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Author Topic: Full sized vs mini tribanders for contesting  (Read 7156 times)
EX_AA5JG
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Posts: 26




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« on: January 14, 2012, 02:32:05 PM »

I am looking at getting a beam back up after my miniquad died in a storm a couple of years ago.  How do the "Mini" antennas like the Cushcraft MA5B and Mosley Mini 32 compare to a full sized tribander like the Mosley TA32 or Hy-Gain TH2?  I can only fit a 2 element antenna on the setup right now.  The Force 12 C3SS won't fit in the setup or budget.  Do the smaller antennas give up much compared to the full sized 2 element yagis?  I have had a MA5B in the past and it seemed like a decent antenna.  It was nice to get the WARC bands thrown in as a dipole also, and it actually has a longer boom than the TA32 or TH2 do.

« Last Edit: March 01, 2012, 08:05:59 AM by AF5CC » Logged
NN3W
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Posts: 147




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« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2012, 01:52:42 PM »

I am looking at getting a beam back up after my miniquad died in a storm a couple of years ago.  How do the "Mini" antennas like the Cushcraft MA5B and Mosley Mini 32 compare to a full sized tribander like the Mosley TA32 or Hy-Gain TH2?  I can only fit a 2 element antenna on the setup right now.  The Force 12 C3SS won't fit in the setup or budget.  Do the smaller antennas give up much compared to the full sized 2 element yagis?  I have had a MA5B in the past and it seemed like a decent antenna.  It was nice to get the WARC bands thrown in as a dipole also, and it actually has a longer boom than the TA32 or TH2 do.

73s John AA5JG

I think the problem you'll find is narrow SWR range.  At 2 elements, something like a Hex beam ora quad might work out much better.
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W5DQ
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« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2012, 08:39:57 AM »

John,

If you make the room at all, you should take another real good look at the Force 12 C3S or C3SS. I have the C3S and I find it to be a real workhorse. Mine is only at 40' but usually if I can hear them I can work them easily with it. It isn't no long boom monobander by no means but it has a small foot print given the elements are full size (i.e. no traps or linear loading on this model). You probably know the boom length on the C3S/SS is only 12 ft.

My next choice would be the Hexbeam style 5 bander. Guess I'm just an old aluminum type guy as I looked a the Hexbeam 5 band model when I got the C3S but could not bring myself to give nearly a grand for a bunch of wire?

I had a Butternutt HF5B a long while back and while it was a good antenna AFTER IT WAS TUNED (which was a nightmare), the difference between the HF5B and the C3S was like the difference between bologna (HF5B) and filet mignon (C3S). And this comaprison is about the same level of sunspots so no propagation help for either model.

Not sure of the cost of the minibeams but the C3S, while having a NICE pricetag included, is basically a no tune issue. You simply rivet the end element pieces at the appropriate length for your desired operating region of the band and put the antenna up. SWR is less than 2:1 on entire band and can easily tune 17 & 12 with a tuner. I even use the C3S on 30M with a tuner for marginal success.

Next time your in town and if you haven't already took the plunge (probabyl will be then though) stop by and see my setup. Glad to have you come by and visit.

Gene
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Gene W5DQ
Ridgecrest, CA - DM15dp
www.radioroom.org
K7MH
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Posts: 330




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« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2012, 09:27:35 AM »

Mini beam, mini signal!
Smaller cannot compete with bigger in antennas. There will be a difference in performance.
That doesn't mean you can't have fun with one though. You might even win in a particular category in a contest.
You will just have to work harder at it.
It is a matter of at what level you want your station to be at.

Given a proper supporting structure, if you have room for a mini or Jr. beam, you probably have the room for a regular size tribander. I would FAR rather have a jr. beam than a mini quad.
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K2QPN
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Posts: 70




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« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2012, 08:05:22 AM »

Think about a broadband hexxbeam. Five bands - small - light wieght. Mine is up at 25 feet and I am continuously amazed at the pileups  that I can bust. Good bang for the buck.

73, Bob K2QPN
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W6UX
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Posts: 96


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« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2012, 07:56:55 PM »

Think about a broadband hexxbeam. Five bands - small - light wieght. Mine is up at 25 feet and I am continuously amazed at the pileups  that I can bust. Good bang for the buck.

73, Bob K2QPN

Another believer of the Hex Beam here! Been working DX like crazy lately with 100 watts and the hex up at 40'.  A little over 700 SSB contacts in 10 hours during NAQP last week.

-Jeff
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N6AJR
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Posts: 9913




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« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2012, 10:57:57 AM »

I have had up many beam antennas and have had good luck with a couple.  The absolute Best I have owned is a 3 element steppir, which I bought used.  it does 6m to 20 m and any where in between.  So if you are working cw, it is resonant there and if you are working ssb, it is also resonant at that freq' An antenna that id "good" on any frequency from 6-20 m.

I have also had several aluminum antennas that were 3 or 4 element tri banders and they did ok, but you select where you want to operate in the band and set the antenna up for that end of the band.

I did have up a mA5B and it was a pretty good little antenna.  I had it on a well guyed push up mast and was amazed at how well it performed. for its size it does and amazing job, and it also work well on 12 and 17 m.  you could do worse.  good luck and ask around your local clubs and see what is for sale used.
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AH6RR
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Posts: 803




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« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2012, 06:29:30 PM »

I have had up many beam antennas and have had good luck with a couple.  The absolute Best I have owned is a 3 element steppir, which I bought used.  it does 6m to 20 m and any where in between.  So if you are working cw, it is resonant there and if you are working ssb, it is also resonant at that freq' An antenna that id "good" on any frequency from 6-20 m.

I have also had several aluminum antennas that were 3 or 4 element tri banders and they did ok, but you select where you want to operate in the band and set the antenna up for that end of the band.

I did have up a mA5B and it was a pretty good little antenna.  I had it on a well guyed push up mast and was amazed at how well it performed. for its size it does and amazing job, and it also work well on 12 and 17 m.  you could do worse.  good luck and ask around your local clubs and see what is for sale used.

Here Here I concure 110% the 3 element SteppIR is a great antenna I have one also with the 30/40M driven element and have done VERY WELL in contests in the 2010 CQ WPX I placed 1st in the world for 20M assisted HP and many first place Oceania using the SteppIR. The MA5B is a good antenna but the SteppIR blows it away.
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WX7G
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Posts: 5947




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« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2012, 12:49:28 AM »

Comparing the gain specs the MA5B, TA-32M and TA-32jr are quite close.

But look at the MA5B 2:1 VSWR bandwidth, it's only 90 kHz on the 20 meter band. I'm sure it must be tediously tuned. And that's not enough bandwidth for SSB contesting but fine for CW. I have not found the VSWR bandwidth specs for the TA-32jr but in the EHAM reviews folks say they adjust them to factory length settings, put them up and they work just fine.

Based on the VSWR bandwidth and tuning I would go for the TA-32jr. 
« Last Edit: February 25, 2012, 01:31:18 AM by WX7G » Logged
N6AJR
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Posts: 9913




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« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2012, 10:18:08 AM »

I had a ta-33jr and the traps failed, a common problem with that one
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WX7G
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Posts: 5947




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« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2012, 12:34:57 PM »

Was the failure electrical or mechanical? How much power were you running?
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N6AJR
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Posts: 9913




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« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2012, 01:46:58 PM »

mechanical, the traps melted if I remember right, its been a while , and I think I was running about 400 watts.
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KQ0C
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Posts: 25




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« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2012, 07:39:55 PM »

I love my 2 hex beams, and find they compare very favorably to my Mosley tri-bander. Remember the hex beams are full sized monobanders, with no traps or mechanical complexity. They have minimum size and windage, particularly minimum torque. Once you have used one it is very hard to see the attraction in other designs.
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