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Showing posts from March, 2012

Simple Antennas for the Hawaii Island Amateur Radio Operator--a continuing series of personal observations

It's been awhile since I jotted down a few notes about antennas.  This is one of those cases where "one should be careful about what you wish for."  Until March, most of Hawaii Island was gripped in an extended drought which began 3 years ago.  Although West Hawaii (including Kailua-Kona) has been struggling with a prolonged dry spell for several years, those of us living on the windward usually received sufficient trade wind showers to stave off any water shortages.  Until March, many East Hawaii residents got by with diminished water supplies, hoping that the weather would change.  March has turned out to be quite wet on the windward side, with rain totals in Hilo exceeding 25 inches for the month.  All of this moisture was accompanied by strong 20 to 30 mph winds, mudslides along major highways, and several power outages.  As April Fool's Day approaches, the weather is improving and only scattered showers will herald the arrival of our spring season.

During the pa…

Simple Antennas for the Hawaii Island Amateur Radio Operator--a continuing series

I haven't been able to do much antenna maintenance because of a full-time class schedule at Laupahoehoe High and Elementary School.  My xyl and I have been substitute teachers for several months now and we manage to keep busy with students from kindergarten through 12th grade.  Most of my free times is on the weekends, so I try to squeeze in a little operating and station maintenance on Saturday and Sunday.  All of this makes for a full week.  I don't mind--the routine keeps me busy and frees me to do some creative work with students, especially those in special education.

Over this past weekend, I was tidying up the shack and monitoring 20-meters when I found two old antenna books that may prove of some use for you, especially if you are on a tight budget.  The first book is one of my modern "classics"--"Lew McCoy On Antennas.  Pull up a Chair and Learn from the Master."  This compact volume is still in print from CQ Communications, Inc.  The late Lew McCoy…

Simple Antennas for the Hawaii Island Amateur Radio Operator--a continuing series

Thanks to the recent CME and flares from the sun, my operating time was brief today.  Everyband was noisy and all I did was listen to a few strong signals on 20-meters.  I made a few calls, but with only 10 watts to the vertical dipole, I didn't work many people.  So, I spent the day cleaning and tightening my loop, 20- meter vertical dipole, and the inverted vee in the backyard.  When I finished with basic maintenance, I was once again on the prowl for interesting, homebrew antennas that even I could build.  One of my favorite antenna books is "Simple and Fun Antennas for Hams" published by the ARRL.  The book is loaded with real-world, practical antennas you can build yourself with a minimum of cost and time. 

I came across an interesting antenna that may appeal to those of us restricted by space and CC&Rs. Jeff Brone, WB2JNA, adapted a design by Robert Johns, W3JIP, which appeared in the August 1998 issue of "QST".  Jeff's article is found in chapte…

Simple Antennas for Hawaii Island Amateur Radio Operators--a continuing series

It's been a busy week of teaching for me and my xyl at Laupahoehoe High and Elementary School.  As substitute teachers, we have a variety of assignments ranging from special education to agriculture.  Variety is the spice of life at this rural school on Hawaii Island.  Both of us enjoy doing something positive for our community in our "sunset years."  Now that the school week is over, I can focus my attention on amateur radio and my favorite aspect of the hobby--building antennas from commonly available materials.  A good, effective homebrew antenna is what you need to join the ARRL International Phone DX Contest, which begins 03 March 2012 at 0000 Z and ends 2400 Z on 04 March (this weekend).  I plan to do a lot of listening and get what contacts I can as a QRP station.

My limited contest participation will rely on the homebrew 20-meter vertical dipole in back of the garage and the trusty 40-meter inverted vee along the hedge line fronting my neighbor's house.  I pla…