Monday, April 9, 2012

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

While I was searching through some boxed electronic parts in the garage this afternoon, I discovered an old Hustler mobile mast, bumper mount, shock spring, and coils for 40 meters, 20 meters, and 15 meters.  When I first became an amateur radio operator back in 1977, I used the Hustler system on my then almost new 1976 Toyota Corolla.  That was a very small vehicle and I had to be creative in placing an old Swan 260 Cygnet transceiver in front of the passenger's seat.  Fortunately, the Toyota had a metal bumper which was able to hold the mobile mount and antenna.  After I bonded all the body and engine bolts with copper braid and installed special spark plugs, the system became a cumbersome, but successful mobile installation.  When I moved to my present location in Laupahoehoe and bought a new car, I cleaned and stored the old mobile antenna in the garage and gave the old Swan transceiver to a new ham who didn't have a rig.  Since that time, I haven't done much in the way of mobile operating, except for 2 meters.  Remembering those early years, I'm beginning to get the urge to go HF mobile again.  Before I do anything, I'm going to check out Alan Applegate's mobile installation site and see if I can do the work myself without damaging my new Honda Odyssey van.  I'm reluctant to punch holes in the roof for a mobile antenna.  Currently, I'm using a mag mount with a 2-meter rig in the van.  I'll have to give this idea some thought.

Anyway, the discovery of my long-lost mobile antenna got me thinking about how I could use the antenna to complement my modest "antenna farm" on my small lot.  I quickly attached the antenna to the metal roof of my garage and ran some RG-6 coax to the Drake MN-4.  I turned on the Swan 100 MX to see if the old antenna was worth saving.  I was using the 40 meter coil.  Wonder of wonders!  The old antenna showed a SWR of 1.7 to 1 after I adjusted the MN-4.  I enjoyed a few cw contacts for about a half hour.  Apparently, the metal roof of my garage was providing an acceptable ground for the old Hustler system.  After running the same test on 20 meters, I was convinced that, with a little more work, I could use this mobile antenna as an emergency backup should the need arise.  Of course, this antenna was a fairly crude arrangement and would not be a stellar performer in any kind of contest, but it did work.  So, if you have an old mobile antenna stashed away, you may want to use it if you can't get any other antenna up in the air.

I hope your Easter holiday was spent with your friends and family.  It seems as if our modern world is moving so fast these days that we sometimes forget those things we cherish most.  It's good to step back once in awhile and just enjoy the simple beauty of life. 

Have a good week and may your signal meet mine.

Aloha es 73 de KH6JRM--BK29jx15