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Author Topic: Hex Beam vs SteppIR Big IR vertical  (Read 2754 times)
K3GC
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Posts: 118




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« on: January 16, 2011, 07:36:20 AM »

I know this is an apples vs oranges comparison but nonetheless this is where I am.

I have a SteppIR Big IR with 48 radials and it is a very good performer - lots of DX, at least when the bands are open Smiley.  Generally, if I hear them I work them.  In many cases I transmit better than receive and added punch on receive is where I suspect the hex beam may shine.

I am seriously considering the addition of a broad band hex beam covering 20-10.  By the time all would be complete this would not be a cheap project - easily over $1000.  My main question is whether I would get enough bang for the buck to be worthwhile.  I know the hex beam would be better but would it be, oh wow better, or incrementally better?

There is also the neighborhood factor.  I live in a deed restricted community.  I have permission for both antennas but whereas the vertical has received no negative comments I would be very surprised if the hex beam doesn't.  Once again, if there is sufficient improvement I will shrug off any comments.

Opinions are great and I appreciate all but I would most like to hear from anyone who has used both.

Thanks,
Gene
KW4GC
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AI4NS
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Posts: 320


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« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2011, 07:58:27 AM »

Why over $1000? The parts from Max Gain systems are about $250 shipped, the base plate from http://www.hexkit.com/ is $90-120.
Mast and TV rotator $200-300.

If you buy the overpriced HeXXbeam from DX Engineering, then yeah.

The advantage to the hex beam, or any beam for that matter is directional gain and F/B ratio. It allows you to attenuate signals other than coming in from the front of the beam.
With two antennas you have more tools to make contacts. Use the one that works the best for band conditions.

I have a DX-88 vertical and and the broadband hex beam assembled from max gain systems parts. Works well.

Mike
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K3GC
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Posts: 118




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« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2011, 08:22:25 AM »

Thanks Mike,
I wasn't aware of Max Gain System and they will be at the Charlotte hamfest in March.
Gene
KW4GC
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W6OP
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Posts: 342




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« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2011, 08:36:38 AM »

I have a Steppir Big IR Vertical and a home built Moxon for 10 meters only at 15 feet. On the vertical on 10 when I can just barely tell someone is on frequency I can switch to the Moxon and work them so you will see quite a difference. More antenna gain, easier to hear plus the hex beam will be quieter than the vertical.

Pete W6OP
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N6AJR
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Posts: 9921




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« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2011, 12:08:41 PM »

You should normally find a difference  in signal strength between the vert and the beam.

First off, verts are omni directional and  usually have a low take off angle,  so rf, kind of like skipping a rock on a pond, will go farther and lower between "bounces.

 Now a beam is directional and has a stronger signal in one direction, but the take off pattern will be different, depending on height above ground, element spacing and such.  so the "rock" sikpped by a beam will definately have a different "bounce" parrtern than the vert.

So depending on where the station is , you could hear either one loudest on a single particular station.   As a rule of thumb, verts have a lower take off angle but beams send more signal in one direction. This should be recriprecal on receive.

I have a 3ele steppir beam at 33 ft, and it is uausally the better on the higher bands  but now and then the verts are better. (hustler 5BTV and a gap voyager) and sometimes the wire antennas do best.  it all depends on the current conditions of the "skip" and where the station is located.  I would suggest you use both, the each have their  benefits.
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K9FV
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Posts: 480




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« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2011, 06:39:22 AM »

I just built the BB hexbeam ordering parts from Leo and hexbeam.com - as said, those parts around $250 + $120 = $370, BUT realize you still have to buy about $50 of hose clamps, tyraps, etc to complete the beam - You WILL have over $400 in the completed setup.

I am very pleased with results - not a 4 element yagi, but much smaller.  If you enjoy tinkering and go cut some bamboo for spreaders, you can built it very cheap....  BUT I don't think bamboo spreaders and plywood baseplate will last anywhere near as long as the fiberglass spreaders.

73 de Ken H>
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N4KZ
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Posts: 602




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« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2011, 07:09:20 AM »

In over 40 years of ham radio, I've used a variety of verticals and modest beams at my 14 different QTHs over four decades. I love vertical antennas. Easy to install, don't cost a fortune, offer a lot of bang for the buck. But the best vertical still won't snag the DX for you that even a modest beam will. Go for the hex beam. Over a long evaluation period, it will outdo the vertical.

73, N4KZ
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N1LO
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Posts: 1039


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« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2011, 08:05:04 AM »

Also, horizontally polarized antennas benefit from ground reflection gain. The sweet height is multiples of 1/2 wave above ground.

The hex beam at 35' (1/2 wave on 20, 1 wave on 10) should reliably beat the pants off a vertical.

- - · · ·  M A R K · N 1 L O · · · - -
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K3GC
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Posts: 118




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« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2011, 08:22:17 AM »

Thanks guys for all the input.  It is about as I suspected but a little confirmation helps when undertaking a major project.
Thanks again,
Gene
KW4GC
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