WILSON VERTICAL CB
ANTENNAS ON THE HAM BANDS? Get a lot of bang for your
buck! By John Reisenauer ~
Every now and then I
stumble on a fabulous antenna at a really cheap price that works well on
the ham bands. What would you say if I told you for about $20 you could
work a lot of DX on 10, 12, 15, 17 and 20 meters with one Wilson FGT-2
vertical antenna CB antenna?
We all know of Wilson's antenna
reputation. Their website www.wilsonantenna.com
rates the FGT-2 with some impressive figures (as tested against
other CB antennas) including a relative db gain of 3 (FGT-3 was rated 4.5
I read in a past issue of the
TCA Magazine (Canada's equivalent of QST) where a ham, Tom
- VE1TWB /VE1DC, used this antenna for mobile use on 10, 15
and 20 meters, so I decided to try it and see if it would also work the
WARC bands as well. See Tom's comments below in the updated
The Wilson FGT series antennas, FGT-2
through FGT-5, (FGT-2 is two feet long, the FGT-3 is three feet long, etc.
etc.) are top loaded 3/8 inch fiberglass rod construction with standard
3/8 inch x 24 inch thread mounting.
They are available in red,
white or black and have "an exclusive impedance matching transformer lead"
which you attach to the antenna mounting connector, (I simply let it
dangle as in photo #1 below, as I found it doesn't make any difference if
it's attached or not).
The results of my use of this antenna are
as follows. It was during the winter of 2000 when I really got
hooked on this antenna for mobile or portable use. I had racked up over 60
countries on 10, 12, 15, 17 and 20 meters from Cousins Island, Maine, in
my rental car (see photo #1 above).
The FGT-2 was bolted to a
short mast which was sitting in the trunk and duct taped to the lid hinge.
I didn't want to drill holes or leave connection marks on the rental car,
so I found another use for duct tape!
From St. Croix, US Virgin
Islands, I worked HB9, OM5,
7X5, PA3, AZ4, EA8, EA7, EA1,5Z4, FS, G0, YV4, 8R1, DF3, DJ4, I8, PW7, F6,
PY2, IR4, 9A7 and many others on 10, 15, 17 and 20 meters in the winter of
2003/2004. The FGT-2 vertical was mounted on a CB mirror mount connector
bolted to a five foot length of pipe stuck in the sand with 3 ground
radials spread out.
From near Bear Glacier in
Alaska, I worked KH6, KL7,
HK3, VE7, VE6, VE4, VE2, ZL1, VK2, VK4, JA1 thru JA7 and all over the
lower 48 states on 10, 17 and 20 meters in the spring of 2002. The
FGT-2 vertical was on a tri-magnet mount on the roof of my truck (see
photo #2 below). Put on your parka, the photo is very
Island, Texas, I worked VE4, VE2, VE7, VE3, XE1, XE2, IK7,
IK8, JI3, DL8, LY2, VP2, CO8, TG8, 6Y5, IW1 and a few others plus 45
states during 4 weekends of poor band conditions on 15, 17 and 20 meters
in the summer of 2006.
I used the same mag mount as above but with
a FGT-4 vertical. With a 48 inch stinger, the FGT-4 is resonant across the
entire 20 meter band. For now, I use an auto-tuner and the 20
meter tip and have good results on most bands. Further
experimenting with the FGT-4 is required.
Tip lengths for a Wilson
FGT-2 Vertical CB Antenna:
28.300 to 28.700 MHz
2 and 5/16 inches
24.930 to 24.990 MHz
6 and 1/2 inches
21.200 to 21.450 MHz
13 and 3/8 inches
18.100 to 18.168 MHz
28 and 1/2 inches
14.200 to 14.325 MHz
40 and 3/4 inches
Tip length for a Wilson FGT-4
Vertical CB Antenna:
14.100 to 14.325 MHz
Above measurements are for the whip
set all the way in the antenna. Just tighten the set screw and go for
it. An MFJ antenna analyzer
was used and the measurements should be close for most uses.
Wilson's FGT series of vertical antennas may be available
through your local CB dealer (shop around for a good price), or check
Wilson's website for dealer locations and antenna specs (http://www.wilsonantenna.com/fg.htm).
I've seen ads for the FGT-2 for $18.95 and the
FGT-4 for $23.95 on the web.
For the whip tips, you can buy
them (make sure they'll fit the FGT verticals first!) or simply use stiff
wire (a metal clothes hanger works good!) to save money.
want to purchase an extra allen wrench as they are lost
easily (one comes with each antenna). I highly recommend the
Wilson FGT antennas for mobile, portable or perhaps for low profile fixed
station use ON THE HAM BANDS!
de Yukon John, KL7JR/KL7USI
Antenna in operation on 18 wheeler courtesy of
Buddy Carroll - K9ILL
information and comments from Tom Brazil, VE1TWB /
know it works well..... I had used this antenna mobile for about 5 yrs
on my tractor-trailer before I decided to
tell anyone about it. I worked stations all over the world on my mobile
antenna." "One night I worked my friend VE1LV-Hal from
Mohave Desert heading to Bakersfield. It was at midnight
when I called Hal and chatted with him for an hour before signing of.
Another time in 1996, I was mobile working Canada Day Contest
from in Erie, Pa, when I hear a JA operator calling me. I could hardly
believe my ears when I heard him say that he was receiving me at a 5/7 -
5/8 signal on 20 meters in Japan!"
"I know of quite a few hams here
in Canada that are using the Wilson and really enjoy the antenna. Some
hams can't believe how well it works. A friend of mine VE4DS - Darrell
used the antenna for a year and could not believe how well it worked.
Darrell purchased a Yaesu mobile vertical which worked pretty good but
Darrell said he had to go back to the Wilson because of the better signal
TX/RX on 20 meters."
"The antenna does perform
well! I remember one day leaving home in Nova Scotia heading for
California and hear a DL4 calling. I went back to him and we had a QSO for
about half an hour and he could not believe that I was using a 5 foot
antenna on 20 meters, because it had a steady signal of 5/8 and never
wavered one bit."
"I would like to see
every ham try the Wilson. The reason why I designed the Wilson
modification was because when I was mobile, most of the mobile
verticals were mostly 8 feet long and they stick out like a sore thumb on
a tractor-trailer and most of them didn't work very well either. So when I
discovered the Wilson I mounted it on the truck mirror and it looked like
a CB antenna but just a little longer, and it kept thieves away from
my truck." "I have a bunch of QSL cards stored away from stations I
worked from all over, but the two that stick out the most are DL4
& JA. Anyone that uses this antenna for the first time won't
believe how something so small works so well." 73 Tom Brazil, VE1TWB /