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Modeling the Buddipole Antenna

The Buddipole is an antenna system for ham radio that's ripe for experimentation. In the pictures it's usually a dipole, but in practice it's more like a lego antenna kit. Unfortunately, it's a lot easier to make an antenna configuration that doesn't work than one that does, so people often turn to modeling software to do their initial experiments.

The Buddipole, however, is something of a challenge to model. Budd himself said to me: "EZNEC modeling for this antenna has proved to be a burden on many knowing folks. Don't spend a lot of time on it." Well, saying that to a programmer is equivalent to issuing a challenge.

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ARRL Field Day 2008

What do you say to two guys in a public park with two huge antennas and an improvised hut in the middle?

"Are you trying to talk to the aliens?"

We got that one about three times. The most common inquiry was, "umm, I have to ask, what are you guys doing?" We got that one about twenty times.

Last weekend my pal Joel (W4LL) and me (N0JDC) operated a ham radio station for ARRL Field Day in a park near my house. Field Day is an event where amateur radio operators across North America simulate emergency conditions — improvised locations, no AC power, getting chewed on by mosquitos — and attempt to contact as many other stations as possible.

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Understanding Ham Radio Speak

If you've ever hung around an amateur radio operator (a/k/a ham), you may have heard something like this:

I was hoping for some 20m PSK31 DX yesterday evening but I only got some local QSOs on 14.070MHz before the band closed.

Another ham might respond:

Were you running barefoot or did you turn on your linear?

A non-ham, who's a pal and a good sport about ham stories, would respond:

Wow, cool. (nods head, empty stare)

The average non-ham, however, would respond:

Huh? Are you even speaking English?

Truth is, hams have their own made-up language, kind of like Esperanto but it sounds deceptively like English. But the layperson or ham-wannabe can learn to speak ham (or at least comprehend some of it) with a little help.

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