[AMRadio] Dealing with Ice on BC Antennas

Donald Chester k4kyv at charter.net
Tue Dec 17 02:58:10 EST 2013

A week ago Friday night we had about 1/4" of ice accumulation, somewhat rare
for these parts. I tried to tune up the 75m transmitter; with a minor
re-adjustment of the matching network in the shack I was able to get the
finals to load up to normal plate current. But adjustment of the remote
controlled tuned circuit out at the base of the tower had no effect whatever
on plate current or antenna loading. The tuning indicator showed that the
tuning capacitor was indeed turning  normally.  I figured the ice had the
open wire line completely swamped out and that I was transmitting into a
frozen dummy load, but I decided to call CQ and see what happened.
Amazingly, someone came back to me and said I had a pretty good  signal.
Then, a station in Washington state called and told me he was hearing me OK
out there.

As soon as the ice melted, everything tuned normally once again. I found it
totally amazing that I was getting out under those conditions. I couldn't
change bands because the door to the dog-house at the base of the tower was
frozen shut with a sheet of ice, so I didn't get to try out the 160m
vertical under those conditions.

Don k4kyv

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