Showing posts from November, 2011

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

Happy Thanksgiving to all!  I'll return to my diet after I eat the traditional feast of turkey, sweet potatoes, cranberries, assorted vegetable, and some pumpkin dessert.  I walked an extra 2 miles today to compensate for my once a year indulgence.  I know, what I consume will take a marathon run to erase.  I'll try to limit my portions--at least that's the idea anyway.

Among the articles I read over the past few days, were some of the comments from hams living in CC &  R and otherwise restrictive environments.'s antenna forum contains several interesting articles that may prove useful to those of us challenged by our lack of real estate.  One operator whose call escapes me at the moment mentioned his successful use of the MFJ-1622 Apartment Antenna that allows coverage from 40 through 2 meters.  The antenna is described on page 69 of MFJ's 2012 Ham Catalog.  The antenna consists of a sturdy clamp for attachment, a "bug catcher" loading coil…

Simple Antennas for the Hawaii Amateur Radio operator, a continuing series

A loop approach to restrictive antenna conditions.

As I was reading the November 2011 "QST" today, I ran across an interesting antenna idea from Cristian Paun, WV6N.  His article entitled "An Antenna Idea for Antenna Restricted Communities" on page 35 really hit home.  My space restrictions are severe and the antennas I use certainly work (inverted "vees", vertical monopoles, and loops), but they could be better and perhaps even smaller.  Cristian describes a small loop he built and placed in his garden.  Previously, he had been using various mobile antennas between 3.5 and 30 MHz with some degree of success.  He wondered if he could use less space and yet produce results surpasing his best efforts.  Apparently, the small magnetic loop he designed and used proved most useful, with some improvement over the mobile antennas he once used.  Cristian's instructions are fairly simple and the final product is attractive, discrete, and almost sculture-like.  H…

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 tru…

Hawaii QRP Club

Hawaii QRP Club meets

After the passage of a few months, the Hawaii QRP club held a meeting with the Hawaii Council of Radio Clubs at the "Back to the 50s Fountain" in Laupahoehoe--my qth.  Since the meeting was only .7 of a mile from the qth, I decided to drop in and talk with the Hawaii Island hams I hadn't been able to see in person because of my former job.  As a newsman, I usually worked seven days a week in Hilo, making direct contact with local amatuers very difficult.  So, once I retired, I vowed to keep a more active schedule with my fellow hams.  The Hawaii QRP Club meets daily at the Hilo Jack In the Box, just outside of Hilo, from 0600-0800 local time.  I won't be able to make most of those meetings, because I'm on standby as a substitute teacher for Laupahoehoe High and Elementary School.  So, it was a great experience to trade tall stories with those I've only contacted on the air.  Since I retired on 30 September, life has become more casual and…

Simple antennas for the Hawaii Amateur Radio Operator, part 15

Antennas--a cautionary tale

While reviewing the latest edition of, I ran across an interesting antenna "classic" by Don, W8AD.  "HF Antenna installation hints", originally published on 12 November 2006, offers many useful installation tips for those of us facing space retrictions, HOA and CC & R problems, and nosey neighbors.  Don provides a review of slopers, dipoles, antic antennas, and site locations for the intrepid radio amateur.  The follow up comments are also worth a read.  Don has written a good, basic primer for those of us a little rusty on the design and limitations of our "antenna farms."

Halloween is past and all of winter lies before us

This Halloween at the qth was wet, windy, and dangerous for those brave enough to do the "trick or treat" routine.  A cold front passed Hawaii Island Monday afternoon bringing several inches of rain, wind gusts of up to 40 knots, and generally dangerous driving conditions.  Many fruit tre…