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Author Topic: Save A Lot Of Money On A Hex Beam !  (Read 31109 times)
KA7NIQ
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« Reply #15 on: January 14, 2013, 04:09:00 PM »

You will be doing everyone a favor producing even cheaper hexbeams.

Hexbeam owners seem to be like a swarm of bees on the air now. So many stations using them and they certainly seem to work well.

It would be nice if every station who owns a  G5RV, Windom/OCF, vertical or bits of wire all buy a hexbeam. The success of these antennas speak for themselves.

I also notice that stations with hexbeams get on the air more and seem to be working the bands calling CQ like real hams, and because they have an effective antenna they are working the world.

If you cant afford a Optibeam or steppir  antenna get a hexbeam, they so close in performance that it does not matter. Nobody can measure or see 1 or 2 db difference between the Hexbeam and bigger antennas.

The point is that if you own  a hexbeam you will have a better signal than most other stations that use bits of wire and verticals.

I think the Hexbeam  gets my vote for the antenna of the decade  award.  The hexbeam is becoming the G5RV of beams. The big difference is that the hexbeams puts out  a signal that leaves the G5RV sounding like a dummy load.

Someone should pass a law that if you a ham and  you dont have a beam up already, it should be law that you go out and put up a hexbeam or your license will be cancelled! Even if its only on a 30ft pole.


I agree! I heard one Ham from the east coast call CQ DX on 17, and said he was "beaming Asia" with his little Hex Beam, at 30 feet, LOL
I had to give him an A for effort, but at only 30 feet, reminded him the only thing he was "beaming" were earthworms!


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WD4ELG
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« Reply #16 on: January 14, 2013, 10:00:15 PM »

KA7NIQ, I agree...partially.  From the East Coast, if his timing was right and he was running high power, maybe he WAS doing it right.  He might have been better off if he simply called CQ DX instead while beaming Asia.  If he's expecting somebody other than JA or UA0 to come back to him, it might be slim pickings at this time.  Hoping for BY or HS or XV to respond to his call is *very* optimistic and not as realistic as 5 elements at 70 feet.  Certainly he won't be making his own pileups with the hex at that height.

However, I have done similar things with my Hex, but it was in the summer and I was beaming at JA at my sunset.  I called CQ DX from East Coast and got a few JA stations to come back to me.  But I timed it right and knew I had a good chance at that time.  And I was using an amp.  And I knew there were other JA stations around.

Honestly, I have found better luck with the hex when I did Search and Pounce for DX.  It just seems more realistic and I get really good results.

ZENKI, I like your post very much.  However, with all due respect, I disagree with the assertion that the hex is 1-2 dB within the Optibeam.  The hex is basically a 2 element wire yagi.  It is not even in the same category as a four or five element, optimally spaced yagi.  Some compromises for multi-band yagis are made, but a single band 4 or 5 element yagi on any band will wreck a hex beam (except in a few very rare circumstances for specific angles where the yagi may have a null).  No contest. 

For everyday DX use, why spend $5K on an Optibeam when you could have a Hex.  But for rare DX, there is no subsitute for LOTS OF METAL WAY UP IN THE SKY.

How many hex beam users on the East Coast worked BS7H?  How many worked Andaman and Nicobar?  Christmas Island?  Long path to SE Asia from US East Coast is a killer.  My buddy Bruce NC4KW has monobanders and he has no problems working there.  Same with my Elmer Steve KZ1X and his Opti-beam. 

I noticed a W5 station on the Honor Roll using QRP!  Guess what he uses as his antenna?  Customized 4 element quad at 80 feet, unique band spacing for each band.  I sat back and just smiled when I read his bio.  Realized that my money would be best spent on a tower and big yagi rather than a fancy amp (unfortunately, I can't put up a yagi at this QTH).

It's not just that the other stations can't hear us sometimes...it's that we can't hear them a lot of the time.  Low angles of arrival and weak signals call for LOTS of metal.  And when the sunspot cycle is at the bottom, it is even more noticeable.

I am at 307 worked, but that's been a lot of luck, a lot of time in the shack and some good instruction from my Elmers on how to break through pileups.  35 years of hamming, and seriously chasing DX since 2002.  The Hexbeam IS fantastic.  I would still be around 200 worked at the MOST without it. I love it, can't do without it, since 2006.  But I am really concerned about getting all the way to Honor Roll with my hex beam.  I have my doubts, but will never give up trying for the next ATNO.

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KH6DC
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« Reply #17 on: January 14, 2013, 11:04:04 PM »

I had a Hexbeam until I gave that up moving to a CC&R community.  At my old QTH, I could hear and work Africa, Europe, Yemen and Spratly Dxpeditions that I coudln;t hear with the Pixel Pro 1B + SteppIR BigIR vertical.  It worked very well for me and understand why it's popular.  Lightweight, easy to assemble and don't need a huge tower and/or rotator.  A Pushup mast with a TV rotator is all that's required.

I was thinking about putting one at my new QTH but need to drop it below the fenceline when not using it.  Any crank ups that short?  I haven't seen one yet.
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73 and Aloha,
de Delwyn, KH6DC
WD4ELG
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« Reply #18 on: January 15, 2013, 06:17:50 PM »

Delwyn

http://www.blueskymast.com/index.php/portable-military-mast-systems

http://www.n0hr.com/hamradio/78/10/ham_radio0.htm
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KA7NIQ
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Posts: 258


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« Reply #19 on: January 15, 2013, 07:29:15 PM »

KA7NIQ, I agree...partially.  From the East Coast, if his timing was right and he was running high power, maybe he WAS doing it right.  He might have been better off if he simply called CQ DX instead while beaming Asia.  If he's expecting somebody other than JA or UA0 to come back to him, it might be slim pickings at this time.  Hoping for BY or HS or XV to respond to his call is *very* optimistic and not as realistic as 5 elements at 70 feet.  Certainly he won't be making his own pileups with the hex at that height.

However, I have done similar things with my Hex, but it was in the summer and I was beaming at JA at my sunset.  I called CQ DX from East Coast and got a few JA stations to come back to me.  But I timed it right and knew I had a good chance at that time.  And I was using an amp.  And I knew there were other JA stations around.

Honestly, I have found better luck with the hex when I did Search and Pounce for DX.  It just seems more realistic and I get really good results.

ZENKI, I like your post very much.  However, with all due respect, I disagree with the assertion that the hex is 1-2 dB within the Optibeam.  The hex is basically a 2 element wire yagi.  It is not even in the same category as a four or five element, optimally spaced yagi.  Some compromises for multi-band yagis are made, but a single band 4 or 5 element yagi on any band will wreck a hex beam (except in a few very rare circumstances for specific angles where the yagi may have a null).  No contest. 

For everyday DX use, why spend $5K on an Optibeam when you could have a Hex.  But for rare DX, there is no subsitute for LOTS OF METAL WAY UP IN THE SKY.

I agree, and disagree a bit. Many times the Hams fortunate to have the means to own big, monoband Yagi's, also have the means to stick them way up in the air as well!

IOW, it is as much the TOWER HEIGHT talking sometimes, as it is a few extra elements.

Back when I lived in Seattle, A Ham had a large 20 meter monobander. It was a KLM Big Sticker, remember them ?
High Winds blew it apart. So, until it could be repaired, an old 3 element Hy Gain 20 meter monobander was stuck in it's place, on top of the 120 foot Tower.
The result ?
The KLM Big Sticker never got fixed! The rugged little Hy Gain 3 element 20 meter monobander stayed up there for 6 years!

It faced several winds that would have blown the KLM Big Sticker apart.

We all thought the little Hy Gain 3 element monobander would be a big let down, compared to the twice the boom length, and more elements KLM Big Sticker.

How wrong we all turned out to be!

He still cracked pileups with it, and held down frequencies in contests. Plus, the rugged little antenna was always up and operational, when the "big guys" were broke down.







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ZENKI
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Posts: 934




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« Reply #20 on: January 16, 2013, 02:51:54 AM »

 There are a lot of Hexbeam super stations on the air. The one that comes to mind is VR2XMT. You can hear Charlie on every band calling CQ and making his own propagation. His Hexbeam is not up all that high.
The moral of the story is regardless of what you have for a station get on the air and call CQ.

30ft is not a bad height, higher like 50 is better and 70ft is even better. However you deal with the scaling as you go higher up in frequency. A beam at 30ft is almost a wavelength on 10 meters and high enough  on 12 meters.
These bands are open so you wont be handicapped even by a 30ft high antenna. The proof is in the pudding switch between a hexbeam and a g5rv on 20 meters. Even a hexbeam at 30ft will  put the G5RV too shame.

The subject of antenna height is a interesting question. I heard a  VK3 station on talking to a  ZS3 station. The VK3 station had a 200 ft tower with 5 element stacked yagis on 20 meters. His comment was that a very long  haul path both long and short paths into Africa ZS3, his 50ft high antenna  worked better than any antenna  other antenna height. You take notice when a station running a 200 ft tower tells the honest truth and burst the bubble of very high antennas. You cant extrapolate this assumption to every path of course.

Anyway we have to use what we can put up and thats what it will be, no point in having big antenna envy and then sit there and sulk feeling bad. Ham radio has always been about doing the best with what you got.
A Hexbeam is always better than no beam and certainly better than the low wire and poor verticals many stations run. This is before we start talking about stations running Antron 99's fed into an antenna tuner! Theres
always someone worst off than you, so enjoy what you have!



You will be doing everyone a favor producing even cheaper hexbeams.

Hexbeam owners seem to be like a swarm of bees on the air now. So many stations using them and they certainly seem to work well.

It would be nice if every station who owns a  G5RV, Windom/OCF, vertical or bits of wire all buy a hexbeam. The success of these antennas speak for themselves.

I also notice that stations with hexbeams get on the air more and seem to be working the bands calling CQ like real hams, and because they have an effective antenna they are working the world.

If you cant afford a Optibeam or steppir  antenna get a hexbeam, they so close in performance that it does not matter. Nobody can measure or see 1 or 2 db difference between the Hexbeam and bigger antennas.

The point is that if you own  a hexbeam you will have a better signal than most other stations that use bits of wire and verticals.

I think the Hexbeam  gets my vote for the antenna of the decade  award.  The hexbeam is becoming the G5RV of beams. The big difference is that the hexbeams puts out  a signal that leaves the G5RV sounding like a dummy load.

Someone should pass a law that if you a ham and  you dont have a beam up already, it should be law that you go out and put up a hexbeam or your license will be cancelled! Even if its only on a 30ft pole.


I agree! I heard one Ham from the east coast call CQ DX on 17, and said he was "beaming Asia" with his little Hex Beam, at 30 feet, LOL
I had to give him an A for effort, but at only 30 feet, reminded him the only thing he was "beaming" were earthworms!



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ZENKI
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Posts: 934




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« Reply #21 on: January 16, 2013, 03:34:44 AM »

Yeah sure, I am not arguing that a small hex beam will take  on big long boom monobanders up high. What really breaks pileups is takeoff angle gain from high antennas. Listen to a pileup with the AGC off on your receiver.
Even with superior antennas most stations just blend into each other. Then someone comes along  with a big stack or amplifier! and squishes everyone like a elephant. For practical everyday hams you cant do this with a 70 ft
tower and the typical multiband antenna, you in there with the masses and its just luck of a draw. Only those with big stacks can guarantee that they  will be king of the pileup everyday.

This is what I am trying to point out

Hexbeam Gain Dbd 20 meters          3.5
Optibeam 9-5  Gain Dbd 20 meters   4.3
Optibeam 11-5 Gain 20 meters Dbd   5.3
Optibeam 18-6 Gain 20 meters Dbd   7.3

So from your simple Hexbeam going up  to a a very expensive heavy Optibeam you have a net advantage  of 3.8Db. While 3.8db might make or break QSO on 75 meters in the DX window, it wont ruin
you conversation on any open higher band. Sure long boom antennas might have a slight takeoff angle advantage but it amounts to little when the band is open.  Besides what ham receiver can measure accurately 3.8db when the band
is fading up and down. It would just about impossible to tell unless the signal was sitting right on the noise floor. I Do this experiment frequently on various bands. I reduce my power from 100 watts to about 25 watts without telling the station I am doing so. 100% of the time nobody actually mentions that my signal goes down and thats with 6db of difference. Try it and you will see how little 6db amounts to when the band is open.

I run high towers with stacked monoband antennas. So I know how effective they can be. It can be a humbling experience though when you switch  between some lesser antenna  and a really big beam at the same location. On some days it does want to make you cry because you have spent so much money and effort putting up big antennas.  I am not going to be the silly one that suggests that a Hexbeam can take the place of mononbanders. The  point is that its an effective cheap beam that will hold its own up against bigger multiband antennas like STEPPIR's and other bigger Optibeams.    The 500 price tag makes it a bargain for a 5 band beam and its performance will hold against the many short boom log periodic and other mini beam antennas.

We have similar  negative criticisms about the low gain of log periodic antennas. Listen for the stations on the air that use these antennas and you wont be so negative.  They have respectable signals and they would not be gaining much by using a higher gain antennas. Most hams cant have a station like K3LR. I prefer to emphasize improving antenna height rather than worrying about the miserable small gains you obtain by adding one or 2 extra elements.

My recipe would be a hexbeam at  whatever height you can get it. The higher the better.
The next  best way of boosting your signal is a small  600 watt to 1 kilowatt amplifier.
After this the next best bet is to raise your antenna to at least 70 ft.
If you cant get to the 70ft or higher level adding more elements wont buy you much. Many hams seem to think of yagi antennas  as being like flashlights. The brighter (higher gain) you get the better it is. Very few sit down and say
is the gain at the right take off angle. If they did this and compared a simple 3 element monobander  at say 50 ft and then compare it say with a single 6 element monobander at the same height you will see the gain difference between the angles of 1 degree and 5 degrees is very small. Double the height of the smaller antenna and you can have a huge gain advantage over the 6 element monoband at a  lower height. Most experienced hams know this.  If I was  a ham with no beam I would be rushing out to buy a hexbeam and putting it on a TV pushup mast as fast as I can. You cant buy any aluminum antenna that covers all the warc bands for such a good price thats why the hexbeam is a bargain.

Why I am so enthusiastic about the hexbeam is that I have  helped a number of hams get back on the air with hexbeams. Old timers as well as hams who have gone silent. Telling them to spend 500 dollars on a hexbeam is a easy sell
when they can use a simple  mast. Contrast this to buying a optibeam or steppir with a expensive 50ft tower. The  50ft tower and expensive steppir is a 10,000 dollar invesment. Small hexbeam and a pushup mast is a 1000 dollar investment that can bring back the good old days of ham radio. This surely must be a good thing.

When the sunspot cycle is at the bottom,  you dont need a multiband antenna.  A simple antenna like the Hygain 204BA on 20 meters will do a fantastic job. After this  the next bet will be a 5 element 50ft boom monobander. These antennas will be good till the next sunspot peak.





ZENKI, I like your post very much.  However, with all due respect, I disagree with the assertion that the hex is 1-2 dB within the Optibeam.  The hex is basically a 2 element wire yagi.  It is not even in the same category as a four or five element, optimally spaced yagi.  Some compromises for multi-band yagis are made, but a single band 4 or 5 element yagi on any band will wreck a hex beam (except in a few very rare circumstances for specific angles where the yagi may have a null).  No contest. 

For everyday DX use, why spend $5K on an Optibeam when you could have a Hex.  But for rare DX, there is no subsitute for LOTS OF METAL WAY UP IN THE SKY.

How many hex beam users on the East Coast worked BS7H?  How many worked Andaman and Nicobar?  Christmas Island?  Long path to SE Asia from US East Coast is a killer.  My buddy Bruce NC4KW has monobanders and he has no problems working there.  Same with my Elmer Steve KZ1X and his Opti-beam. 

I noticed a W5 station on the Honor Roll using QRP!  Guess what he uses as his antenna?  Customized 4 element quad at 80 feet, unique band spacing for each band.  I sat back and just smiled when I read his bio.  Realized that my money would be best spent on a tower and big yagi rather than a fancy amp (unfortunately, I can't put up a yagi at this QTH).

It's not just that the other stations can't hear us sometimes...it's that we can't hear them a lot of the time.  Low angles of arrival and weak signals call for LOTS of metal.  And when the sunspot cycle is at the bottom, it is even more noticeable.

I am at 307 worked, but that's been a lot of luck, a lot of time in the shack and some good instruction from my Elmers on how to break through pileups.  35 years of hamming, and seriously chasing DX since 2002.  The Hexbeam IS fantastic.  I would still be around 200 worked at the MOST without it. I love it, can't do without it, since 2006.  But I am really concerned about getting all the way to Honor Roll with my hex beam.  I have my doubts, but will never give up trying for the next ATNO.


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KA7NIQ
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« Reply #22 on: January 16, 2013, 05:51:33 AM »

I totally agree Zenki, that the little Hex Beam is bringing the fun back to Ham Radio again!
It seems the higher towers "open the band".  LOL, I have heard little Hex Beams opening the band on plenty of occasions with the big boys. But the Hex Beams were at 70 feet, or more.

NA4RR is selling a Hex Beam for under 400.00 SHIPPED!
Stick that on a 40 foot push up mast, with a cheap TV Rotator, and "Grandpa is in business"
Then, combine that with a small 600 watt amp, and Ham Radio suddenly becomes Fun, again.

I have nothing against those Hams who choose to only use a Vertical, or an all band wire antenna. But speaking only for me, I think a small beam with a small amp are essential for maximum enjoyment of my Hobby!




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W1JKA
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« Reply #23 on: January 16, 2013, 06:49:40 AM »

     Hex beams and Moxons a distinct advantage that foreign QRP dx hams have known for years,now that I have homebrewed two of them (hexs) I too have seen the light.
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KC4MOP
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« Reply #24 on: January 16, 2013, 06:57:36 AM »

I think I'm gonna do something a little crazy this Summer!!!
I can not pass up the NA4RR version of the HEX.
And it will be a welcome replacement to my CushCraft A3S which has been a PIA ever since I bought it.
Fred
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KC8RPD
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« Reply #25 on: January 16, 2013, 04:02:01 PM »

For those who have a hex on a push up pole, especially with the rotor at the base, how does that work out?
I would think that guying might be interesting...
If I can get past that rotating guy thing, I'll likely do one this spring.

Lastly, has anyone done a 10-40m hex?
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WD4ELG
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« Reply #26 on: January 16, 2013, 07:12:04 PM »

KA7NIQ, when you said "grandpa is in business" you described my setup exactly...including the height and 600 watt amp!

For low angles, the higher the better, agreed.

I had mine on a push-up pole at my last QTH, and decided it was easier and cheaper to just use "armstrong" method and turn it by hand.  A bit inconvenient, but it worked. 

Currently I have it suspended at 45 feet between two trees, with poly line to rotate it as needed.  Not a rotator, but it's simple and it does work.
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W1JKA
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« Reply #27 on: January 17, 2013, 04:11:07 AM »

     Armstrong method used here also,my homebrew hexs are mounted on permenent mast with no guys(they can be tilted down).I don't consider the armstrong method an inconvienence since I will pick a certain direction and keep it there for a week/month or so to concentrate on a particular propagation friendly dx area.I have no interest in CHASEING dx so no need for me to go out and continually rotate it.Works for me.
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KA7NIQ
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« Reply #28 on: January 17, 2013, 10:38:10 AM »

KA7NIQ, when you said "grandpa is in business" you described my setup exactly...including the height and 600 watt amp!

For low angles, the higher the better, agreed.

I had mine on a push-up pole at my last QTH, and decided it was easier and cheaper to just use "armstrong" method and turn it by hand.  A bit inconvenient, but it worked. 

Currently I have it suspended at 45 feet between two trees, with poly line to rotate it as needed.  Not a rotator, but it's simple and it does work.
Well, we have lot's of retired "Grandpa Type" Hams here in Florida, that are running Hex Beams with 600 watt Ameritron 811 amps!

No, they are not gonna be first in major pileups, but they sure beat a vertical or G5RV type of antenna!

Some Hams believe a Hex beam will work at low heights, where a conventional beam will not. This is not true. As with any beam, the higher the better, if chasing long distance DX.

My personal Beam is at 50 feet, plenty high enough for me, and what I want to do.

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ZENKI
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« Reply #29 on: January 17, 2013, 06:36:48 PM »

This nonsense about Hexbeams and quads performing well at low heights is truly nonsense. This bit of falsehood has become a ham urban myth legend.
Hams just have to accept  the reasons why they install their antennas low. If they dont want to go through the trouble and expense of putting  them up higher, they should just say so, rather repeating old wives tales to make themselves feel better.

If this fact was true,  these  so called low height antennas would have proven themselves on 75 meters or 160 meters working DX. I have never heard a big  signal from anyone using a low beam  or quad antenna on 75 meters.

Maybe one day we will be able to control the takeoff angle electronically, that day is a long way off!

Height=signal might.


KA7NIQ, when you said "grandpa is in business" you described my setup exactly...including the height and 600 watt amp!

For low angles, the higher the better, agreed.

I had mine on a push-up pole at my last QTH, and decided it was easier and cheaper to just use "armstrong" method and turn it by hand.  A bit inconvenient, but it worked. 

Currently I have it suspended at 45 feet between two trees, with poly line to rotate it as needed.  Not a rotator, but it's simple and it does work.
Well, we have lot's of retired "Grandpa Type" Hams here in Florida, that are running Hex Beams with 600 watt Ameritron 811 amps!

No, they are not gonna be first in major pileups, but they sure beat a vertical or G5RV type of antenna!

Some Hams believe a Hex beam will work at low heights, where a conventional beam will not. This is not true. As with any beam, the higher the better, if chasing long distance DX.

My personal Beam is at 50 feet, plenty high enough for me, and what I want to do.


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