Posts

Showing posts from August, 2011

Reflections on simple antennas-a Hawaii perspective

MOTHER NATURE KEEPS US BUSY

This week has been filed with enough stories to keep any news person busy.  For those of us on Hawaii Island, what was left of Tropical Storm "Fernanda" didn't create any disturbance other than a few windward showers and some higher than normal surf along the southeast shore.  My heart goes out to those facing the trial of Hurricane "Irene"--this looks like a very nasty storm.  It's good to see many people are preparing ahead of time for the storm's arrival or leaving the danger area before high winds begin.  I expect amateur radio operators are gearing up for  whatever Nature throws at them.  Having experienced several hurricanes and tsnuamis in Hawaii, I know these developments should not be ignored.  It always amazes me that there are those who choose to ride out the storm rather than "get out of dodge".  I suppose it's a personal decision, but why tempt fate?   For us in Hawaii County, the passing of "F…

Surviving a tropical storm in Hawaii

Hawaii Island amateur radio operators are breathing more easily now that the Central Pacific Hurricane Center has downgraded Tropical Storm "Fernanda" to a tropical depression with maximum sustained winds of 35 mph.  Remnants of this once potent storm should pass south of Hawaii Island Sunday or Monday, bringing a few showers and higher than normal surf.  It appears those of us on Hawaii Island have dodged the proverbial "bullet".  Local civil defense officials are keeping an eye on "Fernanda" just in case it pulls a switcher-roo like Hurricane "Iniki" did twenty years ago.  "Iniki" passed south of Hawaii Island as a weak tropical storm and then found warm water, regained category 4 strength, and flattened most tall objects on the Island of Kauai.  The "Garden Island" lost nearly all of its communications infrastructure, many homes, and several businesses.  It took months to rebuild the place, thanks to National Guard personn…

Simple antennas for the Hawaii Amateur, part 8

Homebrew antennas are an endless source of experiment, creativity, and occasional frustration.  Armed with a few good antenna books from the ARRL,CQ Publications, and the RSGB, I've built a variety of  verticals, dipoles, and loops which work most of the time.  Since I'm not an electronics wizard, there have been a few ideas that just didn't pan out, including a homebrew 1/2 end-fed hertz that developed a bad case of corona discharge at the end of the antenna.  That 40-meter project was a disaster, but it taught a few valuable lessons about matching devices, baluns, and swr.  I think the next time I want to use an end-fed hertz, I'll violate my long-standing rule of "rolling my own" in favor of a commercial product by Par Electronics, Radiowavz, or Comet.  I'm alright when it comes to simple verticals, dipoles, and loops.  Anything beyond that calls for more study and careful attention to detail.  I'm still in the learning process--something that will…

Simple Antennas for the Hawaii Amateur Radio operator, part 7

This week has proven busy for those who call a broadcast news studio "their home away from home."  With all of the debt-ceiling talk and arguments on just how insolvent we are, there is sufficient news to keep this announcer occupied.  There hasn't been much time to relax before the ole Swan 100-MX and enjoy a casual qso.  This weekend will be fully engaged as well with a full schedule of drag races at the Hilo Drag Strip.  I work as the tower announcer, a role that keeps me out of trouble for the entire weekend.  Despite a jammed week, I've managed to pursue a number of antenna articles and related projects.  The August issue of "QST" contains an interesting description of an elevated 40-meter monopole with two-tuned counterpoise wires.  The skyhook seems to work alright, so, if you have a convenient tree or pole in the backyard, you may want to experiment with this antenna.  Of course, those of us without such supports will have to be more creative.  For …