Watching TV today brought back all the horrors and feelings I had on that fateful day. We, as a nation, came together on that day with a renewed commitment to unify and fight terrorism in all parts of the globe to make the world a safer place. Looking back, I hope 20 years of war and trillions of dollars spent on this actually did something positive. My thanks to all the service people and first responders that did their duty. My sorrow and sympathies goes out to the families of the lost ones in this struggle. Although we can criticize the outcome, many good things were accomplished. I will not go into this but looking back at the massive loss of communication infrastructure on that day makes me realize what we, as ham operators, can do. It is our duty to be ready for the “next big one” to hit us whether it is an attack or a hurricane and be there to assist our fellow man or woman in times of need. We are the last line of defence so when we are needed, things are really bad! We need to be ready!
To that end, David (K1KK) and I had our antenna party (everyone was invited) and worked on 2 meter communications. The limiting issue is usually the height of the antenna as 2m tends to be line of sight so the higher you place the antenna, the farther you can “see”. We all have Handy Talkies (HT) that have a rubber duckie antenna at 6′ and can only produce low power as it is next to your head and limited by the FCC for exposure reasons. This may be ok if the repeaters are working and your not in a valley where you cannot “see” the repeater. Repeaters go down, towers are taken out by hurricanes, power failures are common to make communications difficult. So to try and fix some of these issues David and I build four Slim-Jims and tested them on 2m. These antennas were built with 450 ohm stranded #16 ladder line.
We put one up at 40′ and used 10 watts to communicate to New Bern where the Bike-a-thon was underway. The direct line was about 50 miles with good signal reports. We could monitor the situation on the bike-a-thon without problems. Further testing allowed us to activate repeaters in Raleigh and out to the Outer Banks.
David also built a 7 element Collinear 2m antenna with matching stub. This was also highly successful in hitting all the same repeaters. There are 1″ PVC “Tees” that the wire is taped to, inorder to make the half wave “U” turns that cancel the negative portion of the sine wave, while the positive portions are in a line and add up to broadcasting a strong signal.
Now the 2m Go Kits are almost complete, needing a barrel connector and 50-100′ of coax to connect from the operating station to where the antenna is located. You will also need the other things like a radio (in the kit) and power supply to round out the station. Now we need to make lists of repeaters, their locations and settings. We need to practice like we did a few weeks ago on simplex and operate at bike-a-thons and other public events. We need to take the ICS courses and be part of AuxComm/Ares/Races etc…
Let’s Get Ready!
73 Peter, N4PVH.
Featured Photo courtesy Michael Foran, Creative commons 2.0