Balloon or kite lifted antennas for Field Day
Is anyone planning to use or used in the past a balloon or kite lifted antenna for Field Day this year?
We used a kite to erect an antenna for us one year. We needed a rope over the top of a big silo, and a huge kite was used to lift it up and drop it in the right spot so we could use it to raise a wire antenna.
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I tried a balloon once but the darned wind turned my vertical into a sloper, not very high up but went across the field a ways. The antenna tuner wouldn't hold very steady SWR as it swayed and went down. I guess it would work if it is calm enough.
You know, with all the talk about HOAs and antennas in HOA communities - I've never seen an HOA rule against balloons over a house. Maybe my kid is having a party every weekend and maybe I want guests to find my house with a balloon hovering 40' above it.
It's pretty unsafe though. A balloon with a wire on it could easily end up in the power lines.
Originally Posted by KA3JLW
A couple of the hams down here went out to a field day event on South Padre Island a few yrs ago - used a kite at the beach to hold up a wire. Worked pretty well till it broke the securing line, took off and ran into the power lines. Then there was a terrible BOOM, scared off half of the beach goers that day. Thankfully it had broken the lead to the tuner too or else....... So, I agree with the above, not real safe unless you are in an area far far away from any power lines.
I have used a balloon supported antennas before, with no runaways or power line strikes. The thing to do for safety's sake is make sure your antenna and tethers are separate wires. The antenna wire should have less strength than the tether. The tether should be non-conductive. If the tether breaks, you want the antenna to snap BEFORE it hits any power lines.
If you have to worry about the cost of HF e-mail, you can't afford the boat.
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What hath God wrought?
He hath wrought that pounding brass still kicks .- ... ...
I've seen that happen... Lots of sparks, as one would expect.
Originally Posted by AF2Z
73 DE Charles, N5PVL
The "S" word... It's not the socialism, it's the stupidity behind it.
Years back my wife and I would frequently go camping along North Carolina's outer banks in the vicinity of Kitty Hawk, Nags Head, and Hatteras. The winds along that strand are predictable, reliable, strong, and steady. I'd typically send up a simple delta kite
in the morning and tie it off to the picnic table in our camp site. Delta kites have a relatively high lift-to-drag ratio so they climb high over the anchor point in a stiff wind rather than stretching out a long way horizontally. I simply used enamel-coated magnet wire as the "kite string" and used a wire tuner (against a water pipe ground) to load it up. This was decades ago when the campgrounds used actual metal pipes for their water systems. Now I'd guess they all use some kind of non-conductive plastic.
The great thing about the winds there is you can put up a kite in the morning, pay it no mind, and it's still up there in the evening. The wind may have shifted around during the day but it's still there holding the kite aloft in one direction or another. I'd always pull the kite in before sundown so I didn't have to worry about it after dark. I was always amazed that the copper wire never broke at the tie-off point despite the tensile stress and flexing going on all day. Because of my concern, I'd always cut off the bottom couple of feet of wire to insure "fresh" copper at that point each morning.
I was regularly rewarded with great signals in and out of Europe (natch) and northern Africa from that vantage. I always let out multiple wavelengths of wire so it was acting more as a semi-vertical longwire than a quarter-wave monopole. It's radiation pattern at any time was a mystery, but it always provided a signal path to [I]somewhere[/I, which was my primary goal.
Oh, and I never had the wire break so I couldn't vouch for any power line fireworks. We just enjoyed lots of great hamming. Anyway, that's my experience with it.
Last edited by WA4BRL; 06-09-2012 at 09:17 PM.
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