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G/SP-004, Kite Antenna Activation


#1

The one thing you can guarantee about Shining Tor, it’s always full of surprises, with today being no exception. On the ascent, I passed through the mud bath that is the second gate and immediately fell base over apex, bang into the centre of it! I was just like a beached whale Not only were my pants and jacket covered in mud, my rucksack was covered too. For the rest of the day, my feet and clothes were soaked in mud. Mercifully, neither G1STQ or M0TUB, were there to witness it, as I would never, ever, ever, ever, have heard the last of it :slight_smile:

On arriving at the trig, I launched the 1.6 Metre Sled kite and spent a whole heap of time getting the driven element just were I wanted it. Typically, on the one day I needed a bit of wind, it much was calmer than usual.

How much wire did I have in the air? I don’t have a clue, at a guess I would say around 120 feet.

My first impression of the kite antenna was it seemed noisier than the fishing pole antenna. A quick listen on 40 Metres before spotting myself, confirmed what I feared, the band was not in great shape The spot produced a number of chasers the first being ON4CAP Andre, who was a surprisingly good signal. He was followed by Victor GI4ONL and then Ricky MW6GWR, being the loudest I’ve ever heard him. Twelve more contacts followed before I moved to 80 Metres. My only two contacts on this band were with M3NHA Tony and his XYL Sarah M6NHA.

A move to the 20 Metre band found it in what I can only describe as utter garbage condition, a fact confirmed by my failure to find a single Stateside chaser. The normal 60 or 70 contacts was reduced to a mere 20. This included a very tricky S2S with Erik LA5XTA/P on LA/ST-008.

Total number of contacts for the day including VHF was 123.

My first impression of the kite antenna… Well, with the current HF band conditions, I don’t thing this was an ideal test, so I would say the jury is still out.

I’m looking forward to giving it another try, perhaps when the HF bands are in better shape and it’s not raining :frowning:

Finally, a few tips for anyone who has no experience with kite antennas and is tempted to have a go. Large kites are extremely powerful and if you’re not careful, kite lines will bite you and bite you very hard. Take some heavy duty gloves of the gardening variety type. I managed to catch the kite line around the brand new bungee I was using to anchor the kite and it was instantly sliced into two pieces. If you fancy having a go, kites are very light to carry and great fun. A final word of warning, do not be tempted to use a kite antenna without a static arrestor in line, or you could find yourself with a very expensive repair bill from the rig doctor.

73 Mike
2E0YYY


#2

In reply to 2E0YYY:

I looked for you, but the best I got was just enough signal to know you were there on 40 metres. Nothing at all on 80 or 20. Better luck next time!

73

Brian G8ADD


#3

In reply to 2E0YYY:
thanks for the contact on 40m I might have got you on 80m but just then my dad had the antenna of me so I good not have a go as the band was still open here.

Ricky


#4

In reply to 2E0YYY:

Sounds fun Mike. It’s years since I’ve played with big kites. I was lifted clean off the ground by a Flexi-foil once. The same day I saw a parafoil kite drag a Land Rover along the moor! Good fun.

Anyway, what was the actual antenna arrangement, earthing, feed, etc. OK on not knowing the exact length of radiator. Where you using electric fence wire for the radiating element?

Andy
MM0FMF


#5

In reply to MM0FMF:
Yes I still have my small(ish) old school flexi-foil and was one scared silly by trying to handle someone else’s pair of stacked 8 foot flexi-foils!

FYI re. kite antenna protocol… Don’t forget to have the “weak point” in the line right at the antenna end. If it all gets too windy, the kite will just break away and flutter to the ground.

If you have the weak point as the line or at the reel, you risk having it break and fly off with a long line and/or antenna wire trailing behind to get caught in trees, houses, power cables… and that would ruin your day.

73 Marc G0AZS


#6

In reply to 2E0YYY:

Thank you for the S2S.
I had 9 20m SSB contacs, and the conditions was shifting around. With OM7DX it startet with 3-3, then 2-2, and ended with 1-1.

Kite antenna sounds interesting, wear raingear, and carry only a kite antenna, then your sure the WX will be great on the summit :slight_smile:

73 Erik
LA5XTA


#7

In reply to MM0FMF:

“I was lifted clean off the ground by a Flexi-foil once.”

That must`ve been one heck of a large kite :wink:


#8

In reply to G1INK:

That must`ve been one heck of a large kite :wink:

I was smaller then. But it was only a 6ft Flexifoil!

Andy
MM0FMF


#9

In reply to LA5XTA:

Thank you for the S2S.
I had 9 20m SSB contacs, and the conditions was shifting around. With
OM7DX it startet with 3-3, then 2-2, and ended with 1-1.

Hi Erik. After our contact, I listened to you for a while. Strangely enough after about 10 minutes, your signal into the UK was much stronger than when we worked. What were your working conditions? I was running 40 Watts from a 22Ah golf cart SLAB and an FT-857.

Kite antenna sounds interesting, wear raingear, and carry only a kite
antenna, then your sure the WX will be great on the summit :slight_smile:

LOL, it has not stopped raining in the UK for months, Erik :frowning:

Anyhow, we possibly made the first SOTA S2S using a kite antenna :wink:

73 Mike
2E0YYY


#10

In reply to 2E0YYY:

Anyhow, we possibly made the first SOTA S2S using a kite antenna :wink:

Sadly not; that was done ages ago. Looking back at the records, I see that no-one has claimed a QSO while riding a unicycle yet…

73

Richard
G3CWI


#11

In reply to G3CWI:

In reply to 2E0YYY:

Anyhow, we possibly made the first SOTA S2S using a kite antenna
:wink:

Sadly not; that was done ages ago.

Hence the smiley, Richard…

Looking back at the records, I see
that no-one has claimed a QSO while riding a unicycle yet…

Or a qso on the mike while swallowing a pint of beer?

73 Mike
2E0YYY


#12

In reply to 2E0YYY:

Done yonks ago. Crowborough - activation from pub garden.

You will need to think outside the box for something new!

73

Richard
G3CWI


#13

In reply to G3CWI:

In reply to 2E0YYY:
I see that no-one has claimed a QSO while riding a unicycle yet…

I have worked a few SOTA stations while bicycle mobile. I would love to learn to ride a unicycle. My father has one but he would never lend it me long enough to even get started.

I have worked SOTA stations from bed and from the bath, so how about taking a tin bath up a hill, filling it with baked beans and operating from there? Might be a good publicity stunt.

LOL

Steve GW7AAV


#14

In reply to G3CWI:

You will need to think outside the box for something new!

Therein lies a clue… anyone fancy carrying a box up a summit? :wink:

73, Gerald G4OIG


#15

In reply to G4OIG:

carrying a box up a summit? ;

Wouldn’t it be easier for Mike to carry a cairn down from the top of the summit to the car park rather than carrying all his junk up ?

:slight_smile:

Andy
MM0FMF


#16

In reply to GW7AAV:

How about a combined effort, Steve - join forces with an extreme ironing team and load up the ironing board as an antenna!

73

Brian G8ADD


#17

In reply to G8ADD:

In reply to GW7AAV:

How about a combined effort, Steve - join forces with an extreme
ironing team and load up the ironing board as an antenna!

Or an extreme pool activation, Brian?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/mid/sites/brecon_life/pages/penyfanpool_mikedavies.shtml

73 Mike
2E0YYY


#18

In reply to 2E0YYY:

Ideal - you could pool your resources! (I’m outa here!)

73

Brian G8ADD


#19

In reply to G8ADD:

Brian

When you come back, get to the end of the cue!

Dave


#20

In reply to M0TUB:

When everyone has finsihed bouncing off the cushions is there any chance we can have some technical info on the actual antenna? Such as earthing arrangements, matching, wire used etc.

Andy
MM0FMF