Tape Measure Antenna Plans

Last week, I posted about Radio Direction Finding.  It is an activity within ham radio which uses techniques to track down the sources of radio transmissions using radio equipment.  Since it generally only involves receiving transmissions, (and not making them,) anyone…even those who are not licensed…can participate and practice these skills.

Listed here are a number of sites which have detailed plans on making a type of directional antenna that is commonly used for this activity.  These antennas are known as “tape measure yagis.”  You can make one inexpensively from items found mostly from your local hardware store.  (I think I made mine for under $20.) If you are resourceful, I bet you can make one for even less.

This is a fairly quick project to make, and for those of you who may be new to antenna building, this is a fairly easy one as well (assuming you are comfortable with trying your hand at soldering.)

Please note that using this kind of antenna is only part of the equation for good Radio Direction Finding.  One, of course, needs a good HT radio.  You will also need good ears.  Having an S-meter on your HT would be helpful as well.  Besides all that, you will also need some way to attenuate the signal when you get closer to the transmission source.  This could be accomplished by the use of an attenuator, or effective attenuation could be achieved by skill.  Of course, general proficiency in using radio equipment would be most beneficial.  In fact, even if RDF is the only thing you wish to do with a radio, I would still recommend getting an amateur radio license so that you can gain a better understanding of radio physics in general.

By the way, if you are a licensed ham, a tape measure yagi can also be used to transmit as well.

Here are the websites that I am recommending for tape measure yagi antenna plans:





Also, here is a good website explaining tape measure yagi antennas much more in depth:


If you take on this project, I hope you enjoy it!






Radio Direction Finding

Sooooo…..one may ask what this may have to do with prepping?

There is a wide diversity of activities found within amateur radio.  The average person is likely not aware that such versatility even exists.  Slow-scan television (SSTV) is such an activity, and storing and retrieving messages from satellites may be another.  To be honest, the topic of ham radio is so broad that most hams have only experienced only a fraction of what amateur radio has to offer.

One of these activities is known as Radio Direction Finding.

Radio Direction Finding (RDF) is also known as transmitter hunting or “fox” hunting. What exactly is Radio Direction Finding?  It is the use of radio equipment to seek and find the source of a given transmission.  The transmitter that is being sought is often referred to as the “fox,” and participants must use their radio equipment and their skills to try to pinpoint its location.  Sometimes the “hunt” is within a small area such as a park where the seekers search for it on foot.  Other times, the pursuit may be in a region as large as a city where the participants must drive around and use their equipment to track down the point of transmission. Think of it as electronic “hide and go seek.”  It is enjoyed by many hams as a hobby, and it is seen by some as a viable sport. I have found this to be a very rewarding activity where I have not only learned about this aspect of ham radio, but I have used this as an opportunity to increase my emergency communications skills overall.

So…again, how might this relate to anything to do with prepping…or emergency communications for that matter? Continue reading “Radio Direction Finding”

ITU Alphabet Bookmarks

I’ve neglected you all for far too long…

It’s been awhile since I posted last.  (Bad petite…BAAAAD petite…)  Truth be told, my real life took precedence over my virtual one.

Anyway…in the interest of bringing you some new content to ponder, it’s back to business…

In my exploits into emergency communications, I find that having references on hand helps me tremendously.  I simply just can’t remember everything all of the time.  Just…can’t…do…it.

So I make references for myself to have on hand if and when my brain decides to have a blank moment…which seems to happen more often as I get older. (*sigh*)

Here is one of those references.  It is a bookmark displaying the ITU alphabet.  Feel free to print a copy.  You may print as many as you would like.  The only thing I ask is that you do not make a profit off of these.  Fair enough, right?

Enjoy…and 73’s


Do You Have the “Right Antenna” for the Job?

This has been on my mind a lot lately.

It may be because I’m in the process of building a few.

It is also because it has come into real sharp focus for me lately.   It’s an important lesson to learn: Without the proper gear, you may not get the job done.  Although that’s true with many aspects of preparedness, it happens to be very true with emergency communications.  Yes, skill matters more, but all the skills in the world will not compensate for the wrong gear for the job in many situations.  You may be the best informational communicator out there…but that means nothing if no one can hear you.

Continue reading “Do You Have the “Right Antenna” for the Job?”

Enjoying the Holidays by Candlelight (When the Candlelight Is Not by Choice)

The holidays are upon us.

This is my favorite time of year.  Twinkling lights, music, good food, time with family, Christmas readings, gifts…so many traditions…and often so little time.  I enjoy this season tremendously.


Have you ever considered what would the holidays be like if the lights went out? Continue reading “Enjoying the Holidays by Candlelight (When the Candlelight Is Not by Choice)”