I noticed two gems on the Internet today. The first was a post on Reddit that made mention of a U.S. Navy project to research the possibility of using streams of salt water in lieu of traditional antennas.
The use of salt water as an “amplifier” for seaside HF operators is said to be a good way to boost a signal, with folks going so far as putting a radial or portion of the antenna into the seawater itself. But in this case, the water actually becomes the antenna by being forced into a stream between a round doughnut-shaped magnet. Consequently, you attach your coax to the magnet and vary the resonance of the sea water antenna by raising the height of the stream.
From the project page:
UHF frequencies require a 2-foot high stream of water, while VHF and HF frequencies require 6-foot and 80-foot high streams (respectively). The width of the stream determines the antenna’s bandwidth. The antenna requires a relatively small footprint and can be modified to accommodate multiple frequencies and bandwidths by stacking current probes and adding additional spray nozzles.
There’s a great YouTube video also, showing an operator making a VHF contact with the sea water antenna.
Anyway, it looks like that project goes back to 2009 or so, although it popped to the top of the list today on the excellent Amateur Radio Reddit. I found it so interesting I mentioned it on the local 2 meter net tonight.
Elsewhere on the net, KB6NU took an insightful look at the role of emcomm in amateur radio, or more specifically, is the focus on emcomm “over the top.”
I’ve often mentioned to some fellow hams that I’d be happy to help during a crisis, but would prefer to leave that role to trained professionals. Many of the folks I know here in town do work in ARES, RACES, Skywarn, MARS and AuxComm, so it wouldn’t surprise me if I follow them into this area of radio as well. Our club participates in a fair amount of emcomm training, so there are opportunities to learn more about how to help in a crisis.