the "KITES ON AIR" group

One pet project is to develop kite-antennas that can be successfully flown here is San Diego on virtually any
day of the year. The greatest challenge to this goal is the “kind” of wind that we typically have along the
Southern California coast. While there is almost always a breeze blowing, we seldom have what you could call
a real wind. In winter our winds are only a little greater than half as strong as they are in the rest of the country.
It is only in July and August that our winds increase sufficiently to even approach the national average – and
then only because the wind speeds in the rest of the country are dropping to their annual null. Furthermore,
even though it is difficult to believe, our average wind speeds here in San Diego only vary a total of 2 mph
throughout an entire year!

The daily winds at our favorite flying sites
range from 4 to 10 mph (sometimes
reaching 12 mph), but more typically the
wind on most days will stay between 5 and 8
mph. Winds that are higher than this usually
arrive from the South and are accompanied
by a high potential for rain. Our wind usually
arrives by noon of each day and lasts until 3
pm. Sometimes our winds will arrive by 11
am and stay to 6 pm or later. In addition, we
will almost always have several deep drops
in the wind speed during any single kite
flying session, particularly when the wind is changing direction. The most usual wind direction is between
Southwest and Northwest, although there are sometimes strong storm caused winds from either the South or
North.  In addition, the winds near to the ground are almost always turbulent. This makes it desirable to fly our
kite-antennas as high as possible, at least higher than the turbulence, so that they will be flying in smooth and
stable air. Flying the kite-antennas higher also provides better radio signals as well as more time for the kites
to recover during the occasional drops in wind speed.
San Diego

Taking into account the prevailing wind
conditions described above, the goal is to be
able to fly either a horizontally polarized
center fed dipole or a vertically polarized
center fed dipole depending on the coverage
that we want to achieve during a particular
operating session. The 12 foot ITW Rivera
Highlander delta kite that is currently used to
carry the horizontal dipole needs at least 6
mph to pull the antenna up to full height.
Therefore, this kite may have to be reserved
for days with a higher than average wind
levels unless we can achieve some additional
weight reduction, replace the 12 foot delta
with a kite with greater lift or maybe stack
another lifting kite on top of the current

For lifting the vertical dipole in light winds we
usually use a stack of up to three ITW Alpine
Delta Conyne kites for lifting the antenna. The
Alpine DC kite design has been selected
since it can lift off at 3 mph, provides very
good lift for it’s size and is an extremely easy
kite to stack. We hope that the combined lift
produced by this kite stack will lift our light
weight center fed vertical to 100 feet or higher
and hold it in place even during light wind

With the kite-antennas that we have developed so far, we now have at least a 75% chance of being able to
fly a kite-antenna on any given day. One way that we plan to improve these chances is to make our
antennas even lighter. This is our main antenna effort for the near future.
12 foot ITW Rivera Highlander delta heavy lifting kite
10 foot ITW Alpine Delta Conyne light wind kite
Last updated April 27, 2017