Antennas for Base Camp Use

remote camping antenna j-pole kb9vbrMy family and I frequently go camping. We tend to prefer the great State Parks and Forests of Wisconsin as we are looking for a more rustic experience. My kids are old enough now that they can often wander off and explore the campgrounds and trails of the parks. But how do you keep in touch with your family when you are in an area like Northern Wisconsin where the cell phone coverage is light to nonexistent.

Amateur Radio of course.

With the exception of my youngest, the entire family is licensed so we can keep in touch via portable radios either through repeaters or simplex. It’s kind of ironic that amateur radio still provides better coverage in remote areas than cell phones. To extend our range we often set up a base camp radio consisting of a 2 meter mobile rig, deep cycle battery and KB9VBR J-Pole antenna. I like the breakaway model for camping as its easier to stow in the car. I usually carry a ten foot painter’s pole that I can lash and stake to the ground. This setup gives us enough coverage to keep the family in touch, monitor the local repeaters, and be alerted if severe weather is rolling in.

How do you keep in touch when vacationing in remote areas? Feel free to leave a comment.