It’s been a long time coming, but chameleon antenna has finally released some updates for the very popular mpas antenna system. I don’t know if the MPAS kit itself will be updated, but the components certainly have been.
This post is work in progress, so please check back for updates.
In the field
The combined system was an absolute pleasure to deploy in the field. I used the Chameleon Spike, with the hybrid micro 2.0 on top, the MIL EXT on top of that, topping it all off with the MIL Whip.
I do understand lots of people don’t get why someone would deploy a system like this. As I mentioned so many times in my other videos and blog posts, the faster I can set up my antenna system, means the sooner I can get out of the cold. I want to get it out, set it up, and get back into a warm shelter. I accept a resonant mono band antenna will perform, but using a Broadband antenna often prevents me from having to go back outside my shelter getting cold again, while I retune the antenna. As long as performance is good enough to establish effective and consistent Communications, the antenna system is good to go!
The latest updates include:
- MIL Whip
- MIL EXT
- Hybrid MICRO
- CHA Spike
MPAS stands for Modular Portable Antenna System. It should come as no surprise that the entire point of “chameleon” antenna is antenna modules, morphed or reconfigured into different configurations.
For example the MPAS consists of a unun, whip, counterpoise, … in the whip configuration it’s an antenna of convenience. When you remove the Whip, replacing it with the 73 foot wire, it becomes a random wire end fed antenna.
That’s the design methodology of chameleon antenna. For the field radio operator, modular systems can be a huge save.
The MIL Whip has been redesigned. The original was made a aluminum tubing. The 2.0 version is now made of Brass tubes, which are tapered to the tip. The whip is also slightly shorter with more sections, with a smaller breakdown size. This makes the MIL Whip easier to pack and carry when collapsed. This feature should make the MIL whip a popular upgrade choice for Operators considering replacing steel or titanium whips on other antenna systems, with a 3/8×24 compatible thread, including the original MPAS, Hybrid Micro, EXT, …
- 7 sections
- Length collapsed 16.9in, 430mm
- Total Length 113in, 287cm
- Weight 12oz, 342g
- Shorter sections, More compact, More Robust.
The MIL Whip and Hybrid Micro combination perform well on 20 and 40 meters (my test bands) coming in just behind my quarter wave vertical reference antenna. Not bad at all for a broadband antenna.
Using the MIL EXT and tuned, elevated counterpoise wires, will provide a significant performance improvement, over using the HYBRID MICRO MIL whip and counterpoise alone..
For maximum performance on any band, use the end fed wire configuration.
Great job here Chameleon. I seriously like the upgrade.
The MIL EXT update takes it from 3 sections to 4 sections. It does however remain aluminium. It would have been amazing for the EXT to get the brass update, but that’s the only negative thing I can say about it.
The added section will give us some additional performance on 40M
Like everything else Chameleon workmanship is incredible.
Hybrid Micro 2.0
The hybrid micro has received an update as well. Chameleon has replaced the original unun, with a similar unun used in the EMCOMM 3 Portable. It’s been optimized with portable short vertical whip antennas in mind. If you remember, the EMCOMM 3 Portable was the antenna I used portable with the Yaesu FT-891, to make a portable FT8 QSO to Japan, from the Arctic Circle in Finland.
The performance question is always a Hot Topic. Lots of reviewers, bloggers, YouTubers will tell you whatever they’re reviewing is the best thing since sliced bread. They will even spread the ” no tuner required” markrting propaganda used by some in the community. Well I’m not one of those people.
There are a few different reasons for using a Broadband antenna, and even more for using a short Broadband antenna. Convenience, easy tuning across multiple bands, rapid deployment, easy deployment, temporary deployment,… The convince comes at the expense of efficiency. There’s no way to get around that, and that’s just the way it is. There is a caveat though. What if you could change to your antennas configuration from a short whip, to a variety of long wire configurations when maximum performance was required? What if you could change your antenna of convenience into an antenna for working DX? Well, that’s what we have here. The best performance we can achieve with the whip and hybrid micro is between 6m and 20m. For 30, 40m, 60m we need to add the EXT. To achieve the best performance we can with the system, the long wire needs to be used with the hybrid micro. At the moment I believe this is the only antenna system offering this configuration flexibility.
So I’m sharing 2 videos with this post. The first is my video which basically shows the difference between the original MPAS, and the updated components eg:
- MIL Whip 2.0
- MIL EXT 2.0
- Hybrid Micro 2.0
The next video I’m sharing is from Gil F4WBY the Radio Prepper.
Finally, here is my playlist of previous Chameleon MPAS tests and deployments.
Chameleon MPAS | Modular Pirtable Antenna System for Ham radio: