Last week I spent some time reading the posts in the Facebook group “RealHFMobile”, There are some members of the group who are having great success using Artificial Gound also known as Ground Tuning Units “GTU” attached to a trolly along with a whip antenna so that no radials or trailing wire resulting in the ability to set up quickly or even operate waking along the seafront.
Loads of info and pics can be found on Dave’s site http://www.g4akc.co.uk he regularly makes some great DX contacts with his set up.
it works well by the sea, and seeing as sea isn’t something I struggle to be near I thought I’d have a go myself.
Putting it together was simple enough I had most of what I needed, I had to get a decent sized whip antenna (MFJ-2286) this has a loading coil so can be used on several bands, but for 40 and 20m its OK full length, the whip is about 18 feet or 5.5m long. I also got the Artificial Ground (MFJ-931). I already had a radio and power supply from my existing portable set up.
To keep the equipment waterproof when I’m not using it I’ve put it in watertight cases – if you are looking for cases I recommend Solent Plastics very good prices compared to other brands. For example the case on the left cost about £150, the one on the right (from Solent Plastics) cost me £32. This has also resulted in giving me a modular system so I can take the radio box and a different antenna set up as well as having the battery box available for other setups. I have a second LiFePo4 battery in my 7100 portable case which will fit in with this one giving me 22Ah in total, as well as the 50W solar charger.
The cases will be attached to the trolly with shock cord so I can easily remove them for other portable use in the boat etc.
the radio case contains the FT891, USB interface and automatic tuner, the radio is mounted in the “lid” of the case so I can use it in place on the trolly when needed. It will also include a raspberry pi for JS8Call once ive configured it.
The orange case contains the LiFePo4 battery for power.
I will let you know how it get on with it. When it stops raining
Ive mounted the Artificial Ground in a waterproof case this afternoon, drilled and bolted external connections so that once tuned I can keep the case closed. The tuner is attached to the case with heavy duty velcro so I can easily remove it if I want to configure my station differently.
While I remember, I hadn’t heard of this stuff until I owned a boat so I thought I would mention that if you need to drill holes for bolts etc in something that you want to remain watertight and seaworthy just use some Sikaflex Marine Adhesive Sealant. It gives you a really strong waterproof bond. This small tube cost about £10 but its worth every penny.