Thursday, June 28, 2012

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


Over the past few days, some of my readers have asked why I put this site together and to whom  the information is directed.  These are fair questions, since my interest in Amateur Radio (Ham Radio) may be far from your concerns.

I have two reasons for writing this blog:

1.  The blog serves as a personal journal about my journey through interpersonal communications and my love for all things electronic.  I've been a licensed amateur radio operator for 35 years.  I've enjoyed every moment of the experience, from building equipment to designing my own antennas (the things that launch signals into the atmosphere).  I was fortunate to have had a good electronics background courtesy of the United States Air Force and over 40 years in the commercial broadcast business.  Very early in my radio journey, I helped design and build the student FM radio station at the University of Hawaii (Manoa), worked at various radio stations, and even put a part 15 (unlicensed, low power) AM station on the air from my house.  Before I became a school teacher, I retired as the news director of Pacific Radio Group stations on Hawaii Island.  So, you could say electrons run in my blood and may have scrambled my brain.  Everyday, I look forward to contacting friends around the world.  Sometimes, I even get to practice my Russian with hams in Moscow and in other parts of the Russian Federation.

2.  The blog also serves as a record of my experiences in overcoming obstacles presented to the pursuit of my radio hobby.  One of the things amateur radio operators do the most is design and build antennas.  Sometimes an efficient antenna creates friction with neighbors, who consider towers and supported wires a detriment to their sense of aesthetics.  In fact, restrictions placed on amateur radio operators by CC&Rs (covenents and restrictions), HOAs (Home Owners Associations), and the sheer lack of physical space have led many amateurs to seek other ways of continuing their hobby.  Presently, the U.S. Congress has mandated the FCC (Federal Communications Commission)  investigate how housing laws restrict the emergency operations of amateur radio operators.  One of the requirements of an amateur license in the United States is to provide emergency backup communications should regular channels go down.  Amateur radio operators have provided communications support to local agencies during times of emergency, such as hurricanes, fires, tsunamis, earthquakes, and other natural disasters.  Many hams feel that the growing restrictions against outside antennas will restrict their ability to respond in times of emergency.  Congress and the FCC will eventually figure out  some sort of solution to this problem.

Meanwhile, many amateur radio operators, including yours truly, are trying to make the best of a contentious situation.  That's where I come in.  After three and a half decades on the air, I have accumulated a lot of experience in designing and building simple, cheap, and inobstrusive antennas that will serve those operating in restricted situations.  The antennas I use in my crowded neighborhood are nearly invisible from the street and can be lowered to ground level during periods of inactivity.  Eversince I adopted this low impact antenna philosophy, there have been no complaints about unsightly structures or ruined views of the countryside.  So, I share what I've learned with other hams in the hope they, too, will find something useful in their situation.

Amateur radio operators are the descendants of Marconi, Popov, Hertz, De Forrest and others who have pushed back the frontiers of knowledge.  To paraphrase Sir Isaac Newton, "I stand on the shoulders of giants."

Have a good and safe weekend.

Aloha es 73 de KH6JRM--BK29jx15