Saturday, February 17, 2007

Replenishing parts and a Buddi-beam

Today was a very busy day. It began at the Algonquin Amateur Radio Club flea market and a testing session. Anybody who has complained about the hobby dying should have been on today's VE team in Marlboro! An 8 year old passed Element 1 (Morse code test) and several other youngsters took, and passed written exams. And, while Matt Williams (W1MAT) is a little young to be a VE, he helped out the team by getting photocopies and running other errands while the VE team (including Matt's dad) worked about two dozen candidates through the paces. Young and old alike had studied hard and had come to this very crowded and bustling session. Based on the caliber of the candidates seen today, I think we're going to be just fine.
After the testing session was complete I raced through what was left of the flea market to start replenishing my stock. Most vendor were picking up and packing what little was left over from three full hours of scavenging but I was able to pick up 500 feet of dacron rope, some center insulators (for those wonderful fishing pole verticals), and a fist full of connectors. I still need some other stuff, but given the length of the testing session and the lateness of the hour, I was lucky to get what I got.
Though I chewed off some of my shopping list today, there are still some things I need to get based on my experiences on Montserrat. The Buddipole systems I used on island performed very, very well. We also did some experimenting with configurations I had never tried before--not because I hadn't imagined them, but because I didn't have all the parts needed! I've called the Buddipole the erector set of ham radio. What I need is more pieces for my erector set!
Here is one idea I've been kicking around for a while. It should be possible to make a 10m 3-element beam from just Buddipole parts. Budd and Chris constructed a 6m beam during our several attempts to activate the magic band while on the island. It shouldn't be that much more to make a 10m beam with the same strategy. The antenna needs 6 long whips, four 22-inch arms, a VersaTee, and three of the aluminum pieces Chris just started selling on the Buddipole web site. You end up with a boom of 88 inches (or so). Here are some outputs I made with NEC2GO to give you an idea.
I dropped Chris a mail message with the long list of stuff I want to buy from him to supplement my already extensive collection of Buddipole parts and accessories. It is good stuff! Perhaps 10m will be open, at least a little, by the time CQ WW comes around in the fall. I can dream, can't I? I'd love to have this little baby tucked up on the veranda of that villa!
I should point out that this design is only preliminary. I've spent a total of one hour actually modeling the thing. I know there are improvements that could be found. Still, what a great starting point. I'll publish the instructions for actual construction and an antenna performance testimonial once I've built it and tested it. Still, even at this very early stage, it is very exciting to be able to build an antenna with these specifications with very, very lightweight parts no longer than 22 inches long. I love this stuff!


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