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Author Topic: hexbeam or quad  (Read 9400 times)

Posts: 59

« on: October 11, 2012, 08:47:12 AM »

I'm about to turn 65 yrs of age and that means climbing towers, cranking towers etc for antenna maintenance is over.
I probably have 1 good antenna replacement session left in me, so the steppir 3 element that needs work has got to go.
I'm not much for dxcc awards etc, just casual qso.  reliability is paramount. hexbeam, quad or Huh?

Posts: 21764

« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2012, 09:29:52 AM »

Quads often do require maintenance after severe winds or icing, or worse still icing + winds.

Everything is perfect on a calm, sunny day.

If you want "low maintenance" (or preferably, zero maintenance) I'd stick with stuff made of strong aluminum, no moving parts except the rotator, and preferably no traps or complex loading circuits.   All that stuff works fine, but are potential points of failure after long-term weathering.  Or maybe even short-term.

Interlaced aluminum yagis like the Force-12 stuff proves reliable because unless aluminum tubing snaps, there's nothing to fail.  LPDA beams are in that category as well.


Posts: 862

« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2012, 10:00:10 AM »

...    reliability is paramount. hexbeam, quad or Huh?

This topic has been covered in depth many times.  You might try the 'search' engine and review the hundreds of comments.  GL

Posts: 7718

« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2012, 10:09:42 AM »

A trap Yagi will outlast them both.

Posts: 593

« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2012, 10:58:54 AM »

I would agree that for reliability a tri-band yagi will be the top choice.  However, stay away from MFJ/Hy Gain/Cushcraft.
These products have become "cost reduced" and also reflect overall MFJ "Quality"... Mosley is darned reliable and if you can afford the investment I would look at Bencher's KLM tribanders.  A friend has had one up for 30 years with no issues.

Just my $.02


Posts: 794

« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2012, 11:38:13 AM »

Having owned a quad since the 70's I would agree that neither a hex beam or quad would be a good choice for you. Mosley, KLM are both good antennas that are as maintenance free as an antenna can be. If you have a SteppIR your use to spending some coin on antennas so maybe full size mono bander's for the bands your interested in would work well for you and should not require maintenance if properly installed. You might also want to consider a thrust bearing for whatever antenna you end up with and mount the rotor at or near ground level so it's easy to get to if a problem arises. With the antennas mentioned so far in the thread the rotor will be the weak link in the set up and most likely to cause you grief.

Posts: 4902

« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2012, 08:49:39 PM »

My SteppIR has been up for 9 years now. What is the problem with the the Stepper?

Posts: 960

« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2012, 02:56:09 AM »

I'll throw in my .01 cents. The trapped Yagi might be the more robust. My Hexbeam was one of the first on the market in the late 90's and in two years fell apart from the fiberglass spreaders failing from the stress of WX. I don't know if that has been fixed. A Quad is a known weak antenna in ice and wind.
I have been reading of other weaknesses in the SteppIr and sad to read things like that. I trust the antenna is well made but you have mechanical devices 60 some feet in the air that are prone to failure. I notice one reply with a 9 yr SteppIr. And I agree with the MFJ cheapened antennas.


Posts: 9749


« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2012, 05:17:27 AM »

If I wanted high reliability and good performance I would stay away from Hex and Quad antennas totally. I would either buy interlaced element Yagi antennas, or good trap antennas. I have Force 12 interlaced antennas and in about 15 years only had trouble with one ten meter antenna element. The tip cracked and broke off from vibration. After that happened I put rope in the element ends and they stopped rattling in light breezes.

15 years is a long time without maintainence!

I'm not sure about trap antennas, but the Yagis are exactly the same. As far as I know MFJ made no changes at all to any of the antennas. I have five HyGain 205CA antennas, five HG 155CA, and six 105CA antennas and they are identical to the ones I bought in the 1980's. The only problem I had with the antennas was the slitting of a 20 meter element section was missed, but that turned out to be a documentation error in the original instructions. I don't like hose clamps much, but the Hygain antennas I bought in 1980 had hose clamps. :-) Personally, I would prefer a through-element machine  screw or a different style clamp.

My Force 12's used rivets, which I like even less, but still seem to work on smaller antennas. On a 80/40 antenna the rivets all wallowed out and came loose.

73 Tom

Posts: 491

« Reply #9 on: October 13, 2012, 07:01:34 AM »

Just a short comment here on "age and not climbing towers" - I've decided the same thing. I use a 40 ft tower (4 of the 10ft Rohn 25 sections) with a hinged base.  But an electric winch on the tower, a couple of guy wires, and it's easy to raise/lower tower for antenna work. Use the HexLock (or similar) so the antenna mast will rotate 90ยบ up makes it easy to work on antenna (Yagi, hex, quad, etc) from the ground.

Take a look at for several different types of hinges he's got. I built the hexlock and it works nice. Since I enjoy piddling with antennas, my tower is usually up 'n down a couple times/yr at least - sometimes more.

Good luck

Posts: 69

« Reply #10 on: October 13, 2012, 07:22:31 AM »

i was in the same situation about 7 years ago...i could no longer be a tower monkey..spent some months evaluating ...the stacked monobanders had to come down some years before than and various tribander were used...not quite the same performance..and didnt expect it either...but the most annoying thing thing was how wet weather would detune the tribanders (hygain and cushcraft).. and was missing a lotta dx on warc bands too..

i didnt look the force beams..instead i went to tennadyne. i currently have their T8..- 8 elements 5 bands...since being installed  current dx status 314 worked, 275 confirmed and that was at the bottom of this last cycle

this antenna has withstood three hurricanes and three ice storms...the best part was when even coated with ice and saggy elements, the antenna did not detune and  it still seemed to work just fine...the tribanders could never meet that kinda of performance
i would expect the hexbeam and quad would been in need of some serious repair

i have 40ft tower and use a hazer system to bring it all to ground level to work on

lotta people  will say LPDA aint worth the effort or the time...
well i'll just let them chat on the web while i am on the air working dx
i'll let hem repair and adjust their antenna while i am on the air working dx

well with his LPDA all my time and effort has been spent on the air...go figure ;-)

my 2 cents which has been devalued over the years ;-O

paul k3sf


Posts: 1819

« Reply #11 on: October 13, 2012, 08:29:28 AM »

You didn't say which bands you operate, but if it's just 10-25-20, then I'd agree with the others on a trapped tri-bander.  But, if you also operate 17 and 12 meters, a Hex beam might be the best choice.  In my experience, quads are more unwieldy than yagis to install and maintain.  I used a 5 band hex beam for several years and that proved very durable through hurricanes and icing.  It was considerably lighter than a comparable yagi or quad and is more neighbor-friendly.  I also have a 3 el SteppIR that's been in the air for 7 years now and the green epoxy paint on the element tubes has deteriorated badly here in the high temperature and UV environment.  Also, my director will no longer extend far enough in 180 mode on 20M to assume the length required as a reflector.  Likely there's an obstruction near the end of the tube and I'd bet on a mud-dauber plug.  I suspect the original foam element tip plugs are gone or deteriorated.  Good luck with the changeover.  I'll probably be doing the same thing very soon.

73, K8AC

Posts: 203

« Reply #12 on: October 13, 2012, 02:15:39 PM »

I agree with W8JI: Force 12. My C3S performs very decently, and has been up for 12 years with no problems. It is usable on 17 and 12 meters with a tuner, with a bit of directivity and more than adequate performance for casual hamming on those non-competitive bands.

I had a quad up for over 20 years. It was fun, especially in it's 3-element form, but required constant maintenance. Hexbeams are appealing: they work pretty well and are very light. But they will require maintenance - wires and spreaders break

Posts: 2100

« Reply #13 on: October 14, 2012, 05:17:57 AM »

     Larry.same situation here(same age and requirements) but a qrp operator.Long story short,decided on a homebrew hexagonal beam.Reasons:easy/cheap build,light weight mast made from old aluminum extension ladder and tv mast,easy tilt up and down  using an old small manual boat trailer winch that I can conviently clamp to a nearby tree or my lawn tractor with appropriate line and pully.I am sure that there may be an occasional maintainence issue as in any type of antenna,but I am sure I can handle any maintainence or repair that comes up with this light weight set up and no climbing involved.FWIW dept.   Jim 

Posts: 91

« Reply #14 on: October 14, 2012, 03:09:22 PM »

Larry, Since your QTH is listed as Richardson Texas, you should not have to worry about ice or snow bothering either a quad or
Hex beam. I can speak from experience, owning the K4KIO hex 5 band antenna, that wind should not be a problem either. We have seveal wind storms a year here and the hex takes the wind without problems so far. Mine weighs about 26 lbs does not even
make my tower sway at 40 ft with a 10 ft mast, one set of guy ropes with a modified Glen Martin Hazer. It's a great little antenna for rag chews. I am 79 and counting, and just retired my 3 element 5 band quad about 8 months back. I had the quad 23 years and repaired it several times. I always had the hazer to let it down so never climed the tower as heights scare me. I cannot attest to how long the hex will last but my particular antenna looks like it will last a very long time. I have good results, one feed line and 5 bands. I chose it for the light weight, 5 bands with one feed line to include 12 and 17 meters. 6 meters Is the one band I did not order but all I need is the wire as the antenna is set up for 6. I am very happy with the antenna in the Atlanta GA area where it gets a little coder perhaps than where you are. My two cents is that if you are interested in 5 bands, then you would most likely be pleased with a hex beam for good signals on transmit and receive for rag chews both abroad and in the US. To proprly feed and maintain a quad you would enjoy having a hazer or tilt tower from my experiece owning 4 quads so far. You could call Leo if interested and ask him how long his hexagon will last and I feel confident that you would get a straight answer. His site is on the net with info.

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