Since the early 80’s, Paul Leib KH6HME has been operating a beacon system from the 8200-foot level of the 14000-foot Mauna Loa volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii. Every summer, band openings occur across 2500 miles of Pacific Ocean to the west coast of North America, and the beacons – at just the right altitude to enter the natural duct – tip off hams to this remarkable phenomenon. Then Paul would rush… make that crawl… up a rutted mountain road to make two-way contacts on bands from two meters through 10 GHz (well, they’re still trying on 10 GHz).
Paul passed away last summer, but the beacon lives on, supported by a new club, the California Pacific Amateur Radio Club. One of the club founders, Fred Honnold KH7Y, gave us an extensive tour of the beacon, and we talked about Ham Radio in Hawaii in general.