Skip to main content

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

Merry Christmas to all!  I trust that Old Saint Nick left a few presents under your Christmas Tree.

During the holiday season, I've been  busy with various household chores, visiting friends, and just relaxing until the new school term begins on 04 January 2012.  I'm sure the coming year will be exciting both in the classroom and out in the real world.  The holiday break is also giving me some time to do basic antenna maintenance and general shack clean up.  The December weather has been quite wet along the Hamakua Coast with over 13 inches recorded at the qth since 01 December.  Despite the recent storms, Hawaii Island rainfall totals are about 30 % below normal.  The Kailua-Kona area on the west side of the island  is even more parched, with most leeward areas getting less than 50% of their normal rainfall.


Three major operting events remain as this year morphs into 2012.  The 2012 ARRL Straight Key Night is set for 01 January 2012, 0000 UTC to 2359 UTC.  This is the time to recall and take part in the fun associated with hand-sent CW...especially CW sent by "boatanchor" rigs such as the old Heathkits, Yaesus, Kenwoods, Swans, Drakes, Collins, and Hallicrafters.  The ARRL says this event is not really a contest, but rather a chance to operate vintage gear and make new friends worldwide.  Although my oldest rig is a Kenwood TS-520, I plan to use as much "old" gear as I can, including a J-38 key and some classic antennas.  Presently, I have a 20-meter dipole and 40-meter loop that could be pressed into service.  A random length wire around 130 feet will also be used as long as my neighbor doesn't mind the wire crossing his property.  If you have the time, get on the air with a homebrew dipole or vertical antenna.  Ah, those thrilling days of yesteryear, when novices like me, were thrilled to just get a contact on our crystal-controlled rigs running 75 watts or less.  I imagine all sorts of homebrew transmitters will be dusted off the shelf and used to create the proper "atmosphere" of that night.  You can submit your votes for "best fist" and "most interesting QSO" along with your log to or by regular mail to ARRL Straight Key Night, 225 Main St., Newington, CT, 06111.

Another popular event is the ARRL Kids Day, set for 07 January 2012, from 1800-2400 UTC.  The program is designed to encourage young people to have fun with Amateur Radio.  The event will give on-the-air experience to youngsters and foster interest in gettting an amateur radio license of their own.  The December 2011 "QST" has a nice article about Kids Day and shows how one of our Hawaii Island amateurs, Lloyd Cabral (KH6LC), provided hours of fun and education to aspiring hams last year.  For details on Kids Day, visit

The final trio of early January operting events is the always popular ARRL RTTY Roundup, which will run between 1800 UTC Sunday, 07 January 2012 to 2359 UTC Sunday, 08 January 2012.  Digital stations worldwide will be doing their best to contact as many fellow amateurs as time allows.  Although I'm not equipped to run RTTY yet, I plan to dive into the RTTY as soon as I can.  All logs must be postmarked no later than 2359 UTC Tuesday, 07 February 2012.  You can e-mail Cabrillo-formated electronic logs to  Good luck everyone.


The ARRL plans to issue "QST" in a digital format sometime by mid-year 2012.  Recent editions of the "ARRL Letter" have the details.  This follows an earlier announcment by CQ Publications that it will start digital subscriptions by the end of this year (2011).  Unlike the CQ project, the digital "QST" will not come at an additional price.  I see this as a desireable trend, since digital publishing will reduce costs in the area of paper and distribution.  When I worked in the commercial broadcast business, most of my professional journals were available in a digital format.  Once I set up various files, it was easy to read, store, retrieve, and print what I needed.  With distribution costs rising ever higher, digital publishing is the way to go.  It may take some time to adjust to the change, but with resources getting more costly, digital is an obvious alternative to previous publishing methods.  On a local level, the Big Island Amateur Radio Club has converted its monthly newsletter to digital, saving the club hundreds of dollars in postage and printing costs.

With SKN approaching, I'll spend some time this week repairing the homebrew antennas for the event.  Although I still use the J-38 key, my sending skills could use some improvement, so a little CW this week should get me up to speed.  Good luck in the SKN.

Have a safe and sober holiday season.

Aloha es 73 de KH6JRM


Popular posts from this blog

G5RV Multi Band HF Dipole Antenna. Post #1555.

If you can't see the video, please insert this title URL into your browser search box: This well-produced and richly illustrated tutorial on the classic G5RV HF Dipole Antenna was presented to the Brandon Amateur Radio Society in Brandon, Florida in 2017 by Bernie Huth (W4BGH).  Bernie does an excellent job of  explaining the pros and cons of this popular HF antenna from the late Louis Varney (G5RV).  Although Varney envisioned his design primarily as a 3/2 wavelength antenna for the 20 meter Amateur Radio band, radio amateurs have used the antenna for multiband use.  The G5RV is an excellent choice for the 20 meter band.  Performance on other HF Amateur Radio bands is good enough to qualify as stand alone HF antenna if you can only erect one HF antenna. For the latest Amateur/Ham Radio news and information, please visit these websites: (a wee

Amateur Radio Bicycle Mobile Setup. Post #1554.

If you can't see the video, please insert this title URL into your browser search box: Here's a way to use Amatuer/Ham Radio while you work on shedding a few pounds in useful exercise.  Why not equip your bicycle for 2 meter/70 cm mobile operation? In this short, well-made video, "taverned" shows us how he used a mag mount antenna, a simple C clamp, and a basic ground system to convert his mountain bike into a mobile station.  The project is straight forward, simple, and gives you emergency communications while you peddle down the road. For the latest Amateur/Ham Radio news and information, please visit these websites: (a weekly podcast which is updated each Friday afternoon). (Amateur Radio News & Information).

An 80-Meter Vertical Helix

Like many amateur radio operators, I live on a small lot surrounded by neighbors, utility lines, and civic-minded citizens concerned about the "attractiveness" of my community.  Whether by design or outright fear, I've adopted the "stealth" approach to ham radio antennas.  It's the old "out of sight, out of mind" idea applied to amateur radio antennas. The amateur radio press is full of articles describing the struggle of amateur radio operators to pursue their hobby under the burdensome regulations of CC & Rs, HOAs, and other civic minded citizens who object to antenna farms.  So far, my modest verticals, loops, and inverted vees have blended well with the vegetation and trees bordering my small backyard.  Vertical antennas have always been a problem because of the limited space for a radial system.  There are times, however, where a shortened vertical for the lower HF bands (such as 80/75 meters) is necessary where horizontal space is lack