-… .-.. --- --. ..---Blog #2
On the 9th of this month was the 4th running of the Tommy Knocker bicycle race up in Fort Bayard. We had a number of hams handling the communications for the race, and it went quite well. There were 3 race stations (A, B, C) and a Command post. Those hams, in no particular order, were: Jeff W5BOR, Andrea K1ZZE, Glenn W5GJP, John KF5SEA, Rhett KF5TU, Dan N2RDO, Rawlings KI5DIM, Mark KI5DIV, Laurie K5WLO, and Marc, W5MTS. Marc and Laurie split the Command Post duties with Marc being in charge overall. The race began at 8am and those hams at stations A and B had to leave to hike in before the sun quite came up. Those who had the afternoon shifts at those two stations, had to walk out after dark. The riders were nice to deal with and most of them thanked us when they whipped by the stations, thanking us for volunteering. My wife and I have been there 3 year in a row now and quite enjoyed our time there, other than the cold walk before the sun came up. We all used the GARS repeater for the duration of the race.
I was at station B, which is down in a small canyon, and the signal has a hard time getting to the repeater. And that is even with a 15” high gain antenna on my handheld, which is a 5w Yaesu FT-60. So before I went out there last year, I built a 2m J-Pole antenna out of 300 ohm twin lead. The twin lead is the type of wire that used to be used to bring a signal from an outside antenna to your TV, back when they used antennas. It is hard to find now days without ordering on the internet, but I managed to find a friend who had a short length hanging around. On the last net this weekend, I had one of the hams who checked in and asked me about making a portable antenna for just that purpose, so here is what I did a year ago and you can do the same.
On the internet, go to one of the following websites for good directions and pictures. My antenna is from the first web site, but all of them will work well:
For 300 ohm twin lead and complete directions: https://www.qsl.net/wb3gck/jpole.htm
For 450 ohm twin lead, go to:www.w4ava.org/2mjpole.pdf
The above two are for 2m only. However, If you would like to make a j-pole for 144 and 440 MHz, then go to: https://lakelandarc.org/articles/k1du_jpole.htm
I used 300 ohm twin lead, about 20 feet of RG 58U, which can be had locally at Sierra Communications downtown, a PL 259 uhf connector, and a short piece of coax with a fitting on one end to attach to your radio and the other end has a SO 239. I also bought at Walmart, a small roll (150 yds) of .029” Zebco 50# fishing line. In addition, I found in my junk box a ½” nut. I tied the nut onto one end of about 25 feet of fishing line and then threaded the line through a small hole I punched with an awl and tied a knot. I threw the nut up over a tree branch about 12-15 feet up and pulled the j-pole up in the air. The bottom of the antenna was only about 6 feet high. I then hooked the whole mess up to the radio and worked the Tommy Knocker bicycle Race.
The whole antenna and its parts roll gently into a sandwich bag and sit there until I need it again.