A Loop in Alaska

Discussion in 'Antennas, Feedlines, Towers & Rotors' started by KL7JEF, Sep 6, 2012.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
ad: L-HROutlet
ad: l-assoc
ad: l-rl
ad: L-rfparts
ad: l-innov
ad: l-gcopper
ad: l-Waters
ad: Subscribe
  1. KL7JEF

    KL7JEF Ham Member QRZ Page

    Good Day Everyone,

    Up until last January, I made do with a 5 band dipole sitting on my apartment buildings roof in the great state of Connecticut. I had great successes in the United States, and reaching out to Western Europe and Western Africa. I could never get any South America or even Caribbean. Now that has all changed. January I moved to Alaska and am retiring in a nice cabin in the bush. I want to see if I can get the Western Pacific, including Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China...I get my electricity from solar, battery, and genset. That being said, I have an FT-897D and lots of land for a big loop antenna. The issue I see is the abundance of spruce, and would like some advice on maybe the best way to tackle it, and how far up would you deem "High Enough". I plan on a big square, or rectangle, depending on how it works out. My cabin sits on a creek that is about 50 feet across, two of the antenna's legs will be traversing over it and two will be running parallel to it. I have never done this before, and would appreciate any ideas as to how I could feasibly get the wire up high? I can assume that the wire will need some insulation from the tree, but what about other branches and such?

    Thank you for your time.


  2. NL7W

    NL7W Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hey Jeff,

    This is Steve, down in the Palmer-Wasilla area. I've got several pointers that should be helpful.

    I will PM you here on QRZ later this evening, or tomorrow, when time permits. There's lots of telecom work on my plate today/tomorrow.

    Welcome to wild Alaska! It's not Connecticut is it! :)

  3. KL7JEF

    KL7JEF Ham Member QRZ Page


    Thank you, I appreciate that!

  4. KD4MOJ

    KD4MOJ Database Subscriber QRZ Page

    I don't know how you guys deal with the cold and snow...

  5. KL7JEF

    KL7JEF Ham Member QRZ Page

    I landed in Fairbanks at 2330 on January 28, 2012 to see snow fog and temperature without wind chill at -60F. That was my "Welcome To Alaska!!!"
  6. NL7W

    NL7W Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yeah... I KNOW what you mean. Me either... last winter was RECORD SNOWFALL AND A RECORD AVG LOW TEMP from January.

    Essentially, Alaska got all the precip that the Lower-48 was supposed to get... the jet-stream shifted way north.

    It stunk...

  7. KC9VFO

    KC9VFO Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I think the OP is living the dream don't get me wrong. But in the retirement years isn't this the time of life one may want to be near hospitals etc?. just a thought.
  8. KD4MOJ

    KD4MOJ Database Subscriber QRZ Page

    Seems like most folk gravitate down to south Florida... not to the tundra!

  9. KF6ABU

    KF6ABU Ham Member QRZ Page

    I hate it when it gets cold here. I pretty much stay in when it gets below 65, which thankfully is not often.
  10. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    That answers the question, "In Alaska, does water go down a drain clockwise, or counter-clockwise?"

    Answer: Neither. It just freezes and doesn't go anywhere.
  11. KL7JEF

    KL7JEF Ham Member QRZ Page

    You have to remember though, us military types who retire after 24 years, are only in their early to mid forties, not anywhere near a rocking chair and countrytime lemonade :)!!!
  12. KC9VFO

    KC9VFO Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Ha, I got ya, your good to go. Enjoy! :)
  13. K4SAV

    K4SAV Ham Member QRZ Page

    I retired in Florida and then moved north - well, north Alabama that is. Folks here are always asking me why I did that. There is something to be said for moving away from the crowded hustle, bustle, and insanity that takes place in a big city and getting back to where things are more peaceful, and land isn't at a premium, and can be had dirt cheap (pun intended). Lots of space for antennas and no one to say you can't do it. Of course I wasn't desperate enough to go all the way to AK, even for the scenery overload up there.

    Jerry, K4SAV
  14. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I think if I moved up there I'd be doing it on my own, without XYL or kids, and I'd never see my kids again unless I come back down to visit them -- because they all hate the cold so much that when offered a free trip to NYC last December to attend the New Years Eve celebrations in Times Square, they all declined with "In the cold? Are you kidding?"
  15. NA0AA

    NA0AA Ham Member QRZ Page

    You are a man after my own heart. Wife and I talked about moving to Alaska, but we spent a summer up there and while we enjoyed the summer a great deal, we decided that just maybe Alaska might be a bit too remote for us. We also got really tired of being wet most of the time. Instead, we moved back to my ancestral home in the Rockies - I still get a real winter, but we don't need engine block heaters or dogsleds, and there are two hospitals within 30 miles.

    But it's a great state, and I know some good people up there.

    Edited to add: More specific to your question, we were up there all summer with a buddipole an an FT-897. I don't think I made a dozen contacts.

    I think the loop will be great for the local nets, but if you want to get RF out of the state, I think you are going to need a beam and maybe an amp - it's a tough location due to the Aurora activity. But you will get a lot better advice from the locals.

    My experience with a 160 meter loop not up very high is that it's GREAT for the CONUS, not as good for DX but sometimes I get surprised. It will depend on height above ground as well as your ground type.

    Hey, given your trees, and location, you might consider making wire beams in fixed directions?

    Well, enjoy, and hurry up before it's too cold to bend the wire!....
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2012
  16. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I think us "mainlanders" forget how remote AK and HI both are.

    I've never done any operating from AK, but I have from HI, and unless the bands are open, you can get very lonely...the nearest land with any population is thousands of miles away. No such thing as a local contact, unless it's also in Hawaii.

    Add to that, that many hams don't even aim up that way. I worked Eric KL7AJ about a week ago because he called me after another contact, and once I turned my antenna he was nice and strong...but with my antenna aimed "Stateside" I could barely hear him.

    It's a "rugged" place indeed, I think, even involving ham radio.
  17. KJ6OJL

    KJ6OJL Subscriber QRZ Page

    Wow, Times Square new years trip? FREE?. Its one of those gotta do it once in a lifetime to say you were there.
    spoiled So-Cal people HAHA!. ;)
  18. K8JD

    K8JD Ham Member QRZ Page

    A loop maybe not but reconfigure it into a rhombic, there are design ideas, on the internet, that can show info about a multi wavelength rhombic that can give you a fixed directional gain a little better than a 3 element Yagi ! You probably have room for a good system.

    The Yagi , high enough and with a rotator Is usually the best way to go.
  19. NL7W

    NL7W Ham Member QRZ Page

    I can heartily confirm this... telecom systems, including amateur radio tower/antenna systems, require special knowledge and techniques not usually employed in the Lower-48. The climatic, geological and logistical conditions of the Arctic and subarctic are certainly unique. ;) Whole courses, curriculum and programs are devoted to Arctic Engineering.

    For example... my home is located near Palmer, Alaska. I typically see storms with wind exceeding hurricane force for DAYS on end, in below freezing temps, sometimes in BELOW ZERO temps. These conditions are COMMON throughout Alaska.

    Last edited: Sep 7, 2012
  20. NA0AA

    NA0AA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Another option, if you have space, QST had a V-beam array that was steerable in a full circle with I think four elements - it was scaled for 40 and up, but scaling it to 80 and up or even 160 if you were really ambitious.

    Rombics were the mainstay of the point to point services and their authority is not to be sneezed at either though.

    I forget if you are on or off the grid, but if you are operating barefoot, antenna gain will be everything for you.

    I would be sure to get local information on wind loading though, and may ice before I invested in expensive yagis - 120 mph winds may require special measures, or you may need to figure a way to lower and protect the antenna during high winds - if it can be lowered below the tree line that reduces damage potential quite a bit.

    Of course, I've also heard that crank-up towers under high wind loads are a challenge to lower due to binding. sigh, if it's not one thing it's another!

    Maybe you could design an automatic feathering antenna
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page