HFpack  The HF Portable Group. is an international resource for portable High Frequency communications. HFpack provides an information exchange about transceivers, antennas, systems, packs, propagation, new developments and techniques in HF portable operation. HFpack has thousands of members worldwide and operates a moderated egroup forum for discussion on the topic of HF Portable. The following HFpack calling frequencies are active daily:
14342.5USB, 18157.5USB, 7242.5LSB (or 7087.5LSB), 3997.5 (or 3687.5) +/-5kHz.
About the Shootouts
Shootout Technical Notes
Shootout Site and Gear
Shootout Staff
HFpack Home
Shootout Report 2002
Horizontal Shootout 2002
Vertical Shootout 2002
HFpack Shootout 2001
Join HFpack egroup
Free HFpack Membership
Read egroup on the Web
Read egroup by email
Special Bulletins by email
CLICK: Join HFpack - FREE
Main Shootout Report - Vertical Shootout - Horizontal Shootout
Testing - Accuracy - Guidelines - People - Pedestrian Antenna?
CLICK: HFpack Shootout Crew Setting Up
HFpack Pedestrian Antenna Shootout 2002 Report
HFpack is dedicated to furthering the state of the art for HF Portable. On 20 October 2002, HFpack held the 2nd Annual Pedestrian Antenna Shootout at USA's west coast ham convention "Pacificon" in Concord, California. The purpose of the shootouts is to measure pedestrian antennas in a controlled manner and report the results as a service to radio operators around the world. By comparing antennas, it helps everyone to understand the principles of good pedestrian antenna design and construction. The shootout separately tests vertical and horizontal antennas. The horizontal shootout event took place on 07 December 2002, at a salt marsh open field location near the western shore of San Francisco Bay.
HFpack Pedestrian Antenna Shootout 2002 Report.
Information about what the shootout is, what it means, and explanations about the Preliminary Guidelines, Methods, Comments, and Caveats.
Please read this first.
1. A pedestrian antenna is considered to be a lightweight antenna that can easily be carried to the shootout by one person in a backpack or bag. It is not necessary to walk around carrying the antenna while in operation. The shootout is not intended to include heavy antennas designed mainly for base station operation, thus, antennas exceeding 11 pounds are discouraged from entry. Vertical Antennas and Horizontal Antennas are separate events, at two different locations.
2. The only frequency of the shootout is 14.1MHz (+/-10kHz). An objective at the shootout is to remove any extraneous variables from the RF measurement, so a standard antenna test fixture is used for all antennas. This puts all antennas on an equal footing, independent of mounting.
3. Some portable or pedestrian antennas are built or sold with certain recommended counterpoise or ground systems in mind. The standard shootout reference counterpoise for vertical antennas is an elevated resonant quarterwave of wire. The radiation efficiency of such an elevated counterpoise antenna system is entirely different, and more efficient than most common ground-mounting of the same vertical element, so results of using ground-mounted, different counterpoise configurations, or no counterpoise, will yield entirely different results! The data presented is based solely upon its own reference element, similar to a common dipole, and should not be applied to other references such as theoretical or isotropic antennas.
4. As with many other types of antennas, portable or pedestrian antennas can be built with different purposes and quality in mind. Some of the antennas entered in the shootout were found to be extremely durable and of high quality. Others were found to be of low quality or too delicate to be considered durable enough for rigorous pedestrian field environments. The shootout crew had many opinions in this matter, but it was decided that this issue is somewhat subjective, should be discussed further, and guidelines determined, before reporting on the "physical quality" of the antennas. In the case of commercial antennas, buyer beware!
5. The HFpack Pedestrian Antenna Shootout is an amateur radio event, which is entirely staffed by volunteers who put in their own time and effort in the interest of enjoyment and knowledge. This website is produced for educational purposes.
6. The vertical shootout test site was not an open field controlled RF test site. It was a ham convention lawn. Therefore, some variability exists in signal levels due to reflections from objects. Although signal dB measurements are presented to the hundredth of a decibel, and were closely monitored for anomolies, an approximate guestimate for accuracy of the vertical shootout would be about +/- 0.75dB. Please read these measurements loosely, they are not intended to be a cause for argument. It is unlikely that a difference of less than 1dB would be noticed in normal HF pedestrian operation, but differences of 3dB or more are readily recognized in the field!
7. The horizontal shootout test site was an open field controlled site with highly conductive soil. The unobstructed path between the transmitter and receiver antennas was over salt water and salt marsh, providing excellent conditions for testing antennas. The horizontal site offered good control of the environmental variables, which greatly reduces anomalies.The approximate guestimate for accuracy is about +/-0.3dB for the horizontal shootout.
HFpack Reports
HFpack Pedestrian Antenna Shootout 2002
Main Shootout Report     Vertical Shootout     Horizontal Shootout

HFpack Reports
HFpack Pedestrian Antenna Shootout 2002
Main Shootout Report     Vertical Shootout     Horizontal Shootout
Standard Feedpoint and Support Fixture.

The Standard Feedpoint and Support Fixture consists of an ABS plastic box mounting flange bracket situated upon a mast at adjustable height. The Vertical fixture support is a hollow tapered composite fiber telescopic pole. The Horizontal test support is a telescopic aluminum pole.

The fixture uses a 50 ohm impedance 1:1 balun/unun made from 11 turns of miniature 50 ohm impedance coaxial cable solenoid-wound upon a ferrite stick core within a few inches of the antenna feedpoint. 20 feet of RG-58A coaxial cable connects the Standard Feedpoint Fixture to the Test Transmitter, with the TX and battery placed upon a table adjacent to the support mast. The antenna side of the transmission line balun connects via BNC connectors to interchangeable adaptors for PL-259, SO-239, or 3/8-24 stud terminals to mate with the various Antennas Under Test.

Reference Vertical Element.
Reference Vertical Element drawingCLICK ON PHOTO TO ZOOM
For vertical polarization tests, the Standard Feedpoint Fixture is set to a height of 8 feet.

The upper element wire, a #14AWG stranded tinned copper wire 16feet 9inches in length is supported vertically upward from the Standard Feedpoint Fixture by an insulator hollow fiber tapered pole. 

The lower element wire, also #14AWG stranded tinned copper wire 16 feet 9 inches in length, is supported from the Standard Feedpoint Fixture, and this wire slopes down towards the receiver site, ending at a height of 2 feet and supported by nylon cord.  The combination of these two wires forms a dipole-like radiating element with a substantially vertically polarized wavefront in the direction of the test receiver antenna site. 

The lower element wire of the Reference Vertical dipole is maintained throughout all vertical whip testing as the sole "counterpoise" or "ground radial" element for the whip antennas to "work against". All Antennas Under Test utilize the lower element wire as a reference plane or "counterpoise" unless otherwise noted.

The Reference Vertical Element used for the purpose of this event can be considered practically to have substantially no positive gain over a theoretical dipole in free space, and all Antennas Under Test in the shootout measured in the Vertical Polarization are simply referenced in decibels with respect to the Reference Vertical Element, with no calibration made to a theoretical dipole or isotropic radiator in free space. Therefore, the decibel measurements reported in this chart are advisably utilized for comparison only among the antennas within each chart itself either for vertical or horizontal polarization. Due to the unique nature of a particular antenna range, attempts to draw conclusions of comparison, relative measurements, or decibel gain/loss claims of other antennas not measured as part of this shootout with the measurements presented in these charts may result in significant error due to uncorrelated variables.

Main Shootout Report     Vertical Shootout     Horizontal Shootout
HFpack Reports
HFpack Pedestrian Antenna Shootout 2002
Test Equipment - Accuracy - Test Sites
Test Receiver
Hewlett Packard spectrum analyzer Model 8591E. Digital readout measurement in 0.01decibel increments. Center Frequency 14095kHz, 1kHz resolution bandwidth, 1kHz video bandwidth, 10kHz sweep. Test Transmitter is keyed, and shortly thereafter, an amplitude measurement is made using the marker peak function. After the measurement is frozen, Test Transmitter is unkeyed. A signal from the Reference Element is received in the range of -20 to 0dBm, and a noise floor of lower than -75dBm within the measurement band is noted. Power for the analyzer is supplied by 110VAC mains / portable generator.
Test Transmitter
Yaesu FT-817 transceiver, 4 Watts output on 14095kHz CW, powered by an external 12V gel battery pack, isolated and insulated, placed on a wooden table adjacent to the support mast for the Antenna Under Test. The RF output of the transceiver is fed to a Diamond dual-needle power meter, which monitors forward and reflected power, is used with a 20 feet long RG-58A coaxial cable connected to the BNC connector of the Standard Feedpoint Fixture balun/unun. Excess length coaxial cable is coiled adjacent to the transceiver and secured with gaffers tape.
Vertical Shootout
Test Receiver Antenna
Dipole consisting of a SuperAntennas model YP-1(driven element of YP-2) with 20meter loading coils, and 1:1 balun at the feedpoint. Supported by a segmented pole adjacent to the Test Receiver at a feedpoint height of approximately 20 feet at the feedpoint. Dipole is physically oriented as a vertical dipole for the vertical measurements. The SuperAntennas Yagi Portable YP-2 boom keeps the dipole away from the support pole when in vertical polarization configuration.
Horizontal Shootout
Test Receiver Antenna
Horizontally polarized dipole consisting of a "Hamstick dipole", a rigid coil-loaded dipole elevated about 25ft high on a Super Antennas telescopic tubular aluminum mast, with a Super Antennas drive-on portable mast mount. Approximately 30ft of RG58 coaxial cable with a 1:1 balun at the feedpoint. Antenna aimed broadside to the transmitter site.


Vertical "Test Range"
Convention Lawn
Approximately 80 meters distance between Test Receiver Antenna and Test Transmitter Antenna. Approximately equivalent to 4 wavelengths at the test frequency 14095kHz. Flat grassy area with some adjacent trees and other objects. Soil conductivity unknown. Suburban semi-industrial area. Three nearby wooden flagpoles. Location: at Pacificon ham convention in Concord California USA. Participants maintained control of placement of nearby people, adjacent antennas and metallic objects during tests. Several times, measurements had to be delayed due to passing vehicles or antennas being accidentally deployed above ground level in the nearby antenna preparation area.
Horizontal Test Range:
Salt Marsh
Salt Water
Approximately 600 meters distance between Test Receiver Antenna and Test Transmitter Antenna. Far field range, near zero degree elevation angle. Transmitter set up on a flat area of low ground cover vegetation and highly conductive soil, without nearby above-ground conductive objects. An underground salt water table approximately 1 or 2 meters is below the surface. In addition, a recent rain provided damp ground, contributing to conductivity. Midway between the receiver and transmitter, is a body of salt water formed by a tidal slough at medium-high tide. Receiver set up on an asphalt parking lot on the opposite shore of the tidal slough. This site, with some of the most conductive soil in the world, provides a stable measurement environment, nearly ideal for testing antennas. The location is on the western shore of San Francisco Bay, California USA. 
Overall Accuracy
Overall uncertainty of vertical shootout measurements is guestimated at +/-0.75dB. The overall uncertainty of horizontal shootout measurements is guestimated at +/- 0.3dB. No specifications or guarantees for overall accuracy are presented. However, it is believed that all measurements were performed on an equal and fair basis, and therefore this shootout provides a worthwhile comparison for determining radiation efficiency at among antennas in the same class. Minor fluctuations in the vertical test range due to the presence of people and objects in the vicinity of the shootout may have contributed to a small degree of fluctuation, but measurements were taken in a manner which provides some immunity to such random influences, and careful management of near field objects was maintained. All of the antennas in the test were tuned to the lowest SWR obtainable at the test frequency. Some antennas exhibited a 1:1 SWR, while others exhibited a 1.5:1 SWR or less (due to impedance matching at 50ohms). Some antennas did not present a good match to 50ohms, and efforts were made to tune the system to resonance by slight variation of counterpoise length. In some cases, notations are indicated in the report for the antennas which had matching or tuning problems on a case-by-case basis.
Main Shootout Report     Vertical Shootout     Horizontal Shootout
HFpack Reports
HFpack Pedestrian Antenna Shootout 2002
The members of HFpack wish to express their sincere gratitude and appreciation to everyone who made the HFpack Pedestrian Antenna Shootout possible.
The following people volunteered
their time, resources, and efforts:
  • Bonnie KQ6XA (Organizer, Engineer, Equipment Provider, Website, Report)
  • Ken WB6MLC (Registration, Engineer, Staff Organizer, Documentation)
  • Cortland KA5S (Receive Site Engineer, Documentation, Photographer Horizontal)
  • Oliver KB6BA (Transmit Site Engineer, Equipment Provider)
  • Sharyl W3VET (Official Photographer Vertical, Tech)
  • Glenn WB6W (Equipment Provider, Tech)
  • Vern W6MMA (Equipment Provider)
  • Budd W3FF (Organizer)
  • Bill K6ACJ (Photographer)
  • Bil KD6JUI (Photographer)
  • Harry W6DXO (Tech)
  • Chris W6HFP (Tech)
  • Many other HFpackers (Assisted and Witnessed)
Please contact us if you, or anyone you know, should be listed here.
HFpack especially thanks the volunteer staff of Pacificon!
Main Shootout Report     Vertical Shootout     Horizontal Shootout
HFpack Reports
HFpack Pedestrian Antenna Shootout 2002
The purpose of the HFpack Pedestrian Antenna Shootout is to try out a variety of pedestrian antennas, measure and document the antennas in a well-controlled manner, and report the results as a service to radio operators around the world interested in furthering the state - of - the - art for HF portable.

1. All antenna entries should be physically present to register at the HFpack Shootout site, Pacificon Convention, at 11am on Sunday, 20 October 2002.
2. The antenna shootout is for "Pedestrian Antennas". A pedestrian antenna is considered to be a lightweight antenna that can easily be carried to the shootout by one person in a backpack or bag. It is not necessary to walk around carrying the antenna while in operation. The shootout is not intended to include heavy antennas designed mainly for base station operation, thus, antennas exceeding 11 pounds are discouraged from entry.
3. The test transmitter has a feedline with a 1:1 balun/unun at the feedpoint. The test feedpoint (antenna mounting point) is elevated above ground level, and provides a BNC, SO-239, or 3/8-24 
female threads, or terminal lug to connect the antenna to. The balun has at least 20dB of isolation at 14MHz.
4. During the RF measurement, the test transmitter delivers about 5 Watts CW into the entry antenna for about 30 seconds.
5. For vertical quarterwave whips, the feedpoint has a single quarterwave resonant "radial" counterpoise, sloping down at about a 45 degree angle in the direction of the test receiver site. No other 
counterpoise will be used for quarterwave whips.
6. Since the objective is to remove any extraneous variables from the RF measurement, the standard antenna test fixture will be used for all antennas. So no other feedline will be used, and it is not necessary 
of desirable for the entry antenna to include a support pole, since the support is provided by the test fixture.
7. Commercial antenna manufacturer personnel may not participate as part of the HFpack Shootout engineering measurement team, however they are invited to be present and help set up their antenna on the test fixture.
8. The only frequency of the shootout is 14.1MHz (+/-10kHz).
9. Antennas will be physically measured (inches), weighed (pounds), photographed (digital), and tested for radiated RF on the test range. The results of the tests, measurements, photographs, and description 
of the antenna may appear on the HFpack website or other publications.
10. Antenna RF radiation will be measured by a calibrated test receiver using linearly polarized small antenna on an elevated support pole. The test receiver antenna will be operated first in vertical and
then in horizontal polarization. The entry may enter appropriately in either the horizontal or vertical polarization category.
11. Horizontally polarized antennas and vertical antennas not requiring a counterpoise will be elevated to 16 feet at the feedpoint or radiation center.
12. Antennas should self-match to 50 ohms nominal impedance.
13. Antenna owners who are not present may privately arrange for another person to enter their antenna.
14. A commercial antenna may be entered by anyone who owns it, however, multiple entries of the same type of commercial antenna by different owners is discouraged.
15. The general public, amateur radio operators, volunteer witnesses, and others will be present to view the shootout.
16. Other guidelines may be posted or verbally announced or personally advised at the shootout.
17. Requests to test an antenna using other than the standard testfixture and methods will probably be rejected unless there is a good and compelling techical reason to do so.
18. In the unlikely event of confusion or dispute, a panel of 3 HFpack members chosen by the HFpack members present at the shootout will attempt to resolve the issue in an amiable manner. 

If you are interested in participating in the next HFpack Pedestrian Antenna Shootout, please sign up for HFpack Special Bulletins, on the HFpack egroup.

Various HFpack events, such as HFpack Technical Forums, HFpack Rallies, HFpack Pedestrian Eyeball QSOs, HFpack Lunches, and HFpack Shootouts are held at Dayton Hamvention and Pacificon Convention in California.

Main Shootout Report Vertical Shootout Horizontal Shootout
HFpack is all about... 
High Frequency Portable transceivers and antennas. HF SSB/CW/Data. Amateur commercial marine. Handhelds backpacks personpacks manpacks. Pedestrian and Human Powered Mobiles. Manual and automatic antenna tuning. Telescopic tape folding and collapsible antennas. Battery solar crank alternative energy power supplies. Compact lightweight miniature equipment. Handsets headsets microphones earphones keyers. Low power TX/RX techniques. Portable amplifiers. Hiking camping bicycling kayaking and expeditions.

The fine print:   ©2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 HFpack. All Rights Reserved.
HFpack, HFpack Hall of Fame, and the HFpack Logo are trademarks of HFpack. The HFpack Logo may be used freely for non-commercial purposes without permission by members of the HFpack group for amateur radio publications, websites, or QSL cards. The HFpack Logo may be used by non-commercial or commercial websites only for the purpose of hyperlinking to the main page of the website. Capture of the HFpack website or any part of it within the frame of another website is not permitted. All photos on the HFpack website are property of or copyrighted by HFpack, or when used by permission, are copyright by their respective owners, with all rights reserved.
No part of the HFpack website may be used without written permission.
All links to the HFpack site must be to the HFpack website main page