I was doing travel for work in 2008/2009 and my focus was operating hotel portable. I guess my first highly portable antenna was the Buddistick. The second was the Parr End fed half wave. These factored into a number of hotel setups. Most notable was a trip to Italy and operating as I/N4KGL in Vicenza Italy. The game in hotel ops is seeing what you can get away with as far as stringing the end fed to near by trees or sticking the Buddistick out the window. Eventually I got a visit from hotel management but they gave me a pass.
|Buddistick out the window at Italian hotel|
|Parr End Fed from window to trees at Italian hotel|
|Buddistick from balcony at Tampa hotel|
|Hamstick dipole and military mast from hitch mount.|
|A portable inverted U|
|Military masts with tripod adapter|
In 2011, I finally got into fiberglass crappie fishing poles of up to 20 feet. This opened up possibilities for lightweight portable antennas. I built a SOTA tuner with lets you use thin half wave wires. This works well with the crappie poles.
|Hendricks SOTA Tuner|
|20 foot crappie poles|
|Alexloop on California beach|
|Alexloop on table top indoors.|
In 2013, I ordered some 28 gauge ribbon cable. A 100 ft ten conductor roll can spawn many antennas. I built two of the NorCal Doublets one 44 foot long and one 88 foot long. I like the way the ribbon cable folds and I have made long wires and dipoles with two strands of ribbon cable shorted together. Also in 2013, I got the LNR Trail Friendly 40/20/10 End Fed. This antenna is so compact when wound up that it makes it perfect for my backpack or even my pocket.
|88 foot ribbon cable doublet for 40 meter NVIS|
|LNR 40/20/10 Trail Friendly End Fed|
There was a forum thread recently on the best portable antenna. I have to say the best antenna is the one that fits your portable operating situation or backpack. Of all the antennas I have used, none have failed to yield some contacts. I think propagation conditions and the operators wanting to work you are bigger factors. Of course, you can help yourself by various tricks and strategies to make QSOs. I find that if CW is dry switching to SSB can be the ticket.
As for portable antennas, a journey it is and I find it never ending. My wife will tell you, those darn antennas are all over the house.