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Get a lot of bang for your buck!
By John Reisenauer ~ KL7JR
(Updated 02-28-08)

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?

Graphic (Wilson Antennas)

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 db gain)!

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 information.

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 cool!

Photo #2

From Galveston 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    48 inches

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.

You'll 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!
73 de Yukon John, KL7JR/KL7USI


Antenna in operation on 18 wheeler courtesy of Buddy Carroll - K9ILL

Updated information and comments from Tom Brazil, VE1TWB / VE1DC:

"I 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 / VE1DC


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