Do you have a backup or spare antenna that you can deploy in the field or use during an emergency?

J-Pole emergency ham antenna

As amateur radio operators, we put a lot of time an effort into our antenna systems so that they work at optimal performance. Constantly tweaking and tuning, we work hard to extract maximum range with a minimun amount of power. But what happens when the weather or some other circumstance takes your antenna off the air. Do you have an emergency or backup antenna system?

Every ham radio operator should have a backup antenna system. A backup antenna can be as simple as a spare antenna, like the KB9BR 2 meter J-Pole Antenna tucked away in the garage along with a spare length of coax cable. If your primary antenna goes off the air, you should be able to construct a crude mast and string the cable to stay operational.

Another option for a backup antenna is to install an antenna in the attic of your home. Attic mounted antennas, while they don’t have the range of an outside antenna, do have a distinct advantages. First, when severe weather strikes, you can disconnect your outside antennas to protect your equipment from lightning but continue to use the attic antenna. As long as the attic antenna is not connected to an outside network, you will be protected from storm and lightning damage.

KB9VBR J-Pole antenna hospital emcomm setup

Cell phones and landlines were out of service when our emergency communication group was deployed to an area hospital after a tornado outbreak in April of 2011.

As for myself, I’ve got a couple of J-Pole antennas, coax, and mast tucked away in the garage. I can quickly grab this setup and take it on the road if we need to establish an amateur radio station in the field. It also is at the ready in case my main antenna system goes down and I need a ready backup.

What is your ham radio emergency antenna plan?