QRP Portable – SOTA And The W1SFR End Fed 40-6m Antenna Reviewon December 31, 2013 at 21:46
The W1SFR Multi-Band End Fed Antenna – 40 through 6 meters for less than 8 oz?
I was excited when the package arrived. A new end-fed antenna that would cover the 40 through 6 meter ham bands that’s light weight, and easy to deploy. Great for back-packing, SOTA activations, field day, or any other portable operations that you do. I had read some good reviews about it, but wanted to really put this thing through some rigorous testing before posting a review. And testing I did.
Before I get into the results of my testing, however, I want to talk a little about the construction of this great little antenna. It’s a 31 foot long wire that attaches to an included 9:1 Un-Un matching box. What I love about the construction of this antenna is that it is very well built, yet so extremely light weight.
The radiating wire itself is made from genuine Wireman 18 gauge antenna wire. It’s very smooth wire and, in my testing, I have found it to glide over tree branches with ease which makes set-up/take-down a breeze. I’ve used many wire type antennas, and have been very frustrated with how everything gets tangled when trying to unravel it from a coiled up state, but this wire never seems to tangle – awesome. It’s also got a plexi-glass type lug on the end where you attach your throw rope.
At the other end is a ring type electrical connector that attaches to the 9:1 Un-Un matching box with a wing nut. Everything is stainless steel and well built. The input end of the 9:1 Un-Un is fitted with a BNC connector which can be adapted to PL-259 if needed.
Vertical, Horizontal, Sloper, Inverted Vee? You Decide!
I’ve tested this antenna in every configuration that I could think of and had great results every time. The first test was as a sloper, then vertical, and even horizontally running down the hallway of my sister’s house while traveling through Pennsylvania for the Thanksgiving holiday! I was working into Europe, South America, and all over the US with the antenna stretched over a ceiling fan and hanging off of picture frames inside the house with 5 watts!
For my Summits On the Air test, I chose to run the antenna horizontally by going from tree branch to tree branch. The antenna was only about 18 feet high and I made 49 SOTA contacts in less than 2 hrs on 40 meters through 12 meters, both CW and SSB. Great reports all around without having to change my set-up once. And band changes were made in seconds rather than minutes. This helped me to operate more bands in a shorter period of time.
If you don’t have a tuner, you will need one to use this antenna. The 9:1 Un-Un does a great job at bringing the high impedance of the end fed antenna down, but not to 50 ohms to match your radio. For this, you will need either a manual or automatic tuner.
For my test, I used a Yaesu FT-817 with the LDG Z-817 auto tuner, and I could easily tune every band with the push of a button, both CW and SSB – with the exception of 6 meters… The Z-817 couldn’t seem to find a match since it’s only designed to match 16 to 150 ohms on 6M, but a 6 meter manual tuner did the job easily.
Conclusion: I would definitely say that this antenna is superb. The construction is solid, light weight, and well done. It is perfect for indoor or outdoor use, and is easily packed in to your next portable QRP Ham Radio operation. Whether you’re a Summits On The Air activator, or general outdoor mountain topper, this antenna is ready to go and will get you on the air in less than 5 minutes. No radials, no coils to tap. And your 30′ coax acts as the antenna’s counterpoise. Just tune and play. Recommend to a friend? Definitely.
The Run Down
- Construction: 5/5 – Well built, stealthy black, and super light weight, handles up to 100 watts…
- Ease of use: 5/5 – Band switching is done in seconds – and can be tuned to most bands with an auto-tuner…
- Set up: 5/5 – whether you’re using trees as a support, or an extendable pole in the higher altitudes this antenna is simple to set up…
- Portability: 5/5 – at under 8 ounces, it rolls up nicely and will fit into any pocket of your day pack or even your coat pocket…
- Performance: 5/5 – performs superbly on all bands and tunes easily with an auto-tuner (with the exception of 6m -not a weakness of the antenna…)
Thanks, Steve W1SFR, for a great product.
You can find the W1SFR End-Fed 40-6m antenna at: kx3helper.com
73, and happy QRPing – Brian W3ATT