Following several references to the BCS and no satisfactory
explanation of what it was, let me try:
Three low banders in Battle Creek MI (which most of you would know as
the home of Kellog's) designed, built and maintain these antennas.
They also dispatch them to DXpeditioners on a regular basis. The
three are Charlie W0CD and Georges, W8UVZ and K8GG.
The antenna is basically a Minooka Special, modified to be easily
transportable. There are two flavours: Aluminium and wire (or
'flavors' and 'aluminum' if you insist).
The aluminium version fits into a custom made crate, something like
250 x 250 x 1800 mm (10 x 10 x 72"). Two people can easily erect the
antenna in an hour or two, using only a screwdriver. Comprehensive
waterproof instructions, radial wire, guy stakes, guy lines, a nut
driver, the necessary clamps and the feed transformer are all
included in the crate.
The antenna itself is a full size vertical on 40, with a trap above
it. The remainder of the vertical section completes an electrical
quarter wave on 80, and is something like 15 m (48') tall. Right at
the top, there is another trap, from which a wire is extended
horizontally (or approximately so) to resonate the entire thing on
The base is fed directly on 40 and 80, but a 2:1 transformer is
required to operate the inverted L on 160. A switchable transformer
box is provided for this purpose.
There are several of these antennas, and they have been responsible
for the good low band signals from most of the recent major
DXpeditions. The first large scale expedition that used these
antennas was 3Y5X. That particular antenna went on to be used at
8Q7AJ, ZS0Z, ZS9Z, V51Z, 7P8EN, 3DA0Z, ZS8IR and a number of ZS6
locations (ZS6P, ZS6BCR, ZS6NW etc.). It was substantially damaged
on Marion Island, due to prolonged exposure to gale force winds. The
Battle Creek crowd has offered to have the antenna shipped back and
to refurbish it for further operations this year.
The wire version is obviously easier to transport, but more difficult
to install unless you have a convenient support nearby.
Those of you that chase DX on the low bands probably all owe at least
a handful of new band counters to these antennas.
The antennas are made with lots of effort and care, and would not be
commercially viable by virtue of the amount of work required. The
entire fleet is maintained without formal financial support, and
these guys do it as a labour of love to the low band DXing community.
If you've benefited from these antennas (and the chances are that you
have, unless you only own a tribander or you're a devout rag-chewer),
it might not be a bad idea to contribute to the constructors, as they
refurbish and supply these antennas to DXpeditions on an ongoing
Chris R. Burger
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