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Old January 14th 17, 09:48 PM posted to,,
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Default [FOAR] More strange antennas!

Foundations of Amateur Radio

More strange antennas!

Posted: 14 Jan 2017 09:00 AM PST

Foundations of Amateur Radio

About ten minutes ago I was blissfully unaware of the existence of James
K2MIJ. It's unclear if this bliss will ever be returned because it's
obvious to me that James and I share several things, a sense of humour
among them. Mind you, I've not yet actually spoken to James, other than me
saying "Hello" right now, but his QRZ page is a thing of wonder.

Last week I was talking about weird and wonderful antennas. As you know,
Amateur Radios don't particularly care what you plug into the back, as long
as it looks like a 50 Ohm load, the vast majority of transceivers will
happily transmit into them. I've heard of people making contacts with dummy
loads, bits of wet string, chairs and as I said last week, bridges and
rail-road tracks.

James has made it his mission to tune up strange things. He's made a lawn
chair dipole and is using it to contact all states across the US, with only
5 Watts. He's added more countries to his DXCC than I have - 53 - and while
he's at it, he also made some other contraptions, a fork dipole, from two
actual kitchen forks, his in-the-shack dipole and his latest contraptions,
a collection of five and a half inch and nine inch antennas. You heard that
right, a five and a half inch antenna for 40 meters.

If you go to James' QRZ page, you'll find a kitchen table, holding an
antenna farm that rivals those of many stations. Antennas for 40, 30, 20
and 17 meters.

One thing that piqued my curiosity is a photo of his 20m antenna sitting on
the ground. Picture something like a peanut butter jar lid with a piece of
copper stuck in the middle, standing up. It's wound around in a spiral with
two windings, sort of like a big loading coil you'd find on a 2m vertical

The base of the contraption has about 30 or so windings on it which you
connect between the copper and the feed-line.

The thing that got my interest was what was on the other side of the
feed-line, a tape measure. More precisely, a steel tape measure.

As I said, I've not yet spoken to James, but it might be that his
mini-antenna is mostly made of tape measure. Don't get me wrong, I think
experimentation is wonderful and he's clearly made more contacts that I
have, but I'd love to learn what effect the tape measure has on his

I noticed a few other things that people have tuned up, beer cans,
especially helpful with Fox Hunting, when one of your friends, or should I
say Fiends, sets up a secret transmitter that you and several teams have to
track down. The more devious the antenna installation, the better.

There's the quintessential flag-pole antenna for those times that your
neighbours need to see that you're patriotic and not a nasty radio amateur
with unsightly antennas that reduce the value of their home and remove the
enjoyment of their life because your hobby affects their ability to sleep
at night.

I've seen people tune up their gutters, even tried it myself - the noise
floor in my shack prevents anything sensible, but I'm working on it - and
of course there's the proverbial boat on a trailer antenna. No interest in
sailing as such, just a nice tall aluminium construction that could perhaps
be connected via some feed-line to a nearby radio transmitter. It's not
even a permanent structure, so it'll add value to the neighbourhood.

Making a weird and wonderful antenna as an experiment is great for
learning, it's great for experimentation and dealing with emergencies and
it might keep your neighbourhood happy too - mind you, why anyone would
think that an antenna is ugly is beyond me.

I'm Onno VK6FLAB
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