Back in March, I received an email from Mike Giannaccio (W5REZ) the owner of REZ Antenna Systems–he was curious if I’d like to check out his REZ Ranger 80 antenna system.
At the time, my plate was pretty full, so he arranged to send it to me on loan in July.
If you’re not familiar, the Ranger 80 is a portable vertical antenna with a tuning coil at the base that employs a sliding tap for tuning. The Ranger 80 will cover anywhere from 80 – 15 meters without needing any sort of external matching device (like an ATU).
If you’re familiar with the Wolf River Coils antenna systems, then you’re familiar with this type of vertical antenna. The difference is that the Ranger 80 is built to what I could only describe as MilSpec standards.
Much of the Ranger 80’s components are CNC machined from premium materials. It sports a Delrin body, black anodized 6061 aluminum, and all stainless steel hardware.
This is not a featherweight antenna: it has the heft to match the caliber of materials used in its construction. It’s not an inexpensive antenna either–it’s currently about $560 US at DX Engineering.
The Ranger 80 is also rated for 500W SSB and 250W CW/Digital–in other words, quite a bit more power than I’d ever use in the field, but this design will make activators and field ops happy that like to push some wattage.
I was curious how easy the Ranger 80 would be to deploy and tune, so on Sunday, August 6, 2023, I took it to one of my favorite parks on the planet.
Mount Mitchell State Park (K-2747)
I wasn’t alone on this trip: it was a proper family picnic with my wife, daughters and, of course, Hazel.
The weather was very moody that day–driving up to the park, we watched clouds and mists rise up through the trees like waves crashing on a rocky coast line. Continue reading POTA on Mount Mitchell: The new REZ Ranger 80 and how to use the Over/Under method to coil wire and cable