The Comet HFJ-350M TOY BOX – IT NEEDS A COUNTERPOISE TO WORK

The Comet HFJ-350M, Portable 9-Band (6M-80M) or FHJ-350M Toy-Box, Portable 10-Band (6M-160M), 1/4 wave base loading telescopic antenna for HF through 6M. Frequency can be changed by means of shorting plug. This antennas requires a counterpoise and antenna tuner

IF YOU NEED TO ASK WHY THEY CALL IT THE TOY BOX THEN ITS NOT AN ANTENNA FOR YOU

This antennas requires a counterpoise and antenna tuner

Compact (less than 15in) portable antenna for your SOTA, POTA or other operation where a small high performance antenna is required.

The HFJ-350M is designed to be used with a counterpoise in order to work properly.

It covers the 3.5, 7, 10, 14, 18, 21, 24, 28 and 50 MHz bands.
Maximum power is 75 Watts SSB on 80 meters and 100 Watts SSB on 40 through 6 meters.

This antennas requires a counterpoise and antenna tuner

Recommendation level Recommendation level (5.0)

Purchased for ic-705
We have marked the string to determine the length of the antenna so that it can be immediately fitted to the band you want to use.
Therefore, QRV became possible immediately.
I think the reception performance is good.
Also, when I attached a combination of several 10m cables to the base of the comet, there was no problem up to 3.5MHz and the SWR dropped to other than 1.1 even with a rig.
I unfolded the cable at the front door and called it with QRP2.5w, but it was said to be QRZ several times and did not reach communication.
At the front door, I was surrounded by houses, so the conditions were not good.
If you have an application for FT8, I would like to try that as well.
Before that, play with SSB and CW.

15 comments

  1. Julian OH8STN · November 11, 2020

    This antenna is absolutely junk on 80-30m. 20-6m it can work okay provided you have multiple tuned quarter wave counterpoise wires, elevated about a half meter off the ground. Definitely fine for 20 meters up to six meters.

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    • ve3ips · November 16, 2020

      Julian, I guess you don’t own the antenna because as you know these are compromise antennas and they do need a proper counterpoise. The reason to elevate the counterpoise it to reduce ground losses and is a standard BEST practice. Due to their short 4-8 ft length they do work better on 20m and up and are less efficient on the junk bands you mentioned. Yes, the Toy Box includes a 160m coil that may prove useless or may be useful for contacts within a few miles if you have a long enough counterpoise. Like the MFJ, Moonraker and ATX versions they as just base loaded antennas. I made a very memorable QSO with RM0L from a hilltop in California with 2 watts on my FT-817 using a similar antenna. I was able to work into CT, NY and NH on 40M using this antenna with 10 watts at a picnic table in the park with 5×7 reports. So yes it does work OK but its built better than the MFJ antenna. This is a nice antenna that fits in a small backpack and is light enough for travel. I look forward to your review of the antenna and I am sure on WSPR and FT8 proper contacts can be made but low power and short whips are always an issue when operating SSB. I have not had a chance to try this out on 60m as the FoF2 hasnt been in the sweet spot. It would be interesting to try the MP-1 as a base loaded antenna and a short whip to mimic the 350M and compare WSPRs.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. ve7hamradio · November 11, 2020

    Reblogged this on Coastal Ham Radio.

    Like

  3. Dave · November 16, 2020

    John

    I have used this antenna on 40m with a counterpoise as per the manual and have been blasting away on FT8 with 14 states worked so far from my balcony. I find it a good antenna for what it is and wish one day to be in better housing position that I can have a better antenna. I am using a FT-891 and the extra power capability of this antenna using a right angle elbow from the local park with 20 watts and as let me check into some 40m nets in the morning during my

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Gus · November 16, 2020

    Hi John

    I bought two of them to use as a dipole from my condo as you suggested in past blogs. I disagree with the other ham saying its junk because its not. I think he didn’t read the manual because if he did he will see it works great for its small size. I am enjoying CW on 80m with 10 watts on my Icom 705 in the evenings and will try my luck with some contests as well. Its good on receive as well but I have it set up for 3.580 on transmit and will try it as a vertical but I have a small balcony. Maybe I hang the radial over the balcony and let it drop down?

    20m is no problem using a clamp mount for CB radio on the railing and the radial is zig zagged on the balcony floor.

    Its expensive but then I have no choice as I am not handy with tools

    Keep up the good work and thanks for all the 705 information it was very helpful
    Gus

    Like

    • ve3ips · November 16, 2020

      Gus

      I am glad its working out for you with your modest set up. The nice thing about the HFJ antenna is its M mount is more rigid than a BNC mount. If you are in GTA I would welcome to try some tests and see how its working on 6m. We have a 6M net

      Liked by 1 person

  5. ve7hamradio · December 20, 2020

    Just a quick good news story about this antenna. I suggested this antenna to a new ham who is antenna restricted. He bought one and wasn’t having much success. I explained to him about counterpoise and also to try winding a coax coil by the antenna mount. Yesterday I received an email from him thanking me for my Christmas gift. From his apartment balcony out here on the west coast he finally broke the ice and worked, Denmark, Toronto and Florida. He was just so excited to make a couple of contacts. So this antenna does work, you just might have to fiddle a bit to meet your conditions.
    Gord
    VE7FKY

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mike VA3MCT · January 23, 2021

      I do have the Toy Box version of this antenna and I do have a counterpoise, but could you explain more about the coax coil? Are you thinking something like an ugly balun?

      Liked by 1 person

      • ve3ips · January 23, 2021

        Yeah that would be fine or a simple CMC balun which is the coax through a junk box toroid

        Liked by 1 person

  6. ve3ips · January 23, 2021

    Yes Read the F Manual 3 times and then go make QSO YOU MUST HAVE THE WHIP AT THE RIGHT LENGTH

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Bob Truitt WA4A · March 4, 2021

    I purchased the Comet HFJ-350M Toy Box last week because it is the only portable antenna with 160 meter capability. I have an ATX Walkabout (80-6 meters) that I use on my go-box and packset that is easier to tune but I wanted to add the top band, 160 meters. This afternoon about sundown, I was not dissapointed. I temporarily mounted the new Comet on the fender mount of my Jeep, tuned up the antenna with my IC706mkIIg to 1854 kHz and promptly worked a station in Georgia, about 360 miles south of me with only 30 Watts to my antenna! It Works! Mounted on the 5-Watt go-box, I’ve already worked stations at more than 300 miles away on 75 and 40 meter SSB. The higher band propagation has been poor lately but I’m sure it the Comet will be making DX contacts soon! On the go-box, the Comet also tunes well, without a tuner, using only random length radials. Yes, you do have to fiddle around a bit and change coils to band hop with the Comet but within a short time you get a feel for how it works…and the instructions DO help!
    73, DE WA4A

    Liked by 2 people

    • ve3ips · March 4, 2021

      Bob Thanks for sharing your experience on 160m. Its a tough band with a short antenna but it does work if you have the patience to adjust the whip length and the counterpoise. I bought the Toy
      Box for just the same reason to have the coil just in case. Its -14 Degrees C here so no 160m out in the snow today

      Liked by 2 people

    • WA4A Bob Truitt · March 27

      It’s been just over a year since I purchased the two HFJ-350M Toy Box antenna kits and they’ve been used exclusively on my battery powered FT817 and FT-818 QRP rigs. My personal observations, after hundreds of hours of on-the-air operations from many portable locations and home are as follows:
      The antenna is very sturdy and fits well to portable operations
      in the field or indoors. Nothing has broken or worn out but I did tie-wrap the jumper wire to the inductor so it won’t get lost.
      The telescopic antenna section has plenty of extra length to adjust for 1:1 SWR matching on any band and as the result, I have almost given up the need for my LDG antenna tuners! Yes, it does help to log your telescopic whip length settings to speed up band hopping!
      Using the Reverse Beacon Network and CW operation as a reference for signal reports, the antenna performs well on every band it’s designed for and is very capable of working 5000+ mile DX, when the antenna is indoors, running only 5-Watts, if the bands are open. As expected, the higher HF bands are easiest for making DX QSOs but for day/night ops, 30 and 40-Meters work great, too.
      160 Meter reports, although less frequent, have been received this winter as far as 500+ miles away (NC to FL). Contrary to common practice, I have made most of my QSOs with NO add-on cointerpoise or grounding, using just the antenna mounted directly on the “go-box” or radio itself with no adverse affects! My guess is that lack of a lossy feedline may help results! If the antenna is remotely mounted on a motel balcony railing or on a tripod with minimal radials, an 8-turn coaxial choke balun may help matching on some bands.
      To sum up, the Comet antenna is a joy to use and its performance always amazes me! The original roll-up plastic pack is fine for carrying all the Comet accessories plus any extra VHF/UHF HT antennas, too. My only criticism is the lack of 60-Meter coverage. It seems to me that a bit more inductor added to the basic 40-Meter coil, along with an additional 2-mm jack, would have been an easy way to have added an 11th band! Maybe someone will market an accessory add-on 5 mHz inductor! 73, Bob WA4A

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      • ve3ips · March 28

        Bob, the counterpoise may be in side the coax hihi and glad you are getting great usage of this antenna.

        Like

  8. RJ · July 25

    My question is. Do I have to use a different length counterpoise for each band or can I just use one 50 or 60 ft counterpoise for every band?

    Each band has its own counterpoise length. pack a tape measure

    Like

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