Tag Archives: Antennas

A “Tech Night” To Remember – Our Visit To KC1XX

Our August “Tech Night” featured a Saturday visit to the Matt Strelow, KC1XX’s superstation. Matt’s station sits on top of a mountain in Mason, NH.

Matt Strelow, KC1XX’s QTH

Our visit began with a tour of Matt’s antenna farm. Matt has a total of 13 towers and each one has a unique story and purpose.

300 ft Tower at KC1XX
300 ft Tower at KC1XX

Matt’s tallest tower is used for 80m as well as other bands. It is painted red and white and has a light on top!

Antennas and Towers 5
Base of Rotating Tower at KC1XX

Several of Matt’s towers are rotating ones with some serious tower turning hardware at the base.

Antennas and Towers 2
Rotating Tower Guy Rigging

Rotating towers use a special type of guy attachment ring which allows the tower to turn while being supported via guy wires.

Coax Feedlines
Coax Feed Lines at KC1XX

Matt has built an extensive infrastructure which supports all of the antennas at his QTH. The picture above is a small building where all of the feed lines from Matt’s antennas enter his station.

Dennis, K1LGQ Operating at KC1XX
Dennis, K1LGQ Operating at KC1XX

After the tour of the antenna farm, we saw the KC1XX “shack”. Several of us had a chance to operate Matt’s station. How’s this for QRP Dennis?

Abby, AB1BY Operating at KC1XX
Abby, AB1BY Operating at KC1XX

Abby wasted no time in building her usual pile up. It easy to see why KC1XX has a pile up whenever they are on the air after just a short time spent operating from there.

Nashua Area Radio Club "Tech Night" Group 2Nashua Area Radio Club "Tech Night" GroupKC1XX QTHDennis, K1LGQ Operating at KC1XXDennis, K1LGQ Operating at KC1XXAbby, AB1BY Operating at KC1XXAntennas and TowersAntennas and Towers 2Antennas and Towers 3Antennas and Towers 4Antennas and Towers 5Antennas and Towers 6Antennas and Towers 7Antennas and Towers 8Antennas and Towers 9Antennas and Towers 10Antennas and Towers 11Coax Feedlines

After a great day of fun and lots of picture taking, See the gallery above for more pictures. Matt treated us to refreshments and some more conversation about his Amateur Radio experiences.

Nashua Area Radio Club "Tech Night" Group
Nashua Area Radio Club “Tech Night” Group

All of the members who made this memorable “Tech Night” had a great time and we’d all like to thank Matt for his gracious hospitality. We learned a lot!

Fred, AB1OC

How did I hang my dipole 50+ feet high in the trees?

Dipole Antenna Tree

I wanted to make an article that would explain to anyone who visits my home or QTH that would answer the question on “How did you get that rope so high in the trees and how did you get that rope over the perfect branch?

I started out with a fishing pole and a 4-inch long stick from the woods.  After a few attempts of getting the stick up and over the tree with the fishing line it finally made it over the tree and back to the ground.  I then reeled in all the fishing line while pulling a string over the tree.  After the string, I used it to pull over 3/8” poly rope.

I came up with the following idea to get a rope over the perfect branch.

Dipole Antenna Tree

The 3/8″ line holds an old branch from the woods in the center. The yellow rope to the left is the “control line” and the right side has a half rotten log as a weight secured with a slip knot as shown below.

Dipole Antenna Tree

In the diagram below the light blue line represents the yellow control line from the photo.  As you lift the whole unit you should consider that the weight of the control line may offset your balance as you go higher.    The magenta line shows the string with a slip knot.  When the half rotten log made it over the desired perfect branch by combinations of pulling the 3/8″ rope at either end (shown black) and/or the control line (shown light blue) I pulled out the slip knot and the half rotten log fell over the perfect branch along with the string (shown magenta).

Dipole Antenna Tree

I replaced the string with rope and then a wire rope loop (shown red). The wire rope will not fade and fall apart from the sun’s UV rays. The yellow circle represents a pulley for the poly rope that holds up the dipole. When the poly rope breaks down from UV, wear and tear it can easily be replaced by lowering the pulley.  I added weight to maintain proper tension on the dipole antenna as shown below.

Dipole Antenna Tree

In theory, the tension will remain the same even in wind storms when the trees swing back and forth. It turns out that an old cast iron rotor from my Toyota was the perfect weight for the application!


Mike AB1YK




Ham Pushes Village Zoning to Allow Front-Yard Antenna

I am amazed at just how ‘picky’ some officials are when it comes to support of Amateur Radio. We need to constantly educate the public about the Amateur Radio Public Services we provide. — Layne, AE1N

Northbrook ham pushes village to allow zoning exception for front-yard antenna

Gregg Salomone, N9NY, wants to put up a 26-foot ham radio antenna in his Northbrook [Illinois] front yard, if all his neighbors say they are OK with it, which he thinks they are. Some Northbrook officials say they’d like to accommodate him, in that case, as long as everybody in the village didn’t therefore get the right, along with him, to do it.

While it would be perfectly legal in Salomone’s backyard, should the front yard have another set of rules entirely? He has too tiny of a backyard for the spider-like underground cable supporting the antenna to fit.

Antenna Zoning Push

His case is part of the impetus behind a Northbrook Village Board discussion about what Northbrook’s building and development director Tom Poupard calls legislation to allow “major variations” without making text amendments to the village’s zoning code. Northbrook’s Village Board members could decide, case by case, to make the exceptions, on their own, with or without public hearings either at the village’s Zoning Board of Appeals or Plan Commission to generate recommendations.

The idea has been percolating in Northbrook at least since 2015, when a resident who had just bought a house needed to enclose a balcony to stop a leak. But that enclosure would make his house’s floor space 64 square feet too big to comply with Northbrook’s floor-area-ratio limit of 40 percent under roof, compared to the size of the land the house sat on. The village board was not quite on board yet for the “major variation” system that Poupard had suggested, and then had been recommended by the Plan Commission.

“In my mind, it’s something you have to use very cautiously,” Village President Sandy Frum said Monday. In many cases, if some version of the “major variations” code change were passed, the results might not be obvious, as illustrated by an example Poupard used at a July 18 Plan Commission meeting.

“For instance, the zoning code has a 25 percent maximum parking variation for most of the downtown. If somebody wanted a 26 percent variation, we’d have to amend the code to change that,” he explained. “Under this new approach, if it’s over that 25 percent threshold, the board could say … “OK, we can handle this ourselves, it’s pretty straightforward, or we’re going to refer it to the Zoning Board of Appeals or we’re going to refer it to the Plan Commission, and then go back to the board.”

Poupard said Salomone is likely to be the first applicant if the new process becomes Northbrook law. Salomone, of the 4000 block of Yorkshire Lane, had last fall applied for an antenna over twice as high, and wider, and decided to apply again recently with a more modest, though less effective, antenna plan, he said.

[email protected]. Twitter @Irv

Copyright © 2017, Chicago Tribune


A New Summer Camping Tradition

Every year (for me it’s 4-5 years, but for my XYL it’s about 33 years) in July, my XYL and I go camping for a week at Papoose Pond in North Waterford, Maine. It’s not the camping I’m used to from my younger, more ruggedly handsome days. Some will, in fact, call it a shade of glamping. For those of you who aren’t hip, that stands for glamorous camping. You will not have the opportunity to don your newest compact North Face tent or showcase your portable propane stove. Instead, you’ll find families with RV’s, large tents housing inflatable mattresses, a spigot, electrical outlet, and pretty much whatever other comforts of home that you wish to lug up with you. It’s family camping at a family campground. There are activities galore, especially for kids. So why not indulge, and bring a radio?

I have wanted to try out a Buddipole for a long while now. As I don’t own one, I asked Fred AB1OC and Anita AB1QB if I could borrow theirs. After explaining I wanted to work 40 and 20m, they hooked me up with the proper accouterments, a copy of Scott Anderson’s NE1RD book, and well-wishes for a fun trip.

The plan was simple. Bring up an IC-7300, Buddipole, analyzer, power supply (since I would have electricity), and a paper log book that my XYL got me for Xmas this past year. She started laughing when I told her the plan and was excited for me to have some fun and make some QSOs.

The Buddipole went up lickety-split fast. In fact, here is one artistic (if I do say so myself) photo of it deployed in the field.

Deployed Buddipole
Deployed Buddipole

It looks pretty sick being on the water with my neon green kayaks lingering in the picturesque background, eh?

Cue the antenna analyzer. I started out trying to work 40m and my SWR…well…it sucked. There really is no better way of saying it. And it kept getting worse no matter what I tried. I know that Scott’s book was dropping knowledge bombs on me, but it wasn’t coming together for me. (Clarification: It is no fault of Scott’s, but of the author of this post) At many points, the analyzer was saturated at 10:1. If the analyzer could have spoken, I imagined it would choose to sound like a snarky Brit, politely but decidedly insulting my intelligence. AB1ZO’s patience was running thin.

And then…I literally hear someone say “knock, knock” and a fellow I did not recognize emerged on my camp site. He said to me, “Hey, I’m Mike, NU1H” and mentioned he saw me setting up the Buddipole from the beach and it was like a beacon (perhaps more like a siren’s sweet, sweet call), beckoning him over to my location. He brought a 7300 and Buddipole too, which he just set up over at his site a few hours earlier and wanted to give me a hand! Alleluia, Sweet Jesus, Amen — I found religion for a moment.

Mike worked with me for what I think was close to two hours giving me lots of helpful tips and showing me checks I could perform to make sure I had everything tuned up properly. (He must have had the magic touch because his very presence lessened the SWR on 40/20 m to under 1.5:1.) For instance, he recommended that to ensure I found the right tap point on the coils, get the rig powered up and centered on a loud station. Then, one-by-one, change the tap point to see what happens to the quality of the sound. If you hear it rise and then fall, then you know you passed the sweet-spot.

We exchanged stories about our HAM adventures, the equipment we purchased (some pics below), and I told him about the Nashua ARC and my own station at my QTH. We just had a great time.

Recommended LDG Antenna Tuner; ad in June issue of QST
Recommended LDG Antenna Tuner; ad in June issue of QST
Alternative to guying Buddipole; Mike (NU1H) uses an angle clamp hammered into the ground with some U-bolts attached to the base.
An alternative to guying Buddipole; Mike (NU1H) uses an angle clamp hammered into the ground with some U-bolts attached to the base.
Mike (NU1H) has handles for his 7300 which makes travel much easier, and conveniently fits into his pelican case.
Mike (NU1H) has handles for his 7300 which makes travel much easier, and conveniently fits into his Pelican case.

Finally, once everything was up and running, I snapped a quick pic of my portable station.

Portable station at the camp site
Portable station at the camp site

During my camping trip, in between kayaking, catching up on some reading, and honestly — being able to take a nap at 1 pm, I made 3 QSOs. I was in a bit of a valley and when I did receive a few signal reports, they informed me that my signal was a bit weak. That coupled to the QRN due to thunderstorms on the horizon, I’m not too surprised I wasn’t getting picked out of the noise.

Some people would call my QSO count a fail. I don’t. It was the experience. I was able to make a new friend and learn a ton of things. Indeed, a very valuable lesson is that I will be doing this again the next year — and the next, and the next…

Brian, AB1ZO