There may be more than RF on your antenna!


Yesterday late afternoon I had a chance to sit down and put my feet up on the patio. I was checking out the new QST on my Ipad with the sun coming in and out from the clouds. From my position, I have a clear view of my Endfed wire. As I was gazing at my Endfed and the nice clear sky something on my Endfed antenna caught my eye there was movement on the antenna!
As I got closer my antenna was very busy with black ants going back and forth on the antenna. I was shocked by the amount of activity the tree that supports my antenna does have lots of ants. I was curious where they were going and what all the excitement was about. The opposite end of the antenna is terminated at my shed. I saw them coming down the support pole, along the roof of my shed then onto a maple tree branch that was just touching the peak of my shed roof. Not sure what they were after but whatever it was it seemed it was worth the trip.
Meet and greet 
I did notice when ants met who were travelling in opposite directions they seemed to greet each other. After some reading (ants are fascinating) it was not so much of a greeting but more a checking each other out to see if they were from the same colony.......if not it would be a fight to the death! Sometimes there is more than just RF and SWR floating around on your antenna.
Mike Weir, VE9KK, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from New Brunswick, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

16 Responses to “There may be more than RF on your antenna!”

  • VE6MIM Mike:

    Hey Mike great story ,but not sure if I can stand the suspense .
    What are they collecting and from where?
    Lol cant wait to find out.
    Mike Ve6mim

  • JOHN VE7BDQ:

    Maybe Carpenter ants eating your shed 🙂

  • Steve KB3JC:

    Cool, they’re probably cleaning up stray pieces of SWR that are laying about the wire. Maybe some old contacts that didn’t quite make it down the coax.
    73 KB3JC

  • KC7GVL:

    Mike,

    Great story, and reminds me of a shortwave long wire that I ran from the crest of two trees. Similar story, but they went on into the shack where they were building a new nest. Took three weeks to clean up the mess, and reroute the antenna.

    Peter J KC7GVL

  • Kevin KA5HSY:

    In TEXAS ants have a “from and a to…” Their presence is never a good thing. They are never good neighbor. They are not your friend for any reason. Like a pet rattlesnake, they are out to dominate… period. Good luck.

  • Preben Steffensen - oz1pbs:

    So it could be because it is an ANTenna You have…. 🙂

  • Acme Fixer:

    Where there are ants, there are no termites. Ants ant termites are enemies.

  • Mike VE9KK:

    Good evening Mike and thanks for stopping by, I am not sure what they are to but they seemed very busy. Today I sprayed some ant repellent on the antenna and coax and this afternoon the trips down the wire have stopped.
    73,
    Mike
    VE9KK

  • Mike VE9KK:

    Good evening John, if the ant’s were Carpenter ants and it was my old shed they were after…….I say have at it! Actually this weekend I cleaned the shed out and totally emptied it and there was not trace of ants anywhere.
    Have a great week John and thanks again for taking the time to leave a comment.
    73,
    Mike
    VE9KK

  • Mike VE9KK:

    Good evening Steve and thanks for your service, funny you should say that as I have been getting QSL notifications via email regarding contacts I have never made….well they are not in my log anyway. Maybe the ants are working day and night to get those contacts down the coax and into the PC and then to the log.
    73 and have a great week.
    Mike
    VE9KK

  • Mike VE9KK:

    Good evening Mike (KC7GVL), thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I was thinking the same thing but just a few days ago I emptied and cleaned out the shed and there was no sign of ants anywhere. Today I sprayed the antenna and coax with ant spray and the trips have now come to a stop.
    Have a good week Mike
    Mike
    VE9KK

  • Mike VE9KK:

    Hello Kevin very nice to hear from you, I checked out your QRZ page very nice antenna setup and congrats on the 41 years with your wife Trudy. Well today the friendship came to an end I sprayed ant spray on the wire, coax and support mast and the marching has come to an end.
    73 and thanks for taking the time to read the post and leave a comment.
    Mike
    VE9KK

  • Mike VE9KK:

    Preben that is a good one very funny!
    73 and have a great week.
    Mike
    VE9KK

  • Mike VE9KK:

    Acme, I never knew that very interesting.
    73,
    Mike
    VE9KK

  • Cliff KU4GW:

    Mike,
    I have AT&T DSL Internet service here and only 3 Mbps maximum speed which works my VoIP home phone and streams all my TV via a Amazon Firestick and it usually works just fine, but the first week of September last year my internet speed began dropping significantly and it would only happen right after it sundown each evening so I called AT&T and they sent a tech out to check it and the speed tested normal, he came during daylight hours when it worked fine. Well, after 2 weeks of putting up with it I send a email to then AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson (now replaced by John Stankey) and 2 days later a guy named Gary Ladd from AT&T corporate called me and I explained the issue to him. The same day he had another technician come out after dark with flood lights and a bucket truck and in about 30 minutes he discovered the source of my problem to be black ants! They had gotten inside a wire splice up on one of the poles about a quarter mile from my house. He replaced the splice and it fixed it! I really don’t see how they got inside the splice because they have a rubber gasket that the metal enclosure over the splice closes on and them closes with 4 screws so apparently that rubber gasket had rotted away over a long period of time. I’ve been living here on Bald Knob Mountain for 18 years now. Not only did Gary Ladd get my internet back up to speed he went even further and gave me that month’s service for only 99 cents, it’s usually $87.00. I can say I was one happy customer, but who would have ever thought about ants doing that? Very 73 de Cliff, KU4GW

  • Mike VE9KK:

    Good morning Cliff very nice to hear from you, all I can say is WOW slow internet and ants! Well I guess in the evening the ants headed home (the splice) the kid ants need entertainment so it was off to play video games and thus slow internet…..:))
    I have now changed my thinking regarding the ants around here the ant traps have gone out and the antenna has been sprayed. I have read over and over that ants are ok as long as they are far away from your home……and cable TV splices as well.
    Thanks for the story Cliff and have a safe weekend with your real high speed internet.
    73,
    Mike
    VE9KK

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