Balloon Antenna Doesn’t Need a Tower

What do you do with floral wire and balloons from Dollar Tree? If you are [Ham Radio Crash Course], you make a ham radio antenna. Floral wire is conductive, and using one piece as a literal sky hook and the other as a ground wire, it should do something. He did use, as you might expect, a tuner to match the random wire length.

The first attempt had too few balloons and too much wind. He eventually switched to a non-dollar store helium tank. That balloon inflates to about 36 inches and appears to have plenty of lift. It looks like by the end he was using two of them.

One of the difficulties with the wind was that the line kept tangling on other antennas. But if you really wanted to use a balloon antenna, we’d guess you don’t already have some large antennas in the way. We do hope, though, that the utility lines you can see behind the yard are further away then they look. Tangling in those would be detrimental to your health and your radio.

It looks like the antenna did a good job, although using PSK31 can cover a multitude of sins since you don’t need a lot of signal to make contacts with that mode.

We’ve seen emergency antennas lofted by kites and balloons, especially for the military. Not the first time one of those helium canisters has shown up, either.


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