Friday, May 4, 2012

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

This has been a very busy day.  My xyl and I were asked to help with the annual May Day Celebration today at Laupahoehoe High School.  The students put on quite a show with Hawaiian Hula, chants, stories, and local music.  In the course of the day's events, several students asked about the antenna on the roof of my Odyssey van.  After I told them the antenna wasn't for CB, but rather for amateur radio, they seemed more interested in seeing what my modest rig would do.  So, I selected a frequency for one of the FM repeaters on the island of Maui and had a good time introducing some students to my fellow hams.  I also showed them my emergency HF setup behind the final row of seats.  I didn't have the HF antenna mounted, so I just let them look at the equipment (Yaesu FT-7), the huge deep cycle marine battery, the hamsticks near the sliding door, and the mag mount nestled under the last row of seats.  Too bad I wasn't better prepared for a show, but the VHF demonstration seemed to capture their interest.  Depending where my substitute teacher position is posted next year, I may try to set up a small amateur radio station at my next school.  Of course, I would include basic license classes and a few old rigs I could lend the station.  This is all drawing board stuff--I'll see what my posting shows in September.

When the xyl and I arrived home after the May Day festivities, I had a few hours to kill before dinner.  Once we got our daily walk and jogging routine complete, I decided to set up the emergency station I had so carefully placed in the van.  With a 40 meter hamstick, a mag mount, and four, 32-foot radials attached to the mag mount, I had an antenna that produced some good contacts.  The large capacity deep cycle marine battery was heavy, but I managed to wrestle it into a good position to power the old Yaesu FT-7.  After about an hour, I put everything back in the van, convinced that the simple system worked and would be easy to set up during an emergency.

A system similar to mine could be used by those who face restrictive covenants, HOAs (homeowner associations), and other limitations to their radio pursuits.  I have several friends on the island of Oahu who regularly operate portable because of restrictions at their home qth.  Speaking of restrictions, the FCC is still collecting information from amateur radio opertors who have had their operations restricted by CC&Rs, HOAs, and other factors.  The FCC will then brief Congress on what it found.  For more information, you can contact the ARRL.

That's about all for this late Friday night.  Have a good weekend!

Aloha es 73 de KH6JRM--BK29jx15