Sunday, April 3, 2011

KH6JRM's Amateur Radio Blog

For the first time in almost a month things are quiet
in the KKBG-FM/KHLO-AM newsroom.  The
earthquake/tsunami recovery effort in Japan and
the ongoing Middle East crisis have dominated
the news cycle for weeks.  Eventhough these
topics are still in the daily news, other topics are
beginning to lower the priority of March's disasters.
Like many communities across the nation, fund
raising efforts continue for Japan on Hawaii Is-
land.  The support will be needed for months, may-
be years as the situation develops.  Japanese hams
are doing an excellent job of filling in communications
gaps or coordinating recovery efforts where required.
Hawaii Island is rebuilding, too.  Most of the tsunami
damage has been cleared from business and residential
areas.  The state has applied for federal disaster relief
funds to cover some of the $14 million in estimated
tsunami damage.  Whether Hawaii gets any of the
requested funds is unknown, given the current economic
condition of the country.

While the federal bureaucracy and relief agencies do their
work, most of us on the Big Island are returning to what-
ever passes for "normal" life these days.  Now that the
emergency has calmed a bit, I can turn some of my
attention to my second love (after my XYL, of course)--
amateur radio.  I haven't been too active since the tsunami
and I can't wait to get the J-38 key busy on the lower
portion of 40 meters.

I've just finished reading an enjoyable article in today's
edition of "eham.net" by Steve Katz, WB2WIK/6.  His
"Honey I Shrank the Tower" is a good morale booster
for those of us who are "antenna challenged" and, for
whatever reason, can't erect a tower and a beam for
our ham stations.  There aren't too many amateur radio
towers on the Big Island--mostly for the reasons cited
by Steve.  The usual suspects are restrictive CC&Rs,
lack of professional help in erecting towers, fear of the
unknown, and cost.  When one adds the cost of shipping
a tower to Hawaii, the erection of an aluminum antenna
farm becomes a major financial outlay.  I prefer to avoid
the cost, considering how uncertain the economy is these
days--especially for those in the commercial broadcast
business, where a bad ratings "book" or a loss of sales
often means staff reductions, changed formats, and  no
hiring.  So, as good as Steve's article is--and it is an
excellent piece--I've chosen to improve what I have,
fully knowing that breaking DX pileups will be difficult.
Vertical antennas are at a distinct disadvantage when
compared to stacked monobanders on a 70' tower.
However, there is light at the proverbial end of the radio
tunnel.  Once I get the house built on our 2-acre, no
CC&R propety, I'll have time to erect a decent antenna.
Presently, I working on a three-element vertical bean or
a rhombic on 33', guyed poles.  I've used vertical beams
in the past and they work well.  Anyway, Steve's article
may inspire many of us to get off the sofa and do something
about improving our signals.  Of course, having the necessary
financial resources will determine what we can really do.  If
your wallet can stand it, follow Steve's advice and go for it.

It's just about time to wrap up this Sunday in the news room.
Following some supermarket shopping, it's off to the home
QTH for some early evening cw.  Have a good weekend.
Aloha es 73 de KH6JRM.