N5AAA's Vertical Antenna Project

July, 2004

John, N5AAA recently became radio active again with the IOOK Technology Center's assistance.  Some time ago, John had gotten a vertical antenna.  However, he had not assembled the beast.  When WA8ZWJ came to California for a visit he got motivated to install the vertical.  First you see John driving the post for the vertical support and then driving the ground rod a bit further into the ground.  Next you will see the incredible number of parts required to assemble the vertical.  This reminded Keith and John of the "Old Heathkit" days!  Next you see the vertical being hauled out to the site and installed on it's mounting post.

Much to their chagrin, the vertical did not resonate properly.  After a lot of discussion and measurement, it was decided to remove the "black box" matching network and see if there might be something wrong inside.  As you can imagine, somehow a couple of parts had become dislodged from their proper places on the board.  After a lot more thought and discussion it was decided that it could be fixed and they set out to make the needed repairs.  However, try as they might, the black box continued not to function properly.

Continued efforts over a couple of days still provided no further advance.  The black box matching network still would not work properly.  Since this was a very frustrating item for the two Extra Class Hams, further discussion was continued on the repeater system.  Charlie, NN3V, Vice President of the IOOK, Guru of the IOOK Technology Center and President of the Palomar Amateur Radio Club (PARC) said he would check into our problem and see what he could come up with.  After consulting with Mark, KF6WTN, it was decided to bring up the subject at the club meeting that week.  Mark made quite a presentation about the principals behind how a vertical antenna is supposed to operate and speculated on what might be wrong with the black box.  Everyone did agree that vertical antennas radiate equally poorly in all directions!  However, a solution was beyond the group's ability and the item was tabled.  Mark decided he needed an up close and personal visit with the black box.

Mark and Charlie arrived at John's to see if they could fix the problem with the black box.  Charlie was in charge of making sure that IOOK Technology Center "Quality" was upheld.  Mark was in charge of the electronics.  After some sincere wire tracing and further discussion, Mark decided that two of the wires that had come unsoldered in shipping were hooked up backwards and were actually canceling the signal rather than enhancing it's progress.  Mark and John unsoldered the wires and reconnected them and upon reinstalling the black box matching network to the vertical antenna, it worked!

Below John and Mark marvel at the fact that the antenna is now working properly!

Left: WA8ZWJ at the mic of N5AAA station.  Right: N5AAA has a big smile - he is now "ON THE AIR" thanks to the IOOK Technology Center!

A special thanks to Charlie, NN3V and Mark, KF6WTN for making this moment possible!