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Author Topic: OK, need to step it up to the next level  (Read 1775 times)
WD4ELG
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Posts: 875




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« on: January 24, 2013, 10:24:04 PM »

JD1 through Apr 15
Mayotte through Apr 12
VK9C at the end of March
9M4 in mid-March
ZS8 this year

That's 5 ATNO to get me to 312, IF I can work them. 

Thanks to all who recommended N6TB book "Array of Light" as it is fascinating and illuminating (pun intended).  I need something more than my hex beam if I want to improve my chances.  I am not going to get a trap yagi, after reading the book (N6TB explains why in extensive detail). 

It looks like I have enough room for a short boom yagi, and turning radius of about 14 feet. 

I am trying to decide between 17 meters and 15 meters, 3 elements each.  While 15 meter yagi will have lower takeoff angle for the height I will be using (40 feet), I am concerned that 15 won't be open as much as 17...also since our sunspot cycle is not all that great, and what goes up must come down so I want to think longer term also.  I remember working DX on 17 even at the bottom of the cycle back in 2007, so I should weather the downturn OK.

Therefore, I am leaning towards the Force-12 17 meter 3 element yagi.  As someone else on the board asked: if P5 came on tomorrow for 72 hours, would I be ready?  Well, with a monobander I will be MORE ready than I am now. 

Always interested to hear the thoughts from the rest of you fellow hams, as this has always been a helpful forum for me.
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W6GX
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Posts: 2799




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« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2013, 10:47:14 PM »

I would go with something like this if you could afford the 19' turning radius.  Remember that most of the gain from a yagi comes from the first two elements (from the N6TB book).  IMHO your hexbeam is already pretty good and I'm not sure if this antenna will outperform the hexbeam by a noticeable amount.

http://www.texasantennas.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=71&Itemid=88

73,
Jonathan W6GX

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W6GX
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« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2013, 11:08:27 PM »

Mark,

I just read your bio on QRZ.  How do you turn the hexbeam?  Or do you have it fixed and pointed at P5?  Joking aside I don't think a conventional yagi would work since it won't be balanced enough to be suspended in mid air.

73,
Jonathan W6GX
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NU1O
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Posts: 2692




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« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2013, 11:09:25 PM »

Hi Mark,

1)You don't have a lot of room to play with. My old Cushcraft A3S had a boom of 14 feet and that was just about the smallest tribander on the market.

2) I don't think restricting yourself to one band is such a good idea especially when both 15 and 17 meters will  be closed at the bottom of the cycle.

3) What are you going to do in 3 or 4 years when 20 meters is the money band during the day and 40 meters most nights?  You will have to take down your 15 or 17 meter monobander and you are not going to find a 3 element 20 or 40 monobander with a boom of only 14 feet.

4) I replaced my A3S with a Bencher Skyhawk which works great but I am looking forward to the bottom of the cycle. If I add a 2 element 40 meter beam on the same mast as the Skyhawk it means over $500 for the Chrom-alloy mast alone - w/o expensive shipping costs to MA - and I would still need to motorize my manual crankup TX-455 US Tower and that could cost $2,000 w/o professional labor to do the work.

5) I am thinking about taking the Sykhawk down at some point in the not too distant future and putting up a dual band 20/40 meter antenna for the cycle bottom. I may have to build my own antenna since I only have 22 feet to the property line and I could not fit a full sized 40 meter antenna into that space.

6) Whatever solution you come up with now may need to be modified in a few years if you select a 15 or 17 meter monobander since those bands will be dead in a few years, so give this some serious thought and get many opinions.

7) If anybody has some suggestions for my situation, they would be welcomed!


73,

Chris/NU1O
« Last Edit: January 24, 2013, 11:13:28 PM by NU1O » Logged
KY6R
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Posts: 3236


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« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2013, 03:14:12 AM »

I guess I'm confused. If you can't have a tower - how will you support anything more than what you have? It seems like you have already done the best you can do.

This cycle is basically tracking with the lowest prediction that anyone has made. 10 and 12M have not been consistently open. 17 and 15M have been open quite a bit - but way down from Cycle 23.

2013 is the supposed peak of the cycle, so if you can put up aluminum, I also agree - avoid the traps and maybe go with something like the Optibeam OB10-3W. An alternate choice might be a Steppir antenna with the trombone element - but I personally don't like the weight of SteppIRs because it causes you to have to put up heavier duty tower, rotator and mast than an aluminum antenna, and also - if you don't treat the fiberglass tubes - the UV's kill them in 2 years and I just don't like moving parts way up in the air. I know - I had a 2 element for 2 years . . .

I agree that as soon as the cycle heads south that 40M, 30M and 20M will be the name of the game. 17M will be the absolute highest band to "pray" that it opens, so like Chris, my money would be on 40 and 20M.

The biggest problem with any 40/20M duo bander is that even a shortened antenna will be big and heavy, and if you don't get it up 1/2 wl on 40M - you are defeating the purpose.

If I were to pick a monoband yagi - it would actually be 20M, and then do something like put up two 40M half squares - at right angles heading NE - SW and SE - NW and switch between the two.

Some have erroneously assumed that my stack is a mono-bander. Check out my QRZ.COM page for a full write up. It performs like a 6 element yagi on 17M and a 2 element yagi on 20, 15, 12 and 10M. Tom, N6BT recommended this design, and I built it from his Array of Light book.

It is not an antenna for most people though - and I had to have a mast that can rotate from the bottom - which I do (with "floating" guy rings).

I also have a Force-12 C3 - which may go up some day - but for now, the stack is perfect for where we are in the cycle NOW.

I will gear up for as much height and gain that I can on 40 and 20M after the Heard Island DX-pedition and re-do my antenna farm (yet again). I might even build that 4 element OWA yagi that Tom, N6BT has in his Array of Light book - its a killer design but has a 24' boom. The problem - my AB-952 military mast probably can't support such a big and heavy antenna without dropping the height to a point where I would defeat the purpose.

That's where HFTA comes in - to comparatively analyze several antenna choices with my given terrain.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2013, 03:32:02 AM by KY6R » Logged
EI2GLB
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Posts: 517




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« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2013, 04:51:47 AM »

I have worked all those except for VK9C with a hex beam with no great difficulty.
I have never actively looked for VK9C but I will try to work them this time.

Trevor
EI2GLB
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WD4ELG
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Posts: 875




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« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2013, 01:18:59 PM »

Thanks everyone for the input.  Much appreciated as always.  While I would prefer to put up a yagi on 20, I can't get it any higher than 35 feet...which means it will be limited in its impact.  (I would be supporting any yagi between the oak trees and turning it the same way I turn the hex beam...with 5/16 inch ropes tied to either end of the antenna).

I guess the only other option is to put up a vertical array instead.  But not on 20, but rather 40 meters.  I probably can do that without breaking the bank, although those radials and the phasing will be a pain in the rear.  Since we're not getting much better on this cycle, perhaps the best approach is to go down in frequency and put a competitive antenna in place that can really make a difference with my limited alternatives.
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VK3HJ
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Posts: 646




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« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2013, 02:19:43 PM »

Try a Bobtail Curtain. Ground radial are far less critical than for a current-fed quarter wave.
I have mine on 40m, beaming NNE/SSW which gives me NA and AF.
But my experience with vertical antennas is that with trees around them they are not as effective as a horizontal antenna. I believe the trees are conductive enough to severely affect the vertical.
My bobtail is in the side paddock, wire supported by a pair of timber A-frame masts, so it doesn't move around in the wind.
If you have a good straight tall tree, you could "prune" the top of it and install a beam and rotator on top. I've done similar, but just for a 2 m co-linear antenna. Anyone remember the AEA Isopole?
There's not much I haven't been able to work with my Hex Beam. Leo PY0F/PP1CZ was just never on at a time when there was propagation, and I was on the radio. But I did work Bob VP8LP on Short Path yesterday evening, which is a difficult path here.
73,
Luke VK3HJ
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N8XI
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Posts: 127




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« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2013, 08:44:59 AM »

If you have the trees in the right place(s) and they are high enuff.
Maybe a vertical dipole -or- vertical beam off a catenary line between two trees.

I used a Delta loop once cut for 40M (142'). Apex up, fed at the bottom corner with 450 ohm twin-lead.
41' on each side and 60' bottom.
With a tuner it worked on all bands and was very quiet on receive.

Angle the bottom towards P5  Grin
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W9YE
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Posts: 70




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« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2013, 06:45:51 PM »

I would agree with Trevor's comments above - I have these entities confirmed and I have been using a Hexbeam @ 48 feet on 10-20 meters with verticals and wires for the low bands for the last several years.  No question the long haul stuff would be easier with a bonafide 3 elements on a longer boom up at say 60 or more feet, but this would require a beefier tower and rotator with the attendant increase in cost.  Perhaps someday.  My experience with the SteppIR 2 element yagi ended when it had a mechanical failure in the middle of its second winter.  At least when my SteppIR vertical fails, I can lower it to the ground for repair by myself, even in the dead of winter.  YMMV of course.


73/DX de Gavin
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NU1O
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« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2013, 08:10:35 PM »

Thanks everyone for the input.  Much appreciated as always.  While I would prefer to put up a yagi on 20, I can't get it any higher than 35 feet...which means it will be limited in its impact. 

35 feet is a half wavelength on 20 meters so it may work better than you are anticipating.

73 and good luck,

Chris/NU1O
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K0AP
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Posts: 133




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« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2013, 09:01:29 PM »

Thanks everyone for the input.  Much appreciated as always.  While I would prefer to put up a yagi on 20, I can't get it any higher than 35 feet...which means it will be limited in its impact. 

35 feet is a half wavelength on 20 meters so it may work better than you are anticipating.

73 and good luck,

Chris/NU1O

I have 2 el. Hex Beam at 40ft and with this antenna I have worked 310 countries on 20m in the last 6 years. Excluding 20m from the antenna array is a big mistake. 20m has always been the money band.

73 Dragan K0AP
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AF5C
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« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2013, 09:42:29 PM »

I have worked all of those, except ZS8, with 100 watts and a dipole or random wire, so it can be done with a hexbeam.

John AF5CC
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K0AP
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Posts: 133




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« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2013, 10:41:47 PM »

I have worked all of those, except ZS8, with 100 watts and a dipole or random wire, so it can be done with a hexbeam.

John AF5CC

My intention was not to brag about my DXCC totals but to let WD4ELG know that beam at 35ft will be a fine antenna. You worked 310 countries with 100W and dipole in 6 years period of time? Bravo!

73 Dragan K0AP
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