This afternoon Hanz, W1JSB and I met at the Franklin Falls Dam. Our plan was simple… lift a half wave wire with a kite and work some DX on 20 meters. We managed to work Belgium and the Ukraine… but it wasn’t all clear sailing.
We sat at a picnic table several hundred feet above the river. A stiff breeze lifted the kite about 80 feet into the air. We attached the far end of our 33 foot wire to a loop in the middle of the kite string. We connected the near end to the Par matchbox and then to the rig… an HB-1B running 4 watts. It wasn’t vertical, but it was a respectable sloper.
After a few calls, I worked ON8VP in Belgium. Peter gave me a 559 and we finished a quick exchange. His signal was strong, and I have no doubt that had the wire been vertical, I would have been stronger to him. But I was pretty happy to make a contact.
Next, I heard UY6IM in the Ukraine calling CQ. As the wind faltered and the kite lowered, Roman answered my call and gave me a 559. Then it happened.
The kite dropped below the hillside and most of the wire lay on the ground. Roman couldn’t hear me send his report. Fortunately, he didn’t hear me swear either. Darn it… (OK… Dam it.) Hanz raced down the hillside to recover the fallen kite. Right away it lifted into the sky again. By this time Roman was calling CQ again. I answered… gave him a 599 and called it quits after he acknowledged the report. Right after that, the kite dropped once again. It was frustrating.
Hanz wanted to give it a try, so I ran down and tried to get the kite airborne once again. No luck. We packed up. Of course, as soon as we did, the wind came up again. The experiment was fun, but I think I’ll stick with trees.