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Ohio ARES to Sponsor “NVIS Antenna Day”

04/14/2015

Ohio Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) will sponsor “NVIS Antenna Day” on Saturday, April 25. The idea, said Ohio Section Emergency Coordinator Stan Broadway, N8BHL, is to determine if the sometimes-vaunted near-vertical incidence skywave — or NVIS — concept really works as an antenna for emergency communication on HF. NVIS, is a technique that allows using HF for highly reliable short-range communication.

“We are encouraging groups in every Ohio county to devise several portable NVIS antennas that they think will perform, and then actually test them on the air,” Broadway said. The program grew out of an annual antenna party in Ashtabula Count that has been both operating event and early spring picnic, Broadway said. Participants “found a vast difference in actual antenna performance, and have been able to narrow down their choices for a real emergency setup,” he explained. Ashtabula County Amateur Radio Club-ARES is sponsoring NVIS Antenna Day.

Ohio ARES NVIS Antenna Day will begin at 1400 UTC with operation on both 40 and 80 meters at 100 W, “as you might during a real emergency,” Broadway said. “While a typical session might go through the afternoon, there is no official closing time.” He pointed out that those taking part in NVIS Antenna Day don’t have to set up completely portable or remote stations, the location should offer sufficient space for several antennas and be in a fairly quiet RF environment.

Suggested frequencies are 7240, 7244, 7248, and 7250 kHz, and 3850, 3870 and 3930 kHz on SSB and 3585 and 7072 for digital modes, all plus or minus existing activity.

Broadway stressed that the event is not a contest but is aimed specifically at determining the best of several NVIS antenna designs through signal reports and coverage area. “A group could very well make several contacts with the same station as they try different antennas,” he said. “Stations at key locations, such as the Ohio EOC, will be on the air.”

Broadway asked participating groups to list their top three antennas with descriptions and photos. “Ohio ARES will see if any particular antenna design bubbles up as the top performer across the entire state,” he said. “Antenna experimentation is an integral part of the hobby, and the outcome will benefit each ARES group or club by helping to create an arsenal that can be deployed during a real emergency.

As an added benefit, he noted, the event also could be a terrific opportunity to test potential Field Day antennas. NVIS Antenna Day is open to all hams, and Broadway hopes they will become interested in joining their local ARES organizations. A poster/report form is available. For more information, contact Ashtabula ARC-ARES. — Thanks to Ohio SEC Stan Broadway, N8BHL



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