HamRadioNow Vists the KH6HME Hawaiian VHF/UHF Beacon
Since the early 80's, Paul Leib KH6HME has been operating a VHF/UHF beacon system from the 8200-foot level of the 14000-foot Mauna Loa volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii. Every summer, band openings occur across 2500 miles of Pacific Ocean to the west coast of North America, and the beacons - at just the right altitude to enter the natural duct - tip off hams to this remarkable phenomenon. Then Paul would rush... make that crawl... up a rutted mountain road to make two-way contacts on bands from two meters through 10 GHz (well, they're still trying on 10 GHz).
Paul passed away last summer, but the beacon lives on, supported by a new club, the California Pacific Amateur Radio Club. One of the club founders, Fred Honnold KH7Y, gave us an extensive tour of the beacon, and we talked about Ham Radio in Hawaii in general.
Links: KH6HME Web Site; Tropo Ducting Reports (spotting network)
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Very nice. Contacts confirmed on 2, 220, and 440 SSB.
Heard him on 1.2 Ghz, but couldn't make the round trip.
Hey was a great amateur operator, in the true spirit.
Grew up with Paul (KH6HME) as a young operator when I was about 16 years old (Just started driving). I remember fond memories of going with him to the Mauna Loa where he would work openings. He would call me at home and say that he was going up and if I wanted to come. It was fascinating. During the times when I was up there, he was one of the guys that worked on the Mauna Loa repeater. He use to let me work on the repeater when I was up there and taught me a lot of things about the repeater. One year, I remember that there was an opening on 2m to the west coast. I asked him if I could go up there and work some tropo and he said you an go up but be careful. Me and Mark Carnett went that evening and stayed working tropo till the early hours of the morning. It was so long ago... and so much fun...
I will always remember Paul for leading the way in long distance tropo ducting from Hawaii. He was and still is very well respected by all the hams in Hawaii as being a pioneer with this part of the hobby. I'm glad his work continues with Fred and the folks that took over his endeavor. He will always hold a special place in my heart for being an elmer and a friend.
Paul J. Agamata WH6FM
Owner of the 146.82- repeater on Mauna Loa