Wonderous Wireless Widgets

Once upon a time, in the 1960's, I had a Technician license and worshipped at the alter of Heathkit and Hallicrafters - tubes, crystals and Morse Code. Now I am back, like Rip Van Winkle, waking up in a new world of wonderous wireless widgets. This blog is about that adventure and the folks at Alameda's ARCA club who are helping me along the way.

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Testing Single-Handed Field Day Antenna Setups

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Bruce (KI6CYT) and I got together last Thursday to do more Field Day antenna testing.  We met at the Sea View Park on Bay Farm Island. I brought my 10-15-20-40 meter OCFD antenna along with my Max-Gain Systems pushup fiberglass mast.  Bruce brought his lightweight 20 meter antenna.

One goal we shared for both antennas was to make it possible for one person to set them up without requiring additional assistance.  The OCFD had previously used two masts employing 4 foot fiberglass military mast sections. This required lots of rigging, a helper and not a little strength to raise each assembled mast. In contrast the new mast was made up of eight 4' long telescoping fiberglass tubes secured with a plastic clamp on the top of each section.  The plan was to set the first section on a base pegged to the ground, and use guy lines to hold it straight.  Two additional sets of guy lines were pre-positioned with the correct measurements so that support was available when the telescoping mast sections were pushed up.

Geometry works!  The secure base and the pre-positioned guy lines made it easy for me to raise the antenna in the usual afternoon sea breeze from the Bay.  And the measured SWR's slightly bested the antenna modelling.

Bruce also had a good result.  He removed the top section of the push pole to increase mast stability and modified the sliding base which held the "crappie" poles so that they went easily into position.  As a result, he was able to put it up himself.

All in all it was a good afternoon.  We are ready for Field Day!

More pictures...

On-line open source community manager, embedded Java aficionado, amateur machinist, robotics geek, ham

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