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Author Topic: Hexbeam  (Read 1327 times)
KC8RPD
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Posts: 121




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« on: October 04, 2007, 08:48:25 PM »

I recently came across a few websites about hexbeams-W1GQL's, K4KIO's, and G3TXQ's.  I find the concept interesting.

Seems like it might be better than a yard-spanning dipole fed with window line, and equivalent in cost. (I'd need to buy two 40ft telescopic masts for the dipole, one for the hex, and a cheap rotor).

What do you think?
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N6NKN
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Posts: 425




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« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2007, 08:52:59 PM »

What bands do you plan to work? Anything above 20 meters is very limited at this point in the sunspot cycle. For now, try a dipole for 40 or 75 meters.
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N6AJR
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« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2007, 10:33:21 PM »

a 5 band hexbeam is about $1000, for that much $$ look at the steppir 2, 3or even 4 element antenna or on of their verticles, a perfect match on every frequency..
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PD2R
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« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2007, 11:42:47 PM »

I think a Hexbeam is a great idea, just donĀ“t buy a commercial one but build one yourself instead. There is plenty info available on the Internet so enjoy building the beam an later enjoy using it even more!
Good luck!
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UA3VVB
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Posts: 3




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« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2007, 12:28:49 AM »

Just pictures Wink
http://www.quad.ru/gallery.php?r=67
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WA3SKN
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Posts: 5434




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« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2007, 04:09:32 AM »

What times do you plan to operate?
What bands do you plan to operate?
Answers to these questions will help determine the best plans for your antennas!
At this time, 20 and 40 meters are the staples, but other bands may be of interest to you also, what limitations do you have?

-Mike.
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KT8K
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Posts: 1490




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« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2007, 04:57:23 AM »

For the lowdown on the hex beam and its family of antennas, check out W4RNL's article at http://www.cebik.com/wire/4.html.  By all reports it's a good antenna for its size, but home brewing would save some serious bucks.  While the Moxon rectangle might be easier to build, I haven't seen a design for it that supports more than 2 bands, while the hexbeam handles a lot more, which will be good as the next Solar cycle moves the MUF back up to 10m and above.
The one thing I would worry about with the hexbeam (up here in Michigan) is ... ice.
Best rx & 73 de kt8k - Tim
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K7PEH
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Posts: 1125




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« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2007, 06:37:30 AM »

I have a Traffie 5-band Hexbeam (the $1000 kind, or actually in my case only about $900).  I really like this antenna.  No, it is not a SteppIR 3-element which was my first choice but the hexbeam has one real advantage over the SteppIR (rotation radius).

Due to the many trees on our lot, I could not easily put up a SteppIR with its large rotation radius.  This is where the Hexbeam was a nice compromise to a full sized Yagi beam.  The Traffie Hexbeam has a 9 foot rotation radius and it is very light.  I have it mounted on a regular TV style mast (guyed) with a regular TV style rotator.

About performance?  My hexbeam made my radio come alive when I first hooked it up.  Prior to the hexbeam, I had a Gap Titan vertical which was just OK, not great. I am guessing the gain of the hexbeam is about 4 dBd.  Due to the lower gain (compared to a full size beam) it has a much broader front end so you capture much more without the need to rotate.  Up here in the Seattle area, one corner of the country I can work the entire US without rotating the antenna too much.  So, there are some good things about a lower gain antenna (But, the day I get some other property, up goes a 4-element SteppIR).

Another advantage over the SteppIR is cost.  Sure, the hex beam costs about $1000 but that is almost all the money you need to spend.  A regular TV style mast with guying material is dirt cheap compared to a hefty tower that is needed for a SteppIR.  And, the TV style rotator is only $65 (new) compared to maybe something more robust in the $400 to $800 category.
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N0ZLD
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« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2007, 07:32:45 AM »

I have one and love it!  I have pictures on my website:

http://www.n0zld.com

I bought the commerical version because I had the money but you could certainly homebrew it for alot cheaper.

A SteppIR will obviously perform better.  It's a (almost) no-compromise Yagi.  Almost all hams have to compromise with the antenna they put up.  Whether it's size, price, type, HOA restrictions, etc.  It's just a matter of what compromises are you willing to live with.  If you don't need to make compromises due to the amount of money you have, willingness to get permits and put work into a tower and do not like compromising when it comes to an antenna, you get a SteppIR.

The cost savings in this antenna comes not from the price of buying it commercially, but from everything needed to use it.  If you homebrew you save yourself alot of $ right there.  It performs pretty well at low heights, is light and thus you can use a cheap rotator and push up mast or mount it to your roof/chimney.

Good luck
N0ZLD
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W8JI
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« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2007, 07:33:49 AM »

That's right.... the advantage of a Hexbeam is size.

The DISadvantage is gain and performance.

The actual gain with reasonable boom length is about 3dB or so maximum over a dipole at the same height.

Certainly that is less than a three element full size antenna, but it is still like a dipole or better and it can be rotated.

There isn't any magic...a bigger antenna is better. A bigger antenna also won't often fit.


Just don't beleive the bullcrap that you can get full size gain from a compact antenna. It won't happen no matter how much you try, although some might imagine it can.

73 Tom

 
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K7PEH
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Posts: 1125




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« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2007, 07:48:00 AM »

Another hexbeam comment...

Traffie also has a "portable" single band at a time hexbeam.  This portable hexbeam is full size (where "full" is compared to the regular hexbeam) when expanded but can be folded up and stored in a nice little carrying bag.

This portable hexbeam is a nice alternative in two situations.  One, the portable "camp-out" style antenna.  Since the antenna is so light, you can mount it up on a stiff 15 foot mast that is well anchored at the base and maybe at the 6 foot level.  This makes a nice performing antenna for those times you are camped out.  Of course, sticking it up higher is better but that may require guying the mast but even that is possible in some camping or outdoors or field type locations.  Arrange the mount and fittings to allow rotation by hand.

The other alternative is to use this as a "removable" antenna for HOA and stiff CCR locations.  Sure those rules usually say "no antennas" but a portable antenna may often sneak by those rules if you only have it up when it is being used (preferably at night to obscure its visibility).  I know one ham operator who does this.
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N0ZLD
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« Reply #11 on: October 05, 2007, 08:04:40 AM »

I disagree with this statement,

"..but it is still like a dipole or better and it can be rotated."

A Hex is never "like a dipole".  It's almost always better.

"..therefore the gain of the HexBeam with respect to a Dipole remains steady at about 3.6dBd, irrespective of height."

http://karinya.net/g3txq/hexbeam/height/

Your making it sound like a rotatable dipole.  The Hex does have front to back gain and directivity and thus in my opinion, better than a dipole.

At 35 feet, the Hex exhibits about a 14dB F/B ratio, certainly much better than a dipole.
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KG4YTL
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Posts: 127




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« Reply #12 on: October 05, 2007, 09:29:19 AM »

What commercial hex beams would everyone recommend?  
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K7PEH
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Posts: 1125




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« Reply #13 on: October 05, 2007, 09:58:39 AM »

>>>What commercial hex beams would everyone recommend?

"Everyone" would strongly recommend Traffie hexbeam.  Just go to http://www.hexbeam.com.

But, be aware that he is back ordered by a few months.

Actually, I am not aware of any other quality commercial hexbeam.

On my web site (www.k7peh.com) on my antennas page link I have a photo description of the process of putting together a Traffie 5-band hex beam and lifting it up onto the roof of the house.

73,
phil, K7PEH
www.k7peh.com
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K4SAV
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Posts: 1810




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« Reply #14 on: October 05, 2007, 10:42:43 AM »

In reference to some claims listed:

Turning radius is definitely an advantage for the Hexbeam, but price, gain, and tower strength required is not.  The price for a 5 band hex beam is very close to the same as a two element SteppIR.  The wind load for a 5 band Hexbeam is 5 sq-ft compared to a two element SteppIR which is 4 sq-ft.  So you need a stronger tower for the Hexbeam.  The Hexbeam is lighter, so it may be easier to lift, but I doubt that it is easier to install with all those wires to deal with.  Which antenna requires the strongest rotator is not clear.  Since the hex beam has more wind load this requires a better rotator, but the SteppIR may produce more turning torque.  So you have to look at rotator specs.  It is certainly not clear as to which requires the strongest rotator.

There are a bunch of other things to consider at when making a comparison, but the ones listed above are pretty obvious.

Jerry, K4SAV
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