I'll bet not to many of you have been setting up antennas on the ice, after all Field Day is held in the summer, and not in the middle of winter!
Well lately I built a very portable antenna for 10-40 meters to use in the field, and I in particular I wanted to use it while ice fishing.
Guess what.....setting up antennas presents a interesting problem in the winter with the ground frozen or on the ice, as how do you stand the antenna up and then guy it?
I was faced with this exact dilemma the first time I took my new vertical antenna out..
In the end it was a easy problem to overcome, as all you need is a cordless drill equipped with a suitable sized drill-bit for the holes you need.
In my case the spike on the bottom of my mast assembly for my vertical antenna is 1/2" diameter, and the aluminum anchors for the Dacron guy-lines are also 1/2" diameter, so it was as simple as drilling a 1/2" hole to drop the antenna in, and then drilling the 4 holes required for the anchors.
Another thing you need are line-tensioners like you use with a tent for anchoring it, as you cannot adjust the guy-lines by simply tensioning the anchors and pushing them into the ice like you would in the summer on soft ground.
So what you do is drill the angle hole required in the ice the distance from the antenna required, leaving slack in the guy-line.
Then push the anchor in the hole and adjust the guy-line with the plastic line-tensioner, its that simple.
On another note and although not absolutely necessary, you also need a snow-shovel for clearing the ice while setting up your favorite antenna.
Those of us living in winter climate areas of the world like Canada, have access to cool toys not found in warm climates.
The all aluminum pack-shovel pictured here is one of those cool devices, as this is a very specialized shovel carried by back-country travellers, whether they be snowboarders, snowmobilers, cross-country skiers, ice-fishermen, and the like.
This shovel collapses to make it packable,and the holes in the blade allow it to be lashed to a pack, and the feature I like best of all is the fact that this particular shovel has a snow-saw attached to the handle, and by pushing the spring-loaded button just beneath the handle, the saw can be removed from the shovel for use. and you now have the means to cut snow-blocks and build shelters.
This particular snow-shovel is built right here in Alberta, but there are dozens of other pack-shovels available from suppliers like MEC (Mountain Equipment Co-op) and others.
Click on the photo to expand it.....
Check out my latest blogpost here on playing ham radio on the ice.....