Saturday, July 2, 2016

Antenna construction

Antenna Construction

Just a quick note on how I'm building the antenna for the Wisp trackers.

I previously blogged an analysis of the weight and length of the antenna wires I want to use.  I opted for the 36ga wire, which is very light, delicate, and tends to bunch up if uncoiled.  Traditional wisdom has been to attach the counterpoise wire with little bits of tape every few feet to the tether string going up to the balloon.  I understand that some people put a tiny bit of tape on the very end of the antenna side, just to help pull it downward.

Alan Adamson / W7QO tried an experiment that worked quite well, and I've adopted it.  He suggested using nail polish as a glue to hold the string and wire together.   It's "strong enough", and does not add much weight at all.  Here are the materials I used for both my counterpoise and antenna.

I simply cut a length each of the (100% rayon) thread and the wire.  I tied them together at one end. Then, I bound them with the nail polish using my fingers.  I dabbed a little polish between thumb and index finger, and ran the string and wire between, twirling them a little to get them to stick together and wrap around each other a little.  I would go up and down about 2 feet of wire, wind it onto the spool, and repeat.  

Here's what an end looks like.

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