W6SDO.COM SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA USA
the W6KOA “KITES ON AIR” group
We are a group of like-minded folks who have combined our ham radio hobby with our enjoyment of flying kites. We like to
design and develop kite-flown antennas as well as make HF radio contacts using antennas that are mounted onto or
supported from kites. These kite-antennas can then be flown at picnics, field days, kite festivals, special events and the
occasional fun day at the beach. Our ham radio contacts using these kite-antennas are made under the group’s “KITES ON
AIR” call sign W6K0A and occasionally using the special event call K6K. Our favorite flying spots are Tecolote Shores,
Fiesta Island and Mariner’s Point on the Mission bay in San Diego.
The story of our first kite-antenna test, which we conducted April 16, 2016, was published in the AMAERICAN KITEFLYERS
ASSOCIATION fall 2016 issue of KITING magazine. Most of our group are members of the CONVAIR/220 AMATEUR RADIO
CLUB and/or the SAN DIEGO KITE CLUB.
Our goal is to participate in different ham radio and kiting events using kite-antennas. We also want to make kite-to-kite
contacts with other hams around the country. Another goal is to develop better, lighter and more efficient kite-supported
ham radio antennas and to provide that information to others interested in kite-antennas.
OUR CURRENT KITES AND ANTENNAS:
At the present time we are evaluating the flight and lifting characteristics of three different kites 1) a 12 foot Delta, 2) a 10
foot Delta Conyne and 3) a 65 x 80 inch Rokkaku – which is the same size as the kite used by Marconi in 1901 for his
transatlantic transmission. We have built and are testing five different antennas 1) a 20 meter horizontal dipole carried on
the 12 foot delta, 2) a 20 meter vertical center fed dipole, 3) a 20 meter super light-weight 5/8 wavelength ground-mounted
vertical , 4) a 160 meter quarter wave vertical and 5) a 20/40 meter inverted V fan dipole. The later four can be suspended
below one of the lifting kites. Each of these antennas is designed for a specific use ranging from local (US) contacts to DX
and band-specific or special event contests. We power these antennas from a 500 watt mobile rig, a 200 watt mobile rig, a
100 watt all band “garden cart” portable or our various go-boxes.
SOME FUTURE EVALUATION AND TESTING:
Because the success of using kite-antennas depends greatly on the availability of sufficient wind occurring during the time
that it is desired to make radio contacts, we are considering alternate antenna lifting techniques such as lighter than air
balloons and kite-balloons, or even RC drone quadcopters.
Balloons could be substituted for kites when there is no wind or very light winds – but would lose altitude quickly as the wind
speed increases due to a balloon’s lift-to-drag ratio. Helikites or kitoons would be better lifters as the wind speed rises but
are expensive. RC drone lifters should be suitable when there is little or no winds but would provide limited time aloft due to
the capacity of the battery and load that can be carried.
OUR CURRENT EVENT CALENDAR:
1. First proof of concept test April 16, 2016.
2. Memorial Day Weekend 2016 using the K6K special event call sign.
3. New Year’s Day 2017 San Diego Kite Club annual kite festival using call sign K6K.
4. CQ Worldwide 160 meter CW contest January 29 – 31, 2017.
5. CQ Worldwide 160 meter SSB contest February 26 - 29, 2017.
6. International Marconi Day April 22, 2017.
WHEN CAN YOU FIND W6KOA ON THE AIR?
1. The W6KOA station is on the air at least one weekend day each month plus some Wednesdays when the winds and
ionosphere are particularly good.
2. We usually operated on 20 meters, around 14.245 MHz +/- QRM. This allows us to reach North America and Hawaii plus
the occasional DX station.
3. Suitable kite flying winds, along the San Diego coast, usually come up by noon and stay flyable until 3 PM or later (local
time) - so this is the time that we will be on the air using kite-antennas.
Additional information will be posted from time to time on our W6KOA and K6K QRZ pages. We are also considering putting
up a web site where we can post technical and general information as well as event results.
Please contact us if you would like to learn more about our group or our various activities. We’d also like to hear from you if
you would like to make a kite-to-kite contact. Please send your inquiries, comments and suggestions to W6SDO@aol.com