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

Happy Memorial Day to veterans and their families!  From one veteran to another, thanks for your service to our country and for covering my back during those dangerous times in Southeast Asia many years ago.  Also, thank you to the amateur radio operators who relayed thousands of health and welfare messages for our forces overseas.  Many amateur radio operators are continuing their service through MARS, public safety communications, and emergency agencies such as the Red Cross, SATERN, and civil defense. 'Makes me proud to be an amateur radio operator. With the ending of the school term last week, my xyl and I have some free time to pursue until the fall semester begins.  For me that means house repairs, the usual routine of daily errands, and, of course, spending some time launching rf into the ionosphere.  Among my projects this summer is a thorough cleaning of the venerable Swan 100-MX, which has served me faithfully since 1983 and a continuing effort to bring an old Kenwood

Simple Antennas for the Radio Amateur--a continuing series

How would you like to build a cheap, easily erected, and efficient antenna for your small yard?  I've pondered that idea over the past several days after a cold front and its associated high winds made a mess of my temporary, homebrew vertical next to my garage.  Since I had a few days off from my substitute teaching assignments, I decided to build another sky hook with materials I had in my "junk box."  I still had a good pvc mast, about 100 feet of number 14 housewire, and an extra 4:1 balun stashed in the corner near the washing machine.  Along with 50 feet of 450 ohm twin lead and about 20 feet of RG-6 coax, I was in business. The antenna would be an inverted "vee" inspired by a variety of articles in the ARRL Antenna Book, various amateur radio forums (e.ham, net), and a 1998 paper entitled "The $4 Special" by Joe Tyburczy, W1FGH.  The antenna won't rival a mono band beam on a 50-foot tower, but it will provide hours of good contacts at a sm

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

Do you remember your first amateur radio antenna?  I certainly do.  It was ugly, fed by cheap RG-58 coax, and connected to my first rig, the Heathkit HW-101.  I called it a dipole only because each side of the Budwig connector had 33-feet of 20-gauge wire attached.  The ends of this homebrew skyhook were attached to two trees about 35-feet high in the back yard of the teachers' cottage near the Honokaa High School.  That was 36 years ago--a time long gone except for my memory of many contacts as a novice and techncian class operator.  I surely had fun with this crude antenna.  It was home made and it was my own. Now jump forward to 2012.  I've been a general, advanced, and extra class ham since those glory days 3 1/2 decades ago.  I've gone through many rigs (most of them second-hand and well-used) and several types of antennas.  Yet, I still haven't lost the excitement of those novice class days.  For me, designing and erecting antennas are still fun, educational, an

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

I've managed to get a few days off from my substitute teaching position at Laupahoehoe High and Elementary School.  The state Department of Education was able to hire a full-time Special Education Teacher this term, thus ending a full-month of my emergency service to the school.  I'm due for another assignment Friday.  Eversince I retired from the commercial broadcast business last September (2011), I've been busy doing substitute teaching at the high school and doing a small amount of special projects for my former employer (Pacific Radio Group).  All told, retirement has been a shift to other work with more amateur radio mixed in.  At least I don't have to get up each morning at 0230W and drive into work.  I followed that routine for 36 years.  The old job was great, but it was time for a change.  Nowadays, my schedule is a bit more free and my amateur radio pursuits a lot more fun.  As I eased into semi-retirement, I began to reenter the world of ham radio after ma

Simple Antennas for the Hawaii Island Amateur Radio operator--a continuing series

This has been a busy week at Laupahoehoe High and Elementary School.  Both my xyl and yours truly have been doing our thing as substitute teachers.  Today, we had a break before resuming our assignments on Friday and Monday.  Never a dull moment in the classroom. SUNDAY DRIVERS--HOPE FOR THOSE OF US CAUGHT IN THE CONTEST FRENZY During a few spare moments this morning, I found several interesting and entertaining articles in the December 2011 issue of "QST".  One that caught my eye was a short essay on page 63 by Rick Lindquist, WW3DE.  "Sunday Drivers--contesting in the slow lane can add a little spice to your life."  Being that I only dabble in a few contests and have a rather modest ham station, I found Rick's approach to the contest phenomenon both humorous and relatively stress-free.  Like Rick, I find the last day of a contest sometimes the best time to jump in and make a few contacts.  If you treat the contest weekend as mostly fun and don't care h

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

Happy Thanksgiving to all!  I'll return to my diet after I eat the traditional feast of turkey, sweet potatoes, cranberries, assorted vegetable, and some pumpkin dessert.  I walked an extra 2 miles today to compensate for my once a year indulgence.  I know, what I consume will take a marathon run to erase.  I'll try to limit my portions--at least that's the idea anyway. Among the articles I read over the past few days, were some of the comments from hams living in CC &  R and otherwise restrictive environments.  E-ham.net's antenna forum contains several interesting articles that may prove useful to those of us challenged by our lack of real estate.  One operator whose call escapes me at the moment mentioned his successful use of the MFJ-1622 Apartment Antenna that allows coverage from 40 through 2 meters.  The antenna is described on page 69 of MFJ's 2012 Ham Catalog.  The antenna consists of a sturdy clamp for attachment, a "bug catcher" loading co

Simple Antennas for the Hawaii Amateur Radio operator, a continuing series

A loop approach to restrictive antenna conditions. As I was reading the November 2011 "QST" today, I ran across an interesting antenna idea from Cristian Paun, WV6N.  His article entitled "An Antenna Idea for Antenna Restricted Communities" on page 35 really hit home.  My space restrictions are severe and the antennas I use certainly work (inverted "vees", vertical monopoles, and loops), but they could be better and perhaps even smaller.  Cristian describes a small loop he built and placed in his garden.  Previously, he had been using various mobile antennas between 3.5 and 30 MHz with some degree of success.  He wondered if he could use less space and yet produce results surpasing his best efforts.  Apparently, the small magnetic loop he designed and used proved most useful, with some improvement over the mobile antennas he once used.  Cristian's instructions are fairly simple and the final product is attractive, discrete, and almost sculture-like. 

Simple antennas for Hawaii Amateur Radio Operators, part 12

NEW ANTENNA FINALLY UP Over the course of the past few days, I finally added another skyhook to my modest antenna farm.  It took a few days to secure a few sections of 2" pvc pipe and to  assemble the wire, coax, and twin lead for the project.  The antenna consists of 32' of pvc pipe, 32' of 14-gauge housewire, 32' of 14-gauge wire serving as an elevated counterpoise, and 40' of 450-ohm twin lead attached to a 4:1 balun.  Approximately 15' of RG-6 coax runs from the balun to the Drake MN-4 ATU.  IS THIS BASIC ANTENNA A DX BUSTER? No.  But it does work and can be used from 40-meters to 10-meters.  The design goes back to the 1920's and has been refined over the past years by many noted amateurs.  Other than buying a few pieces of pvc pipe, my expenses were zero.  Fortunately, I have a well-stocked "junque" box and was able to find nearly everything I needed on site.  I'm enjoying this simple antenna, given the space restrictions of my bac

Simple antennas for the Hawaii Amateur Radio Operator, part 11

9/11 REMEMBERED Hawaii amateur operators joined the rest of the nation in commemorating the tragic events of 11 September 2001--an event that changed this country and affected the lives of thousands around the world.  On Hawaii Island, residents observed a moment of silence at 7 a.m. Sunday to observe the event. I remember that day very well.  I arrived shortly at the radio station shortly after 3 a.m. and joined my then morning man, D.C. Carlson, in an all-day, total news broadcast.  Our usual Adult Contemporty format was shelved until 3 p.m. as we aired coverage from the Associated Press, ABC, and CBS.  Chris Leonard, the manager of our cross-town rival KWXX-FM, lost two close friends and a cousin in the tragedy.  Many Hawaii  Island residents knew friends and family who perished on that terrible day.  On that day, at least, all of us were one in mourning that dreadful day.  If my memory serves me, I lost my voice shortly after 3 p.m., signaling that I had "run out of gas&qu

Reflections on simple antennas-a Hawaii perspective

MOTHER NATURE KEEPS US BUSY This week has been filed with enough stories to keep any news person busy.  For those of us on Hawaii Island, what was left of Tropical Storm "Fernanda" didn't create any disturbance other than a few windward showers and some higher than normal surf along the southeast shore.  My heart goes out to those facing the trial of Hurricane "Irene"--this looks like a very nasty storm.  It's good to see many people are preparing ahead of time for the storm's arrival or leaving the danger area before high winds begin.  I expect amateur radio operators are gearing up for  whatever Nature throws at them.  Having experienced several hurricanes and tsnuamis in Hawaii, I know these developments should not be ignored.  It always amazes me that there are those who choose to ride out the storm rather than "get out of dodge".  I suppose it's a personal decision, but why tempt fate?   For us in Hawaii County, the passing of "