We have a new antenna for amateur High Frequency (shortwave) communication: granite base, fiberglass pole, radial line ground plane, thick red copper wire, 50 foot black coax feedline.
At 16ft tall, the antenna is most efficient on the 20m band (14MHz). Other bands are also usable, including 40m and 17m. The radial lines provide a solid ground plane, so Earth grounding is not essential; coax feedline shield connected to ground plane, center pin to antenna.
Transmission performance is sufficient for strong transatlantic SSB voice contacts with low input power levels (20W or less). Further, PSK reporter has consistiently shown our signal is copiable across the US and Europe with the new antenna.
Thanks to Martin for helping install the new vertical antenna.
Text, photo credit, and antenna design and construction by mirage335.
To get some ideas on planning a field day for HARC, Martin kb3ujq, Lee n4tcw and Shawn ag4ve visited neighboring amateur radio clubs. The object of field day is to develop emergency preparedness skills and acquaint the public with amateur radio. All of the clubs operated their stations over a full day on electricity produced by gas generators. Field day is also a contest to contact as many stations as possible on amateur bands over a full day period, working stations day and night.
We got a late start on Saturday afternoon with a first stop with the Mt Vernon Amateur Radio Club at Pohick Lake Park. They were operating five stations on various frequency bands and modes (voice, morse code, digital text). Each station was tucked away from the others in the camp grounds and each had its own antenna strung from the tall trees. Luckily, we were just in time for a fine dinner of barbecue and fixings.
Next was the Ole Virginia Hams in Manassas. They were set up on the lawn of a public library and featured an air-conditioned tent housing five stations plus a GOTA (get on the air) station. The GOTA station allows newly licensed and unlicensed persons to experience first-hand talking over amateur radio. We also had some excellent spicy half smokes and watermelon for a second dinner.
Shawn and Lee checking out OVH's food truck
We made it to Vienna Wireless Society at Burke Lake Park by dark. We were a little late for a third dinner but were shown around their various stations including an EME (Earth-Moon-Earth) bounce and satellite station. The EME station sends a signal that is reflected off the moon and is received back on earth.
Sunday morning we visited Montgomery County Amateur Radio Club operating out of a hangar at Davis Airport in Laytonsville, MD. Their antennas were strung from large masts in a grassy field next to the hangar.
- In MARC’s antenna farm
Everyone we visited were quite hospitable and proud of their installation. They all showed great proficiency in operating off the grid in other than usual locations. Most of all…the food was delicious!
You can learn more about Project Byzantium and mesh betworking by attending the HARC (HacDC Amateur Radio Club) meeting Wednesday, June 13 at 7:30pm. More details here.
We are excited to announce that HacDC joined Mount Pleasant’s neighborhood mesh network! HacDC member Haxwithaxe put the finishing touches on the mast he designed and built for the router, and Preston Rhea and other OTI engineers upgraded our router to the latest copy of their Commotion firmware. Then we all went up to roof where we mounted the router and strung the Cat-5 to power it.
Photo via Preston Rhea.
Unfortunately, we are not in range of any of the other nodes (yet). We just don’t have a good line-of-sight to any of the other nodes in the network (yet). However there’s a good chance that one of the intermediate buildings will install a node which will serve to bridge us over to the rest of the Mt Pleasant network.
Thanks to the HacDC members, friends in the community, OTI engineers, and everyone else who helped make this happen!