One of the things I enjoy most about amateur radio is the fun of experimenting. I’ve always enjoyed trying new things with antennas to see whether I can improve signal reception and transmission. Recently I purchased an Icom 2m monobander and, along with it, an Arrow yagi antenna. I really like the antenna as it is very light, easily to assemble and disassemble and comes pre-tuned.
My QTH presents several challenges as it is located in a fairly deep “bowl” out of eyesight of local repeaters. On top of that there are significant restrictions on putting antennas up so I need to bear that in mind when considering installation. For my new 2m antenna I decided to try it inside the house initially to see what reception would be like. I was able to just barely get a signal from the repeater with the antenna mounted on a 5 foot pole and then lashed to a five foot ladder.
Last evening I decided to put the antenna up in the attic to see whether the additional height might improve reception. I crawled up into the attic amongst the beams and suspended the yagi, orienting it about the same as it had been downstairs – making it about 30 feet in the air. To my dismay, reception was worse regardless of the antennas’ orientation! The most challenging part of this work was not having the radio up with me in the attic to be able to observe the S-meter as I changed orientation.
After my XYL returned home I asked her to watch the S-meter on the Icom as I rotated the antenna up in the attic. Same result. no matter how I changed orientation, there was no signal. I should note that the antenna was oriented horizontally, I was only rotating it in a horizontal plane.
So, back to the drawing board.
Next, I decided to try holding the antenna out on the small porch to see if having it outside might improve reception. Again, no signal as I held it away from the porch but in the same horizontal orientation that would be optimum for a yago antenna. As I brought the antenna in to the porch my XYL yelled out, “Good signal now!” Strange, considering the antenna was practically in a vertical orientation.
So, back inside, I decided to throw antenna theory out the window and go with what was actually working. I stood near the radio with the antenna positioned vertically. The S-meter moved to nearly S5! As soon as I oriented it horizontally the signal dropped to S0. Although I do not understand how this is possible, it does remind me of old days when my Dad would climb into the attic with a new TV antenna in an effort to help us get the ABC channel back in Binghamton, NY. He would tell us to yell out to him after he was up in the attic if the signal improved. Invariably, we would start to call out, even before he got all the way into the attic, that the picture looked great. He would always get so exasperated.
Here I was, 50 years later, in the same situation. Which just goes to show that theory only goes so far. At some point you need to trust what experience tells you.