I hate wasps!

I spent most of this afternoon in the jungle working on Beverage antennas. First, I took down my original northeast (NA) Beverage. This antenna worked well for me. Without it, I would not have completed Worked All States on 160m (a first from Guam). Still, it was a noisy antenna when compared to my European RX wire. My new NA Beverage provides the same DX signal strength, but has a noise floor 12dB lower when compared to the original one. This allows me to hear much better overall.

Once I removed the NA Beverage, I started cutting a path to relocate the wire in an easterly direction. this would be my new South American Beverage, pointed at 110 degrees which generally covers CQ zones 32, 31, 10, 11, 12, and 13. It was very slow going, and the growth in this direction is the heaviest I have encountered.

As I was cutting some brush, I stumbled into an unseen wasp nest. WHAM! They got me good as I dropped everything and retreated. I could not find where the nest was located – so I decided to flank it. As I walked around the suspect area – WHAM! I got nailed again by a second nest! At this point, I hopped back on my bike and rode the 1.5 miles around the fence, through the front gate, and back to my house to retrieve a can of wasp killer. I will win!

After riding the 1.5 miles back to the jungle, I finally located the two nests. These things are almost invisible, and generally it takes getting stung to realize you are disturbing a nest. The following series of photos shows what I mean.

There is a large wasp nest in this photo. Can you find it?

Can’t see the wasp nest yet? Lets look closer.

The arrow points at the nest

I bet you still can’t see the nest so I drew an arrow to show you.

Here is a zoomed in photo showing the first wasp nest (in the center of the photo). These are paper wasps, more commonly called “boonie wasps” here on Guam. They are *very* common to Guam, and I generally have to spray a nest at my house every month or so. Their scientific name is Polistes Stigma, and they are found throughout Australia/Indonesia/SW Pacific area.

Anyway, I sprayed both nests and grabbed the machete to continue work on my path. My second whack into the brush and *WHAM* I got stung on the face and ran backwards as I saw many more flying straight toward me. Really? A third nest? This just isn’t my day.

Lets play “find the nest” again.

The arrow points to the 3rd wasp nest I ran into today.

This nest is only about 3 feet from one of the others I already sprayed. Still, it was invisible to me until too late.

You can really see the barbs on the foliage I’m trying to cut a path through. Once I took care of this third nest, I moved forward very warily! I kept hoping I would break through into a clearing, but it never happened.

I almost expect to see a dinosaur pop out from the foliage. This is the growth my new East Beverage traverses.

I was hoping to cut a path at least 600ft long in this direction. It was not to be: 300ft into the path, I ran into a wall of plant life that would be impossible to pass without a bulldozer. This is as far as I can go in this direction!

The End of the Road

At this point I sunk a ground rod, ran out two radials, and terminated the 300ft of Beverage antenna I ran out so far.

For a termination, I use a home made insulator from PVC and an Ohmite 470 Ohm, 2W carbon composition resistor. I prefer to use #18 copper clad steel wire for the Beverage runs. It’s strong, light weight, and cheap should someone steal it.

So, as of right now, I have a 300ft long Southeast Beverage. It shows promise; T30RH (bearing 110 degrees from me) is louder on this new RX antenna than both my vertical and other Beverages (as expected). Fortunately, I can run the wire about 400ft in the other direction, relocating the feed point to where it intersects my new NA Beverage feed line. At that point, I will insert my remote antenna switch into the feed line. This will give me a 700ft+ long Beverage toward the Southeast, which should perform very well. I know the jungle is thick in the direction I still need to traverse, however it is not impenetrable like the area I ran into today. I found four wasp nests in total. The fourth I dispatched without incident. The final score on the day however, was 3 to 1, wasps won.