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Author Topic: hamsticks  (Read 2180 times)
DAVIDVD59
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Posts: 122




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« on: September 27, 2008, 05:05:16 PM »

Yes I know not the most efficient antenna but something to fart around with this year, as winter is fast approaching. I have one for 75m, 40m, and 20m. I have made no contacts yet on 75m, (imagine that only a 100 watts though), on 40 m very good qso for a 1/2 hour, and 20m only a weak contact as the band was pretty well closing here late in the afternoon, early evening. The 75 meter and 20 meter hamstick adjusted the swr under 1.5:1 with some trimming. The 40 meter hamstick will not go below 2.25:1 swr regardless of what is done with it, without using my mobile tuner. Next spring I will buy a better antenna, any ideas on why the 40 meter, the one with the best contact, has a higher swr except for possibly being defective?Huh
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AA4PB
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« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2008, 07:06:36 PM »

I find that a HamStick properly mounted has an impedance of about 25 ohms and thus around a 2:1 SWR. You probably have some additional loss on 75M and 20M which is raising the impedance and making a better match. Your high SWR on the 40M Hamstick is probably an indication that it is working more efficiently than the others. While the loss makes a nice SWR, it actually converts some of your RF to heat instead of radiating it as signal. The bottom line is that low SWR is not always a good indication that an antenna is working efficiently. My dummy load has a good SWR but its not a very good antenna :-)

I put a 2:1 UNUN at the base of the mount and had a low SWR on all bands with Hamsticks.

While Hamsticks are not very efficient on 75M, I can certainly make contacts around the state with one here in VA in the early mornings and evenings.
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K0BG
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« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2008, 09:32:09 AM »

Actually, there is a good reason for it. The mast portion is hollow, which allows the whip to slide down into the vicinity of the coil. This fact makes adjusting one difficult at best without an antenna analyzer.

Every spirally wound antenna I've tested, Hamsticks included, when properly mounted with mass below them, not along side, have measured between 34 and 60 ohms, depending on the band. The epitome of efficiency, they are not.

Alan, KØBG
www.k0bg.com
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DAVIDVD59
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« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2008, 11:41:32 AM »

Well they may not be your version of efficiency K0BG, as you believe only a screwdriver antenna will work but I spent this morning making contacts on 20 meters all over Europe with 4/2 and 5/3 to 5/9 reports, working through pileups of all things and signals were not great. Many stations trying. If I had dentures, I would have dropped them right out of my mouth, I couldn't believe it, I didn't contact every station I tried but over 80% of them! My cheap hamstick and a mag mount of all things, $600 cheaper than a screwdriver antenna. Unbelievable!
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K0BG
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« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2008, 05:07:02 PM »

David, the number of DX contacts you can make means absolutely nothing! If it means anything, it's that the bands were open, and the amount of radiated power, and the receive S+N/N ratio was sufficient to make a contact, nothing more. Fact is, folks regularly make DX contacts with a Yaesu ATAS, mounted on a luggage rack. It just so happens, the ATAS is one of the worse performing HF mobile antennas there is, and a luggage rack is one of the worse places to mount an antenna. Here too, it means nothing if you rate the antenna based solely on the ability to talk to someone, DX or otherwise.

If your premise were true, then why do contest and DX stations put up elaborate antenna systems? It is because they want to work stations in adverse conditions, not just when good band conditions allow average stations to make contacts.

This begs the question, do you want to operate only when the band conditions are good? Or do you want to operate when the band conditions are marginal? That decision depends on just how much money you're willing to spend.


Alan, KØBG
www.k0bg.com
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WW5AA
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« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2008, 07:21:37 AM »

When I bought my first screw driver, I was using ham sticks. Since I like to work all the bands, I figured it out and had spent $168 on ham sticks. The Johnson DK3 screw driver sold for $179 at the time. Yes, I worked a lot of DX with the ham sticks, but after having the efficients and convenience of a screw driver, I sure would never go back to ham sticks.  But to each his own….have fun.

73 de Lindy
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KG6WLS
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« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2008, 08:09:04 AM »

I totally agree with Alan. If you want to DX mobile, then use one of these: http://www.alumatower.com/new/images/tmp52-60EB4.jpg


...with a Force 12 C3.

;-)

73
KG6WLS
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IRABREN
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Posts: 273




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« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2008, 12:57:25 PM »

Here are the facts: (from my experience)
1. Hamstick: a highly inefficient antenna.
             Yea - you can make contacts when band conditions are good - so what ?
To use 1 - you have to carefully adjust it using an analyzer ( mfj259b).
Some consider them non-resonant.
When I first started - I had a 20m hamstick on top of my car - mag mounted ( even worse efficiency )
I "thought" - it worked "great" - I talked to mexico, portugal, all of us - etc etc - BUT - that didn't last.
The mag mount deteriorated.
The car provided a poor ground plane.
Yes they are cheap - and you get what you pay for.
I now use a HS-1800 "screwdriver " - and am much happier
40m and especially 75 m hamsticks are crap.
Ira, KE5STP
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AI4WC
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« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2008, 07:02:20 AM »

FWIW, I use Hamstick dipoles; mostly on 20 meters and I have pretty good luck with them.  They are about the smallest usable antennas for HF.  I tune them according to Lakeview recommendations.  Every antenna is a compromise, whether you care to worry about it or not.  The drawback of the Hamsticks is that the lower in frequency you go, the narrower the bandwith.  The 75 meter (no, they are not sold as 80 meter) Hamsticks are very narrow, so much so that I never use them, but I've made a lot of US and European contacts with the 20 meter setup with less than 100 watts.  For my apartment setup, they have proven a pretty good choice, but I know nothing replaces a lot of aluminum or copper strung up at the right height.
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DAVIDVD59
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« Reply #9 on: October 17, 2008, 09:52:36 PM »

I continue to half excellent luck with my hamsticks on 40 meters and 20 meters. No contact on 75 meters yet, but I haven't tried really hard given the attitude of 75 meter operators. For something to screw around with, the cost verses the results are not bad. My tuner takes care of any swr issues, and I have good contacts.
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DAVIDVD59
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« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2008, 10:57:46 AM »

One comment, if the purpose of making contacts is "NOT" what amateur radio is about, then I don't know how you would measure any performance in an antenna system. Seems to me making a contact dictates the purpose in the first place. I think K0BG you are an idiot expert wannabe, and I hear my uncle laughing at you from his grave! Any idiot can put an article on the internet, any idiot can write a book.

I also learned in life whether you buy a $1,000.00 car, a $5,000.00 car or a $50,000.00 car, in the end they all do the same, move people from one location to another. Dollar for dollar, my hamstick beats your screwdriver signal for signal in my pocket. If there is no propagation, no matter how hard you try, you will not make a contact.

Dave
AB9PM
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W3LK
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« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2008, 07:12:05 PM »

<< I think K0BG you are an idiot expert wannabe, and I hear my uncle laughing at you from his grave! Any idiot can put an article on the internet, any idiot can write a book. >>

And any idiot can get an amateur radio license.

You know, considering that you have only been a ham for a year, you've done a good job already of making a fool of yourself, calling one of the top mobile ham experts an "idiot expert wannabe". Way to go, buddy.

73,

Lon - W3LK
Naugatuck, Connecticut
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N3OX
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« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2008, 09:56:39 PM »

Dave,

Chill out.

Alan knows what he's talking about.  He knows quantitatively how bad hamsticks are.  The reason you're making contacts is NOT because it's a good antenna, it's because you have an antenna at all and ham radio is cool that way.

I worked 40m DX the other night with an INTENTIONAL 10dB feedline loss just as an experiment.  My effective radiated power was around 10W to a good vertical.

I broke a pileup on C57R.  I worked I1YRL, he gave me a 579 and we had a little chat and he was clearly copying me 100%.  I could have had ANOTHER 10dB loss and still made the QSO with him.  I could have been radiating 1W and made the contact no problem.

Look, hamsticks suck.  They really suck.  They're awful antennas.

But even an awful antenna will let you radiate a couple of watts of power, and that's PLENTY of power to make some contacts and have some fun.

That doesn't make them stop sucking.

Ham radio is great.  You can make lots of fun contacts on a crap antenna.  You can go your whole ham life having fun on crap antennas.  In fact, I sometimes have more fun on a crap antenna than I do on a big one if there's not much DX to work.  I pull out my magloop and see what I can do with that instead.  But when I pit some antennas head to head, when I get on the magloop on 20m and give PA7MM a call, and he comes back to me with a 57 report, hey, great!  Then I wonder, how would he hear me on my homemade Moxon at 30' ?

The verdict: PA7MM gives me a 59+10dB report and says the difference is like "turning on a light switch."  I have more fun working the Netherlands on 20m if I'm using the magloop because I know it's not as good of an antenna and I like to see how "low I can go" and still have some big gun station hear me.

When I'm trying to work a brand new country, though, I'm damn well going to flip on that light switch!

Have fun with your hamsticks, but don't berate Alan for telling you it's a piece of crap antenna, because it is.  Everyone gets to choose where they want to put their station on the price/performance curve.  Hamsticks are down on the low end of both, for sure.  You may never, ever care enough about the contacts you *can't* make on your mobile setup to upgrade.  That doesn't make Alan's comments wrong.


I like my antennas to radiate more than 1% to 10% of the power I apply to them.  You don't have to feel the same way, but do you really want to press the point that an antenna that wastes 90%+ of the power you apply to it is a "GOOD ANTENNA?"

73
Dan

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73,
Dan
http://www.n3ox.net

Monkey/silicon cyborg, beeping at rocks since 1995.
N3OX
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« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2008, 09:58:09 PM »

"If there is no propagation, no matter how hard you try, you will not make a contact.
"

There's almost never "no" propagation.

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73,
Dan
http://www.n3ox.net

Monkey/silicon cyborg, beeping at rocks since 1995.
W3LK
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Posts: 5644




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« Reply #14 on: October 20, 2008, 07:42:38 AM »

<< Dollar for dollar, my hamstick beats your screwdriver signal for signal in my pocket. If there is no propagation, no matter how hard you try, you will not make a contact. >>

Quite often, while the guy with the marginal antenna THINKS there is no propagation because he can't hear anyone or no one answers his CQ, guys with GOOD installations are making contacts because for them, propagation DOES exist. Smiley

I haven't had a single day in the last 10 years that I couldn't make a mobile HF contact with someone.

73,

Lon - W3LK
Naugatuck, Connecticut
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