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Author Topic: When the hex beam won't get through  (Read 2627 times)
WD4ELG
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Posts: 880




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« on: April 07, 2013, 06:13:12 PM »

The hex beam at 45 feet may have reached its limit.  VK9CZ, barely a whisper on 17 and 15 and 12.  Barely a whisper on 30.  So the hex on 20-10 is not going to get me VK9C. 

And tonight I called VR2UW three times on 17 meter before he came back and said "sorry, too weak."  So it's not that the prop path was closed (which would have been frustrating but acceptable), it's that he could hear me in there but not strong enough to copy my call.  Too weak!  Wow.  That stinks.

I was talking with the wife today, and she said she is ready to get some land for the horse...no more boarding at the friend's barn.  Well, guess what?  That's my ticket to NO MORE HOA and maybe a shot at Honor Roll before I "assume room temperature."  Maybe one of those C31XR's at 100 feet at the future QTH will be the differentiator!

In the meantime, I am looking at putting up a four element collinear horizontal wire array, pointed north/south.  Maybe it will help with the polar path, maybe not.  but by the looks of things (and it is an "old school antenna from before yagis were around") it might be a step up (a couple of dB) from a hex.

Looking for thoughts/feedback on the collinear idea.
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AF3Y
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Posts: 3880




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« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2013, 06:17:31 PM »

The hex beam at 45 feet may have reached its limit.  VK9CZ, barely a whisper on 17 and 15 and 12.  Barely a whisper on 30.  So the hex on 20-10 is not going to get me VK9C. 

And tonight I called VR2UW three times on 17 meter before he came back and said "sorry, too weak."  So it's not that the prop path was closed (which would have been frustrating but acceptable), it's that he could hear me in there but not strong enough to copy my call.  Too weak!  Wow.  That stinks.

I was talking with the wife today, and she said she is ready to get some land for the horse...no more boarding at the friend's barn.  Well, guess what?  That's my ticket to NO MORE HOA and maybe a shot at Honor Roll before I "assume room temperature."  Maybe one of those C31XR's at 100 feet at the future QTH will be the differentiator!

In the meantime, I am looking at putting up a four element collinear horizontal wire array, pointed north/south.  Maybe it will help with the polar path, maybe not.  but by the looks of things (and it is an "old school antenna from before yagis were around") it might be a step up (a couple of dB) from a hex.

Looking for thoughts/feedback on the collinear idea.

Not trying to be a wise ass, but honestly, my wire vertical with radials has no problem hearing VK9CZ. Not loud, granted, but plenty loud enough to work em. I have not worked them, as I really have not tried all that much, as it would be just bandfills, not an ATNO. Seems like your Hex should do better than that??

73, Gene AF3Y
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VK3HJ
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Posts: 699




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« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2013, 06:44:55 PM »

Mark,
Just get your Hex Beam out of the woods and in the clear on a mast of similar height or higher and it will work a lot better. There are a very few activations I have not been able to work from here, at the time they were on, but patience wins out nearly every time.
Some of those Asian stations have such a high local noise level they don't hear too well.
Definitely support the Wife's habit, and move to acreage.
Look for something out of the way but not too remote. Big enough acreage to put up what you like out of sight of neighbours. Slightly less "attractive" land, i.e., undulating and rocky, without year-round verdant pasture will be better for the horse, give you plenty of scope for antennas, and be a lot more affordable. Max will definitely need a paddock mate or two. Do you ride?
Whilst a station in the midst of a vast swamp would be excellent for radio, it will be miserable for anything else! Flat, rich, improved pasture country is bad for horses, good for radio, but probably very expensive!
You and your wife's interests are very complementary. I moved up here in the first place to have somewhere to keep my horses, and the renewed interest in radio followed. No wife though...
73,
Luke VK3HJ
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WD4ELG
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Posts: 880




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« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2013, 06:49:00 PM »

Thanks, Gene.  Agreed.  Thanks for sharing that.  It gives me hope.

I don't "get" why this is so hard from here.  I do have some high voltage tension lines due north about 600 yards from the hex and lower in elevation.  Not a problem, unless I am trying to do very low angle work.  I wonder if that could be the problem.....naw, those things run East/West and I never have an issue working into JA or UA0.  But A5,S2,9N is killer for me.  There is no terrain issue that I can see...all flat ground.  Must be something with this QTH.

Setup is the hex at 45 feet, with 375 feet of LMR 400.  But it has oak trees at 70 feet all around it. Although studies say not much difference with HF absorption, I wonder...

Luke, thanks for that info.
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AF3Y
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« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2013, 07:47:49 PM »

Thanks, Gene.  Agreed.  Thanks for sharing that.  It gives me hope.

I don't "get" why this is so hard from here.  I do have some high voltage tension lines due north about 600 yards from the hex and lower in elevation.  Not a problem, unless I am trying to do very low angle work.  I wonder if that could be the problem.....naw, those things run East/West and I never have an issue working into JA or UA0.  But A5,S2,9N is killer for me.  There is no terrain issue that I can see...all flat ground.  Must be something with this QTH.

Setup is the hex at 45 feet, with 375 feet of LMR 400.  But it has oak trees at 70 feet all around it. Although studies say not much difference with HF absorption, I wonder...

Luke, thanks for that info.
I dont know... I had some TALL pine trees on my back (north)property line at the S.C. QTH.  I had a few of them topped out and it really seemed to help out the C-3SS, which was lower than their bushy parts, up about 50' or a bit less. Everything else was basically lake, so no problems eslewhere. 

By the way, dont think that I am always hearing A5, S2 and 9N at S-9+. NOT, but I usually can hear them well enough to put in a call. A tough haul from my QTH tho...  A5 and 9N confirmed, but no luck yet on S2.  I keep trying when they are active.  SOME Day, maybe Roll Eyes.
73, Gene AF3Y
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W6GX
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Posts: 3108




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« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2013, 08:38:44 PM »

My suggestion is to runs some tests with someone local to you (i.e. compare your hexbeam to his yagi).  Call CQ DX and let the DX station tell you which one of you is stronger.  I wouldn't move just because you cannot hear ONE station very well.

73,
Jonathan W6GX
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AF5CC
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Posts: 1018




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« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2013, 08:39:49 PM »


 NOT, but I usually can hear them well enough to put in a call. A tough haul from my QTH tho...  A5 and 9N confirmed, but no luck yet on S2.  I keep trying when they are active.  SOME Day, maybe Roll Eyes.
73, Gene AF3Y

Gene, now this got me thinking.  Is S2 probably the hardest country to work from the middle of the US?  All things being equal (like an entity being activated), what is probably the hardest country pathwise to work from the US?

John AF5CC
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W6GX
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« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2013, 08:49:44 PM »


 NOT, but I usually can hear them well enough to put in a call. A tough haul from my QTH tho...  A5 and 9N confirmed, but no luck yet on S2.  I keep trying when they are active.  SOME Day, maybe Roll Eyes.
73, Gene AF3Y

Gene, now this got me thinking.  Is S2 probably the hardest country to work from the middle of the US?  All things being equal (like an entity being activated), what is probably the hardest country pathwise to work from the US?

John AF5CC

VU is a polar path from CO but I hear them almost on a daily basis.  So I think propagation overrides the path.  In other words, if there's no propagation then it doesn't matter if it's an easy or hard path.  Conversely if there's good propagation the path becomes less relevant.  Tonight I worked Uzbekistan and he was coming in S9.

73,
Jonathan W6GX
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KY6R
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« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2013, 08:50:26 PM »

If you are in a very hilly area - like me - with hills all around, HFTA might give you some data to think about.

Look at my QRZ.com page and see my terrain map.

I had to do a lot of work to get my signal out of the canyon I live in.

73,

Rich
KY6R
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W2IRT
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« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2013, 09:34:52 PM »

Setup is the hex at 45 feet, with 375 feet of LMR 400.  

The height is doing you no favours. When I drop my tower down from 70 to 45 feet a lot of things that are usually audible suddenly aren't any more or are much more difficult. But that transmission line is hurting you for sure. At best, brand new with zero connector loss, 375 feet of Times Microwave LMR400 loses 0.7dB at 30 MHz per hundred feet. So at 10m that's close to 3dB. My guess is the losses are probably higher. For a run of that length I would consider nothing less than half inch hardline for all but the last few feet connecting to the antenna, if not 7/8". Every little bit helps when you're trying to hear the good stuff from over the pole.

Even with my C31XR at 70 feet, S2 and A5 are never strong, although I have worked both in 2013.
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www.facebook.com/W2IRT
Night gathers and now my watch begins. It shall not end until I reach Top of the Honor Roll.
WD4ELG
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Posts: 880




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« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2013, 09:57:25 PM »

Well, I shortened the coax by not going through the remote antenna switch, replaced 100 feet with some LMR 600 I have, and just like that I worked VK0CZ on 17 meters CW.  Ha.  Just when I was beginning to have my doubts.  I guess crawling around in the dark tonight and getting bitten by bugs (yep, they are here already in NC) was a good sacrifice for the DX gods for VK9CZ.  So W2IRT, my next step is to get some hardline in place.  A few dB does make a difference, as I discovered tonight.

I will do some comparisons with another ham who has a C31XR on the other side of town.

Thanks to all who offered guidance.   

Noone has recommended (or refuted) the collinear antenna idea.  It will only be at a half wave height, so not sure if it will be any better.
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K0AP
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Posts: 141




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« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2013, 10:18:09 PM »

The hex beam at 45 feet may have reached its limit.  VK9CZ, barely a whisper on 17 and 15 and 12.  Barely a whisper on 30.  So the hex on 20-10 is not going to get me VK9C. 

And tonight I called VR2UW three times on 17 meter before he came back and said "sorry, too weak."  So it's not that the prop path was closed (which would have been frustrating but acceptable), it's that he could hear me in there but not strong enough to copy my call.  Too weak!  Wow.  That stinks.

I was talking with the wife today, and she said she is ready to get some land for the horse...no more boarding at the friend's barn.  Well, guess what?  That's my ticket to NO MORE HOA and maybe a shot at Honor Roll before I "assume room temperature."  Maybe one of those C31XR's at 100 feet at the future QTH will be the differentiator!

In the meantime, I am looking at putting up a four element collinear horizontal wire array, pointed north/south.  Maybe it will help with the polar path, maybe not.  but by the looks of things (and it is an "old school antenna from before yagis were around") it might be a step up (a couple of dB) from a hex.

Looking for thoughts/feedback on the collinear idea.

I have a HEX beam at about 43ft and I was able to work VK9CZ on 17/15/12m. VK9CZ is at 10500 miles distance from here, very though path. WD4ELG, you did not mention if you run high power or 100w only. 2el HEX beam is not a C31XR but it has given me so much joy, I can hardly put into words how much I appreciate this antenna. I know a little something about antennas/propagation and other HAM related stuff since I have been around for quite some time (a HAM since 1986, I was 12 years old when I got my first license). The HEX beam got me to a total of 314 DXCC in only 6 years, (310 DXCC on 20m). It is an amazing antenna for it's size, it works very well. It blows away all kinds of dipoles and verticals. I would like to upgrade to something larger/better but I never underestimate the HEX beam and I highly recommend this antenna to anyone that has limited space. I run 600-800W depending on the band and I use 100ft of LMR400.

73 Dragan K0AP
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KY6R
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« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2013, 10:21:47 PM »

Well, I shortened the coax by not going through the remote antenna switch, replaced 100 feet with some LMR 600 I have, and just like that I worked VK0CZ on 17 meters CW.  Ha.  Just when I was beginning to have my doubts.  I guess crawling around in the dark tonight and getting bitten by bugs (yep, they are here already in NC) was a good sacrifice for the DX gods for VK9CZ.  So W2IRT, my next step is to get some hardline in place.  A few dB does make a difference, as I discovered tonight.

I will do some comparisons with another ham who has a C31XR on the other side of town.

Thanks to all who offered guidance.   

Noone has recommended (or refuted) the collinear antenna idea.  It will only be at a half wave height, so not sure if it will be any better.

If you mean an Extended Double Zepp - which is a collinear antenna, I can vouch for that - and have seen 3 dB gain on them. I have read about other collinear dipoles - where you use stubs at several points along each side - but never tried that. I guess the concept is that it ends up looking like several phased dipoles that are side by side.
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VK3HJ
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« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2013, 10:50:59 PM »

Getting bitten by bugs in the middle of the night surely was worth it, eh?
My Hex is right above the shack, with about 60' of RG-213, so not losing too much there.
I haven't heard the "C31XR" on yet, and I "need" Andorra for the Marathon this year, hi!
A horizontal wire array usually works fine in amongst trees, but it can be a job to keep it in the air, and you just have to make do with the pattern it has in the configuration the trees allow you.
I put up a 40 m bobtail curtain in the side paddock, but supported it with a couple of timber A-frame masts, painted an unobtrusive olive green colour.
I still like the idea of moving away from the home owners disagreements, and giving the dogs, horses, and antennas room to stretch their legs.
73,
Luke VK3HJ
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W1VT
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« Reply #14 on: April 08, 2013, 03:52:56 AM »

http://www.reversebeacon.net/

The reverse beacon network can be quite useful when making antenna comparisons.

Zack W1VT
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