DX with a Kite Antenna

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.

Jim Cluett, W1PID, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from New Hampshire, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

11 Responses to “DX with a Kite Antenna”

  • Matt W1MST:

    This is very cool, Jim. I’d like to read more about your kite dx’ing!

    I found this link with some more info:


    I’d like to hear what experiences others have had using a kite to lift an antenna.

  • BOB AF2Q:

    Hi Hanz,
    I am here in NJ and on Ebay I saw a lady from China selling square single line 8 cell foil kites with equalizer ports for $10.00 + shipping.
    Where I live the air is turbulent for some reason so I have to get my kite up well over 600 feet.
    After that the air is smooth and that kite just about sits in one spot near vertical.
    I put a 65 foot wire on my line then let it go out and used an end fed tuner on the low end.
    Another time I used 85 feet of coax,tuned the tuner then let the kite take the tuner and coax up with it.
    I worked a year of DX in one day.
    Also the larger DELTA type kites weather vain into the stronger wings and stay almost straight up.
    Have fun KITE-DXing.

  • Matt W1MST:

    I’ve personally used a Sutton Flow Form. It’s a great lifter and is very, very stable with any wind at all.



  • Matt W1MST:

    (I have to know, Jim — did you make Hanz hold onto the kite while you worked your dx or did you stake it?)


  • Matt – we tied the kite string to the picnic table! thanks for all the comments guys. Jim W1PID

  • BOB AF2Q:

    Just about anything that flies needs wind going into it.
    Turbulent air,updrafts,down drafts,strong winds near trees all effect how many things fly.
    At 600+ feet the breeze is steady and smooth because it’s flowing over everything
    This will lift a brick in 40 MPH winds.

  • Matt W1MST:

    Bob, you sure can’t beat that price!

  • BOB AF2Q:

    Matt W1MST,
    That lady has had that same price for at least 5 years.
    Some people buy then only to sell at higher prices at the shore.
    I purchased a lot from her and she has sent me some free foil kites and ball bearing line winders.
    I still use the very first one I got from her and several times I had to trim it out due to line stretch but it’s still holding up

  • Mike VE3WDM:

    Good morning Matt, very nice idea and well with it being a kite antenna it will have it’s ups and downs….:)
    Very nice shots of the outing.

  • Dennis Nichols, N3VMM:

    Hello fellow hams. I would of never thought of this, at the moment really to much on my mind. Since it works for qrp..Does it work for voice? Just curious.

  • BOB AF2Q:

    I put this on a non ham list and several members told me it was nice because they can still camp outdoors and enjoy flying a kite.
    I told them not to stop there and go for a ham ticket.
    I got word yesterday that three are now studying the books:-)
    The list owner also sent me a note thanking me for sharing the information on the kites and hams working the world with 5 watts and over the tree line.
    BOB AF2Q

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