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Showing posts from March, 2014

Simple Ham Radio Antennas: The Ghost of Antennas Past, part 2. Post #268

The Novice Inverted Vee Antenna

Moving to a new QTH can be a lengthy process, especially when you're still working part time and must do all of the transporting yourself.  But in this drawn out activity, you have a chance to find things you were once thought lost forever.

Such was the case this past Wednesday, when a state holiday gave me and my xyl a chance to move some more "stuff" from our rental house to our permanent location in the Puna District of Hawaii Island.

Once most of the small objects, such as books, records, clothing, entertainment equipment, and, of course, amateur radio equipment is placed in their new surroundings, we can hire a commercial mover for the larger items, including beds, various pieces of furniture, and heavier items.  We'll probably take a few more months to get things everything squared away.  After all, both of us are supposed to be "retired".  We both teach school, so retirement is but another word to add to things of yes…

Simple Ham Radio Antennas: The Ghost of Antennas Past. Post #267

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Humans tend to collect things.  Amateur radio operators are no exception.  In my 37 years as a licensed amateur radio operator, I've collected enough electronics-related material to fill most of my garage/radio shack at my new home in the Puna District.  Fortunately, I've managed to keep things organized, more or less, with plastic storage bins and some old filing cabinets.

During the ongoing moving process, I discovered antennas, books, logs, and parts once given up for lost.  Such was the case Monday, 17 March 2014, when I reorganizing some of the material brought to the new QTH.  I found several well-sealed boxes containing some of my successful antenna projects.  All the antennas were dipoles built during my over three decades of "warming the ether" with a variety of old tube rigs long since gone to to the great capacitor in the sky.  After I finished using these antennas, I had the foresight to clean and store them for future use.  Also along the back wall was…

Simple Ham Radio Antennas: The "Fencetenna". Post #266

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Building wire antennas is one of the few amateur radio activities that remains fairly inexpensive.  Your nearest hardware store or home improvement outlet is chocked full of wire, connectors, pvc pipe, copper tubing, and basic tools to launch your antenna building efforts.

Whether you make simple dipoles, inverted vees, loops, or even directional vertical arrays, the satisfaction of having built something that links you to your fellow amateurs around the world is beyond compare.  If the antenna doesn't meet your expectations, you can salvage most of your material and try again.  It's all part of a continuing educational experience that can last a lifetime.  Add to this mix a few simple transceiver kits or accessories and you have something that will be your faithful radio companion for many years.

I approach my antenna "adventures" with that sort of mindset, and I'm always on the lookout for intriguing antenna ideas that I can modify for my own use.

Such was the…

Simple Ham Radio Antennas: "The Poor Man's Beverage" Antenna. Post #265

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Like many amateur radio operators, I've collected many boxes of electronic parts, various lengths of coaxial cable, and assorted rigs over the past 38 years.  I suppose my "shack" is testament to my "pack rat" tendencies.  I rationalize this collective habit by saying all of this material will become useful some day.  That some day was Thursday, 13 March 2014.  I had several lengths of RG-58 coaxial cable that had seen better days.  The assorted 100-ft/30.48 meters and 50-ft/15.24 meters lengths were gathering dust in the corner of the garage serving as the storeroom for my radio room.  The connectors were in good shape and the vinyl covering was intact, although a bit grey from sun exposure.  I wanted to find a use for the old cable ,now that it had been "retired" from active service.

Why not use the old coax as a low noise receiving antenna for 80 meters, which was a very noisy band even in my remodeled home in the Puna District of Hawaii Island?  …

Simple Ham Radio Antennas: Sam's "James Bond" Antenna. Post #264

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Whenever I get a day off from my substitute teaching duties, I try to attend meetings of the HawaiiQRP Club at the Hilo, Hawaii Jack In The Box Restaurant.  The meetings usually last from 0600 to 0900 local time and cover a variety of topics, from antennas to homebrewed equipment.  Attendance varies from to 2 to 7 or 8 persons, depending on who's working or free for the day.  Dean Manley (KH6B) usually brings some of his antenna notebooks and his vast storehouse of experience as a radio broadcast engineer to the meetings.  There's always something interesting or new at these gatherings.

Recently, some of us have been discussing homebrewed antennas that can be operated from areas restricted by HOAs, CC&Rs, or just plain lack of space.  One of the most intriguing antenna ideas came from the late Sam Kumukahi (KH6AFS), who, during the 1990s, used what he called a "James Bond" antenna with excellent results for local and occasional DX contacts.  At the 27 Februrary …