the "KITES ON AIR" group
|SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA USA
A variety of different radios have been used to
power our kite-antennas depending in the
particulars of the event and the flying location.
The radios used range from QRP to 100 watt
battery powered go boxes as well as a 500 watt
mobile rig. For contests and some special
events, a mobile rig includes an ICOM IC-7000
transceiver and an Ameritron ALS-500M
amplifier as well as a voice keyer, a logging
computer and an i-pad tablet with internet
connection which is used for spotting. For
special events and field day, the voice keyer
helps by making the most of the relatively
limited time that winds are available to support
the kite-antenna. The mobile van also has an
all band Scorpion screwdriver antenna which
allows a QSO to be completed in the event that
the wind drops abruptly and our kite-antenna
comes falling out of the sky. The mobile’s
controller is on a 20 foot long tether cable which
allows it to be moved outside of the mobile van
on a table when the weather is good or left
inside of the van to provide shelter from
adverse weather conditions.
RADIOS USED WITH KITE-ANTENNAS
Here are some of the radios that we use at our various
kite flying site.The 100 watt all band radio being used
(photo above) is an Icom IC-7000 that is powered by a
20 AH lithium polymer battery pack (recently upgraded
to a 20 AH Lithium Iron Phosphate battery). The
garden cart is loaded with a couple of 26 pound lead
bricks and serves as the kite's fly line anchor.
This "chuck wagon" portable station belongs to Mert
(AF6HF). This self contained rig is a veteran of
numerous field day and special event operations.
Bob (W6SDO) using an outdoor remote control panel
to operate his Sprinter van mobile station during our
first Marconei Day special event (N6M). The antenna
was carried by a replica Marconi kite that was built
and flown by Dave (WB6SQA).
Photo is of the business end of Bob's (W6SDO)
500 watt mobile station. Whenever this van has
access to a kite flying site, it can be used to
power various kite-antennas
Mike (K6CDX) operating his hambulance station
at our favorite flying sites on Fiesta Island in the
middle of the San Diego Mission Bay.
Sean (K6TFJ) drives a school bus for a living.
However, he has never quite mastered the art of
parking. His jeep is equipped with a Yaesu FD 857
radio and a Yaesu ATAS 120 screwdriver antenna.
Mert (AF6HF) rotating his QRP loop antenna during
an antenna testing day on Fiesta Island. Later that
day, Mert contacted Morocco using a kite antenna
while operating SSB at QRP power level!
Bob's (KG6EJW) tail gate setup and his 40 meter zepp antenna tied to a sign post at Tecolote Shores.
All was going well until a "meter maid" came by and asked us to remove our antenna from the sign
post. We also used Bob's setup to power the kite antenna at our KITES ON THE AIR new years special
event using our W6KOA call sign.
Bob's (W6SDO)100 watt all band bicycle mobile
rig (the brown box hanging from the bike's
handle bars) was used to power our initial proof
of concept test of a kite antenna on April 16,
2016. This electric bike also carries a 16 foot
telescoping antenna on the back carrier rack
that can be tuned from 2 meters to 20 meters.
This was our very first kite antenna operation. We were at Tecolote Shores on the edge of
Mission Bay in San Diego. Bob (W6SDO) is at the mike with Fiesta Island in the back ground. The picture
was taken by co-operator Dave (WB6SQA). The Icom IC-7000 transceiver which was powered by 20AH of
lithium polymer batteries is housed in the brown box sitting on the milk crate. This rig was borrowed from
Bob's bicycle mobile. Our power output ranged from 60 to 100 watts as the height of the kite varied from
60 to 100 feet depending on the wind. The blue handled stake grounded any static voltage that might
otherwise buildup on the antenna. The blue garden wagon contains a lead brick which made it a suitable
anchor for the kite's 200 pound rated fly line as well as for the the RG-8x which feeds the power to the
kite. The coax feed line also serves as a backup catch line if the main fly line should fail or become
disconnected. The modified garden hose reel is used to store the 150 foot long coax feed line. The white
tube behind the wagon is used to store and transport the 10 foot delta kite that was used to support the
Together, Dave and Bob made 23 contacts during this initial test which included 9 states plus two
Canadian provinces. Our next kite-antenna operation was held on the Memorial day weekend when we
operated using the Special Event call sign K6K
The story of this first kite-antenna test, which we conducted April 16, 2016, was described in
an article that was published in the AMERICAN KITING ASSOCIATION’S fall 2016 issue of KITING
Baron (K6VWL) operating his CW rig during field day 2018 using a kite antenna on the 20 meter band.
The kite was being flown high over the salt water bay (in the background) by Dave (WB6SQA) and Bob
(W6SDO). The kite antenna over salt water really made the band come to life.