Call Search
     

New to Ham Radio?
My Profile

Community
Articles
Forums
News
Reviews
Friends Remembered
Strays
Survey Question

Operating
Contesting
DX Cluster Spots
Propagation

Resources
Calendar
Classifieds
Ham Exams
Ham Links
List Archives
News Articles
Product Reviews
QSL Managers

Site Info
eHam Help (FAQ)
Support the site
The eHam Team
Advertising Info
Vision Statement
About eHam.net

   Home   Help Search  
Pages: [1] 2 Next   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: What tower/ant would you build here?  (Read 1301 times)
WO7R
Member

Posts: 680




Ignore
« on: April 05, 2005, 08:08:11 PM »

I have the luxury of a couple of acres and not much in the way of antenna restrictions, especially if I don't try too hard.

On paper, I could have trouble with covenants, but in truth, TV antennas abound here.  Still, if I put up a big tower and a tribander, I probably could generate trouble for myself (starting with the XYL, depending).

I don't really want or need that anyway.  What I really want to do, as the sunspots turn down, is put up something primarily for 80 meters.

I have two acres, but it's heavily wooded in places and, going by ON4UN, I'm not sure I really have the space for a vertical in terms of a decent ground plane on 80 and/or getting out through the trees even in the places I have the space for the radials.  It would be a near thing, perhaps.

More interesting would be to replace my existing BX TV tower with one that tops out at 65 feet.  This would be self-supporting, still have the TV antenna on top (the ultimate stealth?) and probably an "arm" out to the side so I didn't have to worry about the feed point interacting with the tower.  Some sources of Windom antennas claim this needs to be 15 feet (true?).

Moreover, I want to have the apex on a pulley so that I can raise and lower a variety of wire antennas without climbing the tower (I don't envision doing that much).  I envision a couple of fairly largish loops at heights near the apex and about halfway up so that I could "hook" coax and take some of the stress off the feed point and also reduce the visual signature a bit.  A G5RV feedline (or any other ladder line) would hang down about half way from the apex to the ground and I'd use the halfway hook for the coax part.  It would have to take full power, so I need a real RG8 class coax.

The question would be -- would you do this small tower and, if so, what kind of wire antennas do you know work well on 80 meters given a single apex at circa 65 feet?  

I have a "standard" G5RV up now, but only at 25 feet, lacking the decent tower.  It is stone deaf on 80 for DX at that height.  It works very well on 40, though.  I'd like to try Windoms, especially the "German" model that apparently allows two Windoms to share a common Balun and do most bands without a tuner.

Another alternative, perhaps, if I could figure out a way to keep the visuals down, would be to get a commercial multi-band vertical (or, even the single band variety from HiGain) and put put a counter-poise.

How "invisible" could these be made to be and how high would I have to get it above ground to be practical?  I do worry about the woods (the tower would get most/all of the antenna above the trees), but I also do not want to have a heap of radials buried here.  So, I'd want a counterpoise system (especially if it could be done with small/invisible wire).

What would you do (better, what have you done) and why?
Logged
WB2WIK
Member

Posts: 20547




Ignore
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2005, 08:58:21 AM »

80m is a tough DX band, as you already know.  But what doesn't kill us makes us stronger!

With your property as described, I'd probably go for a large vertical with radials (despite all the problems you raise concerning radial installations), and a Beverage for receiving.  The minimal 80m vertical that seems to work reasonably well (for me) is the Gap Voyager, which isn't small, nor is it particularly well made, but it does work.  I think it's about 55' tall, all aluminum tubing (not heavy, but awkward and takes 2-3 people to really install it).

Advantage here is this doesn't require a tall tower, or any tower, and it is a useful DX radiator.  But you're likely to hear a ton of noise with it, which is why I recommend a separate receiving antenna, like a Beverage running the entire span of your property.

Using this kind of relatively modest setup, I've worked 100 DX entitities (effectively "DXCC") in one weekend on 80m, during the CQ WW.

WB2WIK/6



Logged
W7DJM
Member

Posts: 1




Ignore
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2005, 11:30:03 AM »

"""not much in the way of antenna restrictions, especially if I don't try too hard.

On paper, I could have trouble with covenants"""


Until you define the above statements, you can't do, or plan, anything.  If there are covenants and or restrictions, then, there are.   You are going to have to define their limitations, or somehow find out how to work around them/ pacify the affected parties.  If you get a Great Big tower up, the legal bills could kill  you.
Logged
K0CWO
Member

Posts: 416




Ignore
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2005, 04:34:36 PM »

It sounds like you are more concerned with the XYL's wishes than you are with any neighborhood rules.  If you think you can sell the 65' tower for a TV antenna idea to your wife and the neighbors, you are in business. Install this tower in the middle of a 130' foot clearing, add as many 65' radials as you can, and you would have a great DX vertical. Putting a yardarm at the top is a good idea as well.  An open wire fed inverted 130 foot inverted "V" dipole (doublet) is a great 80-10 meter antenna.  Using 4 inch non conductive standoffs alongside the tower would work well for any ladder line without worries about interaction. I have used a 130 foot doublet at 35 feet in a flat top configuration, and worked coast to coast from Minnesota regularly using 1KW without a problem.  Most guys with inverted V's can do the same.  I wish I could convince my wife that we need a 65' "TV" antenna.  The tower would be in place as soon as I could get one up! (Couple of weeks!)

Good luck, 73
Logged
WO7R
Member

Posts: 680




Ignore
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2005, 01:32:26 AM »

Re:  "The Gap Voyager"

So, I take it the big issue was raising it and lowering it safely?

Something I could have up-and-down a couple of times just might do the job, maybe.

It would suffice if I could do just what you did.  I don't need 300 countries on 80, just enough for the 5B DXCC.  It would be nice to get the zones, too, but I'm not sure I'm up for the full 200.

I'm mostly interested in proving I can do something, not quite so interested in outwaiting the politics which make certain zones (e.g. 34, 23) artificially scarce just as certain countries (e.g. P5) are artificially scarce for the same reason.  

I already have just about 150 zones, overall, which would actually be enough for the base 5BWAZ.  If I could  get 5B DXCC without too much fuss, that would be worthwhile.

So, tell me a bit more.  Did you have to guy it, or could it be made self-supporting?  Did you run "power" and, if so, how much?

I do have an old Butternut Vertical, which I have done very good work with on 40 (e.g. South Sandwitch).  But, never much on 80 beyond, say, a half dozen in the Americas and barely Europe.  I never ran more than about 100-150 watts, though.  

That one, as I well know, could be tossed up in the air for a weekend without any help.  It's only about 25 feet or so tall.  Narrow banded on 80 (about 50 kHz), but in a contesting scenario, I could go outside once or twice and move (or short!) the coil to move it around on 75/80.
Logged
WO7R
Member

Posts: 680




Ignore
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2005, 01:55:41 AM »

"It sounds like you are more concerned with the XYL's wishes than you are with any neighborhood rules."

Just so.  The covenants are kind of ambiguous.  They don't outright prohibit towers.

Once upon a time, when buying the property many years back, I did study these covenants.  A certain builder always put them in.  Hams have managed to put up towers under these covenants before.

But, I'm concerned with what my wife and my neighbors will put up with.  To me, getting sued to start with is the loss -- I value my relations with the neighbors, which now are very good.  Besides, win or lose, the legal process gets expensive.  The easiest way to hold down the legal bills would be to take the new tower down, if it comes to that.

The thing about the 65 foot tower is that it would be consistent with the sort of thing that is already around the area.  Cable will never get out this way, not in my lifetime, at least.  

My two acres is the minimum, so population density is low.  But, you walk around the area and you do see occassional towers, though 65 footers are rare.  Roof mounted setups are common, too, 'cause you have to have an antenna.

And, I already have a BX 35 footer right next to the house.  I'd have to lay a new cement foundation for the new one, and that would be nearby where the current tower sits.  I might even be able to reclaim the tower footage I already have and simply put it atop a new section.  

The law is full of quirks, but offhand, simply making an existing tower bigger, one that was on the property from day one, and putting the same TV antenna on top of it, probably is not a major risk.  What's riskier is putting up a big tribander on something guyed. This is why I'm looking at this sort of thing.  I might even be able to get away with a guyed tower and the traditional tribander, but the BX tower seems safer all around in that it fits in with what's already around the neighborhood.  And, regardless, I would want to see if it could help me do "80".

I just want to know if it would be enough.

Keep in mind that I'm already operating with the G5RV at 25 feet without incident, other than not working anything on 80.  It's early days, but so far, so good.

PS, how much work is it to isolate the tower so I could be an 80 meter vertical?  It would seem to me to have mechanical implications in terms of how it would get mounted.  Is it enough to have a bit of insulation right where the tower connects to the base?  Keep in mind that to keep the visual profile down, it would be located very close to a corner of the house.
Logged
AA4FX
Member

Posts: 2




Ignore
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2005, 06:16:30 AM »

There are far better ways to work DX on 80M, but I am able to do so with a center fed dipole (51 feet per leg) mounted as in inverted V with the center at 40 feet.  By no means am I a big signal, but I have worked 80M DX SSB in the winter time breaking some pileups (100 watts).  This approach is certainly not as you say "deaf".  Try putting your G5RV up a little higher and use it as a comparison antenna to an 80 meter inverted L.  You will make contacts to enter into the log.

AA4FX
Logged
WB2WIK
Member

Posts: 20547




Ignore
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2005, 11:03:44 AM »

 
RE: What tower/ant would you build here?  Reply  
by WO0Z on April 9, 2005  Mail this to a friend!  
Re: "The Gap Voyager"

>So, I take it the big issue was raising it and lowering it safely?<

::The big issue is raising and lowering it, period.  It's very tall and "bouncy."  I imagine Shaquille O'Neal might be able to do it, alone.  But I certainly can't.

>So, tell me a bit more. Did you have to guy it, or could it be made self-supporting? Did you run "power" and, if so, how much?<

::The Voyager is no-way self-supporting.  It requires rope guys about midway up the radiator.  Nothing fancy, 3/32" Dacron rope will do it, but without them, you're looking at problems.  Of course we run "power" on 160 meters -- doesn't everybody?  Smiley  But we don't run more than 1500.00 Watts output power, far as I know.  


>I do have an old Butternut Vertical, which I have done very good work with on 40 (e.g. South Sandwitch). But, never much on 80 beyond, say, a half dozen in the Americas and barely Europe. I never ran more than about 100-150 watts, though.<

::80m's a tough band without either huge antennas or legal-limit power, or preferably, both.  Not for local chit-chatting, I mean for competitive DX work.  5BWAZ is a tremendous challenge, and 6 bands (adding 160 to the mix) is huge.  I've never heard several zones on 160, although those with very large antennas, a lot of dedication and the ability to operate late at night all the time probably have.
 

>That one, as I well know, could be tossed up in the air for a weekend without any help. It's only about 25 feet or so tall. Narrow banded on 80 (about 50 kHz), but in a contesting scenario, I could go outside once or twice and move (or short!) the coil to move it around on 75/80.<  

::Surely better than nothing.  The Butternut HF2V with the 160m optional loading coal and a ton of radials probably makes a pretty effective antenna, too, with half the height of the Voyager.  But the key is the radial system.  If I went to the effort of laying down 10,000 feet of radials, as I know I'd need for the Butternut on 160, I wouldn't want to make that "temporary!"  I'd want to leave it up forever, or at least until I moved or died, whichever came first...

73!

Steve, WB2WIK/6


Logged
WO7R
Member

Posts: 680




Ignore
« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2005, 07:38:30 PM »

Tell me more about the Gap.  I went to the web site today and saw something on a Gap Titan DX that might be satisfactory.

Obviously, it gives up on 160 altogether, but it has a lot of things going for it if it really works out.

First off, I could probably install it without the neighbors even being able to see it (at least from most if not all angles).  It's only 25 feet tall.

Second, they claim (with some dispute in reviews) that it doesn't need to be guyed.  Out of sight or not, an unguyed antenna would be helpful.

Third, it would make me QRV on 30 meters, something not currently available (though I suppose I could cure that.  Still with 30 as a noncontesting band, being QRV every day would help towards a DXCC there, too).

Does the low noise aspect really work?  If it is low noise on top of everything else, then I'm "there."

Also, if I order it for 3500, is there some sort of known trick that could at least temporarily put it on (say) 3800 or so?  It is supposed to be only good for 100 KHz, though at least one user claims to have gotten 300.

As for the amp, I'm not there yet, but getting there.  I have the Harris amplifier and the power supply.  This thing is about as idiot proof as it gets, at least after I get it ready.  It will take me a while to get it on-line (I need to add a 220 v AC line and build a few minor items), but once that is there, the power part will be more than solved.

Anyone able to speak about the Titan in particular?
Logged
NI0C
Member

Posts: 2383




Ignore
« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2005, 08:37:08 AM »

If you're concerned about keeping a low profile and working 80m effectively, the Butternut HF-2V is hard to beat.  It's pretty unobtrusive, needs no guying,  and radials are easy to hide.  I've worked 160 countries on 80m with my HF-2V and half legal limit power.  I have to take up most of the radials in the Spring, and redeploy them in the Fall (just spent an hour this morning coiling and stowing some radials), but it's worth the work to have a good performing antenna during the Winter season.  

73,
Chuck  NI0C
Logged
VE3ES
Member

Posts: 9




Ignore
« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2005, 10:35:10 AM »

Put up a Hy-Gain Hy Tower, mutli band vertical with the 160 meter add-on.  You've got the space, it isn't an outrageously large antenna and it really, really works!
Logged
NI0C
Member

Posts: 2383




Ignore
« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2005, 01:41:40 PM »

The Hy-Tower is a great suggestion, plus it is completely self-supporting, unlike those spooky Gap verticals.  You will need a full set of radials to get optimum performance from the Hy-Tower.  
Logged
WN3VAW
Member

Posts: 27




Ignore
« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2005, 09:09:06 PM »

I worked 100+ entities on 80 meters using both an HF6V (set for the DX Phone band at about 37909 kHz) and an HF2V (set for the DX CW band at about 3515 kHz), both with nearby trees and modest ground planes.  So it can be done & thus I highly recommend both antennas.

However... if you're planning to replace your tower with another at 65 feet, why not just gamma match the new tower at or near the base?  This will turn the tower into an effective 1/4 wave vertical -- just add some radials.  Can't get much more "stealthy" than by replacing one existing "TV" tower with another... right?

73, ron wn3vaw
Logged
WO7R
Member

Posts: 680




Ignore
« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2005, 09:51:57 PM »

Gamma matching the tower seems like a reasonable thing to consider if I get the tower.

Where would I got to get the info on the necessary insulation?  I assume the tower is electrically isolated from ground at RF and connected to ground at DC via some sort of RF choke.  That's the way my older Butternut vertical worked.

I know this has been done to death, but, exactly how do I get a sound mechanical connection at the base to support the thing and yet have it isolated for RF use, presumably with some sort of insulation?
Logged
W9OY
Member

Posts: 1292


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #14 on: May 13, 2005, 08:09:00 PM »

You can put up wire verticals and do just fine and be totally stealthy as well.  Basically the verticals are not discernable to the neighbors and all the XYL sees is a 3 foot high 4x4 post in the back yard with a couple of plastic shoe boxed attached to it.  

I strung a rope between the tops of 2 55ft tall pines seperated by about 85 ft.  I used a cross bow to get a leader line (30lb dacron fishing line from walmart) over the canopy of each tree individually, and then pulled the ropes over.  I made a vertical wire about 60ft long and attached it about 1/3 of the way out along the rope to get it away from the trees.  The wire drapes down nearly vertical for most its descent and then makes a lazy curve to a 4x4 post I planted in the ground.  This gives the wire some flexibility in the wind.  The wire is terminated to a screw through a piece of lexan and not directly to the post.  I had the radials strung around the post.  You only need about 24 x 50-60ft radials for an effective ground on 80M.  I used a hairpin solenoid for matching, which for me was a coil seven turns of 2" diameter #8 solid copper across the feedpoint.  I had to lengthen the antenna a little by placing a short horizontal wire along the flat top rope and connected the vertical wire to the center of this to make a T.  Once I got the resonance I wanted, I adjusted the coil by spreading the loops to give me minimum SWR.

Cheap, nearly invisible and very effective for 80M DX.  You can run a few different length wires off this rope and use the same ground field to make a very effective multiband vertical.  I had 80, and a 40M 1/2 wave vertical off the same rope.  The 80M antenna also is effective on 30M as a 5/8 wave vert through a tuner in the station.  I had a 160M inverted-L hanging off another rope heading in a different direction.  All these antennas use the same ground field.  I used a remote coax switch to choose the antenna I wanted, instead of trying some kind of a common feed. I tried common feeds but found it to be not as effective as seperate feeds for each antenna, plus it makes experimenting much much easier.  The antennas with seperate feeds exhibit essentially no interaction regarding tuning etc.  For the 40M 1/2 wave I built a dedicated parallel network network and attached it to the post.  I also added a 20M 5/8 wave antenna with its own seperate tuner just for grins.  So I have very effective 160, 80, 40, 30, and 20 DX antennas all for about $100 including the cost of the rope, wire, post and incidentals.  I had a Butternut HF-2v up prior to this antenna and find this setup to be superior in terms of performance as well as cheaper.

You will have no trouble making 100 countries on 80, 40, 30 and 20M in one season with this setup.  If you're real aggressive about being available for grey line openings and you have a good (aka fairly low noise) location you might be able to do that on 160 as well.  In six months I worked 150 on 40, 140 on 80, 110 on 30, 100 on 20 and 57 on 160.

I have since gone to a true 1/4 wave 80M guyed aluminum vertical, which cost considerably more in terms of money and effort to install.  I am not sure the performance benefit of the new set up was actually worth all the effort given how well these simple wire antennas played.  The new set up is clearly a "little" better, but the emphasis is on the "little".  I passed the inflection point on the return curve when I put up the wire over the HF-2v.    

My next project?  A 4 square of wire 1/4 wave 80M verticals just as I described.  God just happened to give me some trees on antoher part of the property in just then right places.  

73  W9OY
Logged
Pages: [1] 2 Next   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!