There is little doubting, Amateur Radio is the most frustrating hobby in the world. It seems as if Sods Law was invented for Radio Hams.
Take today, I planned a kite antenna activation from G/SP-013 Gun, in the knowledge that we`ve had nothing but wind for a week and the BBC weather forecast predicted 10mph winds for Leek, about 3 miles from the summit.
Rather foolishly, I believed the BBC WX forecast!
On arriving at the summit, I set about launching the kite in a wind that certainly was not 10 mph. After about half a dozen attempts, the kite finally caught a gust and took off. Rather gingerly, it started to climb and as I reeled out the antenna wire the additional weight slowed its rate of ascent. I figured that there was about 65 metres of the 100 metre roll of antenna wire in the air when I tied it off. The kite seemed stable and hung in the air quite nicely. Oh for another few MPH of wind.
Tuning up the antenna for the 40m band produced huge signals. Sounded more like I was on 2m FM. Wherever I tried to slot in on the frequency, I was battered by QRM
Eventually, I managed to slot in and self spot. It seemed every signal was 5/9. In 18 minutes there were 29 calls in the log.
A quick QSY to 20m to work the S2S with OE/DB2TK produced a call from CT1BQH asking me to QSY up 5 KCs to work him. A further 25 stations followed him up there.
It went quiet for a few seconds giving me a chance to QSY to top-band and a chance to run out more antenna wire. However top-band on Gun is not the same as top-band on Shining Tor, leaving me with with just 2 contacts in the log, G3RMD and G4ODU. I did hear John GW4ZPL, just too weak to work with S8 of noise on my meter. So back to 20m where I worked just 3 calls before the kite dropped dramatically! I heard Bill W4ZV call me and as I’ve gone to return his call the kite antenna fell out of the sky. With no chance of a re-launch it, it was back to the fishing pole antenna. To add insult to injury, it started to snow
The drop in signal strength on the fishing pole after the kite was surprising! Nevertheless, I rattled off another 33 calls on 20m including Rich N4EX and Bill W4ZV. Very disappointing the kite decided to give up the ghost just as Stateside started to call in, but I guess that`s nature for you
4 Summit to Summits and 95 contacts made for a nice day.
Working with a kite antenna is enormous fun if not enormously frustrating. There`s plenty of work to be done with this fascinating antenna and I look forward to continuing my experiments.
Just a quick note. I`ve received a number of emails about this antenna and will get round to sending answers ASAP. I won’t give out callsigns.
Paul in the States, I’ll send off the info you have asked for and will include some photos which should be helpful. To the UK stations, I`ll reply very shortly. It seems we may see more kite antennas on SOTA summits before too long.