W0AIH Antenna Farm

My wife and I just returned from a long weekend visiting family in Minneapolis. On the drive up Friday we went past W0AIH’s antenna farm. When I pointed it out to my wife she made a somewhat emphatic statement regarding how many towers she’d like to see at our QTH. I can tell you that it was a number much lower than that of W0AIH’s count!

As we were preparing to leave this morning I pinged Paul, W0AIH via his website contact form and asked if it would be possible to stop for a quick visit to see his antenna farm. It was early Sunday morning and I figured that it was a long shot and that I should have planned this well in advance. About an hour later as we were at breakfast with my wife’s family my phone rang and it was Paul! He said it would be fine to stop over!

After breakfast we plotted a course for W0AIH’s QTH. We were a bit over two hours away. Paul lives on a 120 acre farm whose primary crop is towers and antennas. He told me that if I was within a mile of his home and couldn’t see his farm that I didn’t belong on the road! : ) He was right! Driving up the long driveway, before you is a scene that you imagine would have been in one of Jeeves’ dreams (W1CJD, Gil) and would cause the average HOA busy body a terminal case of the vapors. There is a lot of steel and aluminum sticking out of the ground!

W0AIH Antenna Farm

Paul is 84 years old and a retired Lutheran minister. He was outside working on his Beverage antennas (he has seven of them) as we drove up and was very welcoming. After introductions he started his tour. He said that he honestly doesn’t know how many towers he has but every one of them has a story. He has obtained most of them from decommissioned commercial radio and TV stations combined with being in the right place at the right time with the right equipment. This coupled with being exceptionally skilled with all things electrical and mechanical has resulted in a lot of amazing towers and antennas.

More of the farm

How about a homebrew three elements on 80 meters?

Three elements on 80m @ 140 feet

3 on 80 @ 140

And of course it rotates!

Not all of the antennas are on a tower. In addition to the seven Beverages there are a lot of wire antennas strung between the towers.

Beverage antenna

Paul and his fellow operators run a big contest station in contests like CQ WW, the CW contest being his favorite. You can read a lot more about Paul’s station on his website here and watch a drone video of the 80m Yagi here.

W0AIH and KA9EAK

We had a great visit with Paul and his wife Mary, WB0PXM. They were very gracious hosts. Superb examples of the fellowship of Amateur Radio operators. They even sent us home with a box of apples from their orchard.

One of Paul and his wife’s cats sat staring out the window, front paws resting on the back of a kitchen chair, as we stood in their kitchen talking. I guess after all these years it’s not that interested in talk of towers and antennas or perhaps it’s thinking, hmm…two elements on 160m, why not?

Cat rest

If I visit Paul’s station again I’ll bring my KX2 and try it out on the three element 80 meter Yagi or 4 over 4 for 20 meters on the 180 foot rotating tower. That would give a whole new meaning to QRP!

As we drove away I assured my lovely wife that I would never go that far while at the same time thinking, it all started with one…

 

Advertisements

4 responses to “W0AIH Antenna Farm

  1. Absolutely amazing! I watched the drone video and believe that’s Paul crawling on the boom of his 80m Yagi – I can’t imagine doing that at any age. A KX2 attached to that Yagi during CQWW would make for an interesting session.

    • It is amazing indeed John and no you wouldn’t catch me doing it either! I think that climbing towers is part of Paul’s exercise program. : )

      I would bet that he has more antenna choices than anyone in North America. In the age old debate of more power or more\better antennas Paul’s choice is “why not both?”

      73,

      Tim
      KA9EAK

  2. I’ve had the pleasure of being a guest op at ‘the farm’ for a couple contests. Paul and Mary are great hosts and truly good people. Having a choice of several beams and rhombics pointed all directions at your fingertips is a real treat during a DX contest! 73 de W0ZF

    • I can well imagine Dave. I have a modest antenna “farm,” which in comparison is actually more of an antenna garden, and I like having choices. Paul has choices upon choices. He asked if I wanted to come up for a contest sometime. We’ll see. I figured that we would stop for maybe 20 minutes to meet him and see his installation. We were there for just short of two hours! They were indeed great hosts and it was fun and interesting to listen to Paul tell the stories of the towers. My wife really enjoyed the visit as well. A real highlight of our trip.

      73,

      Tim
      KA9EAK

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s