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Author Topic: Newbie needing help  (Read 3101 times)
KJ4ZGP
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« on: February 04, 2011, 02:00:17 PM »

Only been a ham for 3 months just got my general class,are these all band vertical antennas any good. I have read the reviews,would have advise from someone that has hands on experience with them. i have limited space is why i am considering one. you guys have been a big help to me.  Terry KJ4ZGP
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K5LXP
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« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2011, 02:08:56 PM »

It would be useful to know which one(s) you're talking about.


Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
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KQ6Q
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« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2011, 02:12:54 PM »

What bands are you looking for, VHF/UHF or HF ?  
If VHF/UHF, a discone is cheap and effective. If HF, the 'all Band' units from GAP can cost more than your rig. Do you have a tree you can run a wire up into ? A balcony ? Consider a trap vertical, if you can run a radial for each band. What's your budget. We can make recommendations within $ limits if we know what they are.
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KJ4ZGP
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« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2011, 02:39:00 PM »

BUDGET IS NOT A PROBLEM,DO NOT HAVE THE ROOM FOR A WIRE ANTENNA. THANKS I HAVE LOOKED AT THE GAP CHALLENGER-DX AND THE CUSH CRAFT MA5V
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2011, 02:56:00 PM »

BUDGET IS NOT A PROBLEM,DO NOT HAVE THE ROOM FOR A WIRE ANTENNA. THANKS I HAVE LOOKED AT THE GAP CHALLENGER-DX AND THE CUSH CRAFT MA5V

Those are pretty different.  The Challenger-DX is very tall and really needs to be ground mounted.  It also required three 25' long wire radials stretched out around its base, so although it's a vertical, it does occupy about 50' of horizontal space on the ground, with those radials.  But it does cover 80 and 40 meters, and in my experience works well on 40 and 20 (probably its two best bands).

The MA-5V is smaller and is good for roof/tripod/tower mounting.  It only covers 10-12-15-17-20 meters, no 30-40-80 meters at all.

There's lots of other verticals on the market.

Before picking one out, I'd decide "where will it be installed?" first.  The antenna design should be predicated on its siting.

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W4MLO
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« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2011, 05:18:54 PM »

Do yourself a favor and buy a SteppIR and put down 64 radials as long as you can and enjoy!
Just my 2 cents (and that's about all it's worth!).
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KD0LAV
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« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2011, 06:47:11 PM »

Terry, I too have very limited space.  After lots of research I went with the Gap Challenger.  My biggest reason was it took only three ground radials.  The best placement would be in a 120 arc around the antenna but I didnt have the room for that.  My three radials stretch out off to one side and then out front of the antenna.  The antenna is 3 ft from a 6ft tall privacy fence and maybe 10 ft from the house with its evespouts and downspouts.  I have had very good luck with it.  It just survived a blizzard and last summer it had no problems handling thunderstorm winds of over 60.  It is guyed which I recommend.  It has served me very well.
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STAYVERTICAL
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« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2011, 05:42:22 AM »

Hi Terry,

I am in a similar situation regarding space and have zoning problems as well.
First some facts:

1. A monopole type vertical MUST have a return path in the form of either ground radials or wire elevated radials.
2. There is no such thing as a monopole quarter wave antenna without a ground system of some type.
3. The higher the losses in an antenna the broader its bandwidth appears.
    (This is because the loss only changes slowly with varying frequency and it swamps the radiation resistance value).
4. If you don't have a ground/radial on a monopole, the coax or mast will act like one and radiate.
5. Sixteen ground radials is enough to make it not worthwhile adding more unless its a hundred more.
6. Better to have many short ground radials than only a couple of long ones.
7. 2 or 3 elevated radials for the frequency of use is adequate for each band.

Most big verticals are designed for certain bands using coils and/or traps which will respond to different ham frequencies in different ways so allowing reasonably low SWR over many bands. These traps/coils have losses which although small do cause some loss of efficiency.
Remember, the purpose of all those bumps and bulges on the vertical are to act as inline impedances which make the whole antenna act like a frequency dependent antenna tuner.
SteppIR type verticals have a band of metal which is physically lengthened/shortened to achieve resonance, so avoiding these losses, but requiring a remote control unit for tuning, so adding some complexity but increasing efficiency.
In my case I chose to use a remote antenna tuner at the base of my vertical, which gives me continuous coverage from 5 to 60Mhz with a nearly perfect SWR. In addition, using a remote ATU at the base of a vertical means that if the environmental conditions change, (such as snow or rain), the change in antenna impedance can be corrrected by the push of a button.
Like the Steppir it needs a control line to the remote ATU but the increase in operational flexibility is easily worth it.
In addition, if you have a remote ATU, you can use some hardware store cheap aluminum tubing and telescope it together with hose clips for a cheap vertical.
Or, if the mood strikes, you could connect a wire loop or long wire, or any other type of experimental antenna to its terminals.

The reason I am suggesting a REMOTE ATU is that this way the SWR on the feedline will always be very low, so avoiding the losses which would be associated with a high feedline SWR.
An ATU at the rig works as well, but the price you pay for convenience is that the SWR on the feedline may be high on many bands and the losses can be quite substantial in this case.

I hope this helps to dispel some of the mystery around vertical antennas.

Good luck and 73s
« Last Edit: February 05, 2011, 05:49:26 AM by STAYVERTICAL » Logged
KG4YMC
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Posts: 297




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« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2011, 08:11:28 PM »

Hi, Terry , from one  Terry to another, your're going to have a blast , enjoy, I have seen some reviews of the s9 antennas . I was wondering if you  could mount anything on a roof? if you have a metal roof guy at s9 told me that would work, I am fortunate to have trees, but it wasn't moving  a metal roof could work for your radials . Hope to hear you  on 40 or 15 ssb enjoy the hobby and welcome aboard!!!!kg4ymc
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AD6KA
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« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2011, 10:03:33 PM »

If you're going to operate a 31 or 43 foot vertical
on multiple bands, at worst use an unun, not a balun.
The BEST WAY is to use a remote tuner at the BASE of the vertical.
Otherwise you are going to have high SWR losses in the coax.

If ground mounted go as nuts as you can with the radials.

There's no such thing as a good all band antenna.
Any "multiband" antenna is a compromise, some are huge ones.
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K1WJ
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« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2011, 08:22:45 AM »

Go with a 4-BTV with 32 ground radials at 33ft each in your back yard. Easy to add 12m & 17m with low cost mod. Not DX-Engineering solution. Just add 1/4 wave wires from base of btv with metal clamps - to cap hat / insulator rope side - - moved away from main element at base with non conducting pvc about 8-12 inches. Easy. Now its a 6 band BTV......Have made contacts on 12m & 17m no problem - great bandwidth. Cool

73 K1WJ Dave
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W8JX
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« Reply #11 on: February 06, 2011, 12:52:44 PM »

32 radials is by no means a must have here. You will reach a point of diminishing returns. Start out with 4 or maybe 8 and add if you think you need it as next step would be 16 and then 32. But, I should add that I have been using a 5BTV for close to 20 years with no radials. The only ground it has ever had is a 6 1/2 foot steel field fence pole driven 5 1/2 feet into ground. This is not to say radials would not help it some but it does play really well on 40 where it sees most of its usage and does well on 80 within its bandwidth. ground mounted 1/4 wave vertical loose their edge at 20m and above no mater how many radials you use. They seem to play better when elevated on upper bands.
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AI4HO
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Posts: 80




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« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2011, 01:11:59 PM »

Terry,

I have used my share of vertical antennas, starting with a GAP Challenger in 03 when I returned to the airwaves.  I then went to the GAP Titan, from there to a Hustler 6BTV, then the 4BTV, finally I am back to my favorite the GAP Challenger.  I use 3 23' radials, I started out at about 30' and trimmed them back till I had my best SWR on 40 meters.  Don't get me wrong the Challenger is a good antenna.....but it ain't great.  I have worked a lot of stations with my GAP vertical, including some pretty decent DX.  Most recently I worked 8J1RL a Japanese station located on Antarctia, it can be done, how ever, it cannot compete with my 40 year old Mosley TA-33 classic @ 42' on my as old HyGain 52' crank up tower.  I also have a 40 meter dipole and a G5RV, and a Diamond V-2000A VHF/UHF antenna for repeater work. 

Now then, my GAP Challenger is ground mounted on a tilt over mount, with 3 guy ropes.......should have 4, but don't have any where in my front yard to tie off the 4th guy.  I had excellent result with the Hustler BTV series vertical antennas as well, the key there is, is to have a good radial field with these antennas.  Remember, 2 radials....minimum per band, the 6BTV was a bear, and then decide to do away with the radials for 30 meters, as my days of doing CW are over.......tone deaf Sad  I think think my best over all performer was the GAP Titan, didn't need radial, it has its own raised counterpoise on it, takes up a bit more room than the others, but that was a super antenna for me Cheesy 

When my tower went up I didn't have room for it and the Titan, so the Titan had to go, a nice guy about 50-60 miles away came and took it home, he promised me he would give it a good home Wink  What ever way you go, unless its with the GAP antennas....and yes, they do cost a bit more than some of the other brands, you are going to have to put some radias down, no matter what.  Yes, you can put them up with no radials, Hustler BTV series tells you which measurements to use for it, but your sifnal will suffer from it.

There are a number of other brands of verticals out there the StepIR, Zero5, are 2 who come to mind, I have a couple of friends here in town who have the StepIR verticals, the big 32' one, they have a tremendous signal on 40 meters in the mornings, not just to me here in town, but some of the guys on our net who live in other part of the country say so as well.  You are going to have to figure out what brands you are interested in, then by process of elimination, determine which antenna will do what you want it to do, and then where possible download the manual, read the instructions, that way when the antenna arrives you will have some idea of what you are doing and how it goes together.  So, when the time comes, you can put the antenna together, erect it and be on the air with it. Just my thoughts and experiences with a vertical antenna.

73 de Mark
W3LZK

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K6CU
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« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2011, 04:48:40 PM »

I would suggest looking at the Butternut HF-6v. It's light-weight, easy to assemble and works! I've had mine for over 10 years.

Although the HF-6v is only designed for 80, 40, 30, 20, 15 and 10 meters, mine works reasonably well on 17 and 12 meters as well with the internal tuner in my radio.

I've worked over 300 countries on 40 meters using this antenna. I have only 6 radials... 2 at 60', 2 at 35' and 2 at 25'.

Good luck with whatever you chose!
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N8CMQ
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« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2011, 06:01:23 PM »

If you want good results, stick with the antenna handbook recommendation of 120 radials.
This is what I did, http://www.myspace.com/n8cmq/blog
Any thing less is a compromise.
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