The ARRL Letter, October 23, 2014

Hurricane Ana

In Hawaii, the passage of Category 1 Hurricane Ana over the weekend was less dramatic, and the storm skipped the most-populated island of Oahu for the most part. ARRL Pacific Section Manager Bob Schneider, AH6J, reported that ham radio volunteers supported shelter communications as Ana passed by Hawaii, causing heavy rain, large waves, and some minor flooding.

“A request came from American Red Cross to deploy to the shelter at Ka’u High School in Pahala,” Schneider said. The school is in the southeastern edge of the Big Island. “Sean Fendt, KH6SF, and I drove 45 miles and set up HF and VHF communications.” (Sean Fendt’s wife Kimberly, WH6KIM, is the East Hawaii DEC.)

“The shelter manager was very happy to see us, because in the last [weather] event they lost power and communications and had a full house. This time it was almost a non-event with the hurricane staying offshore to the south and west. There was quite a bit of rain and one road closure due to flooding. One couple that stayed in the shelter last night had been through several typhoons in Japan and didn’t want to take any chances, even though later forecasts showed tracks well offshore.”

Schneider said those later forecast tracks did not reveal the large amount of rain the storm brought along. The ARES volunteers primarily used HF on 40 meters, although they also made use of a VHF repeater that was linked to the Big Island Wide Area Repeater Network (BIWARN).

“We sent a couple of voice messages to SKYWARN headquarters located at NWS in Honolulu,” Schneider recounted. “Other weather spotters were using mostly Fldigi for messages to NWS. We were happy that there were no serious problems and power stayed up.” Read more. — Thanks to the Hurricane Watch Net, the VoIP Hurricane Net, ARRL Pacific SM Bob Schneider, AH6J, and The Daily DX.

via The ARRL Letter, October 23, 2014.


Those of us who call Hawaii Island home were relieved that Hurricane Ana slipped west of Hawaii and did little reported damage.  According to Pacific Section Manager Bob Schneider (AH6J), Hawaii Island amateur radio operators staffed an emergency shelter in the Ka’u District and sent weather updates to the National Weather Service, adding that “We sent a couple of voice messages to SKYWARN headquarters located at NWS in Honolulu…other weather spotters were using mostly Fldigi for messages to NWS.”  Hurricane Ana thoroughly drenched Hawaii Island with rainfall ranging from 2 to 11 inches depending on elevation above sea level.

Thanks to The ARRL Letter, dated 23 October 2014, for this information.

For the latest Amateur Radio news and events, please check out the blog sidebars. These news feeds are updated daily.

Aloha es 73 de Russ (KH6JRM).

ARES Volunteers Stand Ready as Tropical Storm Ana Aims for Hawaii

ARES Volunteers Stand Ready as Tropical Storm Ana Aims for Hawaii

TAGS: arrl headquarters, Big Island, friday morning, Ham Aid, Ham Aid equipment, ham radio gatherings, hurricane warning, hurricane watch, maximum sustained winds, national weather service, radio emergency service, tropical storm watch


Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) volunteers in Hawaii are on alert for possible activation as Tropical Storm Ana, which is forecast to become a Category 1 hurricane, bears down on the Hawaiian Islands. As of 1200 UTC on October 16, Ana was 740 miles southeast of Honolulu and moving at about 10 MPH with maximum sustained winds of 60 MPH. The storm is expected to reach the islands on Saturday. ARRL Pacific Section Manager Bob Schneider, AH6J, said he attended an informational meeting at Hawaii County Civil Defense on Wednesday and will attend another Thursday.

“All beaches, parks and schools are closed starting Friday, including Hawaii Volcano National Park,” Schneider told ARRL Headquarters. He said he expected to deploy Ham Aid equipment kits to several schools. The Ham Aid kits — sent in September from ARRL as a lava flow was threatening communities on the Big Island — include HF gear as well as VHF and UHF equipment. Schneider also cancelled two ARRL-sanctioned ham radio gatherings scheduled for Saturday — one on the Big Island and the other on Oahu.

“We are in tropical storm watch and expect to upgrade that Friday morning to a hurricane watch,” Schneider said. “A hurricane warning may also go up soon. The storm is wandering a little. I still expect it to become a Cat 1 hurricane with very heavy waves on the northeastern quadrant. I heard the mayor instruct the Kona people to be sure and get the surfers out of the water as he expected the Kailua-Kona beaches to be hit hardest.”

The National Weather Service Central Pacific Hurricane Center anticipates that the first significant swells from Ana will arrive late on Thursday, and large, potentially damaging surf will follow the next day. The Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency was advising residents of Punalu‘u, Kalapana, Pohoiki, and Kapoho to take precautions and move to higher ground.

The NWS has issued a flash flood watch for Hawaii Island from noon Friday through 6 PM Sunday, with forecasts of 10 to 15 inches of rain, and locally up to 20 inches along southeast-facing slopes. The heavy rain raises the possibility of landslides in areas of steep terrain


via ARES Volunteers Stand Ready as Tropical Storm Ana Aims for Hawaii.


As of 1100 hrs Hawaii Standard Time (2100 UTC), 16 October 2014, Tropical Storm Ana is approximately 500 miles southeast of Hawaii Island, tracking slowly to the northwest at 10 mph.  The storm, packing 60 mph + winds and heavy showers is expected to pass just below South Point, Hawaii Island, sometime late Friday night or early Saturday morning.  ARES members on Hawaii Island are standing by to provide communications support to Hawaii Civil Defense, the American Red Cross, and area hospitals.  High surf is expected to cause flooding in low-lying areas of Hawaii Island.

For the latest Amateur Radio news and events, please check out the blog sidebars.  These news feeds are updated daily.

Aloha es 73 de Russ (KH6JRM).

ARRL Deploying Ham Aid Kits to Hawaii to Assist in Possible Lava Flow Response. Post #4525.



ARRL Headquarters is deploying Ham Aid Kits to Hawaii as ARES volunteers stand ready to activate in the wake of the massive Puna volcanic lava flow that has been threatening some communities on the Big Island of Hawaii.  The lava originated from new “vents” in the Earth as a result of the Kilauea Volcano, which  began erupting  31 years ago. ARRL Pacific Section Manager Bob Schneider (AH6J), said Tuesday that while he doesn’t believe an ARES activation is imminent, lava flows can be unpredictable, and things can change rapidly.

Article excerpts:

Schneider says “Lava is a slow-moving disaster…it’s not like a volcano, where the thing just blows up.  It’s like a pot of soup.”

ARRL Emergency Preparedness Manager Mike Corey (KI1U) added that the Ham Aid kits destined for Hawaii include HF gear as well as VHF and UHF equipment.  Corey said “We’re deploying an HF kit–an IC-718 transceiver, a tuner, and a dipole–and a VHF/UHF kit.”  The latter includes a mobile transceiver and power supply as well as several handheld transceivers that have been programmed with local frequencies that may be needed before they’re shipped.  Corey stated that the Ham Aid kits are a resource available to ARRL section leadership to add capacity during a disaster or emergency response.

Schneider said that while there is no immediate need for the kits, “if they have it out there, and this thing changes, we’ll be prepared.  It’s better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.”

Hawaii County Civil Defense said Kilauea continued to erupt at its summit as of Monday, although the more than 10-mile lava flow–or “tube”–under the greatest scrutiny halted its progress toward the sea on Tuesday–at least for the time being.  Authorities are also monitoring so-called “breakout” flows.  No homes have been affected so far, although the molten rock is causing vegetation to burn in its path.  the front of the Puna lava flow is estimated to be some 150 yards across at its widest point.

Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie has issued a disaster declaration for the areas that are or may be affected by the lava flow.  Schneider and ARES members and officials have been keeping an eye on the situation.

Schneider said the best estimate for the lava to hit Highway 130 would be within 10 days.  Schneider added that Highway 130 is the primary commuter route for residents in several residential subdivisions that might be affected, including one that is home to some 20,000 people–what he called, “a pretty good chunk of population” overall.  The governor’s proclamation has permitted authorities  to open two alternative routes, in case Highway 130 has to be closed.

Schneider mentioned that “The town of Pahoa is in kind of a slow panic…if the lava comes down and goes right to the ocean, probably the only thing that won’t be affected will be cell phones.  Electric power and conventional telephone service will be out.”  In that scenario, should ARES be activated, Schneider said the volunteers’ likely role would be to relay healthe-and-welfare traffic from affected communities.


I have a deep interest in this development, since my new home is located in a subdivision approximately 5 miles from the slowly expanded flow front.  I have a scanner tuned to the NOAA frequency, Hawaii County Civil Defense, and the Hawaii Police Department, so I can keep abreast of any changes in the lava flow.  These are indeed exciting times.

For the latest Amateur Radio News and Events, please check out the blog sidebars.  These news feeds are updated daily.

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Until next time,

Aloha es 73 de Russ (KH6JRM).



How to build a simple 2 meter quarter wave antenna.

I’m still in the process of replacing several amateur radio antennas blown apart by the passing of Tropical Storm Iselle, which did heavy damage to many homes in the Puna District of Hawaii Island.  Fortunately, the home being restored by my xyl and me wasn’t damaged, but most of my wire antennas were tossed asunder.  I’ve replaced a few of my HF wire antennas, and am now working on a few simple projects until I can get more wire from Home Depot.  One thing I did lack was a decent antenna for my old Kenwood TS-2500 HT.  I found this helpful video from K7AGE, which gave me a few helpful ideas on improving the limited range rubber duck that came with the HT.  The project is simple, inexpensive, and easy to make.  Enjoy!

Aloha de Russ (KH6JRM).


KH6JRM’s Amateur Radio Antenna Topics: Simple Ham Radio Antennas. The Open-Wire Dipole (Doublet). Post #293

Open-Wire Dipole Antenna (Doublet). (Simple Ham Radio Antennas. The Open-Wire Dipole (Doublet).


Here’s the latest article from my Amateur Radio Antenna Topics Blog (  This time, I build a simple open-wire dipole or doublet fed by 450 ohm ladder line.  This antenna replaces the one destroyed by Tropical Storm Iselle on 07-08 August 2014.  I have several antenna replacement projects in progress, thanks to the storm.  I’ll keep you posted.  Aloha de Russ (KH6JRM).

See on Scoop.itKH6JRM’s Amateur Radio Blog

How to Build a Delta Loop Antenna.

A quick guide to building a simple delta loop antenna for 20 meters.


I came across this article and video while I was searching for loop antenna ideas at my QTH.  Excellent presentation by Hiram Vazquez (WV2H), covering how to build a 20-meter delta loop and how to make a simple Q match for the antenna.  The Q match will make the antenna resonant at 50 ohms at the feedpoint.  According to Vazquez, the delta loop is bidirectional, offers some gain over a dipole (about 1.2 dB), is easy to build, and is inexpensive. Vazquez built his 20 meter delta loop in March 2012 and has worked 215 DXCC stations, with 100 watts.  This looks like a simple, effective antenna for your backyard.  I’ve used delta loops in the past and have found them quiet and easy to tune.  To obtain multiband use, use 300 ohm tv twin lead or 450 ohm ladder line into a balanced tuner.  If you lack a balanced tuner, feed the ladder line into a 4:1 balun and run a short length of 50 ohm coaxial cable from the balun to your antenna transmatch (tuner).  Aloha de Russ (KH6JRM).

See on Scoop.itKH6JRM’s Amateur Radio Blog

Simple Ham Radio Antennas: The Multiband HF Stealth Vertical.

I ran across this article by Tony Milluzzi (KD8RTT) while I was searching for some stealth antenna ideas for my “antenna farm” at my new QTH in the Puna District of Hawaii Island.  Most of my wire antennas were “rearranged” by Tropical Storm Iselle on 07-08 August 2014.  Although the house survived intact, the antennas strung between several trees “bit the dust.”  So, I’m rebuilding the antenna site with wire recovered from the storm. What Tony has to offer is an excellent way to rig a 40, 20, and 10 meter stealth vertical using a sturdy tree as the antenna support.  With 16 buried radials and suitable 50 ohm coax, which is also buried, Tony has an antenna that can’t be seen in his HOA-restricted housing area.  He found this stealth antenna performed much better than the antenna mounted in his attic.  When I was fist licensed as a novice operator in 1977, one of my first antennas was exactly like this, the only exception being the coconut tree serving as the “mast.”  Like Tony, I was surprised just how well the antenna worked.  I used this arrangement for several months until I acquired a used Drake MN-4 antenna transmatch to smooth out the small amount of SWR found in my system.  I still have the old Drake MN-4.  A suitable Norfolk Pine Tree is located about 60 feet/18.29 meters from the shack. It appears Tony’s antenna will be resurrected near a rainforest in the Puna District.  I’ll keep you posted.  Aloha de Russ (KH6JRM).

See on Scoop.itKH6JRM’s Amateur Radio Blog

40 Meter Inverted V Antenna–Build, Tune & Test.  1 hr, 07 min, and 17 sec.

Following the passing of Tropical Storm Iselle, many amateur radio operators in the Puna District of Hawaii Island are rebuilding their antenna installations.  High winds snapped many trees that supported inverted vees, dipoles, and even towers.  There’s nothing like starting over.  I have several antenna plans moving forward, including a 40/15 meter inverted v dedicated to the Hawaii Inter Island Net (7.088 Mhz, 0200 UTC, daily).  Unlike many of my former dipoles, I’ll feed this antenna with RG-8X coaxial cable, rather than 450-ohm ladder line.  This in- depth video  from Dave Tadlock covers just about everything you need to know about building an inverted v antenna.  Dave includes helpful construction tips, the necessary formulas, the type of wire to use, mast alternatives, and the use of an antenna transmatch (i.e. tuner).  The video is quite good, and it has given me a few new ideas.  Aloha de Russ (KH6JRM).

See on Scoop.itKH6JRM’s Amateur Radio Blog

Simple Ham Radio Antennas. A 80-10 meter Inverted vee antenna. Post #287.

One of the easiest and most cost effective antennas you can build is the 80-10 meter inverted v, a variant of the HF Doublet (horizontal dipole).  The antenna requires a single support mast, two smaller poles to tie off the “drooping” elements, and 450 ohm ladder line/300 ohm television twin lead connected to a balanced “tuner” to work all amateur radio bands between 80 and 10 meters (3.500 MHz to 29.999 MHz).  If you don’t have a balanced “tuner”, run the ladder line or twinlead to a 4:1 current balun and use a short length of 50 ohm coaxial cable to connect the balun to your “tuner.”

During the course of moving into our new home in the Puna District of Hawaii Island (we’re moving slowly, since we’re still working part time), I found a nice spot for a mast in the middle of our planned garden in back of the garage.  Since our home is on 1 acre of agricultural land, I have plenty of room for antennas, including loops, slopers, verticals, horizontal dipoles, and the inverted v.


One 33-ft/10.06 meters MFJ telescoping fiberglass mast.

One “Ladder Lock” connector to attach the ladder line to each antenna element.

75-ft/22.86 meters of 450 ohm ladder line.

Six feet of RG-8X coaxial cable with UHF connectors.

Two pvc support poles to tie off the drooping antenna elements. I had two, 10-ft/3.04 meters pieces of schedule 40, 2-inch/5.08 cm diameter pvc pipe sections in the garage.

Two ceramic end insulators to tie off the ends of the antenna elements.

One 5-ft/1.52 meters wooden stake to support the fiberglass mast.

Two 5-ft/1.52 meters wooden stakes to support the tie off posts for the inverted v.

One W9INN 4:1 balun.

One transceiver.  For this project, I used my trusty Ten-Tec Argosy II.

One Heathkit Dummy load.

One low-pass filter.

One Drake MN-4 antenna transmatch.

One “counterpoise bundle” for the Drake MN-4 transmatch.

Nylon ties and vinyl electrical tape.

Basic tools, including soldering iron, wire cutters, screwdrivers, etc.

One hundred 135-ft/41.15 meters of #12 AWG house wire.  I had a spool left over from a wiring project at the new house.  No sense wasting valuable copper.

Twenty-five ft/7.62 meters of nylon rope.


The antenna was built in the garage, because all of my tools and electrical outlets are located there.

The telescoping fiberglass mast was extended to its full length (33-ft/10.06 meters) and the “Ladder Lock” device was attached to the eyelet ring at the top of the mast.

The wire was cut to my chosen frequency of 3.500 MHz using the formula 468/f(MHz)=L(ft). According to the formula, the total length of the antenna would be 133.71-ft/40.76 meters. I rounded off the length to 134-ft/40.76 meters.  Each antenna segment would then be 67-ft/20.42 meters. You may want to cut your wire elements a bit longer to allow for swr adjustments.

I threaded the ladder line through the “Ladder Lock” and soldered each antenna segment to its respective leg of the ladder line. I covered the soldered joint with several layers of vinyl electrical tape.

At the free end of each antenna segment, I attached a ceramic insulator and a small piece of nylon rope to tie off the segment to a support post.

The ladder line was run down the fiberglass mast to a point 16-ft/4.87 meters above ground level. The ladder line was secured to the mast with nylon ties.

The mast was then hoisted onto its wooden stake with the two antenna elements being left free for the moment.

The free ends of the antenna elements were attached to their tie off posts (the 10-ft/3.04 meters pvc pipes). Each tie off post was hoisted into position.  The antenna was adjusted for a uniform “v” shape.

The ladder line was lead to the W9INN balun attached to the garage wall (about 8-ft/2.43 meters above ground level).  Ten feet/3.04 meters of RG-8X went from the balun to the window patch panel.  Inside the shack, a 6-ft/1.82 meters piece of RG-8X ran from the patch panel to the Drake MN-4 transmatch.  The Argosy II, dummy load, and the low pass filter were connected to the Drake MN-4 transmatch with 3-ft/0.91 meters lengths of RG-8X coaxial cable with UHF connectors.  Finally, a “counterpoise bundle” was attached to the ground lug of the Drake MN-4 transmatch.

Initial results:

With the Drake MN-4 in the line, I was able to get a 1:1 match on 80, 40, 30, 20, 15, and 10 meters.  I was running a full 50 watts from the Argosy II.  Results on 80, 40, 30, 20 and 15 meters were excellent with several 59 (SSB) and many 599 (CW) contacts made in Hawaii and on the U.S. mainland. The ten meter band was very noisy at my location and no contacts were made.  Eighty and Forty meters were best in the early evening hours, while 30, 20, and 15 were most usable during the early afternoon to early evening hours.

If you want a versatile, simple antenna that covers 80 through 10 meters, please consider the easily made inverted v.  If you have two high supports (trees, masts, or other structures), you might get a slightly better signal with a horizontal dipole erected at a height of 40 to 60 ft/12.19 to 18.29 meters above ground level.  Even though the apex of my mast was only 33-ft/10.06 meters above the ground, the antenna did very well on both local and DX stations.

This was an enjoyable antenna to build.  Give it a try…you might be surprised how well it works.


For updated amateur radio news and happenings, please check out the news feeds provided at the top of this post. These feeds are updated throughout the day.

You can follow our blog community with a free email subscription or by tapping into our blog RSS feed.

Until next time,

Russ Roberts (KH6JRM).

A Contesting Confluence this Weekend: The IARU HF Championship and WRTC … – ARRL

A Contesting Confluence this Weekend: The IARU HF Championship and WRTC …
Competing teams will deploy to essentially equivalent stations that run 100 W to a wire antenna for the low bands and a Yagi for the high bands.


This weekend (12-13 July 2014) will be a busy time for amateur radio operators.  Ham operators will have their hands full with the World Radiosport Team Championship in New England and the International Amateur Radio Union‘s (IARU) HF contest.  I don’t think I’ll get much sleep this weekend. I’ll just fire up the old Argosy II and see what happens.  It’s another  caffeine weekend (Kona Coffee, of course, since I live in Hawaii.).  Aloha de Russ (KH6JRM).

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