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Thread: ...ham radio antenna...

  1. #1
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    Arrow ...ham radio antenna...

    I'm prepping for a black bear hunt on Kuiu Island this fall, and am the group's emergency communications provider.

    I'll be bringing a Yaesu FT-897 with dual batteries. I'm getting ready to build an antenna, and am looking at a basic dipole setup that will be extremely portable and simple.

    Simplicity means one or two bands.

    So, my question is, since the Alaska Emergency Frequency is on the 60m band (at 5167.5 khz), how much other activity is there on the 60m band? If I go with a single band antenna, is there a lot of hams working the 60m band?

    Otherwise, what band have other hams had success with up in Alaska? I'm looking to do some QSO's on my last day, and want maximum propagation. Should I stick with 20m? 40m? go with a longer antenna for 80m?

    Please let me know what you think.

    73's.

  2. #2
    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Default WH7DA de AL7HT

    Jason,

    Not much traffic on 60 meters, or the AK emergency freq. 5167.5. So as far as emergency comms, I wouldn't depend on that freq. or band. If you weren't so far southeast you could likely get into the Alaska Snipers Net that meets every night at 1800 AST on 3.920mhz. Don't see many check-ins from southeast Alaska from down toward Wrangell unless the 80meter band is hot. We used to have a 40 meter net, the Alaska Bush Net, that met in the Alaska portion of the 40meter band, not sure if it is still running but could check for you. What I've used in the past as far as a lightweight and portable dipole setup (if you aren't using an antenna tuner) is a multi-band dipole using alligator clips and small insulators. It's much easier to set up than a fan dipole...typically I built them to work on 20/40/80meters. Cut the 20 meter one to your center frequency, attach ends to small insulator, then add more wire for 40 meters, add insulator, add more for 80 meters. You use a small piece of wire between each with an alligator clip. Only hassle with that is the antenna has to be low enough to reach up and change bands.

    If you are using an antenna tuner, the easiest and best setup is to use an 80 meter dipole (120' overall length) and feed it with 300ohm twin-lead into a tuner. You can tune that to work on all bands and it is fairly good on the lower bands when conditions are good. There is a 20meter net that meets every morning, the Alaska Pacific Net on 14.292 mhz....I think at 1000 AST but I may have the time wrong. Good place to pass traffic and any emergency comms. Your best bet for emergency comms in that area is likley vhf repeaters...not sure of the frequencies offhand for that area, and also the marine band if you have out-of-band capabilities on a vhf rig.

    Would be happy to set a sked with you...40 meters would work well from down there. I am in eastern interior just below the Arctic Circle. Somewhere around 7.092mhz where the Bush Net used to meet (they may still) would be good to get out of all the hash of commercial broadcast on the 40meter band.
    73,
    Mark

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    Quote Originally Posted by bushrat View Post
    Jason,

    and also the marine band if you have out-of-band capabilities on a vhf rig.

    Mark

    I know it is not illegal to use a modified ham radio on the vhf marine frequency, IN A EMERGENCY. It is illegal to use it for non emergency communication.

    In a emergency situation people panic and forget what to do. That is why a vhf marine radio is very simple to use. Iím sure Jason would remember 155.xx/ fm/ simplex, is the emergency marine frequency.

    What if heís the one hurt, do you really think the other people will know how to use his radio, much less what the emergency frequency is.

    I have never understood the logic of hams. They get upset when they hear of a non-ham using a modified (out of band) ham radio. But, it ok for a ham to break the law.

    Hamís need to be held to a higher standard and not promote illegal use of ham radios, especially when peoples lives could be at stake.

  4. #4
    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Hey Tom (Rutting Moose),

    Pshaw, I was trying to help with some information and now you want to diss ham radio operators and nitpick me to death? Give me a break.

    For the record, I was not promoting that anyone use a ham radio illegally. The question was on emergency communications. In the past the way I set up some emergency comms for lay people (if a radio op was not available) was to tune the radio to the correct frequency, write out a chart of how to turn radio on, what to say etc. So if, for example, someone had a vhf ham rig that went out of band he could leave it on the marine frequency so anyone could use it IN AN EMERGENCY. It is NOT OKAY for a ham to break the law; I never implied that and nor do I advocate that at all. Like I specified in my post, "...best bet for emergency comms...."



  5. #5
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    Default ...antenna questions...

    Bushrat(Mark)...

    Thanks for the help. A lot of great info there. I'll be checking around the 40m band while I'm there, and try and check out some of those nets (hunting trip permitting).

    I like your antenna idea, though I just ordered a kit from "wireman". I'll try both and see which one I'm taking with me.

    I thought the 5167.5 was a constantly monitored band. My FT897 even comes with a specific Alaska Emergency Frequency selection in the menu that puts me on that (one of the main reasons I got this radio for the trip). But, we should be covered. Either way, it's good to know on what band people can be found, whether it's to chew up some airwaves or to report an emergency.

    Of the six of us, two of us are licensed, and four of us are intimately familiar with radio communication procedures and equipment. So, even if I'm incapacitated, we're covered. Plus, the other ham (my brother) and I will each have handheld dual band VHF/UHF radios. We just weren't counting on any repeaters being monitored around that area.

    Again, thanks! 73's.


    Rutting Moose...
    Last edited by Snyd; 02-21-2008 at 22:30.

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