Sunday, November 13, 2011

Simple antennas for the Hawaii Island Amateur Radio Operator, a continuing series

East Hawaii begins to dry out

After nearly two weeks of rain, East Hawaii skies are clearing.  Although the island is about 60 percent below normal rainfall, this rainy period seemed longer than it really was.  Most of the days were highlighted with heavy showers, flooding, and occasional lightning.  Evenings were mostly wet with scattered thundershowers and lightning--not really an ideal time to be on the radio.  Despite the heavy rains, the modest antenna "farm" in the back yard escaped damage.  The verticals were nested near ground level on cinder blocks 1-foot high, just enough to escape the run off.  The only antenna pressed into service was the 40-meter under the house loop.  Since the sun was mostly absent during this period of storms, the solar cells didn't do much to charge my batteries.  So, I generally stayed off the air and kept things out of harm's way.  Radio time was spent in maintenance and repair of my aging rigs (Swan 100-MX, Kenwood-520, and the trusty Yaesu FT-7).  I also found two interesting antenna articles in the November 2011 "QST".

Going on 80 and 160 meters from a space challenged location

The article entitled "A 160 or 80 Meter Downspout Vertical" on page 45 caught my eye since it appealed to my  "do it yourself" mindset.  Dave Holdemann, N9XU, describes how he built an effective 80 and 160 meter antenna out of two 10 foot sections of plastic downspout material, a toilet bowl capacitance hat, and some number 14 gauge wire he bought at a hardware store.  This quote really hit home:  "I'm always amazed at what can find at a hardware store that is adaptable to ham radio."  So true in many ways.  I've always enjoyed building my own wire antennas, partly because of cost concerns and partly because I get a thrill of having one of my "skyhooks" actually work!  I'm also cheap, an unfortunate result of being retired.  Once in a while, I get the opportunity to use a friend's station, complete with a modern rig and a decent beam.  That's quite an experience.  But in my current financial situation, modesty and low cost are the rules of the day.  I'm saving up for the Elecraft K3, but for the present, I'll work with what I have.

What do you do if your qth has no antenna room?

Also in the November 2011 "QST", is an interesting article entitled "The Never Ending Field Day" by Yigal Rchtman, K2EFG.  Yigal found that he could not operate from his four-story brownstone in Brooklyn, News York and decided to operate portable all the time (weather permitting).  So, equipped with a Yaesu FT-857D, a 15 foot photographer's tripod, and a Buddipole antenna system, he set out to have fun.  He succeeded in making contacts, got fully engaged in ARES work, and learned how to explain his presence to law enforcement officials who questioned his adventures in public parks.  If you wish to contact Yigal, visit

Upcoming contests
19 November 2001--ARRL EME
19 November 2011--ARRL November Sweepstakes
19 November 2001--RSGB Second 1.8 Mhz contest
A complete list of the month's contests can be found on page 89 of the November 2001 "QST".

That just about wraps up the week from the Central Pacific.  On Monday, it's back to the classroom and my students at Laupahoehoe High and Elementary School.  Teaching is a new profession for me and I have a lot to learn.  Thankfully, my xyl, who has been a school librarian and a teacher substitute for several years, is willing to "show me the ropes".  I've been helping her in her classes to get a sense of what's expected of me.  This is quite a rewarding challenge.  If things work out, I'd like to start a high school amateur radio club.  But that's in the future.

Have a good week, get on the air, have some fun!
Aloha es 73 de KH6JRM