Back into the jungle

It has been a number of months since I walked my Beverage antennas. The weather this year has been unusual in that there has been no dry season per say. We’ve received a lot of rain in the normally dry spring months, enough that there have been no big grass fires normal for this time of year. Today was another rainy day, not too hot and perfect to walk the Beverage antennas.

Fortunately, everything looked better than I expected. As wet as it has been, I expected to find everything heavily overgrown. This was the case in some areas, but for the most part, it was pretty easy going.

Beverage wire overgrown with vines

In the above photo, you can see the Beverage wire in the top right of the photo. It has been heavily overgrown with vines. Some say this is not a big problem, however my experience has shown that this overgrowth attenuates the signal on the receiving end. Essentially, the always-wet growth grounds the antenna wire.

There is not much I can do in these cases but pull off the vines periodically. They grow back every month or so. I suppose I could use insulated wire, however the copper clad steel is cheap, and this area is frequented by hunters. My only Beverage made of insulated wire – the African antenna – is down and chewed to pieces by the pigs. The copper clad steel antenna wire is almost invisible, and it is not all that difficult to spend a couple hours a month clearing off the growth.

I was able to clear off the North American and European antennas. The South American wire is 1/2 cleared off – the far end transits wasp territory and I have no real urge to venture there. The African antenna is down – I will need to replace it before the ST0 DXpedition in a few weeks. I really would like to work them on 160m for a new zone, however I do not have my hopes up since the European pileups will be chaos.