Many thanks to Steve (MW0SAW) who shares the following field report:
Mini Field Report: Testing the Gabil 7350T and BaMaTech TP-III on a brisk SOTA activation!
by Steve (MW0SAW)
Went for an early walk/SOTA activation up Fan Fawr GW/SW-005 (734m) this morning (9/4/23). I think someone said it was supposed to be the hottest day of the year in the UK. It was about 5 deg celsius with a bitter wind chill of -2c on the summit! It’s very close to the highest peak in South Wales, Pen Y Fan (886m).
As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago in our emails, I wanted to test a new compact antenna I purchased recently, called the Gabil 7350T in the USA, and branded as the Sharman MD-3500 in the UK where I got mine. I also took the Gabil GRA-ULT01 MK2 tripod which I did purchase from the USA on Amazon.com.
Another first for the the activation was the Bamatech TP-III ultra compact paddle, Dinos were included 🙂
Starting my walk, the lovely view of the reservoir quickly disappeared and was the last view I would see ascending into the mist.
I took refuge in my Decathlon 1 man camping shelter, setting up the tripod and antenna close by.
The wind was howling and turning my back the antenna toppled over. This was quickly resolved with a tent peg on one of the tripod legs. Quick setting of the slider with the analyser got 1.2 SWR and so after a slurp of coffee, I started to call CQ on 20m CW. A nice stream of European qsos ensued with good reports (many 599), it was pleasing to hear with such a small antenna (about 8 ft). Just as the contacts were drying up, I was taken aback by a strong VK station! Always great feeling to get some dx like that but especially pleasing with this tiny antenna on its maiden voyage 🙂
I switched to 20m SSB for a few more QSOs but struggled with QRM on two frequencies. My allotted time was running low and my fingers were numb, so I packed up the HF and got the handie out to catch a few local VHF contacts.
So what can I summarise from this activation, well I can safely say I love the Gabil/Sharman antenna and Gabil tripod. They would make a really nice additional to a small go bag, they seemed to work almost as good as a full size 1/4 on 20m. Time was limited this trip and I was too cold to hang about to try more bands, but extremely pleased with the performance so far.
The Bamatech key is a pure work of art, beautifully made, sensitive and precise. Probably my best portable key to date in my collection.
(Note: Amazon links are QRPer.com affiliate links.)
- Elecraft KX2
- Bamatech TP-III ultra compact paddle
- Gabil 7350T compact telescoping HF antenna (a.k.a. the Sharman MD-3500 in the UK)
- Gabil GRA ULT01 tripod
- Sark 110-ULM mini analyser
- Kenwood TH-K20E
- Diamond RH770 antenna
Thanks to all the chasers.
9 thoughts on “Steve tests the Gabil 7350T antenna, Gabil GRA-ULT01 tripod, and BaMaKeY TP-III paddles”
Hello! Are you using radials with the Gabil 7350T?
Hi Manny, I used 3 wires I had with me, they weren’t scientifically chosen, I had 2x12ft and 1x25ft. These were in my bag and worked just fine.
How would you say this antenna compares to the EleCraft AX1??? Similar design. 73, ron, n9ee
I have an AX1 too but I must admit I have not had too much success with it. I would need to do a back to back comparison.
AX1 relies on a ATU and switch for 20/15/17. You should be able to get a good resonant match on 40m and above without an ATU in this antenna!
It’s at least twice as long as the AX1 so it’s bound to perform better.
Did you fine tune the antenna by adjusting the coil or the whip?
You slide the coil up and down for best match, then there is a locking ring to tighten. There is a graph on the manual/leaflet to get you in the ballpark. All the bands I have tested left the whip fully extended. You can adjust by max noise or with analyser or both!
I have the antenna but the only time I tried using it I couldn’t get a good SWR. So, I was curious as to which part you adjusted.
That chart for setting the coil is a dumb idea. So, I marked the settings onto the shaft and that should get me into the ballpark.
Once we get moved into the new house I will have the time to play with this antenna again.
I have had the same with other verticals. Adding a couple more wires or messing with the configuration of the radials normally resolves it. Anything below 1.5 is totally fine. Don’t torture yourself trying to get 1.0.
4×12-15ft radials should be plenty for temporary portable ops. Anything more is a trip hazard IMHO.
You always want to use the most whip you can for a given band. The coil helps you when the whip is shorter than 1/4 wavelength