Summer Camp Portable: 160-6M HF Vertical Antenna, Go Kit


Campground portable ham radio operation with a Greyline Performance HF Vertical Antenna and 40 Watts in the Sawtooth Wilderness near Sun Valley, Idaho

The 28' Greyline Vertical Antenna for HF was so quiet on any band up on that high ridge with what seemed a reflection of signals from the giant granite mountain to the east. Ham Radio is so fun again.

If we could hear them, we can work them!

By Jon, KL2A/W7 Memorial Day, May 31, 2021

At Greyline, we get long lists of emails, many of which are requests for more examples of summer portable operation. I happen to have a blog post from last summer I can share here that showcases camping and RV summer travel operations. This can apply to DXpeditions too as the antenna breaks down into 4' sections and easily slips into a Ski Bag. I've taken mine from high mountains to ocean villas. Here's my short notes style submission from the mountains of Idaho one smoky fire-season weekend.




September 13, 2020: Sawtooth Wilderness near Stanley, Idaho.

Packed up my ski bag ham radio, portable go kit including the Greyline Performance HF vertical antenna, and headed for the mountains of Southcentral Idaho, north of Sun Valley in the Sawtooth Wilderness Preserve.


KL2A/P Ski Bag Portable Ham Radio station:
  • Greyline Performance 28’ OCF Vertical Dipole
  • Icom 7610 Transceiver at 40W
  • LDG RT-100 Remote Tuner at the Vertical
  • Vibroplex Code Warrior Junior CW "morse code" Paddle


As luck would have it, there was a four-hour CW sprint contest called NAQP (North America QSO Party) Saturday night, just about the time I would land at a campground for the evening. These contests are very popular and the bands are full of activity for the full 4-hours. I was excited to give the antenna a high mountain air test run and there should be lots of guys to try and work.

Arrived at the campsite amidst a smoke bank coming in from WA/OR. It's fire season but the signals won't mind. Such a super quiet location and it took a while to find. Most spots were below a hill along a river. This location was along a ridge-line way up there.

Built the station in about 20 minutes and started the radio about halfway into the contest. Once on the air, I felt pretty loud considering half power or less at 40W. Almost everyone I called heard the signal. Wow.

"Almost everyone I called heard the signal and they were indeed loud."

The Suburban 12V did not allow full power so 40 Watts was set.
The antenna used is a 28' Greyline HF Vertical Antenna. At 35 pounds total weight I easily maneuvered it and tied it to a stump 75' or so from the truck for the night.
Using the included 3' of PVC pipe and stout ground support section (which is not part of the active antenna element and used only for ground support) pushed the antenna to 27' total height at the top.
This Antenna System's Order of Parts: From the Antenna, the ladder line feedline transitions to a PL259 adapter that plugs directly into the LDG RT-100 remote tuner just a few feet left of the antenna.
Then, the RF Choke which is 7 ferrite slip-over-coax beads for adequate RF choking, then the 75' LMR-400 coax to the Suburban. That's it.
Cockpit: ICOM 7610 (40 Watts) 
The cockpit inside the suburban was roomy and comfortable enough. I have noted for next time, a tent, table and chair.
Using standard power from the 12V AC/DC outlet in the truck I was able to get 40W out without tripping the Chevy circuit breaker. The heater was on low to keep the fan noise down and the fingers warm.
40M and 80M were hopping full of CW signals from coast to coast. It felt like I was looking down on all of them from up here. So quiet compared to home. Also, it seemed the tall granite peaks around me were reflecting signal in my favor... it certainly felt I was indeed that loud compared to my home QTH below the hill. So, transmit and receive are both enhanced from this rural high outpost. 

"I could hear everything and everyone on the bands!"

I could hear everything and everyone on the bands. W1-4 signals filled 40 and 80M CW (east coast) and I worked them easily on both bands with the 40W from the radio (not something that's possible thus far from the lake house with double the power, at 100W). You have to hear them, right?
Having guys hear me easily was a treat. Amazing what a quiet location and a high up in the hills take-off will do.
In the end I amassed 140 QSOs in about 90-100 mins on the air. My fingers were a little chilled, mosquitos were really trying to get in and some apparently got through causing itchy fingers on the way home, but it was all so very worthwhile. What a blast having a real antenna on the air once again.
The NAQP CW SPRINT is the "Best 4-hours in radio!"
Bonus: Tuned the bands at sunrise before packing out of camp and warming up the truck. It was cold in the tent, 28F at sunrise, and still smokey.
+ found PJ4A (NN3W) at the Bonaire Island Radio Station PJ4A on 20M WAE SSB
+ a 40M tune also found W6YA working YF8HVY. Very quiet QTH in the mountain country. 
W6YA + YF8HVY 40M CW DX (sunrise)
PJ4A (NN3W) WAE SSB 2020
In Summary, just about any decent antenna at a great location will work well for you. In my case, a wire in a 50-60' tree would work in a similar fashion at the Greyline vertical. (we've tested it). I hope you find great adventure on the ham radio bands this summer season and your antenna serves you well. 
Have a great summer. We will look for you on the bands.

What are Customers are saying?

- "Real DX 160-6M at my HOA"
- "4 Band DXCC in 3-months at my HOA."
- "So pretty my XYL approves!"
- "If I can hear it, I can work it."

Customer says:

"I dug a hole in the back yard to please the wife, poured concrete and then she says, 'it's beautiful, let's put it in the front yard.' I dug another hole."

Greyline says: Sorry about the extra work but how cool is that the XYL wants it in the front yard, just where you originally wanted it. Good on you, sir.  


    Will you share your DX adventures with us? Please send in a picture or YouTube video of your shack, antenna, or some action shots of the bands coming alive using your Greyline Antenna. We'd love to share your story of good news with our peers around the world at large.

    Simply reply to this email, we'd love to hear from you. emailto:  - Thank you!

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