Fire Island National Seashore

Fire Island National Seashore (FINS) is a United States National Seashore is around a 30-mile long barrier island which is separated from Long Island by the Great South Bay.

Photos while operating from Fire Island National Seashore: K-0679 KFF-0679 WWFF-0679 BOTA 6995

73 de KE2YK
Icom ic-705

A Good Companion for the The ICOM 705?

Peter Waters G3OJV from Waters and Stanton Amateur Radio Shop in the United Kingdom has his own YouTube channel where he reviews different Amateur Radio products and homebrew ideas.

Peter has been an Amateur Radio operator since 1960 and has co-owned his Amateur Radio shop since 1973.

With that kind of experience, Peter is one of the few Amateur Radio YouTuber’s I follow.

Of special interest to me, Peter has done several videos related to homebrewing compromise antennas for small spaces.

Small space, compromise antenna projects interest me because I enjoy homebrewing antennas, have a small yard and small space antenna ideas are useful when I activate State Parks for the Parks on the Air program.

The Elecraft T1A is a fine piece of gear. I have owned one for around 3 years now and have used it on outings with several different QRP rigs. As Peter will demonstrate, the features of the T1A extend beyond a simple QRP tuner.

I’d have to agree with Peter. The Elecraft T1A will make a good companion for the ICOM 705. Let Peter explain the T1A and you can then form your own opinion.

73 de KE2YK

Antenna Launcher Plans

Antenna Launcher Plans
Pneumatic Antenna Launcher

Portable HF antenna experiments are fun. The latest contraption I’ve been gathering parts for is the Slot Antenna.

This design (new to me) came to my attention during a presentation given by John Portune W6NBC at this year’s Virtual Ham Expo.

Screwing around with wire obviously requires getting it up in the air. The one thing missing from my antenna junk box is an HF antenna launcher. The tuner in my KX3 works well when trying to match some of my antenna contraptions. There are tons of compromise antennas available for portable HF operating but nothing beats chunks of wire strung over the tree tops. 

Slingshot Antenna Launcher

Taking the cheapest way out first, I began Googling around for antenna launcher plans. Some of the plans and kits I found use a sling shot as part of the launch system.

Unfortunately, sling shots are against the law in New York State. Owning a pistol with a state license or a rifle with a background check is acceptable but sling shots are banned. Go figure. Attempting to order a sling shot from Amazon confirmed that!

I’d imagine that Sling shots, fishing line and small sinkers are ideal for getting an antenna up around 50 feet. For an afternoon of fun, the sling shot seemed like a no-brainer! With my luck I’d be caught by the Ranger while activating a State Park.   

What is an Antenna Launcher?

Android Scope Antenna Launcher
Antenna Launcher

An Antenna Launcher is a pneumatic device used to set up wire antenna support lines. Compressed air propels a soft projectile (tennis ball) over obstacles such as trees. The attached fishing line is then used to pull up paracord for antenna supports. 

Kits For Sale:

After Googling around some more I came to the conclusion that, like most other things in any hobby, people have developed kits and fully assembled launchers for sale. Prices range from around $50 up to over $300. 

Cheap Is My Middle Name:

Ham radio ops always seems to start cheap when looking around for kits, parts, etc. On the low end, the Joplin ARC sells an antenna launcher kit for around $50 which includes shipping. The Joplin ARC antenna launcher got a 4.1 out of 5 rating from 26 reviews at eham.net.

Alan Boca Engineering sells a combination of kits and fully assembled antenna launchers ranging from around $100 to over $300. I’d have to launch antennas for a living before I’d spend over $300 on PVC and parts. I guess spending over $300 for an antenna launcher may make sense for big clubs who do a lot of outings or HF EMCOMM ready groups.

Wrap Up:

The Joplin ARC antenna launcher is probably what I will eventually settle on. For now I’m still Googling around for antenna launcher plans. 

Know of any antenna launcher plans? Comments are welcome! 

73 de KE2YK