The Aerial

I expect that we have all been alone this road.. We have the RAE certificate, passing the Morse teat has been taken care of, and the next item on the agenda is the aerial.. I use the word ‘aerial’ out of deference to Chris G4HCA who insists that antennas are spiky hits that insects wave about in the mating season.. Obviously we all want something which will give us worldwide capability 24 hours a day on all bands. Surely this is not too much to ask.

Every month I wrench my copy of Radcom from the letterbox and skim feverishly through the pages to see if one of those clever men with letters after his name has invented an all wave rhombic which fits snugly into the shirt pocket. So far I have been disappointed and time is running out. Most of us have uncooperative gardens. I think they do it on purpose This does however raise an interesting point. Gardens may be short or narrow but all of them are tall, so obviously a vertical aerial is the answer.

But before we get too excited, there is another factor to be considered – the neighbours.. It is quite in order for them to nail an oversized dustbin lid to their wall because this enables that nice Mr. Murdock to make provision for his old age, but if a radio has dangles a piece of wire out of his upstairs window it offends the sensibilities of the art world and weedy men in corduroy trousers start to make bleating noises.

It should be possible, with care, to position a vertical out of the line of vision of your immediate neighbours, but there is always the lady three streets away who can sea it if she stands on her kitchen table and shoves her head out of the fanlight.

I started out with a commercial all band vertical but I was disappointed. It never quite bit the spot. I had an interesting talk on the subject with an American, who couldn’t hear me very well. He assured me that a vertical puts out an enormous signal but there is a fortune awaiting the person who can find out where it goes. I suppose the easiest solution is the long wire to the fence at the end of the garden. .

Use the thinnest wire possible and if you enjoy a challenge, paint it blue to match the sky. The man next door may snort a little but he shouldn’t complain. His runner bean roles probably look like an airship disaster. Allow things to simmer quietly for a couple of weeks before progressing, what we will call the ’patriotic’ stage.

For this you need a 30 foot aluminium pole with a pulley and halyard. Every morning a t daybreak you will run up a Union Jack, and every evening a lighting up time you will perform a lttle ceremony where you salute and lower it. If it is raining of course you will get your wife to do it. You could embroider this by using a recording of the’ band of the Royal Marines playing the National Anthem. This could he tricky though if the Noise Abatement Society is active in your area. Then just at the psychological moment when your neighbours are on point of reporting you to the Commissioners for Lunacy, you remove the union jack and up goes the G5RV.

You say feel at this stage that you have done more then enough to further thin wonderful hobby of ours, but if you want to go for the jackpot order a 60 foot tower to he delivered when your neighbour (who will by this time he your bosom friend) is sunning himself on some Spanish beach. when he comes home with his stomach teeming with foreign bacteria, the last thing he will went to do is draw back his curtains and look at your garden. When you claim final victory and choose your beam just remember one simple rule. ‘If it doesn’t fall down it isn’t big enough’.

I have been asked point out that the neighbour referred to in this article is in no way connected with the rather pleasant gentleman who is at this moment, shaking me by the throat!

Stan G4ITM – May 1993.

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Vital Spark Archive

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Used Ham Radio Equipment

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UK Amateur Radio Repeaters

UK repeaters

Click button above for full list, or a local repeater callsign below for info.

GB3EB 2m in Uckfield- Active
MB6EB 2m DStar Node in Eastbourne - Active
MB6RY Wires-X DigiGate in Broad Oak - Active
GB3HE 70cm in Hastings - Active
GB7HE 70cm DStar in Hastings - Coming soon
GB3ZX 70cm in Eastbourne - Low Power
GB3JT 23cm ATV in Hastings - NoV cleared
GB7RY 70cm X-Wires Repeater Rye - Active
GB7ES Eastbourne - DSTAR Rpt. - Active
GB3ES 2m in Hastings - Active

For a complete list of repeaters, head over to
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Popular pages

Get your amateur radio licence - Find out more about amateur radio licence training.
Month on the Air - G3MGQ's popular monthly DX contest/expedition list.
Wilf Gaye Memorial Cup - The clubs annual operating event in the memory of Wilf Gaye M0GYE.
St. Richard's College Buildathon/STEM/ARISS - HERC attends St. Richard's Catholic College for their various events surrounding the Tim Peake ARISS contact.
G3BDQ - John Hey's Rare QSL Cards.
Sussex Electronics Radio Fair - SERF Sussex Electronics Radio Fair 2016.
Vital Spark - A selection of articles re-published from the Vital Spark.
RSGB News - Find out how to get RSGB news on your mobile or PC.
Experimenters Corner - A selection of Proteus projects by Bob Gornal (G7DME)
BBADL - Bath Based Distance Learning Course.
Conquest Hospital Radio - Presented by HERC member Antony (G4CUS).
Radio Rallies 2016 - An up to date list of radio rallies scheduled for 2016.
Club QSL Cards - A selection of QSL cards the club has received over the years.
Other Newsletters - Excellent newsletters and magazines from other clubs.
TX Factor episodes - Take a look at the TX Factors YouTube videos.
John Taplin - A bio of the late John Taplin.

Amateur Radio Resources

Other Radio Clubs & RAYNET

BSARS - Brede Steam Amateur Radio Society

RAYNET - The Hastings and Rother RAYNET Group.

HERC members sites

Sigord - Gordon Sweet
Hastings Radio Comms - Andrew Haas-Campbell
Hoofbags - Liz Costa