Radio W4KAZ

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Biological Antenna Support Structures

I spent much of the day tugging on lines and shooting new lines up into the trees. We had a really blustery day back in the late spring that knocked a lot of the weaker branches out of the trees. As luck would have it, one of those smacked the 80 meter folded dipole, snapping the light cord I was using to hold it up.

That was a bit of a problem. The line I had placed for 80 meters was probably 80 feet up, although the antenna was only up at about 50 feet. With the leaves already back on the trees, I couldn’t shoot a line back to the same spot, which would have been my first reaction to the problem. Instead, it forced me to think a little harder. (Queue soundtrack of rusty hinges squealing….) How best to make lemonade from the lemons?

After thinking things over, I decided to move things around a bit. The 40 meter vee came down, and the 80 meter antenna went up in that spot. It gave me more room to spread the arms of the 80m antenna out, and its center is probably 10 feet higher, now at about 60 feet. The folded dipole ends are now higher off the ground too.

I was able to get a line into the previous 80 m support, but only at about 60 feet up. The 40 dipole is now on that line at about 55 feet. Its in a better place now because it is less of a vee and it is now broadside to Europe. It had previously been mostly end-on to Europe, and I never had much luck working EU stations on 40 meters with it in the previous location.

I thought the 80 meter antenna would be more omni directional, and it now favors the end on Europe/north-south axis. I should now do even better into the mid-west and north-east on 80m, which was already pretty good before. Europe and TX might be more of a challenge now on 80. It will be interesting to see how the new arrangement plays this contest season.

The ‘fun’ part was pulling down all of the elevated radials for the 160 inv-L so I would have room to pull lines. I had to pull about ten of them down. They are all of aluminum fence wire–so they all coiled themselves up and attempted to tangle with one another as soon as the tension on them was released. Herding cats.

While re-intalling the radials, I improved their situation a lot by throwing lines over low branches to keep the radial wires above ‘garroting’ levels. They were installed in a hurry, and had previously been installed by using a stepladder to tied them above head around the tree trunks. Now I will not need a ladder to service them again, and the are all above my head.

O’course, ‘overhead’ is not too high above sea level for us here in W4KAZ-land — so the burglars and prowlers might need to exercise caution back there. 😮

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