3D Printer Makes Ham Antenna Portable

You don’t normally think of a 3D printer as a necessity for an antenna project. However, if you are interested in making a handy portable antenna, you might want to melt some plastic. [N2MXX] has an end fed antenna winder design that also contains the necessary matching toroid. This would be just the thing to throw in your backpack for portable operation.

The end-fed configuration is handy for portability too, because you can easily secure one end and feed the other end. Compare that to a dipole where you have to feed a high point and secure both ends.


Of course, you also need wire and some other components — we don’t know how to 3D print a usable ferrite toroid. Honestly, there is some controversy about how these antennas actually work, but people swear that they work well.

There are quite a few ways to operate a portable station, depending on your definition of convenient is. Verticals are popular, although laying out ground wires can be painful. A dipole isn’t that hard to erect, especially if you are staying in one place for a while. However, we really like how small this design is and it should be easy to clip one end and just play out the wire to operate. Our only concern is how plastics will fare in the elements over the long term. Then again, if it wears out, you can just print a new one.

Our own [Dan Maloney] has made these sort of antennas and had good luck. If you want to go really tiny, try surface mount.


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