A Club Challenge: Making Ham Radio Antennas out of Things that Aren’t Antennas

Club members have access to our private message board SARC-All. From time to time interesting discussions get highlighted here on our web site for the benefit of the Ham community.

Pierre K9EYE suggested the following based on a YouTube video.

Here is a Club challenge  and a possible event to other clubs.
Subject: Making Ham Radio Antennas out of Things that Aren’t Antennas

Burt AB9CV had a few ideas

  • Long power extension cords work ok [and are] easily extended with another cord or more.
  • Trees were used by our troops during the Vietnam era.
  • Salt water works also as it is conductive.
  • There is always rain gutters.

Have fun!

Donald K9CLF then added a few more ideas

Back in the days of real copper phone lines coming into the home on overhead drops and lines on telephone poles, one side of the phone line (either Tip or Ring) made a pretty good receiving antenna for crystal radios and other receivers. Neither side of the line was grounded to maintain a balanced audio circuit back to the telephone central office. -48VDC existed across the Tip and Ring conductors, but one only used one conductor for the antenna.

If the phone was hardwired to the wall and properly grounded (before modular connectors) with the yellow wire, the metal telephone dial finger stop was grounded to an earth ground and made a good crystal radio ground point.

TenTec Triton IV Model 540 Relay Issue

By Don K9CLF

I mentioned on the tech net last night I was having a problem with the T/R reed relay on my old TenTec Triton IV 540.

This is a common issue, but the relays with correct form factor are hard to locate. The repair wisdom is to replace the tiny glass-encapsulated magnetic reed switch inside the coil. I located and ordered the needed switches on Amazon.

Upon opening the radio this morning in preparation for the repair, I ran a few resistance tests and found the issue! The common lead on the relay was tack-soldered to the carrier board pin. The solder connection had fractured and the wire was sitting loosely against the pin. 2 seconds with a hot soldering iron fixed it!

I rarely get so lucky with a radio fix. The receive sensitivity is back to 100%.