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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

80 Meter Phased Verticles

bob raynor (N4JTE) on February 4, 2009
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80 Meter Vertical Experiment;

Bob Raynor N4JTE

I have spent most of my creative antenna energy on 40 meter wires and have had great success with those experiments. HOWEVER, the 40 meter band shuts off like a light switch here in upstate NY a couple of hours after sunset.

Having had a lot of unexpected fun with phased verticals on 40, I researched a way to get the same benefits on 80, as it seems to be the only band available after dark.

Problem is I don't have two 60ft towers laying around, I know spiderbeam sells them for about $250 but not wanting to spend that much on an “experiment” I was forced into finding a way to use my existing 40ft poles.

I only ventured into phased verticals after figuring out an accurate way to cut feed and phaselines as detailed in previous articles. That epiphany opened a whole new area of experiments for the lower bands. The other revelation that got me going was the value of the Christman method of obtaining correct phase angles using 50ohm coax in place of complicated L/C constants which are beyond my math/circuit board experience.

THE PLAN;

  • Utilize 2 available 40ft. pushup poles spaced 1/8 WL apart and achieve the theoretical gain of 3DBD in switched directions.

  • Incorporate the phaselines as detailed by ON4UN in his bible, “Lowband DX'ing.” Based on the unique qualities of 135 degree phasing.

  • Top load the 33ft. existing verticals with a (T) loading wire of appropriate length of #18 insulated wire to achieve resonance.

  • Cut (2) phase lines at 157 degrees and (1) delay line at 39 degrees,

  • Wire up 12v DPDT relay to achieve reverse capability.

  • Wait for snow/ice temperature to go above 18 degrees!

  • THE REALITY;

    0x01 graphic
    My understanding of shortened verticals tells me that any loading system should be as close to the top as possible, I queried my fellow Elmers on Eham and and realized pretty early on that a coil at the base would be far from ideal. Adding wire at the top is the way to go and my lazy alternative of adding bottom fed coils was rejected.

    If ON4UN is correct, and he usually is, he tells us that if the vertical is not less than 66% of 1/4WL height, you will have close to the same gain and front to back as that of a full size antenna array. You will be handed a narrow bandwidth, but that can be a matter of choice when designing the antenna and the use of a matching network at the antennas will expand your range of operation.

    The first step was to top load one of the existing 40 meter verticals and achieve resonance at 3.7 megs. I cut a piece of 18 gauge insulated wire to 30 ft. and exposed the center and attached it to the vertical 33ft. wire. Before raising it back up I attached some masonry string to the ends to facilitate tying off in opposite sloping directions.

    0x01 graphic

    With 2 raised radials, resonance was above my target frequency so I lengthened each end of the top loading wire until I got close enough. I checked resonance, lowest swr, at the radio instead of antenna base because I don't trust the MFJ at low frequencies due the fact we have a local am/fm station less than 1 mile away that could possibly skew the readings. A lot more trudging in the snow but worth the effort as this way the whole “system” is being measured.

    0x01 graphic
    The sequence was repeated on the second vertical while taking pains to keep the top loading wires parallel to the other vertical's. Not sure why, but my instincts tell me that the mutual coupling of 33ft. should be maintained on the vertical and T wires.

    I rechecked the resonance of the first vertical and noticed a slight increase in the resonant frequency. I could probably have spent a few more hours freezing my butt off to fine tune it, but I'll save that chore for spring!

    Reversibility;

    I have existing poles in an East/West orientation as it seems the best compromise for DX and stateside contacts from my home here in upstate NY. I believe the verticals are fairly broad, somewhere around 135 degrees so that's where they going to stay for this experiment.

    0x01 graphic
    The relay was wired up with short alligator leads as detailed in previous articles again taking care to maintain polarity. The phase line of 39 degrees was cut out of 50 ohm coax and ended up around 15ft. The 157 degree feedlines ended up around 63ft.each.

    I never rely on published VF except to get a general idea of approximate length then I use the MFJ to get the exact readings, also spelled out in previous articles.

    0x01 graphic
    Not shown for clarity is the feedline to the shack nor the 12volt wire from power supply in shack, 3amp Radioshack.

    Performance;

    Remember when I said I would wait till Spring before getting both verticals exactly frequency matched? Well, preliminary testing as built was not outstanding. One antenna showed a 1.2 to one swr and the other was 1.8 to one, impossible to switch directions effectively. So before continuing on air testing, I put on the Carharts and ventured back out into the 13 degree weather to make both antennas resonant on 3.700 by adjusting the top loading wire lengths, not fun in these temperatures! That mission accomplished, I thawed out and was rewarded with a 1.2 on each wire in both directions, no tuner needed for a change.

    My comparison antenna is a 40 meter EDZ at 60 ft and very close to resonance at 3.700

    Did the verticals work ? Absolutely, I got significantly better reports, 3 to5 S units from various European stations as compared to the dipole and I had the same results with CA. contacts. This antenna works well but is very narrow banded. I did not lose too much in the 400 to 1000 mile range probably due to the sloping top wires. The horizontal component was not completely cancelled out as would be the case with flat top loading.

    Final Thoughts;

    This antenna will maximize your signal on 80 in a relatively small footprint with a very small investment as compared to store bought shortened miracle antennas. I probably will invest in a couple of 60ft. poles and eliminate the time consuming top loading and resultant narrow bandwidth. But for now I will be happy with doubling my ERP in opposite directions. And while the snow keeps burying all the mess I made in the backyard, I will be reading ON4UN's book by the fireplace for the 5th time, looking for the next big idea. Maybe phased inverted L's for 160 meters! Stay tuned.

    Tnx for reading,

    N4JTE

    Member Comments:
    This article has expired. No more comments may be added.
     
    80 Meter Phased Verticles  
    by W6WBJ on February 4, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
    Now all we need is another article about fan dipoles.
     
    80 Meter Phased Verticles  
    by KI9A on February 4, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
    Very good article! Now, be prepared...the guys with a ton of acreage will blast this, because you didn't use 66ft tall towers for this, or, even guys that have nothing for antennas, with nothing else to do but complain, will do just that!

    Thanks for taking time to wirite this up, enjoyable reading!

    73- Chuck KI9A
     
    RE: 80 Meter Phased Verticles  
    by K0BG on February 4, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
    Hum, 3 to 5 S units. That's 18 dB to 30 dB difference (note lower case "d") in a calibrated world. I wonder how that relates to the theoretical 3 dB gain they should represent? Could it be that propagation had something to do with the difference? Number of radials maybe?

    I'm really not trying to be sarcastic here, but an anecdotal reference to gain doesn't tell me much. It's like saying the setup works well because the SWR is low. Or it works well because you worked a few DX stations.

    What I want to see is a modeled graph of the radiation pattern, and other pertinent data.

    Alan, KBG
    www.k0bg.com
     
    80 Meter Phased Verticles  
    by W8JI on February 4, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
    Don't be too rough on him about gueSs units. S units, despite what people think, are often not 6 dB. Many S units are only 2 or 3 dB, and most companies actually tried for 5. My IC751A is about 1.5 dB per S unit near the low end of the S meter scale for example, and only approches 5 dB up near S9.

    He also compared to a low dipole, NOT a single vertical. There are many times a low dipole can be several S units (whatever they are) behind a simple vertical on 80 or 160.

    I'm sure with a decent ground system (not the two radials he used) this would be a very effective antenna for some distances conditions. He is probably, however, losing a few dB in the radial system.

    It's a good phasing system and a good top loading system. It's not a good ground system, but that's easy to fix and doesn't hurt the basic context.

    73 Tom



     
    80 Meter Phased Verticles  
    by W8JI on February 4, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
    Is the formatting of this page wrong to others, or is it just that my browser doesn't like it?
     
    80 Meter Phased Verticles  
    by N5CJ on February 4, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
    Interesting experiment Bob.

    73,
    Joe - N5CJ
     
    RE: 80 Meter Phased Verticles  
    by N3JBH on February 4, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
    Is the formatting of this page wrong to others, or is it just that my browser doesn't like it? well Tom mine dont like alot either. I say it is the formatting
     
    80 Meter Phased Verticles  
    by WW5AA on February 4, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
    Thanks for the article. Your next big move may be a RX antenna to go with the verticals for a real hot DX "system". Good DX, CU in the window!

    73 de Lindy
     
    RE: 80 Meter Phased Verticles  
    by K5UJ on February 4, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
    Formatting is okay here. I'm using Firefox 3.0.5
    (more specifically Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.9.0.5) Gecko/2008121700 Red Hat/3.0.5-1.el5_2 Firefox/3.0.5
     
    80 Meter Phased Verticles  
    by KL7AJ on February 4, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
    Nice job working with your available resources.

    It should be noted that even if the spacing is too narrow for optimum gain, one CAN achieve impressive amounts of null with very close spacing. The tuning is touchier, but under the right conditions, well worth the trouble.

    eric
     
    RE: 80 Meter Phased Verticles  
    by WX4O on February 4, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
    Page looks fine to me using Firefox 3
     
    80 Meter Phased Verticles  
    by WI7B on February 4, 2009 Mail this to a friend!

    Bob,

    So THIS is how you get those impressive signals on 80m net! Great job with your available resources. Talk to you soon.

    73,

    ---* Ken
     
    RE: 80 Meter Phased Verticles  
    by W7ETA on February 4, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
    Thanks for a well written interesting article.
    Best from warm Tucson
    Bob
     
    RE: 80 Meter Phased Verticles  
    by W1RKW on February 4, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
    If Bob sees an improvement at his receiver and is getting good reports above previous reports, then he's got an improvement.
     
    80 Meter Phased Verticles  
    by WA7VTD on February 4, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
    Perfect timing! I'd just finished re-reading
    pertinent parts of ON4UN's tome and was
    pondering an 1/8-wave spaced, 135-degree
    ph. array with sloped top-loading, for my own
    QTH yesterday! And then today, here's your
    post! Thanks for the great report. Not too
    shabby for a system employing two elevated
    radials on each vertical! I'd be interested
    to hear about the subjectively experienced
    front-to-back and high-angle rejection.

    Thanks for the excellent post. Now maybe you
    can try a a 180-degree switchable elevated short
    loop or a switchable K8UR for receiving on both
    40 & 80.

    Let us know know the system works when it thaws
    and you have time to work on the ground system.

    73 OM!

    de Kevin WA7VTD
     
    80 Meter Phased Verticles  
    by PA7WWO on February 4, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
    Hi Everyone

    We have build several 40 mtrs phased verticals, a 4 square and a few halfsquare.

    The feeding was done by hybrid couplers and 75 ohms wikinson devider

    Now the plan is to buil a half square at 80 using 2 full size 1/4 wave verticals connected by a open line, and spaced 1/4 wavelength

    On 40 mtrs they will be also phased with the same open wire feeding a half wavelength apart

    We have experimented a lot with it on 20 mtrs using half wave verticals spaced a half wave apart and all the phasing was done by just crossing the open wire 180 degrees or not.
    This open wire feeding system was so outragious simple and effective that we have decided that the 80 mtr. halfsquare should be fed the same way.

    In every experiment we had lots of good dx far better and easier than using horizontal wire antenna,s

     
    80 Meter Phased Verticles  
    by W8JI on February 4, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
    The text on the right side is cut off on all my computers in this article only, not on any other articles.
     
    80 Meter Phased Verticles  
    by AC0GR on February 4, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
    Also interesting that this Feb.4 article appears under (older) the ARES/RACES article from Feb.2 even on the main eHam front page.
     
    80 Meter Phased Verticles  
    by N4JTE on February 4, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
    Wish I could read the comments, always appreciate constructive thoughts, but unfortunatly only getting partial readout here due to glitch in format.
    Tnx,
    Bob N4JTE
     
    80 Meter Phased Verticles  
    by KL7AJ on February 4, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
    You need to read this month's QEX. Rudy Severns has a two-part, very detailed article on verticals with minimal grounds. Great stuff
     
    80 Meter Phased Verticles  
    by N0YXB on February 5, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
    Enjoyed your article. Just ignore the usual complaints and complainers. They can write their own article on the topic if they think they can do better. Good photos too.

    Vince
    N0YXB
     
    RE: 80 Meter Phased Verticles  
    by KY6R on February 5, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
    Good article - showing the implementation of a system that is well documented in the ON4UN Low Band DX-ing book is a great idea.

    Yes, 60 radials (stapled to the grass in spring) would make a very worthwhile difference. I've had the same success with Cushcraft
    MA8040V shortened top loaded verticals and the DX Engineering 40M shortened top loaded verticals - phased broad side and end fire using the Christman method.

    Good job!
     
    80 Meter Phased Verticles  
    by K4ELO on February 5, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
    Don't pay attention to the naysayers Bob.
    If it works for you, then use it.

    73,
    wayne
    k4elo
     
    RE: 80 Meter Phased Verticles  
    by KE5PGE on February 6, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
    Here Here,
    That's what it's all about. Anybody can buy it off the shelf. If you built it and it works...Great job!!

    Mike H.
    KE5PGE
     
    RE: 80 Meter Phased Verticles  
    by AB7E on February 6, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
    W8JI: "The text on the right side is cut off on all my computers in this article only, not on any other articles. "

    I see what you mean. I have both Firefox and Internet Explorer on my computer. The main article displays fine in both browsers, and the reader comments look fine in Firefox. The reader comments are getting chopped in Internet Explorer, though. That suggests some kind of issue with eHam rather than with the author of the article.

    73,
    Dave AB7E
     
    80 Meter Phased Verticles  
    by W9SN on February 8, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
    I think the "Add a Comment" link on Alan's (K0BG) computer HAS got to be wore out. Him and a few other trolls are the reason I don't read most articles. Like listening to the gal down the street that can't sing...arrrghh! He has GOT to comment on every single article that he can grab.

    It looks from the authors point of this is to improve what he had. From his text, he had an EDZ, and he set out to improve it. Looks like he did, and probably won't be sending over those charts that you desperately need Alan.

    I have had phased verticals for years including 4 squares. They do work well.

    I like this article and the spirit of homebrewing it.
    It is hard to find these days, unlike the Monday morning Quarterbacks that has to troll every article.

    W9SN
    Steve
     
    Sounds like your 40 meter antenna needs help  
    by KASSY on February 9, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
    40 meters does not "shuts off like a light switch" after sundown. With even a simple vertical with a few elevated radials, I can work Asians at night on 40 from the northeast. Do for 40 what you did for 80...it takes less work - and you'll stop thinking of 40 as "dead at night".

    Wait - you didn't mention, are you an SSB op? You're right, lots of ops won't work 40SSB at night, due to BCI. But the CW bands are alive and kickin'

    - k
     
    80 Meter Phased Verticles  
    by N4LTA on February 12, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
    I just finished a full size 40 meter vertical and experimented with the ground system extensively.

    With 4 - 1/4 wave radials is was terrible against a good high dipole up at 60 feet. Feed point impedance was about 50 ohms - swr 1:1 (the same as my dummy load)

    With 16 is was a bit better but not really worth putting up. The dipole clearly outperformed it.

    With 40 radials it is a great antenna and easily outperforms the dipole especially on dx. I can copy DX signals that are not even heard on the dipole.
    The feedpoint impedance had dropped to about 39 ohms.

    I find that all the serious published tests that have been done on ground systems for vertical antennas are very accurate. The one in the recent QEX which was dead on.

    From my recent tests, I have found that a vertical antenna with only a few radials isn't much of an antenna when compared to a decent dipole 1/4 wave above the ground. If you have good SWR without tuning - you likely have a bad vertical antenna. It all depends on what you are comparing the performance to.

    I plan on 16 more radials going in this weekend.
     
    80 Meter Phased Verticles  
    by KB0GU on February 13, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
    In the mid 1990's I had three full length 64' vertical wires pulled up over tall trees at a house that was over a hundred years old, so the trees were tall enough for such length of vertical wires. I had a connector at the base of each tree and about 30 radials burried out from around the base of each element. They were spaced 1/8th wave length apart. By removing the grounding when not in use aspect of several coaxial switches I worked out a lead or lag per ON4UN's older book which had many editorial errors, but in the process of a years worth of work and fine tuning I had a system in a valley in Independence Missouri that put KB0GU on the map for 80 voice DX in the narrow dx slice of that band. I made friends with and had nearly nightly and morning regular contacts with a sizeable group of similarly interested hams in Europe, Italy, Middle East, Africa, New Zealan, Australia, even the south pole! Japan was a challenge as I had a more than 200 foot tall hill sloping in that direction shielding my low angle to Japan, but still made contacts there as well. It always amazed me what close spaced elements could do with nothing more than hunks of coax switched in and out to cover the compas points. I have moved from the property now, and I am wondering if the new tennants garden and wonder why there is so much wire burried in the yard. I even tied all the neighbor's chain link fences in on the ground, using a product that would weld alumuminum and galvanized with a propane torch. As I recall I would get about 3-6 DB forward gain, and about 20db to 25db front to back with the equalateral placed full sized 1/4 wave elements spaced at 32 foot base to base. I also remember vividly working on finishing up an improved connection to the south element one afternoon when it was darkening clouds, and all of a sudden a lightening bold burst down the tree with me at the base, I truly believe the multiple radials and ground rods I had there carried the current sufficiently to keep from killing me, but I was tossed back several feet in the yard, and remember having tinnitis for a few days, there was no space between the discharge and the thunder clap. The tree managed to survive but it had a cork screw blasted out spiral down it that did not look burned more like the under wood was super heated and blew the bark off!!! I was glad to have survived and that none of the equipment was connected in the basement at the time, I always disconnected the equal length feed in lines from the verts when not in use. The bundles of velocity factor figured lead lag lines were under the desk hooked to the various three antenna switches. I would either lead one element of lag two to get directivity. IT WAS BY FAR THE MOST TIME CONSUMING AND REWARDING ANTENNA PROJECT I HAVE UNDERTAKEN.
    KB0GU GENE BIGHAM
     
    80 Meter Phased Verticles  
    by KB0GU on February 13, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
    In the mid 1990's I had three full length 64'tall 80 meter vertical wires pulled up over tall trees at a house that was over a hundred years old, so the trees were tall enough for such length of vertical wires. I had a connector at the base of each tree, incorporating a static bleed off, and 30 radials burried out from around the base of each element as far as the property line would permit from the base of each element, tied into the electric company ground, telephone ground, all chain link fences in the neighborhood which were substantial especially to the south and and east of me, and the good old water company. The verts were spaced 1/8th wave length apart 32'. By removing the grounding when not in use feature of several coaxial switches I worked out a lead or lag per ON4UN's older book, copyright 1994 by ARRL [examine for example the Christman feed method of 1/8wave spaced cardioid patter diagram on page 11-25 and you will not the picture depicts a 29 degree coaxial line; but when reading closely and in actual pactice you will find this to be more near 39 degree], which had many editorial errors, but in the process of a years worth of work and fine tuning I had a system in a valley in Independence Missouri that put KB0GU on the map for 80 voice DX in the narrow dx slice of that band. I made friends with and had nearly nightly and morning regular contacts with a sizeable group of similarly interested hams in Europe, Italy, Middle East, Africa, New Zealan, Australia, even the south pole! Japan was a challenge as I had a more than 200 foot tall hill sloping in that direction shielding my low angle to Japan, but still made contacts there as well. It always amazed me what close spaced elements could do with nothing more than hunks of coax switched in and out to cover the compass points. I have moved from the property now, and I am wondering if the new tennants garden and wonder why there is so much wire burried in the yard. I even tied all the neighbor's chain link fences in on the ground, using a product that would weld alumuminum and galvanized with a propane torch. As I recall I would get about 3-6 DB forward gain with about 60 degree beam width and low angle radiation of the order of 15 degrees, and about 20db to 25db front to back with the equalateral placed full sized 1/4 wave elements spaced at 32 foot base to base. I also remember vividly working on finishing up an improved connection to the south element one afternoon when it was threatening darkening clouds, and all of a sudden a lightening bolt burst down the tree with me at the base, I truly believe the multiple radials and ground rods I had there carried the current sufficiently to keep the lightening from killing me, but I was tossed back several feet in the yard, and remember coming to and shaking it off and having tinnitis for a few days, there was no space between the discharge and the thunder clap. The oak tree managed to survive but it had a cork screw blasted out spiral down it that did not look burned more like the under wood was super heated and blew the bark off!!! I was glad to have survived and that none of the equipment was connected in the basement at the time, I always connected the equal length feed in lines from the verts when not in use to a common ground. The bundles of coax velocity factor figured lead/lag lines were under the desk hooked to the various three antenna switches. I would either lead one element or lag two to get directivity. which with a 60 degree beam width allowed for 360 coverage fairly easityl. IT WAS BY FAR THE MOST TIME CONSUMING AND REWARDING ANTENNA PROJECT I HAVE UNDERTAKEN. And I thorouglhly enjoyed wever sweat breaking minute of assembling and perfecting it. Oh, one final caveat of precaution. I used a rod a rell with fine fishing line and a japanese socket of sufficient weight to sling up and over the top of the trees. This is not a precise science. So being young and viralant and decided to use a light nylon braided line and hurl a socked up and over my favorerd branch and instead of going over, the line snagged on a piece of debris in the yard at my feet causing the line to jerk and wrapped around a sturdy branch up about 40 foot in the tree. I did my usual, trying to catch a fish by tugging a bit and relaxing to no avail so thought the brute force method was in order. So I pulled on the line and the branch bent but the socket was wrapped around a few times and could not get it to loosen. So I slungthe line around my sizeable rear end a couple times, weighing at that time 280 lbs myself, and started to walk back ward in hopes of getting the line to break of snap the wood branch and return my rigging to me. I got back about 15 to 20 feet and the branch was staining, so I thought ok, just a little more, and pushed back. That line and socked cut through the branch and came at me at the speed of a gun shot, I could see it coming and could not get out of the way, it hit me in the sternum 2 inches below my soft throat. I noticed a bit later I felt wetter than the sweat and looked down and was covered in blood. A look in the mirror in the house showed I had been hit by the socket in the sternum below the more soft tissue of my throat, and opened a 3 inch wound that was bleeding profusely. I cleaned it up as best as possible thinking I could band aid it, but the blood was too much, and the bone was showing through. So went to the Dr office and she did several stitches to close the wound, telling me I needed to go to the ER, with me arguing she could close it with a few stitches. Which she did, I still have the scar, almost looks like I had a throat cancer surgery, ha ha ha. Anyway, nylon braided line under tension can result in some tremendous velocity when it gives and come your way. Beware. Hell, who said ham radio was for weak at heart? Or maybe I was just plain stupid, I don't mind admitting it if it will keep someone else from having same problem.
    Have fun, this was the best 80 meter set up I ever had, and I enjoyed it immensly.
    KB0GU GENE BIGHAM
     
    80 Meter Phased Verticles  
    by W4VR on February 18, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
    Bob: How do you ever find time to work with all these antenna projects?
     
    RE: 80 Meter Phased Vertical Antennas  
    by XE1UFO on February 18, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
    Congrats on your article, and not being afraid to try something crazy on a small piece of property. Just one question: I would love to know more of how you knew the proper lengths for your phasing lines. Thanks in advance!
     
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