After trying unsuccessfully to make contacts on 80m on Friday and Saturday night I posted an email to the SRESU member list seeking a QSO on Sunday night.
Right on time VK3AJ and VK3FUNK were on air and I was able to test out the ground plane and a low dipole I had also erected in the park. Also on air was Richard VK2XRC who was portable about 350 km east of me using a vertical antenna as well.
The comparison testing between my 80 m ground plane and a 1/2 wave dipole at about 5 metres above ground revealed some shortcomings with the ground plane.
Of the two stations that could hear me both reported a significant increase in signal strength when I was on the dipole. VK2XRC reported me as S9 + 10dB on the ground plane and S9 + 20dB on the low dipole. Pete VK3AJ reported similar difference between the two. Greg VK3FUNK couldn’t hear me at all.
As a result of these tests I have decided to leave the 80 m ground plane at home and take only 40 m and 20 m antennas to French Island this weekend.
Two others on the French Island trip are also bringing antennas and radios with them so we will be able to work 17, 20, 30, 40 & 80 m at one time or an other.
I have an alternative design for an 80m antenna from UA6HJQ. Although the website is in Russian, Google’s translation does a reasonable job of making it readable. There are also pictures on the site and, in this case, a picture really is worth 1000 words.
I doubt I will have time to try this design before the French Island trip but it does give me some more options for elsewhere.