Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Antenna plan for the Heavenly Suite

There has been precious little antenna planning discussion here. Let me fix that with this post. One of the best ways you can prepare for one of these 100 Pound DXpeditions is to think carefully about how you will deploy your antennas once you arrive. We did just that before our trip to St. John in the US Virgin Islands last Spring. The Wind Chime villa consisted of a main house plus a separate building that they called the master bedroom. You can see a picture of that structure below:

Sandy and poured over the pictures from the various web sites describing the property and talked with another couple that had stayed there for a week. Even before I began packing for that trip, I had a very good idea of how I could deploy my various antennas. (You can see a picture gallery from that trip here.) The results of the planning are as shown below.

Coming off the top of this building was very convenient. The Buddipole worked very well from this perch and the ability to make vertical antennas with very lightweight fishing polls proved both easy to do and very, very effective. A similar plan might be possible on Montserrat, thanks to some help from a ham who was recently there.
George Briggs (VP2MDG) has been very generous with his time helping us get some idea of what we might have available for our antenna installations. A recent message included this helpful bit: "... When David built the top deck above the heavenly suite, he had steel pipes fitted into each of the blue concrete corner posts of the rooftop railing. You can see a post or two in the pictures on the [Gingerbread Hill] web site. David can provide an 8-foot long steel pipe that nestles inside the pipe in the corner post. I mounted the CL-33 on one of those 8-foot pipes nestled inside a corner post. I used another corner post and 8-foot pipe to elevate the centers of my dipoles..." You can see the villa with those pipes in this shot featured on George's QRZ page.

Paul and I will probably be the "permanent residents" in the villa, making most of our contacts from this place. The building has three floors with the top unit called the Heavenly Suite. I think Paul and I should snag that part of the house for our living and operating quarters. We then need to get up on the roof and make good use of those four corners and four pipes. Paul and I are both bringing 33 foot masts and fishing poles which can make excellent low-band verticals. Figure that roof line is up 30 or 40 feet from ground level, plus the 33 feet that mast provides, means the radiator can be 66 feet long easily if held from the top and fed from the ground. I did similar things on St. John and it worked superbly.
The problem I had on St. John was feed line: I had not brought enough. There is some feed line left there from previous hams, but we are not sure how much or what kind. I would like to bring more, but weight (and space) is a problem for me. I'll be thinking more about this issue over the next day or so.
Finally, I'm bringing a long dipole that covers 160-10m as well. Certainly I can tie off one end on this roof line. I don't know where the other end might go. Nor do I know how much coax I'll need to get the feed all the way back up to the Heavenly Suite. Again, more things to ponder.
Just 12 days to go...


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