My next SOTA system?

Probably not but interesting read.

73, Matt/KØMOS


pictured is Helge LA6NCA who specializes in WW2 equipment. The video is at

Although I have often wind blowing (and more than I’d like to), I fear it is not stable enough to support an antenna for 1/2 hour or more. I will try once with a balloon.
Both approaches may have a problem with static electricity, so I’ve heard. Can anybody elaborate?

73 de Martin / HB9GVW

Well I’ve played with one albeit 45 years back. Fascinating things. We had a whole set of life raft survival gear at the school radio club: Gibson Girl with kite and aluminium antenna wire, solar still, a damn great zombie knife, heliograph etc.

Just need to get someone who a) knows how to launch and fly a kite and b) how to hold a Gibson Girl between the thighs properly. The kids of today!

When I was at university, the ham radio club had a Gibson Girl, a.k.a. SCR-578, that fascinated me no end. I still miss the old girl. Still transmitted, too, at that time 30 years after manufacture.

We also had a wireless set no. 19, dual language English and Russian, that sat on the shelf next to the Gibson Girl. We were located in the school of engineering building and there was a lot of 1940s and 50s military electronics in the attic, presumably donated by the Department of Defense. Maybe that’s how these two relics arrived.

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This is reminiscent of my attempts with the 20m long EFHW about 15m above ground. Unfortunately it was a windy affair, you need a diligent companion and often the antenna and kite fell down.



Static is a problem. Separate receive antenna needed. 35 years ago, I bought a 55 cubic foot Gibson Girl balloon from a Bendix subcontractor in Paris, Texas. It is the modern version of the M-278-A, and it is fish-shaped, like a kytoon, so that it will climb into the wind. I raised it 315 feet with #22 tinned busbar wire, wound on a 28 VDC motorized reel from a trailing wire set-up on an old military airplane. The feedline terminated in a toothless alligator clip attached to the wire. Gas comes from a 220 cu ft helium bottle, good for almost two ounces of lift with the GG balloon, or double that with hydrogen, supplied by a gallon bottle partly filled with lye, water, and wadded-up sheets of aluminum foil.

Elliott, K6EL

Yes, so I’ve heard. But why? Air blowing along the wire is charging up the wire statically? And why wouldn’t this be a problem then for a normal wire antenna in the air?

Just grounding the coax going into the radio isn’t sufficient enough?

My use case would be an 20m end-fed wire going hopefully almost vertically 30m into the air, the balloon holding the wire, the small 49:1 balun and about 10m of coax cable, which along with the radio, would be grounded.

73 de Martin / HB9GVW

Yes, that was exactly my working condition. The Unun brings the wire to the ground of the coax. And I had no static noise and no static voltage on the trx. But don’t do this in a thunderstorm, hi.

73 Chris

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