Sunday, September 11, 2011

Simple antennas for the Hawaii Amateur Radio Operator, part 11

9/11 REMEMBERED

Hawaii amateur operators joined the rest of the nation in commemorating the tragic events of 11 September 2001--an event that changed this country and affected the lives of thousands around the world.  On Hawaii Island, residents observed a moment of silence at 7 a.m. Sunday to observe the event.

I remember that day very well.  I arrived shortly at the radio station shortly after 3 a.m. and joined my then morning man, D.C. Carlson, in an all-day, total news broadcast.  Our usual Adult Contemporty format was shelved until 3 p.m. as we aired coverage from the Associated Press, ABC, and CBS.  Chris Leonard, the manager of our cross-town rival KWXX-FM, lost two close friends and a cousin in the tragedy.  Many Hawaii  Island residents knew friends and family who perished on that terrible day.  On that day, at least, all of us were one in mourning that dreadful day.  If my memory serves me, I lost my voice shortly after 3 p.m., signaling that I had "run out of gas" for the day.  Thanks to warm water, green tea, and a shot of Jack Daniel's and honey, the "pipes" recovered enough to go on the air the next day.  That was quite an experience. 

Nothing has been "normal" since that day.  Air travel is a real chore,  security has been "enhanced" everywhere, and the battle against what we in this nation label as "terrorists" continues unabatted a decade after 9/11.  For many in Hawaii, the war against the "shadow enemy" has become personal, with many island families losing friends and family members in that seemingly endless conflict.

Suffice to say, all of us in Hawaii will never be the same.  I'll leave it to the "experts" to determine how and why Americans got involved in this mess.  All I can do is offer solace to the victims, report the news as best I can, and help residents here understand the new reality of the age.  The truth is very grim--this nation and many others will be engaged in this battle for a long time.  Those of us in the media bear some responsibility for not keeping the public informed and aware of what is really happening.  In this remote part of the Central Pacific, the world seems far away, but it is not.  Even Hawaii Island has had its share of bomb threats and alerts related to possible terrorist activities.  A review of past articles in the "Hawaii Tribune-Herald" and in "West Hawaii Today" newspapers will show the Aloha State has not escaped the current reality.  Welcome to the new age of uncertainty, national bankruptcy, and economic stagnation. 

AMATEUR RADIO AND THE SUSPENSION OF REALITY

After a day filled with bad news, I can't wait to get out of the newsroom and head home for a few hours on the old Swan 100-MX.  My modest ham radio station and even simpler antennas (verticals, inverted "vees") give me hours of relaxation and stress release from a world I can't change.  About the only thing one can do these days is change the way you react to the events around you.  Amateur radio provides a needed respite from the cares of the world.  I am still amazed by what can be done with low power, modest antennas, and decent propagation.  I was never really into contests--too much stress and a reminder of the pressure I feel in the newsroom.  I prefer casual contacts in a relaxed atmosphere.  About the only time I jump into a contest is when Field Day rolls around or when I stumble into a contest where my KH6 callsign may help with a multiplier.  Of course, my laid back style isn't for everyone.  There are enough varieties of amateur radio to appeal to just about everyone.  Choose your favorite and go for it!

THE ANTENNA FARM RETHOUGHT

My inverted 40-meter inverted "vee" is working as intended--nothing spectacular, but it does provide the contacts I need.  Presently, I'm working on a 40-meter vertical with a tuned counterpoise in the open space between the qth and the neighbor's house.  The skyhook will be fed with 450-ohm twin lead hooked up to a 4:1 balun.  A short run of RG-8 to the Drake MN-4 will complete the system.  I used this arrangement last year and it proved workable from 40 to 10 meters.   The 40-meter full wave loop under the house will be retained for backup and as a medium wave antenna for the Hallicrafters SX-62A.   I haven't put in a 2-meter rig in the Odyssey van yet, but I'm working on it.  I have a 1/4 wave mag mount antenna in my "junk box" and some spare RG-8x coax that could be pressed into service.  Add this little project to the usual household chores and a long day at the newsroom and you get a busy week.  At least my life isn't dull.  Have a good day and get on the air with what you have.  You could be surprised.

Aloha es 73 de KH6JRM.