W6KOA
the "KITES ON AIR" group
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA USA
Different kites are used to carry our
antennas based on the wind conditions of the
day and the antenna weight that is to be
lifted.

A 10 foot ITW Alpine Delta Conyne kite is
often used when the winds are light since this
kite design will fly in winds as low as 3 to 4
mph. A single DC Conyne will produce at
least 2 pounds of available lift with winds in
the range of 6 to 8 MPH. This kite design is
also extremely east to “stack”, a technique
that we use in order to produce additional lift
when the winds are light. The three kites that
we use have also been modified so that they
are stable under the widest range of flying
conditions. Typically, the lift from a stack of
three of these kites is over 4 pounds at a
wind speed as low as 5 to 6 MPH. This is  
sufficient to lift a light weight center fed
vertical dipole antenna and it’s coaxial cable
to a height of 80 feet even with this light wind
speed.  When stacked the kites are spaced
about 20 feet apart so that they will not steal
wind from each other.

On windy days, either a vertical or horizontal
dipole kite-antenna can be supported by a
single 12 foot ITW Rivera Highlander delta
kite. This big delta kite is very robust and can
easily handle winds up to 20 mph even when
carrying an antenna and a long length of
coaxial cable.
OUR BEST ANTENNA LIFTING KITES
12 foot ITW Rivera Highlander Delta kite with 20 meter antenna
10 foot Alpine Delta Conyne light wind kites can be easily stacked
Last updated April 28, 2017
This 6 1/2 foot Rokkaku kite was ready to lift our
antenna into the sky on International Marconi Day
April 22, 2017 but the ham bands were bad and  the
winds were poor.

Maybe next year we'll try again?
A stack of three DC Conyne kites lifting a center
fed 20 meter dipole antenna at Tecolote Shores
TO INCREASE OUR SUCCESS IN CONTACTING DX STATIONS WE NEED "LIFT" TO BE
AVAILABLE FOR OUR ANTENNAS AT TIMES WHEN THERE IS LITTLE OR NO WIND
Because the wind in San Diego is only sufficiently strong to lift our kite-antennas during a few specific hours
of the day, from late morning to early afternoon, we are usually unable to operate in the early morning, late
afternoon or during the evening when most DX signals would be arriving in San Diego. Therefore, we are
considering the addition of some antenna lifting method that we can use during most or all of the day.  Three
methods that we are currently evaluating are (1) hydrogen or helium filled balloons, (2) balloon/kite hybrids
and (3) RC drones with heavy lifting capability.
BALLOONS filled with helium or hydrogen
vertical wire antennas, especially on the
lower HF bands such as 40, 80 and 160
meters. Balloons have also been used to lift
center fed dipoles, especially when they
have been configured as an inverted V.

The lift that is available from a 5 foot balloon
is over 3 pounds which can easily lift a half
wave center fed 20 meter dipole to over 75
feet along with it's coaxial cable feed line.

The cost for the 1,800 liters of helium that
would be required to fill such a balloon is
about $60. Balloons fabricated from most
popular materials would experience
significant deflation in one or two days
although there are some balloons available
today that can retain a significant fraction of
their lift for the better part of a week. The
long term gas cost could be minimized by
topping off the balloon as required between
flights and then transporting and storing the
balloon in an inflated condition.

The major disadvantage of using a balloon
to lift our antennas is that, due to the lift to
drag relationship of a balloon, they are blown
toward the ground as the winds rise and
would have to replaced with a conventional
kite as soon as the winds rise much above 6
to 8 mph..
BALLOON/KITE HYBRIDS are designed to
provide some usable lift when there is no
wind, based on the volume of helium in their
balloon element. Whenever there is wind,
additional lift is provided by the attached
kite element. In addition, the kite element
causes the balloon/kite to rise rather than to
These features allows a single kite to be
used in conditions of no wind up to the
maximum wind conditions generally found in
our San Diego area.

Although a balloon kites is quite expensive,
keeping it stored in an inflated condition
and topping it off as needed should reduce
the long term operating cost.
HEAVY LIFTING DRONES are very reliable
and require no support in addition to a
simple battery charging facility. The cost for
a state-of-the-art drone is similar to that of a
balloon/kite hybrid. They are very easy to
transport and can be deployed in 10 minutes
or less. Their principal disadvantage is that
flight times are limited to between 30 minutes
and an hour before they must be landed and
fresh batteries installed.

Some of the larger heavy lift drones require
registration with government agencies and
have certain operating restrictions.