Today was one of those days at work where I got to do some real testing. Often when we deploy the GATR antenna, people ask how it holds up in the wind. We have maintained a datalink through 40 mph gusts when Hurricane Ivan came through this area years ago. We know it works just fine, but we felt that we needed a video that shows that the GATR is durable in high winds. I borrowed my father’s trailer, grabbed my tripod and camera, and Paul brought his video recorder and we had ourselves a test. We inflated the antenna on the trailer and set up the video and tripod looking out the back window of my truck.
In order to simulate wind loading, I pulled the trailer at different speeds. On the road in front of our facility, we achieved 50 mph. The antenna was pretty stable at this speed. We were very pleased with the performance of the antenna, but curiosity still existed, “I wonder what happens around 75 mph”. So we moved our experiment over to Redstone Road and opened it up. Now we had drag coefficient curves for a sphere and we collected load pull data in the cables supporting the ball, but I don’t want to bore you with science. Here are the video results
The tests show that as long as the GATR is secured to the ground properly, it can survive winds in excess of 75 mph. I don’t expect anyone would leave a GATR out in winds this high since it takes about 5 minutes to deflates and move the antenna, but if you did leave it up and a striaghtline wind hit it or a mysterious sand storm blows up, the GATR would be fine. Did I mention that I love my job?