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Author Topic: What HF Beam to buy?  (Read 712 times)
W8RID
Member

Posts: 45




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« on: July 24, 2008, 03:49:34 AM »

I have my General ticket.
I've been operating HF now for a little over a year now.
Using a 6btv vert for my current antenna.
It is doing a fine job.

Rig is a IC735 with a AT-150 tunner.

I am in the process of putting up a 40' tower.

Will have a rotor in the next couple of months.

will need to get a beam by spring of next year so when I put up the tower I will have it.

I do not have and restrictions that i know about. I do live in a residential area.
I would like to keep the beam as small as possible.

10, 15 and 20 are the minimum freq I would like the beam to handle. Optimally, I would like to have 40 in there too but can handle it if it is not there.

I have looked all over at the different "Small" beams.

I need your help!!

Let me know what you think would be a good choice from your experiences.

Thanks

Bob
W8RID
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K7JQ
Member

Posts: 284




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« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2008, 06:25:09 AM »

Check out the e-ham reviews on the Cushcraft MA5B. It covers 6-20 meters including the WARC bands and is probably the smallest beam out there. I haven't used one, but the reviews seem generally favorable for a compromised antenna. Also the Traffie Hex Beam has a small appearance, but looks kinda funky...like an upside down umbrella. Otherwise, most other tri-banders will have 12-14 foot booms and 28 foot elements. They will give you more gain and better f/b ratios. Good luck.
73,   Bob, K7JQ
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WB2WIK
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Posts: 20540




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« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2008, 11:13:01 AM »

The HX5Bi Hexbeam's a better product than the MA-5B. It's also lighter and easier to assemble.  It has some gain on 17m and 12m, which the MA-5B does not.  The Hexbeam's actually a very slick product and does well for its small size and light weight.

If you have the room and budget there are obviously better options!

The 3 element SteppIR covers 20m through 6m inclusive and does a great job; it's larger and more expensive, and more time consuming to assemble.  Force-12, Hy-Gain, Cushcraft, Mosley and Tennadyne have solid American-made beam products of all sorts (price, size, weight and complexity varies a great deal with band coverage and # of elements) and there are some good European beams (Optibeam, et al) as well -- fairly pricey over here.

If you're just starting out and want to try something fairly simple that works, the Hexbeam is pretty hard to beat.

WB2WIK/6
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K7PEH
Member

Posts: 1125




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« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2008, 09:31:01 PM »

I agree with Steve, go with the Hexbeam.  In fact, I have a 5-band Hexbeam and I really like it.  Of course I would rather have a four-element SteppIR but I don't have the room for that.  But, this Hexbeam works fine, I have logged stations in every quadrant of the planet (every 90-degree segment, my own kind of award level).  Actually, I had a short QSO with Steve, WB2WIK, using this Hexbeam on Sunday morning, June 8th.

phil, K7PEH
P.S.  I have photos of the putting-together task of my hexbeam on my web site: http://www.k7peh.com.
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NB2N
Member

Posts: 3




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« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2008, 03:36:47 PM »

I'm in agreement with the sentiments above. If you must go with a small beam,  choose a hexbeam.  I have a Traffie 5-bander up at 35 feet for two weeks now and I am delighted with its performance. F/B ratio is a solid 16-20 db on 20 meters, and signal reports have been fabulous. It replaced a TGM 2-element "hybrid quad".  There is no comparison in performance.  The first thing you will notice in changing from a vertical to the hexbeam will be the loss of noise.  It is a very quiet antenna. You can make a hexbeam for a reasonable cost.  The Traffie is expensive, but it is extremely well made and worth the cost.
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KL7IPV
Member

Posts: 984




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« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2008, 10:12:07 PM »

I used a Hy-Gain TR3JR for many years in Alaska and it did a great job for me. It is light and the wind loading is also very light. It doesn't take a huge rotator to turn it either. I made thousands of contacts with that antenna.
Frank
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