Skip to main content

Simple Antennas for the Hawaii Island Amateur Radio Operator--a continuing series of personal observations

It's been awhile since I jotted down a few notes about antennas.  This is one of those cases where "one should be careful about what you wish for."  Until March, most of Hawaii Island was gripped in an extended drought which began 3 years ago.  Although West Hawaii (including Kailua-Kona) has been struggling with a prolonged dry spell for several years, those of us living on the windward usually received sufficient trade wind showers to stave off any water shortages.  Until March, many East Hawaii residents got by with diminished water supplies, hoping that the weather would change.  March has turned out to be quite wet on the windward side, with rain totals in Hilo exceeding 25 inches for the month.  All of this moisture was accompanied by strong 20 to 30 mph winds, mudslides along major highways, and several power outages.  As April Fool's Day approaches, the weather is improving and only scattered showers will herald the arrival of our spring season.

During the past few weeks, heavy rains and windswept branches have damaged most of my verticals (40-meter inverted vee and the 20-meter vertical dipole).  Fortunately, the 40-meter loop under my home served as an excellent emergency antenna, especially for monitoring local hf nets.  The loop pushes a good signal out to 300 miles or so, just enought to cover the islands from Hilo to Lihue, Kauai.  I will be restringing the wires on the vee and the vertical dipole--a task that will occupy a few days with my current teaching schedule.

Meanwhile, I've been able to erect a simple vertical that keeps me on the air.  I have a large tree on the border of my rental lot which serves as the terminus of a 135-foot "long wire" I shot over the tree with a slingshot.  The wire is attached to my Drake MN-4, with a counterpoise connection to the 40-meter loop under the house.  I also have the ground lug of the MN-4 connected to a small radial field in the yard (three, 33-foot radials laid out on the ground).  So far, this crude system works and I get no rf in the shack.  The efficiency of this "skyhook" is probably poor, but I do get out and I do get some moderate DX (Japan, Korea, Philippines, and sometimes Europe).  I can work 80 through 10 meters with 10-20 watts from the old Swan 100-MX (cw).  This "lashup" antenna will serve my immediate needs until the other verticals are rebuilt and erected.  Never a dull day at the radio ranch.

Have a good weekend!  It could be worse--I could be organized.

Aloha es 73 de KH6JRM
Laupahoehoe, Hawaii--BK29jx15.


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