Cracking the Whip…

The Miracle Whip, that is.

I only acquired my fantastic Yaesu FT-817 to give me 5W of SSB on V/UHF from windswept Welsh hilltops. I couldn’t resist a second-hand bargain of a Miracle Whip to see what I could achieve with QRP on the HF bands.

The ‘817 and Miracle Whip

It’s a classic Fred-and-Ginger combination that has been blogged, reviewed and You-Tubed extensively along with other rig/telescopic antenna double-acts. Yes, it’s only 57” of radiating metal with a rather good tuner at the base, but thanks to the current propagation conditions it at least enables you to experience the miraculous. Its advantage lies also in its simplicity. It means you’ll use it because it connects, extends and tunes in seconds. I like that! Connect. Extend. Tune.

I’ve been having fun with the ‘817 on my lap, indoors, running off its own batteries (=2.5W max) and chatting to stations on the higher bands in places such as St. Petersburg and the Ukraine with 5/9 reports. You simply can’t get this thrill with a big station. It’s reconnecting to the magic of radio – which is a real miracle every time a contact comes out of the ether. I’m even moved to ‘Tweet’ a new QSO with excitement! (@MW0DNK).

I’ve started at 10m, sliding my way down the bands as the challenge rises. Using 5W (external battery) I managed a QSO with Algeria yesterday on 15m, 4/3. I finally cracked 20m with a shorter, brief contact to Spain. I had a 5m counterpoise wire connected this time.

On 40m I’m simply not heard, at least not yet. This is where I need to start learning some CW skills. This will open up the lower bands for me. Until then, living on the Isle of Anglesey, I might head to a beach and try getting some salt water under my portable station to see if I can crack the ‘40m SSB phono challenge.’ Listen out for me.

Connect. Extend. Tune.

On 2m the antenna is a ¾ wave. I’ve no idea what the radiation pattern is for this length, but it seems to work very well. Unfortunately the antenna is just short of a ¼ wavelength at 6m, so perhaps a wire clip-on extension is the answer.

It was with sadness that on visiting the Miracle Antennas website I saw an announcement about the passing of the company founder and product inventor, Robert Victor, this year. It seems he’s left us a wonderful legacy. Vy 73, OM.
Rob Law, MW0DNK, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Anglesey, Wales. Contact him at [email protected].

6 Responses to “Cracking the Whip…”

  • w3fis:

    Definitely can’t be it for “grab and go” portable operation with my FT-817ND. Also works nicely on various receivers.

  • Yes – I’ve been doing a fair bit of listening too. It peaks up nicely on receive, doesn’t it? 73, Rob.

  • KD8AFH:

    Its a great little antenna as long as you know the limitations. I can hit a lot of local 2 meter repeaters from my first floor apartment. I haven’t used it on HF since I bought my MP-1, but did work hams in Atlanta and Birmingham from Cincinnati with it.

    For listening purposes, its better than the long wire I have wrapped around the beedroom ceiling. I can hear nets on 40 and 80 meters as well as being able to do SWL.

    Ron
    KD8AFH

  • W0SGM:

    The FT-817 is just one very neat radio,I really like mine.I don’t have a miracle whip,I got the AlexLoop Walkham for my portable/backyard/front room in front of the tv antenna.That works GREAT!

    You do know that the rig will put out 5w on intenal batteries right ?

    Dont give up on 40m,I worked Namibia with my FT-817ND 5w SSB and a homemade 31′ vert.(copy of the S9v31)
    as well as many other countries from here in the midwest.

    Scott W0SGM

  • Wil, KZ8I:

    I just don’t get it (Shaking my head). The only full size portable antenna on the market and it fits in your shirt pocket. The only full size portable dipole antennas and they fit in your coat pocket. Yet, the major attraction now a days are walkie-talkie antennas (Miracle Whip) and glorified mobile antennas (“Amigo-Poles”)??? Check out http://HamRadioFun.com first.

  • Thanks, Scott – I’ll leave the rig configured for 2.5W on internal batteries, I think. Otherwise I won’t last too long. Well done on the 40m contact to Namibia! I’m a fan of verticals for low angle radiation too.

    Wil – thanks for the comment. I appreciate the more wire (and higher) the better. I’ll have a good look at the link you posted. Thanks. My wonderment was more for the magic of propagation than any gadget that enables you to do this. After all a short metal rod is exactly ‘that’.

    73 all, Rob.

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