... Portable Remote, in the desert Southwest, USA
Why is it called a "Snorkel"?
Because as I experimented with camo paint
I found that it resembled the paint scheme
on the snorkel/periscope of a submarine.
It's not really an "antenna" in it's current
configuration. It's a multi use mast. The photos
here show it as the center support for a wire dipole.
It can also quickly be configured for a pair of
horizontal hamsticks, a vertical ground plane
or whatever else I might conceive of.
First two shots show the base and lowest
section. The coax is spiraled around the mast
to help break up the vertical lines. The camo
paint is also applied to try and break up any
symmetrical shaped objects (the mast joints).
|Break the Symmetry
Disguise a man made object by
Breaking up any symmetry that
tends to suggest "man made object".
The mast itself is the most obvious symmetrical
object. It gets broken up a bit by the coax
wrapped around the mast (and painted to match).
Notice the diagonal stripes of camo on the
mast joints. That tends to break up it's symmetry.
I deliberately left the upper most joint knobs/bolts
all one color. Note how they are not as disguised
as the parts with paint breakup.
Note also the 3/8" hole in the mast near the
top section photo on the far left. Holes are always
dark due to shadows. That hole shows up really well
on it's field of TAN (light color) paint.
The hole in the right photo is "split" with 50/50
light and dark paint. That "split" tends to
disguise the hard edges of the hole.
|Man Made Objects
in Natural Settings
With the snorkel against a background of
foliage and trees, it begins to blend
The background is a visual collection of
light and dark, asymmetrical "blotches".
I attempted to do the same thing with
my camo paint experiments.
I actually painted the mast while it was
in place, where you see it in the pics.
That way, I could use the background to
help suggest where I might want
either light or dark "blotches"
on the mast.
|Where did it Go?
The mast is obviously stationary.
The viewer is typically not stationary.
As the viewpoint moves around the mast,
the background changes and tends to
help or hurt the camo/disguise effect.
In the right most photo, the mast is
visually inline with the palm tree.
It has virtually disappeared from view.
|Nothing Obtrusive Here
Leftmost photo is a view from
the bridle path/alley at the
rear of our property. Somewhere
in that "visual confusion" is the
snorkel mast, as well as a 2m
jpole mounted on an 8' pole
on the roof.
Can you spot the two antennas?
Rightmost photo shows how the top
of the snorkel (bulky balun, mounts)
tends to disappear if the viewpoint
places that top area in a naturally
occurring visual "cluster". In this
case, the branch/leaf swell at the
top of the tree produces the
visual cluster that helps hide the mast.
|Move the Mast
In the next few photos
I've moved the snorkel
about 12 feet. It's now
a little closer to the palm
tree in the center of most
of the photos.
The top of the snorkel is in the area
surrounded by the central palm tree.
Note how you can just barely
see the dipole wires. Compare that
with the picture below, where the
wire is illuminated by the sun
at my back.
Note also how the rightmost wire seems to
stop being visible near the edge of the pic.
See below for that explanation.
|Disguise the Wire
See the wire that runs generally
from the palm tree toward the left
side of the photo? It's pretty visible
because it is reflecting the sun,
which is at my back.
Note also how the wire reflection
seems to stop near the edge of the photo.
That's not camera/sun angle, it's a
different style of wire. The first 17 feet
of wire is stranded copperflex. The rest of the
wire is plain steel electric fence wire.
The steel fence wire has oxidized on the reel
and has a dull, grey finish. It would apparently
be productive to the disguise goal to either
use steel, weathered wire, or to somehow allow
or force the copper wire to develop patina
to reduce the telltale reflections.
|Utilize Sun Glare
and Similar Visual Objects
In the photo on the left, the camera is
looking generally INTO the sun.
This makes it more difficult
for the viewer to discern visual
clues that suggest "man made object".
The photo on the right shows the
single, vertical antenna mast,
in a field of other vertical objects.
Can you spot the snorkel? The upper
sections are in the area where you see
the brick chimney and roof mounted A/C unit.
Rapid Deploy Station
Urban Desert Ops
EMT Conduit Antenna
Recycled 2m Yagi
Mil Mobile Base
6m Ground Plane
Return to QTH
The rest of my life?