Contesting in Hawaii–H2O versus your antenna


Big Island ARRL News, 25 April 2017, 15:25 hrs, UTC, Post #180.


Author:  Kimo Chun (KH7U).

Accessed on 25 April 2017, 15:25 hrs, UTC.

Please click link to read the full story and to see the photos.


Thanks to Kimo Chun (KH7U) and Stacy Holbrook (KH6OWL) for this article.  Stacy is the ARRL PIO for Oahu and this article was published in his blog (

Kimo Chun has some interesting thoughts for radio amateurs operating from Hawaii.  Contesting from the “Aloha State” can be a challenge, considering the ups and downs of solar activity this year.  One of the main problems of ham radio activities is the effect of environmental conditions on our stations and antennas.  In this article, Kimo shows what our wet climate does to towers and antennas.  Slowly, but surely, moisture robs our antennas of efficiency and can contribute to safety issues.  Kimo shows us some of the damage done in a relatively short time to contest station antennas, towers, and rotators.

Kimo offers some advice which is best not ignored:

“Maintaining equipment or making improvements always seems to consume lots of time when you’re trying to keep your station ready for contests or for em-comm. This is magnified if you’re trying to keep multiple towers and station setups going as we have at KH6YY. The elements always win…meaning water. Well, the Sun plays a role as does wind. Nothing like the repeated pounding that trade winds do to break or loosen something.”

“Let’s get back to water. There is a rule: if it has threads on it and it will be outside use anti-seize compound. Besides plain zinc-plated and galvanized screws, this includes hot-dipped galvanized and stainless steel hardware. This is especially true when using dissimilar metals like stainless steel screws into aluminum housings (like Hy-Gain / CDE rotators). In Hawaii this rule is very critical. If you have any desire to remove the screw later you had better follow the rule. The one exception would be in high vibration situations where a thread-locking compound might be used instead. The thought that a screw will loosen due to the use of anti-seize is false. If loosening is an issue you should be using a locking washer or a jam nut. Be careful, however, different metals require different formulations of anti-seize compound AND ones NOT to use. You should observe the specifications on the manufacturer’s label. If you have questions please feel free to contact me.”

The key message is clear:  You must maintain your antennas and related equipment if you plan to stay competitive and safe in Hawaii’s tropical environment.

Don’t forget “Radio Day”, Saturday, 29 April 2017, beginning at 9 a.m., at the Eden Roc park and community pavilion.  For details, contact Kim at

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Opinions expressed in this blog are mine unless otherwise stated.

Thanks for joining us today.

Aloha es 73 de

Russell Roberts (KH6JRM)

Public Information Coordinator

Hawaii County, ARRL Pacific Section

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