Monster San Diego Ham Antenna Revealed
In response to the last blog posting, a San Diego Amateur radio operator kindly forwarded to the Curmudgeon the enclosed photograph and some of his observations of the monster residential ham antenna that set off the furor with the city government. The enclosed photo shows the situation on the ground there. For identification, this antenna is a MonstIR Yagi ($5K, not including supporting mast or installation costs), which can be remotely tuned to resonance from 40 through 6 meters (7 through 50 MHz).
The antenna is installed at a prestige home in the pricey Mount Soledad section of the neighborhood of La Jolla. The residence is essentially sitting at the bottom of a small, natural valley, surrounded by low hills on three sides (the three that lie in the general direction of North America and Europe)! It is not an optimum geographical location from which to operate a contest-grade ham station.
In the photograph the antenna is depicted in its “storage” position. The motorized winch on that mast will crank the aluminum rods up to a level of about 85 feet above grade. Not surprisingly, that takes the Yagi right up to eye level for people looking west out the windows of the row of houses above and behind his! And that leaves those home-owners quite understandably howling that their multi-million dollar hill-top view of La Jolla beaches and the Pacific has been greatly compromised by an installation over which they have no control and from which they get no benefit. If the Curmudgeon lived up there on “Got-Rocks Heights,” he too would be right in the middle of the howling mob as well!
If the ham in question transmits to the east with any (competitive) amount of RF power and the antenna is at its full extended height, the people in the homes above will be irradiated with his station’s reactive near-field emissions. The Curmudgeon has done RFE exposure evaluations and he understands that the FCC-mandated non-occupational emissions limits for the homeowners will still not be exceeded even with this setup. Thus the health of the neighbors will probably not be at put at risk by the operations of the station. But why should they have any exposure at all from the elevated, proximate antenna?
This “VOA-wannabe” Amateur station should have been built out in the back-country and then operated via Internet remote control. That would have been rational, and the ham technology for doing this kind of thing is well established. Instead, a seemingly willful Amateur licensee installed this monstrosity at his home. And, perhaps $250,000 in legal fees and court costs later, all the 3,700 City of San Diego Amateurs will find out whether he gets to keep it. And also whether they get to keep their own, generally far more modest Amateur Yagis.
It’s enough to gag a maggot!
“Let’s keep SAN DIEGO safe for RF!”
The Old RF Curmudgeon