How the time flies--the busy Labor Day Weekend is upon us. For those of us who call a radio newsroom our "home away from home", the next few days will be busy indeed. While I've got the Labor Day Drag Races to run (I'm the tower announcer), the rest of the staff at KKBG-FM/KHLO-AM will be occupied with remote broadcasts, UH-Hilo women's volleyball games, and a variety of cultural activities. Hawaii Island may be a large rock in the middle of the Central Pacific, but residents do their best to keep their history and traditions alive. Once you add some excellent tropical weather, the Labor Day Weekend will be a genuine pleasure.
With all of the above mentioned activities, there won't be much time for amateur radio until after Monday. Between all of this activity I'll squeeze in some more antenna research and perform the weekly maintenance on the inverted 40-meter inverted "vee" and the 40-meter loop under the house. Antenna maintenance and repair are alway with Hawaii's ham operators. The combination of tropical sun, salt air, vog, and frequent showers can degrade an antenna quickly. Coax connectors are fully covered with tape and enclosed in plastic storage boxes. Bare wires are coated with nail polish and wrapped with several layers of waterproof tape. This rudimentary precaution keeps out most of the moisture. Even so, water does sneak in after a few months. Now that I've shifted to using 450-ohm balanced line to feed my antennas, the coax corrosion problem is reduced. In most cases, a few feet of RG-8 or RG-6 (whatever I have on hand) is all I need to connect the 4:1 balun to the trusty Drake MN-4 ATU. Over the past few years, the local rodent population (primarily roof rats) has developed a taste for coax, so I try to avoid long runs of this feedline. Never a dull moment around the shack.
Over the past few days, I've been researching a few more homebrew antenna ideas for the "antenna farm" in my backyard. If you're short of ideas, check out http://www.ac6v.com/. This site developed by Rod Dinkins, AC6V (SK) and Jeff Dinkins, AC6V (possibly his son) is a continuous antenna textbook with 133 pages to fire up the imagination. If you prefer a more folksy approach, try out http://www.g4ilo.com/. maintained by Julian Moss of the United Kingdom. He has a nice, friendly web site and amateur radio blog that explores a variety of antenna and qrp issues. The only suggestion I haven't tried from his site is the magnetic loop, which shows promise for those with severe space restrictions. I believe MFJ makes a magnetic loop antenna suitable for 40 through 15-meter use. You may want to check out the latest MFJ catalog to make sure the antenna is still being made.
Have a good Labor Day Weekend. Drive safely and allow plenty of time for travel. Aloha es 73 de KH6JRM.