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Author Topic: N6BT Q52, Cushcraft MA-5B, or ??? (need suggestions on a my first beam antenna)  (Read 9238 times)
W5PUG
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Posts: 13




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« Reply #15 on: November 19, 2011, 10:05:57 AM »

Having been there I recommend you also consider a Hexbeam.  Traffie model takes the full legal limit, is very broadbanded and is a 2 element monobander on 5 bands 20-10. Mine was quiet and the best small beam I ever used. 
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WD4ELG
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« Reply #16 on: November 19, 2011, 08:05:16 PM »

As a very happy (and biased) owner of the Traffie product line (HXL-20 and the five bander), can attest to their stealthiness, simplicity, ease of assembly, durability, and performance.  I have reviewed the Traffie products on eham under product reviews, so I won't recap.  If you are not happy, you can return for a full refund.  But you'll be happy.
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W6UX
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« Reply #17 on: November 19, 2011, 11:38:46 PM »

Yesterday I ordered a HX-5Bi from Traffie Technology.  The 20 lb weight and 9.5' turn radius is going to work well.  Ordered a 15m aluminum mast from Spiderbeam and picked up a G-800DXA rotator from HRO.  Hope to get it up all and running in 4-6 weeks.

After the way the sweepstakes has been going so far, I am looking forward to some much needed directivity!!!!

Thanks everyone for helping me make a more informed decision!

de Jeff, W6UX
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M0TTB
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Posts: 196




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« Reply #18 on: November 20, 2011, 01:45:43 AM »

Yesterday I ordered a HX-5Bi from Traffie Technology.  The 20 lb weight and 9.5' turn radius is going to work well.  Ordered a 15m aluminum mast from Spiderbeam and picked up a G-800DXA rotator from HRO.  Hope to get it up all and running in 4-6 weeks.

After the way the sweepstakes has been going so far, I am looking forward to some much needed directivity!!!!

Thanks everyone for helping me make a more informed decision!

de Jeff, W6UX

Excellent... good luck pushing it all up on the spiderbeam mast. I had a Spiderbeam 10m HD mast with the little tgm and rotator, and that wasn't much fun pushing it up (rubber gloves help, and don't drop the allen key whilst doing it) . I wouldn't extend it all the way with a 15m, I wouldn't extend any section to it's maximum extent.. and 2 tiers of guys maybe appropriate.
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W6UX
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« Reply #19 on: November 20, 2011, 08:58:23 AM »


Excellent... good luck pushing it all up on the spiderbeam mast.

Did you place your rotator at the top of your mast?

My rotator will be placed at the base of the mast and 2 levels of guys will keep everything aligned vertically.  A 65mm thrust bearing will keep a lower section of mast secured to the house.  The rotator will be sitting on a welded structure firmly weighted down with rebar and concrete in the ground.  Spiderbeam has said a 15m mast should be fine as long as I keep the mast length to 38 feet or less.  Since the Hex is 4' tall, the whole antenna is going to be between 38' and 42' AGL, which is an effective height for this antenna.

For extra stability I'm going to adjust the tube sections of the mast so that the upper guy ring is just under the Hex Beam's hub. 

-Jeff
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M0TTB
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« Reply #20 on: November 20, 2011, 10:10:01 AM »

Quote from: W6UX

Did you place your rotator at the top of your mast?

My rotator will be placed at the base of the mast and 2 levels of guys will keep everything aligned vertically.  A 65mm thrust bearing will keep a lower section of mast secured to the house.  The rotator will be sitting on a welded structure firmly weighted down with rebar and concrete in the ground.  Spiderbeam has said a 15m mast should be fine as long as I keep the mast length to 38 feet or less.  Since the Hex is 4' tall, the whole antenna is going to be between 38' and 42' AGL, which is an effective height for this antenna.

For extra stability I'm going to adjust the tube sections of the mast so that the upper guy ring is just under the Hex Beam's hub. 

-Jeff

You should be ok with the rotator at the base... with the extra weight of your mast vs mine (which had rotator at the top) it will probably be a similar task raising it. You wouldn't want to do it too often but with 2 guy levels and only semi extended, you shouldn't need to take it down... although getting it down is the easy part  Grin

73
Andy
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KA5N
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« Reply #21 on: November 20, 2011, 02:03:07 PM »

A trick I used to pull the sections of my mast up when I installed my Hex beam was to  use
a steel ring and a hose clamp.  I clamped the steel ring to the mast section and used a lever
made out of a mop handle.  I cut a notch in the mop handle to keep the ring from slipping off.
Then I put a brace fulcrum(notched 2X4) under the mop handle.  Hold a strain on the mop handle
and loosen the retainer bolt and you can lift the mast about two feet.  Retighten the retaining bolt and loosen the hose clamp and lower it down two feet, tighten and go again.
While this sounds like a lot of work, it is actually much easier (at least for old codgers) than lifting the mast with one hand while keeping it from sliding down with the other.
Raising the 30 foot mast became a 10 to 15 minute no-strain job.  If you accidently let the mast
slide back it will only go two feet instead of all the way.
I don't know why I didn't think of this a long time ago.  Of course I was standing on my patio
cover which is flat while I did this.  If you stand on a ladder you will need to secure the fulcrum.

Allen
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KA7NIQ
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« Reply #22 on: December 05, 2011, 09:56:53 PM »

Yesterday I ordered a HX-5Bi from Traffie Technology.  The 20 lb weight and 9.5' turn radius is going to work well.  Ordered a 15m aluminum mast from Spiderbeam and picked up a G-800DXA rotator from HRO.  Hope to get it up all and running in 4-6 weeks.

After the way the sweepstakes has been going so far, I am looking forward to some much needed directivity!!!!

Thanks everyone for helping me make a more informed decision!

de Jeff, W6UX
Just curious, why did you order a Traffie technology Hex Beam. I live near Tampa Florida, and have talked with several hams who have went to the Ugly Hex Beams.
Not ONE Ham I know ever ordered a Traffie Hex Beam. Every single one of them got the KIO Hex Beam that Steve guy from England Computer Modeled. I understand it has better front to back ratio then the Traffie, a very important consideration when you live here in Florida, with South America constantly causing interference.
Hex Beams are ugly to me, but they are light, work ok, and have low wind load.

Were you simply unaware at the time that the KIO Hex Beam designed by that Steve Guy from England is electrically superior to the Traffie Hex Beam ?
The Traffie is a little smaller I am told, was that why you gave up the better performance ?

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W6UX
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« Reply #23 on: December 06, 2011, 12:01:45 PM »

Just curious, why did you order a Traffie technology Hex Beam.

The primary factor for me was the smaller turning radius (9.5' vs 11') and reduced weight (19.5 lbs vs 25 lbs).  I have to put this up on an aluminum push-mast (Spiderbeam 15m @ 38' and guyed, to be rotated at the base).

I read hundreds of customer testimonials for each version of hex beam out there, and what I found is there were hardly any negative reviews by anyone for any vendor (they all work good!).  It's a good design that is proven.  Some say the Traffie is a bit more refined and polished that the other makes, while others prefer to spend less money on the KIO, Bobber, or DX Engineering version.  I didn't come across any in-depth performance comparisons between the various brands, but it would be moot anyway, since I'm putting this up on a very small lot and can't have an 11' turning radius (the antenna would just about be extended beyond my backyard wall and very close to some trees).

I'm upgrading from an inverted V doublet so I have no doubt I'm going to be thrilled with the Traffie's performance.  I can't find a better antenna compatible with my QTH.

BTW, when you have a question or need technical support, you get Mike Traffie.  Quickly!

-Jeff
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KQ0C
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Posts: 25




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« Reply #24 on: December 06, 2011, 12:52:19 PM »

For the record, I have a Mosley Tribander, a TRAFFIE Hex Beam and a KIO Hex beam all on the same hilltop which I use as a contest location. I can not sense much performance difference between them except that the Mosley has a bit less 2:1 band width on 20 meters. All of these antennas are excellent performers. The KIO is well built, but not quite as impressively engineered as the Traffie. I have never been able to sense any performance or SWR difference between the two hexes. Very occassionally I'll get a better report on the Mosely than the hexes... which may refelct the 3 element vs 2 element design.

The Hex beams are very robust and easy to move around when strung together... you could roll them if you wanted to. They have less windage and torgue rotors less.
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KA7NIQ
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« Reply #25 on: December 06, 2011, 08:23:45 PM »

Just curious, why did you order a Traffie technology Hex Beam.

The primary factor for me was the smaller turning radius (9.5' vs 11') and reduced weight (19.5 lbs vs 25 lbs).  I have to put this up on an aluminum push-mast (Spiderbeam 15m @ 38' and guyed, to be rotated at the base).

I read hundreds of customer testimonials for each version of hex beam out there, and what I found is there were hardly any negative reviews by anyone for any vendor (they all work good!).  It's a good design that is proven.  Some say the Traffie is a bit more refined and polished that the other makes, while others prefer to spend less money on the KIO, Bobber, or DX Engineering version.  I didn't come across any in-depth performance comparisons between the various brands, but it would be moot anyway, since I'm putting this up on a very small lot and can't have an 11' turning radius (the antenna would just about be extended beyond my backyard wall and very close to some trees).

I'm upgrading from an inverted V doublet so I have no doubt I'm going to be thrilled with the Traffie's performance.  I can't find a better antenna compatible with my QTH.

BTW, when you have a question or need technical support, you get Mike Traffie.  Quickly!

-Jeff
Thanks for the fast reply Jeff.
I can see your requirements for smaller size tilted your decision to  the Traffie Hex Beam. And, as you said, it is a proven design, and I understand Mike Traffie is easy to get hold of, if you need him.
This is a personal opinion, but the Hex Beam is ugly looking IMHO, and that's what ruled it out for me. I live in the Tampa Florida area, I can envision birds camped out on all those wires, and the fallout zone below.
I own an Aluma Tower, a 55 footer that cranks up. It is a lightweight tower, and the Hex Beam was strongly suggested to me for it by the Aluma Tower Rep who owns a Hex Beam himself.
I wound up with a Cush Craft A3s and a 40 meter add on kit.

I post and read over at QRZ, and there is this Steve Guy from England who answers many antenna questions there. I can't remember his call. I understand he is the guy who is responsible for the KIO Hex Beam design. Steve has answered several antenna questions of mine, even took the time to computer model weird antenna ideas I had, to show me what would happen with this antenna scenario, or that.
Steve even owned the Cush Craft MA 5 mini beam antenna, and used it before he set out to improve the Hex Beam.
I am sure Mike Traffie is a great guy too, but he is not on the Ham Radio Forums like Steve is, and that is important, to me.
Tom Rausch, W8JI, is another one. My dream antenna tuner is the top of the line Ameritron, because Tom designed it, and he is on these forums daily, helping other Hams.
I bought my Cush Craft A3s used, but I knew Joe Riesert helped design it, and he was always posting on Tower Talk.

I suggested to Hex Beam Steve (that's the nickname I gave him) to think about adding a 40 meter loaded element to the Hex Beam.
Besides finding a great deal on a used Cush Craft A3s, it also gave me 40 meters, because mine has the 40 meter add on kit!
Yes, I give up 12 and 17 meters, but the A3 can be used with a tuner on those bands, although not with as good performance as a Hex Beam.
But 40 meters is MUCH more important to me then 12 or 17 Meters, and the Hex beam has no 40 meter option.

If there were some way to get the hex beam to work on 40 meters close to a dipoles performance, I think the hex  beam makers would sell more of them.
The Cush Craft A3s w/40 meter add on kit, gives me 40,20,15, and 10 meters all at 55 feet, 12 and 17 with a tuner.

The used Cush Craft A3 with 40 meter add on kit only cost me 200.00, and a 3 hour drive over to the east coast of Florida from Tampa.
But I could have easily afforded a Hex Beam, and ugly as I feel they are, I would have bought one in a heartbeat, IF it had a 40 meter component.
And, if the 40 meter capable Hex Beam was from Mike Traffie instead of Hex Beam Steve who didn't have one, too bad Steve.

Another cool antenna is called a Cobbweb, it is basically a 10 through 20 meter array of folded square 1/2 wave dipoles. Then, there is that new N6BT Q 51 or Q 52 that is on N6BT's web page.
Neither do 40 meters, unfortunately.
I have also heard an antenna company is working a a shortened element log periodic to cover from 20 through 10 meters. I wonder how that will play ?







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KF6A
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Posts: 214




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« Reply #26 on: December 07, 2011, 01:04:05 AM »

Yesterday I ordered a HX-5Bi from Traffie Technology.  The 20 lb weight and 9.5' turn radius is going to work well.  Ordered a 15m aluminum mast from Spiderbeam and picked up a G-800DXA rotator from HRO.  Hope to get it up all and running in 4-6 weeks.

After the way the sweepstakes has been going so far, I am looking forward to some much needed directivity!!!!

Thanks everyone for helping me make a more informed decision!

de Jeff, W6UX
The hex beam is a good choice. Good luck and good dx! See you in the pileups! :-)
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KQ0C
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Posts: 25




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« Reply #27 on: December 07, 2011, 08:12:00 PM »

You are going to love that antenna.

I have painted the spreaders camo green, and it becomes almost invisible. When they are white they are a bit more visible.
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K2MK
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Posts: 391




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« Reply #28 on: December 08, 2011, 04:46:54 AM »

Hi Jeff,

I saw photos of a very interesting arrangement either here or on the Yahoo hex beam reflector. The ham used a push up mast and had the rotator at the bottom as you intend to do. What he did, however, was to put a small TV rotator at the top of the mast mounted horizontally. It just took some pipe nipples and elbows to accomplish it. Then he inserted a short mast into the rotator that the hex beam hub would slip onto. So if you can picture this, the antenna, when attached to this short mast, is in a vertical orientation. After pushing up the mast to full height he activates the small rotator and lets it turn 90 degrees thus positioning the antenna horizontal.

I think this was needed because the mast was very close to his house. I've searched the photo section on the hex beam reflector and of course I can't find it. It was very ingenious.

Good luck with the Traffie. I have mine at 30 feet and it is outstanding. I'm looking forward to a great 10 meter contest this weekend.

73,
Mike K2MK
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KO1D
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Posts: 387




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« Reply #29 on: December 08, 2011, 01:24:27 PM »

Why not a quad? Compact, lightweight and you can easily build it yourself. I know a guy who has a 2 ele 10-20m quad mounted on a mast behind his she and it works fantastic. At 45 a quad for 6-20 could easily be accomplished with your specs in mind.
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