On QRZ, there is an article for this year's "Strange Antenna" challenge, hosted by NEW. It requires your construction to NOT INCLUDE any wire or pipe. As it takes place in Springfield, MO... I thought it fitting to send him a couple of notable antennae stories that I've either heard about or was witness TO. (excuse me Ms. Newton [5th. Grade teacher] - I know it's improper to end a sentence with a preposition).----------
Although he can't exactly qualify, there is an antenna, which I feel deserves mention. My very dear friend, and former boss at the old Burstein-Applebee Co. (B-A) in Kansas City, served in the US Navy during WW-II. WØOSD SK (Old Sloppy Drawers)... and I won't tell you the phonetics that he REALLY used... Mr. John O. Fife... was on Munda, New Georgia - Soloman Islands.
They had access to a spare BC-610 and a BC-348, very little wire... but plenty of bamboo. The directional beam wasn't in common use among hams back then, as they were pretty big, and were difficult to construct, due to the lack of thin-wall pipe and such. John and the other guys in the postal section set about to build a 4-element beam of bamboo, which they then painted with aluminum paint. You have to keep in mind that the aluminum paint BACK THEN, had REAL aluminum in it... and a lot of it. John told me that after about 5 or 6 coats of the stuff, and a couple of days (the Soloman's are very humid) to dry, they fed it with a Delta match, made from some pieces of a shot-down Mitsubishi "Betty" bomber, and brought it up... it worked.
Keeping in mind that all AMATEUR activity was suspended during the War, they got an Army station in California (don't know which one) to come up, and they managed to get "I'm Okay, Mom" messages back to The States, and retrieve baseball scores as well (almost better).
John said it lasted quite a while, until a tropical storm (quite common) took it right off the top of the palm-trees they'd laid it on, and the last they saw of it, it was making about 85 knots, on it's way to sea.
I know it's true, because I saw a picture.------------
This one ALSO won't qualify, as it DID involve a piece of pipe. In 1962, while stationed at Treasure Island, CA (SFRAN), I belonged to the ham radio club (K6NCG "Navy Coffee Grounds") on base... http://www.qsl.net/k6ncg/index.html We regularly conducted a phone-patch schedule for the Navy guys in Antarctica every Sunday night, and as we'd just serviced our Mosley Classic tribander, we were ready... it had been raining nearly all weekend since we put the antenna back up, and when we tried to load up the Collins S-line, nothing would tune properly. One of the guys finally got a pair of binoculars, and looked up at the traps... they were UPSIDE DOWN (drain holes pointing UP), so the traps had totally filled up with WATER... (arghhhh - we'd carefully aligned them all, then turned the antenna OVER...
What to do?
A couple of us went up on the roof of the building, in the rain, and found an 18 1/2 foot piece of pipe (not exactly a quarter-wave for 20m, eh?)... sat it atop a Coke bottle (great insulators), and leaned it onto the wooden rail of the building... http://www.qsl.net/k6ncg/k6ncg6263_k4to_1.html then somebody found some unidentified coax (well, it was a tiny bit bigger than RG-8, but hey... it oughta' work, right?), and we hooked it up with alligator clips.
Tuning the Collins up to it produced a 1.2:1 SWR on the 30S1 linear amp, and some of the best reports we'd ever gotten out of KC4USN. After it quit raining - the antenna wouldn't work anymore.
...and that's the truth.Tom Dailey
March 17, 2008