to nearby Valley Forge National Historical Park (POTA K-0761) for a brief activation. Along with the AX1 on the window mount, I used two 12.5-foot radials. I have to admit it was nice being able to deploy an antenna in less than a minute.
Back in the truck, I fired up my KX3 running five watts. I was prepared to crank the power up to 10 watts, if need be, but that proved unnecessary. Within a minute of spotting myself, the calls started coming in. The signal reports were decent, and I was seeing some strong hits on the Reverse Beacon Network. It took all of 12 minutes to make my prerequisite ten contacts.
In less than an hour, I had 14 contacts on 20M, nine on 17M, and three on 15M. Among those 26 QSOs, I had one park-to-park contact with a station in Quebec. At one point on 17M, I had a DX station calling. I believe it might have been Italy, but I just couldn’t pull out the entire callsign. My apologies to that station, wherever they were.
The AX1’s performance was a pleasant surprise. Although it has been in my antenna arsenal for a few years now, I really haven’t given it a serious test. Well, that changed today. It has proven itself to be a worthy antenna choice, when a larger antenna is impractical.
Thanks to W2AEW and KR8L for inspiring me to dust off my old window mount and put it to good use.
72, Craig WB3GCK