I wanted to share my thoughts on a book I recently finished, Portable Wire Antennas . It is a fairly comprehensive guide to get a backpack portable HF operator on the air, not a detailed engineering manual like the ARRL handbook. The book itself is a nice sturdy paperback with a waterproof cover, perfect for taking with you into the field.
It starts off delving into very simple and easy to understand explanations of antenna and electrical theory to help the reader understand what makes an efficient antenna. I say simple and easy to understand, but it still helped me to better understand how antennas work. John’s writing is easy to understand and technical jargon and terms are kept to a minimum.
Once you are through the basics, he gets right to work detailing how to build what he calls a modular wire antenna kit. I thought this was great because I personally prefer to not reinvent the wheel when I am learning to do things. Show me what works, and once I understand it, I’ll modify it if need be. His information also follows closely to the advice of folks like Dan Morgan, brushbeater, and sparks31.
After he details the construction of the kits, he then begins describing the dozen or so different wire antennas you can build with the kit and their pros and cons. He gives very clear and concise instructions on which antennas work best for NVIS or sky wave, and how to install them to get the best from them.
While not all this information is exclusive to this book, it is all self contained and written from one users point of view and experience. What the author has really done is show the reader how to setup a portable HF antenna system that you can draw from depending on the circumstances of your installation. I really enjoyed it and it will be a constant point of reference for me as I continue to enhance my communications abilities.