Icom IC-703

Icom IC-703 is a great choice for radio communications out in the wild such as when the SHTF. Not only is the size of the IC-703 attractive to preppers and survivalists alike it has a great many features that could be a great assets in survivalist and/or prepper situation. Some people will comment that the IC-703 radio is “just a QRP rig” and they might be right in a way. But a radio’s performance is based more on the antenna than on its power output. A good QRP rig such as the IC-703 works very well in mobile radio situations as well as with base station use. Running an IC-703 portable, such as a prepper or survivalist would do, is a very good application for this versatile little ham radio.

Here are some of the features of the IC-703 radio by Icom:

  • Comes with a general coverage receiver
  • Many memories
  • RIT (receiver incremental tuning)
  • Preamp as well as an attenuator (although preamps are generally though to be worthless on the HF bands)
  • Dual VFO’s
  • 1 Hz display for tuning into odd frequencies
  • DSP, auto-notch, and noise reduction
  • SWR meter

There are TWO IC-703 models out there so be sure you look at a prospective purchase closely before you buy it. The last IC-703 was designated as an Icom IC-703 Plus designating it as the IC-703 with 6 meters in it. The original radios sold by Icom stated “HF/50MHz” on the front panel but that was a printing error. The early IC-703 radios did not have six meters in them so beware when buying an IC-703!

As any honest amateur radio operator will tell you, a good antenna is the main part of a communications system. It doesn’t matter what band you’re operating on, what mode you are using, or even what radio you’re running. Preppers and survivalists alike need to learn to employ the best antenna they can come up with while still maintaining some sense of portability. Wire antennas, vertical antennas, and dipole antennas are good performers in the field or other portable operations. As has been mentioned elsewhere in this web site: “A dollar spent on an antenna is worth ten dollars spent on the radio.” For some reviews of the IC-703: ICOM IC-703 REVIEWS.
IC-703 radio

Stealth Hidden Camouflage

Stealth Hidden Camouflage

Stealth: stealthy – furtive or surreptitiously, denoted or otherwise marked by quiet, caution, and secrecy, it can also mean to take great pains to avoid being observed;

Stealth is an absolute necessity when you are in survival mode especially when it comes to your communications equipment. The very best communications antenna for a survivalist is one that no one can see. You know yourself that paranoia will run rampant and anything seen as a “threat” will be reported. The last thing you want to do is to draw attention to yourself or your location by having a huge antenna sticking up in the air. Sure, the big antennas work so much better but they also tend to attract unwanted attention. So with this page we will show you some antennas that will perform very well for the bands they are created for and yet will not draw a lot of attention.

Before you go any further on this page you may want to read about a ham operator who specializes in working stealth modes with stealth antennas. The article is entitled: “Secrets of a Successful Stealth Operator“.

Stealth Antennas

The Grasswire

Grass Wire Antenna
Grass Wire Antenna

What is it? Put simply, it is an end-fed, longwire antenna that is laid right on the grass. Hence the name. The original grasswire used by K3MT in the summer of 1988 was just 204′ of #18 AWG magnet wire laid along the property line, anywhere from 1″ to 6″ above the ground. This sketch shows plan and elevation views of a typical installation. Both an 8′ ground rod and optional counterpoise wires are shown. Use one or the other. Both are not needed. (Click the image for a better view of the Grasswire Antenna.)

Small Loop Antennas

Magnetic loops are very effective small antennas. these 3 to 3 1/2+ foot antennas perform close to and in some cases (low mounting heights for one) better than even a small beam. The reason is that a magnetic field is much more concentrated than an electrical one, for example a small horizontal loop at 17 feet performs better (lower radiation angle) than a full size dipole at 35 feet, in fact better for DX than a beam at that height because of the much lower takeoff angle. If you place a beam 1 foot off the ground it will only radiate straight up while a vertical loop will still work DX stations quite well. This smaller more intense magnetic field also has the advantage of greatly reducing TVI – RFI potential if the loop is more than 15 feet or so away from TV antennas, electronics etc. Another advantage of this magnetic field is the very low background noise heard on the loop because most man made noise is electrical fields. For example if you lived next to a Shopping Mall the loop would not hear all that lighting and power transformers. Also reducing interference is the loops “Hi Q” which means that it receives & transmits on a narrow band range compared to the “full size” antennas. This effect is very pronounced on the lower bands that the loop will work.

Low Profile Operating Outside Antennas

Antennas outside ? Not here ! Well you might be surprised. There are many methods to get your antennas out in the free air. The key here is do the very best you can to blend in or conceal your installation. Do your best not to attract attention. Install your antenna at night if possible, another way is to mix it in with some other project like painting, repairs or hanging Christmas lights.


A little paint does very little to your RF efficiency but goes a long way to disguise your antennas. Since my house is in the clear with few trees I use a blue-gray color that blends into the sky and in my case my house. Use a flat color if possible. Also there is a line of camouflage paints that are made for cars that are great around foliage, fences or decks. Experiment by painting boards to see what will work best for you.


Radials: On HF the length of the radials on the ground is is not as critical because the earth detunes them. Run as many as you can as close as you can to the 1/4 wave length for your lowest frequency. I would suggest that you bury them down about 1 inch. Radiator(s): On VHF & UHF full size and radiators are usually fairly easy to hide. For example use 3/16 rod instead of 1/2″ tubing for your J-pole and paint to match, or hide it in a fake roof vent. Several amateurs have built 1/4 and even 5/8 wave antennas into a working wind vane. On HF verticals can be built into “birdhouses” on a pole, these can be full sized on 10 meters or so and loaded or capacitance hats in the “house” itself for other bands. A popular theme is the flagpole antenna. One design for a multi-band version is in the ARRL antenna book, it consists of a pole made of PVC with home made traps inside. Another good way is to feed a ground isolated 26 foot pole against a radial system with a concealed remote turner at its base. Also a wire radial can be run up a wood flag pole. Coax: Use a good quality coax cable to reduce RF & interaction problems.


Dipoles can be very effective and also being balanced usually are some of the cleanest in terms of TVI and RFI. The eves of your house is a good spot to hide a dipole, just staple it up there and paint to match. Also a dipole laid flat on your roof can have good results. Inverted Vee configurations tend to work best to stateside contacts while flat tops high in the air work best for DX. A surprisingly good choice is the “invisible wire”, small gauge wire as small as 30 gauge can be used if suspended properly, I suggest 26 gauge magnet wire. These small wire sizes will create some loss but not too much until you get to the low bands and even there will work OK. Also 18 gauge or so wire can be used and allowed to oxidize to have no reflection of sunlight. Caution with colors is necessary to prevent birds from running into your wire. I found light green is invisible to our feathered friends but they avoid dark green. These antennas can be supported by trees, fences etc. Fishing line is very useful for tying to structures and pulleys with small springs or weights can be used to let the dipole move in the wind without stretching. Feed line: A little care is needed here, be careful of running parallel to electrical lines or duct work if using balanced lines. Use the best coax or twin lead you can but if you can use 300 ohm TV lead with some loss for easy routing.


This is a bit tougher, VHF & UHF beams can be hidden from view behind chimneys or trees. HF beams even on 10m are big and hard to camouflage but a clever ham could possibly shorten one to look like a TV antenna. I expect to see more antennas like the new Hy-Gain 2/6 meter beam that looks a lot like a TV yagi and lets you take advantage of the Communication act of 1996. This FCC ruling states that if you own your property you can have a outdoor TV antenna despite local covenants etc.

Commercial Antennas For Stealth Mode

portable vertical antenna
BuddiPole – It’s a dipole… It’s a vertical… It fits in your travel bag! The Buddipole™ is more than an antenna, it’s a versatile system for launching your signal. Optimized for transmit power and proven for DX work, the Buddipole™ is the secret weapon used by HF portable operators all around the world. Precision engineered for maximum performance using ultra light composite materials and High-Q coils. Zero-loss balun with Quick-Connect feedpoint.

The CliffDweller II antenna!

The Original Variable Length HF Antenna

The CliffDweller II is the Original variable length HF antenna that adjusts it’s size to fit YOUR operating environment. 6 to 80 Mtrs. – QRP to 100 Watts – Anywhere you need it.
Composed of 130 feet of wire (a full half wavelength on 80 mtrs!), the CliffDweller II operates in as little as 16 feet (8 feet per side) to a fully extended length of 50 feet (25 feet per side) or anywhere in between. It works in any space you have available!

For traveling or for storage, fully compressed (as shown), the CliffDweller II takes up less than one foot of space. Take it with you anywhere you’ll need an HF antenna. Operates great in permanent or portable operation. Makes a great emergency “have on hand” antenna – used by several emergency ham services around the country.

The Force 12 flagpole antenna is a large diameter aluminum pole that is the actual antenna. It is not a plastic tube with a wire inside. The Force 12 flagpole is an effective antenna and is a solution for many people who live in restricted areas, while allowing us to be patriotic. The basic flagpole antenna system is composed of the flagpole, the radials and the feed line. The optional feed point kit contains a feed point pigtail that connects the flagpole to the coax feed line and four (4) radials.

One of the best choices in stealth antennas is those produced by the Zero Five antenna company. Their antennas are quite hard to discern and can be made even more stealthy by applying a coat of paint that coincides with the surrounding areas. Zero Five also sells flagpole antennas that are virtually impossible to discern with Old Glory displayed on them. We have a little more detail on the Zero Five antennas on this link: Zero Five Antennas.

Grasswire Antenna © MICHAEL TOIA, K3MT .

Small Loop Antennas © CLIFFORD HOLLOWAY, N0HC

Low Profile Operating Outside Antennas © CLIFFORD HOLLOWAY, N0HC

How To Launch An Antenna

How To Launch An Antenna

Now How Do I Get It Up There? Getting an antenna up into a tree is the single most easy method of getting your antenna up and operational. Many people have come up with many unique ways of getting the middle or ends of their antennas into the trees. Among the many methods used to “launch” antennas:

While all of these are good, proven methods they are not exactly the safest at times. As mentioned earlier the spud gun might have legal issues to deal with in your area and also has a side issue of the noise it creates when fired. Bows and arrows would seem to be the best but it takes and accomplished archer and a good bow to get the arrow to the top of the tree where you need it to be. Slingshots with fishing weights can work but the weights need to be just right or you risk them getting snagged in the branches. To use a rock would require someone with a major league pitcher’s arm to get the rock anywhere near the top of a tree of minimal proportions. Using a fishing rod seems to be a great way to get an antenna up into a tree but you better be good with it or else you’ll wind up wasting time and fishing line in failed attempts.

So what’s left? What’s the secret? Well, it isn’t really a secret and is actually a compilation of several of the methods listed above. Rather than blather on it would be best to hear from the manufacturer of this fine product which, by the way, is widely used by amateur radio operators (hams), cable installers, and tree surgeons, and phone installers.

EZ HANG — SlingShot & Reel Device for installing wire antennas.

THE NEW AND IMPROVED Custom EZ HANG WITH FOLDABLE WRIST SUPPORT with UV protected 11″ long Bands and 1 1/2″ pouch, The EZ HANG’s basic construction is welded steel attached to a reel that is corrosion resistant plastic and stainless steel. The reel comes with 300 feet of 10-pound-test monofilament line installed, a quick disconnect clip to release weight has a easy-to-see “bright yellow” powder coated cannon ball one-ounce lead weight. Plus one extra weight and clip. (Preceding & image copyrighted by EZ HANG).

EZHANG antenna launcher

Please note: we are not affiliated with the EZ Hang Company.


Now once you get everything where you want it you will need a way to secure the antenna to prevent it from falling down. The best way is of course to tie it off with rope and this presents another problem which is that of tying knots. We went to the best knot site we know of to get some information on the tying of knots (www.realknots.com).

Instruction Pages

Terminal Knots, Overhand-knot, (Flemish)eight and more.

To bend two lines together. Reef-Knot, Sheet-Bend, Carrick-Bend, True-Lover’s, and more.

To tie on an object. Timber Hitch, Constrictor, The Eight, and more.

Bowline, Bowstring, and more.

The running bowline, hangman, and more.

The monkey fist, Dolly (trucker-hitch).

Some Fancy work.

1 Spud guns: A spud gun is a pipe-based cannon which uses air pressure, or combustion of a gaseous fuel, or both, to launch large projectiles at low speed. They are built to fire chunks of potato, as a hobby, or to fire other sorts of projectiles, for practical uses. In some jurisdictions spud guns are outlawed or have restrictions on their use and may require licenses and certification of the gun.


Commercial Antennas

Why use
commercial antennas for your SHTF needs? Availability. Price. Performance. There’s something to be said for
antennas that you can build yourself but then again there’s no reason to not use commercial antennas for survivalist needs.

Then there are times when you can find really good deals on commercial antennas that you just can’t pass up. Sometimes people are not pleased with an antenna and will just give it away, never realizing the antenna might have been assembled or installed improperly. Many times a so-called ‘poor antenna’ is the result of using poor feedline. We can’t stress enough how important the coax is to a communications system.

In this section of our web site we go into a few of the commercial antennas that a survivalist or prepper should at least take a look at for their communications needs. A note in advance, we aren’t ‘affiliates’ with these antenna companies nor do we receive anything from them to put their antenna on this web site.

Stealth antenna 02






Build Stealth Antennas

Build Stealth Antennas

Building stealth antennas to keep prying eyes from detecting your communications resources takes some skill and a lot of ingenuity. The skill part comes into play when it comes down to building antennas that will be sturdy and will perform optimally for the frequency/band desired. The ingenuity part of a stealth antenna comes about when it comes to hiding the antenna from nosy people with nothing better to do than to concern themselves with YOUR antenna. A lot of survivalists and others who want to hide their communications antennas think that mostly wire antennas are the type of antennas used the most and for the most part that’s fairly true. But that doesn’t mean that your HF/VHF/UHF beams and vertical antennas can’t be also hidden. In this picture to the right, you can see how easily a multi-element VHF beam was hidden in the average looking attic of this home. Admittedly it may not work as on receive or transmit as well as it would if it was mounted higher up on the outside Stealth Antenna 01of the home but it is thoroughly hidden away in the attic. Since this antenna is directional it has the characteristics of other beam antenna in that the transmit signal is higher in strength along with it having the ability to better receive signals that might otherwise be too weak to hear.

What Other Ways Can Be Used?

There are many but here are a a couple ideas to get your “idea factory” working on your own stealth antenna ideas.

This type of stealth antenna has been discussed elsewhere on this web site but it was decided that it should be included on this page. Can’t see the antenna yet? Just take a look at Old Glory wafting in the breeze and Stealth antenna 02you will see the antenna. Give up? It’s the flagpole! These flagpole vertical antennas are popping up all all over the place, especially where outside antennas are restricted or forbidden altogether. If you wish to erect any sort of flagpole antenna such as this one then you might want to be sure there aren’t restrictions on flagpoles in the area where you wish to erect it. Some homeowner associations have an even more restrictive policy towards communications by stating that no radio emissions are allowed. Of course this would not apply to shortwave listening but it is best to check first. The flagpole antennas are permanent as they require a concrete base under them and this might keep them from being used in some survivalist situations.

Stealth antenna 03

The owner of this home has built a loop antenna that literally circles his house and no one is the wiser. Take note of the coax exiting the attic vent and running over to the balun1 which is connected to the wire running around the eaves of the house. Wire loop antennas like this one are quite effect and stealthy as well. Along with this is the fact that loop antennas tend to be broadbanded and can readily used on more than one band.

Well, about the time you think you have seen it all there comes around something like the Stealth antenna 04antenna to the right of your screen. It is manufactured by Rohn Products and should hide any antennas systems contained within fairly well. Of course it will also tend to make people stop and point thereby drawing more attention to it than one might desire. Nevertheless, it shows what can be done to hide your antenna.

1 Balun: Derived from the terms “balanced” & “unbalanced”. It is an adapter that converts an unbalanced signal, eg 93 ohm coax to 100 ohm.

Tilt-N-Raise Portable Antenna Mounts

Tilt-N-Raise Portable Antenna Mounts

Antenna mounts are always an issue when running a portable radio set up. Elsewhere in this web site you read information about fixed base antennas, mobile antennas, portable antennas, and even stealth antennas. This product reviewed on this page is a new type of portable antenna mount that should prove to be quite popular with portable radio operators as well as survivalists.

The Tilt-N-Raise® portable antenna mount is not a mobile antenna mount. Although it does go in to the receiver hitch on the rear of your vehicle it is not meant to be used while the vehicle is moving. Survivalists will really enjoy rolling up to a camp hooking up the Tilt-N-Raise and getting your antenna up and operational in 5 minutes or less.

The antenna mount will take all the work out of getting a portable communications antenna up and running quickly and efficiently. Sure, you could make these yourself. But do you have the time and tools to do so? Besides, we are an affiliate site for the mount so we get to make $5 for each mounts sold through this web site. Helps pay for our server so thanks in advance.

Instead of going on and on about all the features of the Tilt-N-Raise® we invite you to look their web site over thoroughly. The link is provided below:

Tilt-H-Raise Portable Antenna Mount: www.tiltnraise.com

Tilt-N-Raise Portable Antenna Mounts


Antennas for 20 Meters

Antennas for 20 Meters

Antenna: 20 meters, Range: 14.0 to 14.35 MHz

Good 20 meters antennas are easy to build with nothing more than readily available materials. Since 20 meters covers the frequency range of 14.0 to 14.35 MHz you can use a few algebraic formulas to compute antenna sizes.

In the case of antennas for 20 meters you can see the antenna size begin to increase. But a survivalist needs not be concerned about the size as most antennas for 20 meters are created as dipoles (dipole construction is covered on our page for 15 meter antennas).

This formula: 234/f can be explained by dividing 234 by the desired frequency in megahertz which will give you the length, in feet, of a 1/4 wave antenna. This formula isn’t exact in that it assumes the radiating element is infinitely small. What this means is if the radiating element was one inch in diameter then the resonant length of the antenna would be a little shorter than the calculated one given by the formula gives you.

Using the formula above you will soon see that an antenna for 20 meters is approximately 16 feet 5 and 11/16 inches in length. This antenna measurement can be used for either a vertical antenna for 20 meters or a horizontal antenna for 20 meters.

20 meters is considered the best band for DX during day and night hours. Survivalists should consider an antenna for 20 meters to be used for long distance communications. You can use 20 meters for local communications but it is not very effective at close range.


20 meter antenna

Antennas For 12 Meters

Antennas For 12 Meters

Antenna: 12 meters, Range: 24.89 to 24.99 MHz

Good 12 meters antennas are easy to build with nothing more than readily available materials. Since 12 meters covers the frequency range of 24.89 to 24.99 MHz you can use a few algebraic formulas to compute antenna sizes.

Antennas for 12 meters are similar in size and design as 10 meter antennas. In fact a good tuner will make a 10 or 11 meter antennas work just fine on 12 meters.

This formula: 234/f can be explained by dividing 234 by the desired frequency in megahertz which will give you the length, in feet, of a 1/4 wave antenna. This formula isn’t exact in that it assumes the radiating element is infinitely small. What this means is if the radiating element was one inch in diameter then the resonant length of the antenna would be a little shorter than the calculated one given by the formula gives you.

Using the formula above you will soon see that an antenna for 12 meters is approximately 9 feet 4 and 11/16 inches in length. This antenna measurement can be used for either a vertical antenna for 12 meters or a horizontal antenna for 12 meters.

Surprisingly enough you can find truck stops that sell antennas for “CB” use that are also set up to run 12 meters. A lot of the CB antennas can be pressed into service for 12 meters. Propagation for 12 meters is similar to 10 in that it is primarily a daytime band.

12 meter antenna

Super Stealthy Antenna Ideas

Super Stealthy Antenna Systems

Stealth is good for hiding antennas for your survivalist communication systems from HOA (Home Owners Associations), nosy neighbors and possibly government vehicles looking for such communications systems. These Super Stealthy Antenna Ideas will help you find an antenna design you need.

While it can be said that the antennas mentioned in these articles are every bit as good as those antennas exposed free and clear out in the open. But that simply is not they case.

Shortened and hidden antennas almost always give up something in the way of performance when compared against their exposed cousins. But you must remember that these particular antennas are meant to prevent anyone from seeing them. They are in the true sense of the term – stealth antennas.


If you don’t have to keep your communications antennas hidden then that’s fine. But we all know that a day is coming where we will all be trying to hide some form of antenna.

In these following articles you will see antenna designs that seem to defy things that you know about ham and communications antennas. And yet the work!

Even today’s commercial antenna designs were most likely met with skepticism when they were first introduced to the communications community. Today they are among the world standards in antenna design and operations.

Take a look at the articles and see if there isn’t at least one idea that you as as survivalist could use at your home QTH or a remote camp of sorts.

You may notice that the vast majority of the steah antennas (or portable antennas) are made of simple such as you likely have on hand. Some purists and antenna “experts” will have you to believe that wire antennas don’t work but they can’t back up their claims with facts.

The main issue with wire antennas is that you need something to support them. Even wire vertical antennas require supports of some fashion or another.

k9ay delta loop antenna

Good Antenna Location

Good Antenna Location

Location, location, location…

Good radio antenna locations are easy to spot if you know what to look for. And it isn’t all that hard to spot a good antenna location for your survivalist camp.

  1. Keep your antenna location away from power lines for safety as well as performance reasons.
  2. Hilltops are good for VHF and UHF operations but HF operations could suffer from cross-talk.
  3. Hillsides are okay as long as you are not firing your signal into a nearby hills. Remember that what adversely affects your transmitting will also adversely affect your reception. The old DX adage is that if you can’t hear them you can’t contact them.

Soil Conductivity

A lot of CB operators, ham radio operators and many shortwave listeners realize the importance of the soil when choosing possible antenna locations. And many do no to the detriment of their station effectiveness. Ham radio operators search for a new home to move into will invariable look at he environment of the neighborhood which includes the soil.

Here’s a good way to see what kind of soil interaction you can expect from various soil types:

Type, conductivity, quality

  • Fresh water, 0.001, NA
  • Salt water, 5.0, NA
  • Pastoral, low hills, rich soil which is typical of what you would find from Dallas, Texas to Lincoln, Nebraska areas, 0.0303, very good
  • Pastoral, low hills, rich soil typical of Ohio and Illinois, 0.01, very good
  • Flat country, marshy, densely wooded, typical Louisiana near Mississippi River, 0.0075, very good
  • Pastoral, medium hills and forestation, typical of Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York (exclusive of mountains and coastlines, 0.006, very good
  • Pastoral, medium hills and forestation, heavy clay soil typical of central Virginia, 0.005, average
  • Rocky soil, steep hills, typical of mountainous areas, 0.002, poor
  • Sandy, dry, flat, coastal, 0.002, poor
  • Cities, industrial areas, 0.001, very poor
  • Cities, heavy industrial areas, high buildings, 0.001, extremely poor


Next page: Poor antenna location

Good Antenna Location