For many years, John, VE3LM; Karl, VE3MB and I, VE3MCF have worked as core of the 20 meter phone team of the Scarborough Radio Amateur Club (VE3WE). The past couple years, we've wondered what we could do differently. John has a friend that he has been trying to get on the amateur bandwagon for years who moved down to Picton, Ontario. Jack aquired a sailboat and asked John to come down at least once a year to "learn to crew" the boat. Several conversations later, arrangements were made to try "Field Day" from the sailboat.
Captain Jack Strachan, Our HOST. Click on the image to view larger picture.
JADA - The Capatain's Sailboat. This picture was taken the three summers ago.
A sailboat is not the most friendly place to mount temporary antennas. The mast is metal. The mast supports are metal cable. You could pull up the centre of a dipole antenna to the top of a mast, but where would you tie off the ends of the antenna that would not be close to a cable. We needed to get a temporary antenna above the mast. (If the sailboat is yours, you could put insulators in when attaching the cables and get instant antenna elements, and/or put permanent antennas at the top of the mast. But that isn't in the rules for field day.) And, where do you find a "ground" if you're not on salt water?
We decided to mount a solid dipole above the top of the mast. It had to avoid the wind speed and direction detection equipment, and the marine band vertical antenna at the top of the mast. The dipole was made from two 20M hamstick antennas on a horizontal mount. Masting was constructed from a wooden shovel handle and thirty-six feet of 1.5" PVC drain pipe. The antenna assembly was hauled into the air using a halyard on the sailboat's main mast attached to the masting approximately seven feet below the dipole. By tilting the assembly, the dipole cleared the sailboat rigging and the detection equipment. This put the dipole about six feet above the top of the sailboat mast. Our dipole could be rotated using the PVC pipe. Our "mast" is a bit of a misnomer since the 36 feet of PVC pipe was not ridgid enough to hold the dipole into the air by itself. It was ridgid enough to hold the dipole seven feet higher than its highest support point where the halyard pulled it tight to the mast. However, the full length was required in order to provide rotation capability and to stop the dipole from becoming a weather vane.
While our 20M antenna proved itself a winner, our second band antenna, a vertical hamstick mounted on the metal handrail at the bow of the boat, was to be very disappointing. Altogether, we recorded 113 contacts on 20M dipole and just four contacts on vertical 15/40/75M. It was enough, we won the 2C section for 2001!
Check out our FD 2002 effort.
More Pictures. Click on the thumbnail shots for the larger pictures:
Twenty Meter Dipole. Installing 75M Vertical (hamstick).
Operating Location. The Field Day Crew.
Crew, captain and guest. Captain and guests.
Sailing, sailing, over the bounding waves.
Usage Counter from September 17, 2001