NOTA BENE: Without further elaboration, here is some tried and trusted safety information. Wires suspended in the wind will accumulate static charge. My current solution is to use high-value (0.1 - 1 megohm) resistors between the base of the antenna (or antenna feeder) and ground. A spark gap is another method, but I don’t fancy sparks. Talking of which, don’t fly a kite in a lightning storm; or near electricity supply cables; or near horses; et cetera.

I wanted to escape the QRM of suburbia; and I wanted to get some exercise and fresh air; and so I decided to fly a kite antenna.

First, I needed some knowledge. The first site I encountered on the web was G4VGO’s kite and balloon antenna site. Lots of good info there. And then I wanted some advice about choosing a kite. G4ROJ’s site got me thinking about sleds, and then the Midlands Kite Fliers gave me a welcome and a helping hand.

For antenna and feeder, I use 1mm bare aluminium wire. Lighter and cheaper than copper, it will not take a lot of strain, but it knows how to fly.

The kite I have used so far is a Premier Power Sled 24 (no longer available at Kiteworld, but they sell equivalent models). This kite does not pull quite vertically, even in a stiff breeze. Other kite types, such as delta conynes and other box kites, are reputed to pull more vertically; they are also supposed to be more stable in gusty winds.

For this kite I have used 250lb flying line. I secure the kite to the ground with dog stakes. The other piece of gear that springs to mind is a grip, which I use to walk the kite down.

Having found traditional flying line spools time-consuming and size-restricting, one thing I have developed for myself is a winder for flying line, antenna wire and support cord. It is a 600mm length of 40mm diameter PVC pipe, with notches cut 100mm into the ends. Winding and unwinding is now quite fast.

Another recent innovation is to wrap gaffer tape over the flying line before tying it to another piece of flying line; this is to reduce friction; probably not as reliable or as lightweight as proper sleeving, but I was in a hurry.

I have discovered another use for that grip. Having used it to walk the sled kite down, push it over the spars at the front of the kite, to close the air inlets and prevent the kite from lifting off again.

kite antennas: inverted vee variable vertical