ALIEN – ALtitude Imaging Entering Near-space

June 3, 2009

Yagi contruction (Part 1)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — abreton @ 20:17

Last Thursday saw the ALIEN team over at Daniel’s house in Yateley (wherever that is) in order to build and test a yagi antenna. This piece of apparatus is used to receive the radio signals from the balloon. Being a bunch of cheapskates, my colleagues decided to not buy a pre-made one, but instead googled ‘cheap yagi’. This ended up in them reassuring me that all ‘beef’ was completely nonexistent and that we could build one. I arrived on the scene of the workshop to find those two fools drilling into a PVC with seemingly all sense of precision completely lost into the ether. Much sighing ensued, and to recuperate I dug into Daniel’s extensive supplies of Cadbury’s Twirl. 

After much sighing and usage of duct tape (the star material on the build), we had a complete antenna. It looked…ahem…well….you guessed it-crap. To call it tacky would be an enormous insult to a whole range of toys that come out of China’s factories in their billions every year. Nonetheless, it was time for a test run at nearby Blackbushe airport. To our dismay, it was just as **** as it looked. Even the omnidirectional whip antenna provided with the transceiver was better. Having run out of ideas as to what was wrong, we turned to UKHAS’ IRC channel #highaltitude for advice. There, the crushing statement ‘antennas have to be quite precise’ was delivered-ours really wasn’t. It was a piece of poorly drilled PVC with wire taped to it and supported with duct tape. Our yagi was promptly binned, and we are contemplating what we should do next in light of our complete failure.

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