QuartzFest 2016

I drove two hours west from Phoenix last Saturday to Quartzite, Arizona for the swapfest at the end of 2016’s week long Quartzfest. The pickings were slim, however, and I came away empty handed.

But by no means was the trip a waste. On the contrary, I wandered in fascination for an hour among the several hundred trailers, motor homes and tents looking at an amazing variety of antennas. I only saw a small fraction of what was there.

Indeed, on more than one occasion as I stood gawking up a mast, the owner noticed my interest and came out unbidden to give me the details, usually at great length including his improvised assembly jigs, assembly and erection gyrations, and how it all packed up for transport to the next place. On the air, a lot of hams say little more than the a terse signal report and “73” but, in person and extolling the virtues of their pet sky hook, they more than made up for their “on air” brevity.

I was most impressed with the K4HEX six band directional beam with its 5.5 db gain over a dipole and front to back ratio of 20 db. As seen in these pictures, it covers 6, 10, 12, 15, 17 and 20 meter bands without adjustment. It looks like an upside-down umbrella to contact ET’s home planet but it radiates out the side. One owner said it takes him about 90 minutes to assemble and raise. For transport, it breaks down to a four foot long pouch for transport. (Mast and rotor not included.)

Hoisting an antenna as high up as possible is always good – my palm tree vertical dipole back home for 20 meters has its center feed point 40’ up – but the fellows with these funny looking umbrellas reported lots of contacts from no more than 25’ up.

Next year, I’ll check the events calendar for the “antenna walk-around” and come for that instead of the swap meet.



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