Field Day Frenzy Part 4: Got radials?

Yes I got radials. Plenty. Do you need some?

I’d rather use horizontal antennas for Field Day. But like I said in Part 1: my garden is too small to use one or more dipoles. I would have to make them either too short or they would make an inverted V with a too sharp corner at the top. Both scenarios are too much of a compromise because I really want to put out a strong signal. That’s what people come to expect from me  ☺

So for now, I think I will go vertical. ‘Think’, yes. As I type this, it’s nine days before FD. I don’t want to look for a bigger location, and I don’t want to add another item on the list of things to do, called ‘make / find / buy / steal two 10m high supports’. The plan is to make a triband vertical with three radiators. The aluminum mast should almost be full size for 80m, with a small coil on the feed point to compensate two or three missing meters missing. Then a full size wire for 40m, on a rope from the top of the mast. And a second wire on the other side to make a 160m inverted L. I can keep the horizontal wire high enough because I can go pretty far and have one high support. That currently holds the 10/15/20m trapped vertical for SO2R. That antenna needs to come down and the support pole needs to be moved. Great job – not. While all this sounds great in theory and looks simple in my imagination, there will be some obstacles to overcome for sure.

And all the above will not work efficiently without a good radial system. So I decided to invest in that. It’s something that can always be deployed. Who knows what crazy things I might start to do in the future. I bought five 100m reels of 1.5mm² stranded wire, four times 10m and two times 25m chicken fence. For now, that is all  ☺

I clamped the fence wire between two strips of aluminum flat stock. I use 6 mm bolts, and four pop rivets. I also made short strips with a 6 mm hole. These will be used to connect all the fence wire strips together to the feed point. I took three wires, each twenty meter long and put a crimp ring terminal on that. I used a 6 mm bolt to connect these cable eyes to the strips that will connect the chicken fence.

Here you can see what it looks like. I put it down in a random fashion when I was testing this. See my WX-WPX post. Next time I use this, I will think about the lay out of the radials and chicken fence wire before putting it down. The mast should be in the center of the ground plane’s hub. I don’t know if and when there will be a next time.

If you read the WX-WPX post, you know why I abandoned the vertical antennas for field day. And why I now have a box full of radials with no use for. In short: I couldn’t get the vertical antenna to work because too little time, low on mental fuel and too little space for convenience. So for field day this year, I will downsize and compromise to get a fit and stick to my own adage: use dipoles for field day. More specific: one dipole fed with ladder line from an automatic antenna coupler a/k/a the smart tuner. We won with that last year, but there are two differences this year. Since my garden is too small, the wires will slope down steeper and the ends will come lower to the ground. And this year there is at least one skilled and experienced team that wasn’t participating last year. Maybe they need more radials?

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