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Author Topic: 160 meter Beverage antennas  (Read 4089 times)
W3HKK
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« on: February 01, 2013, 10:30:36 AM »

Our club will be  adding a single wire  Beverage for the upcoming 160M SSB Contest in late Feb.

Depending on real estate limitations it will be directional to the SW or ( if we can arrande it) to the NE to better pick up Europeans.

Array Solutions   feed point transformer and termination resistor will be used.  Wire height will be  6 ft.  Either #18 galvanized steel fence wire or #14-16 copper wire will be used.  Fed by 52 ohm coax.

Any suggestions or comments on YOUR Beverage installations that proved to be most effective?

thanks

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K3VAT
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« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2013, 12:47:49 PM »

<SNIP>
Any suggestions or comments on YOUR Beverage installations that proved to be most effective?

thanks

Beverage antennas are extensively covered in ON4UN's text, LowBand DX'ing.  Another excellent source of info is http://www.w8ji.com/antennas.htm.  Have you checked these out?  One person's Beverage design may or may not work at your qth.  For example, soil condx play a big part in Beverage performance; likewise, height of Beverage (six feet may or may not be an optimum [plus for us tall guys, it gets in the way - hi]).  The sources should provide you with all the 'good engineering practice' techniques that will make your Beverage perform adequately.

<snip>

Depending on real estate limitations it will be directional to the SW or ( if we can arrande it) to the NE to better pick up Europeans.


Why not run a bi-directional - you can have both directions and the above references show you how.  Or a 2nd Beverage system to the NW for Japan and some of the Asian rim DX.  Lately we've have had some good 160 JA openings on 160 right at sunrise.

My old QTH used 160M Beverage where L=1100 feet and H=8 feet.

GL, 73, Rich, K3VAT
« Last Edit: February 01, 2013, 12:57:10 PM by K3VAT » Logged
W3HKK
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« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2013, 03:16:11 PM »

Thanks for your comments Rich.  Ive  had major power line noise issues here for a couple of years ( S9 to S9+20dB!) that peak between 1.8 and 6 mhz,   and am hoping the Beverage  rejects PLN a lot better than my 40 ft vertical  1/4 wavelength inverted L does.  So Ive been  reading up on Beverages with the thought of putting  a 500 footer in my yard.  I could go 700 feet but want to keep it 200 ft from my transmitting antenna -the inverted L. I will run mine NE  toward EU.

Recently, one of the guys in the club decided to put his own up ( for the Feb 160M CQWWSSB Test, and that's well underway.  I'm looking to learn from his efforts and apply them to my situation. 

QTH: central Ohio, in rolling farm land, so soil conductivity should be  average. 

The costs of a  Beverage  really add up so I'll start with a single wire. If it works as hoped, I can go to two wire, in my quest for DXCC on the remaining bands of 160, 60 and 6 meters.
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K3VAT
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« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2013, 03:26:24 PM »

Thanks for your comments Rich.  Ive  had major power line noise issues here for a couple of years ( S9 to S9+20dB!) that peak between 1.8 and 6 mhz,   and am hoping the Beverage  rejects PLN a lot better than my 40 ft vertical  1/4 wavelength inverted L does.  So Ive been  reading up on Beverages with the thought of putting  a 500 footer in my yard.  I could go 700 feet but want to keep it 200 ft from my transmitting antenna -the inverted L. I will run mine NE  toward EU.

Recently, one of the guys in the club decided to put his own up ( for the Feb 160M CQWWSSB Test, and that's well underway.  I'm looking to learn from his efforts and apply them to my situation. 

QTH: central Ohio, in rolling farm land, so soil conductivity should be  average. 

The costs of a  Beverage  really add up so I'll start with a single wire. If it works as hoped, I can go to two wire, in my quest for DXCC on the remaining bands of 160, 60 and 6 meters.


Wow, that's substantial powerline noise!  Ever try and track it down - possibly you could get some assistance from the local power company and, if all goes well, they can often isolate the source (arcing transformer, broken insulator, etc.) and fix it for you.  Otherwise, you might be better off with a receive antenna that can null the noise rather than enhance signal-to-noise.  I'm speaking of something like the new Pixel Technology receive mag loop.  Google it and check it out.  GL, 73, Rich, K3VAT
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W0BTU
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« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2013, 06:31:14 PM »

Why not run a bi-directional - you can have both directions and the above references show you how.  Or a 2nd Beverage system to the NW for Japan and some of the Asian rim DX.  

My thoughts exactly. I have two of them and they work great. They are easy to make. Here's how to build a simple, two-wire bi-directional Beverage:

http://www.w0btu.com/Beverage_antennas.html

I consistently hear weak signals on my Beverages that I cannot hear on my dipole or vertical. And so do a lot of other people.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2013, 06:35:27 PM by W0BTU » Logged

W4VR
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« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2013, 06:44:08 PM »

I use a two-wire switchable beverage.  I have room for a 1000-footer but I decided to try 300 feet.  It works so well I've decided not to extend it.
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K8GU
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« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2013, 07:01:49 PM »

The Beverage is an antenna that wants to work.  You will get some improvement with almost anything that is sensibly constructed and of realistic size.  Read ON4UN (4th or 5th ed are best for RX antennas), W8JI, et al, for ideas on what's realistic.  I always put up a Beverage or two when I operate from the family farm in Ohio.

For about $5, you can put a little binocular core in a project box with an F connector on it.  CATV drop cable and compression connectors are cheap (or free from the cable company if you ask nicely).  For the antenna itself, I typically use #14 THHN (because I bought a lot of it about a decade ago when copper was cheap) or aluminum electric fence wire.  I would avoid steel.  For temporary antennas, you can tension the wire at the ends and use wire nuts to attach the termination resistor.  Stick it under a bucket for waterproofing or put it in a project box or PVC pipe.

I've always found it easier to just install multiple antennas than to deal with switching directions using the common/differential modes.  But, that's not rocket science either.  And, even the commercial kits are pretty inexpensive all things considered.

My lot here in the suburbs is 100x50 ft, so Beverages are not really an option!  Going to put my K9AY back out this weekend maybe, though.  Also thinking about a BSEF array for 80m with cooperative neighbors...
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VE3LYX
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« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2013, 08:31:37 PM »

I built a beverage about 2 years ago.Being a cheap skate I used the pastic covered binding wire from Lowes. I drilled the sash and fed it through the window frame in my downstairs shack (studio B) i hooked it upthat afternoon and was very disappointed . No noise when i connected it in the receiver. I wrongly concluded it was because I whimped out an the wire so i unhooked it and left it  About 130 feet snagged along the snake rail fence east of the house. This fall I was palying with magnetic loop antennnas and  decided to see what waswrong with the beverage. nothingthat I could find .Had low resistance and no breaks or insulation issues so I decided to give it another go. This time I hooked itup to the DX150 radaio shack recvr that was tuned to the AM window on 80M . I was asounded. No noise tos eak up and very strong signals. It was actually over loading the rx. Now I understood. The noise level is so low I thought before it wasnt working.
I used to work Am with a bunchof lads. One could always hear real well and was using a loop. another could hear occasionally and were always advisig me on getting more power and higher antennas. you think from their advice I had just gotten my ticket that week. tey were always complaining how the noise level was S9 or better at their QTH. I had and still do work sometimessouth and east with no trouble so I knew while I dont have a killer AM station I certainly have more power then I needed to reach them.  Once i suggested they shouldget ew diodes for their crystal set. This last year i have learned a lot . This beverage antenna i use for my RX when making QSOs is fantastic. What is a non readable signal in the upstairs shack (studio A) with its invertedL and inverted Vee is a strong definate signal downstairs on the Beverage. And the noise level is very low on it.
Now to the good part. Crystal sets. I usecrystal setsfor spotting my TX. and monitoring my AM signal. Why ? because they are honest and dont have problems some superhets do in the presence of a very strong signal. I had one for 80 and one for 40 caibrated and preset so I could find the same spot each time. Yesterday I took the bigger of the two, Installed a variable cap from an old AC /Dc radio . I could now cover both bands. using my GDO anda recvr to verify I calibrated the dial on this crystal set. goes from 1.7 to 8.75 Mcs. I addeda small Rf choke after the diode and outa .01 cap accross the phones output. Set worked very well for monitoring in shack signals. I had heard how they had short wave crystal sets. despite my skepticsm of their usefulness I din build a couple and tried them on my upstairs antennas. As I thought. nothing. Stupid idea. Might be fine in Europe where there are lots of nearby strong signal but not practical for here. Last night after finishing the mods to the crystal set I decided to try it on the beverage. I heard  something and quickly tuned in a signal. I was surprised and promised myself to go down after dark ad try again. That time the whole dial was full. Some weak but several were readable. I heard some russian, some spanish and some music. I was astounded.  No power radio hearing  signals from thousands of miles away.  It certainly isint the radio since it is as simple as possible. It is that beverage antenna. Bes tpair of ears I ever had.
It is now my conclusion that of hams would spend as much effort  on their rx antenna as they do on bigger stronger higher louder there would be a lot more successful QSos. About $15wire and a near by fence is all one needs. The resultsare unbeleiveable.
Don VE3LYX
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W3HKK
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« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2013, 06:11:44 AM »

Thanks, guys.  Informative thread.  I never used a Beverage.  I always complain about QRN/M on 160-80-60 meters.

I think it's time .......
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WB3CQM
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« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2013, 10:49:40 AM »

I really just a beginner at using Beverage antenna.

I give you a basic  performance report on what I find with mine.

No# 1 my longer Beverage seem to be more quiet than the shorter ones as far  as QRN and that is over 2 years of listening on them.
No# 2 Some times signals must be arriving from different path. Example , few nights ago I heard a station from Italy blasting in on my SE Beverage. Loudest I have heard a Europe station on that Beverage . Later he faded away and I could no longer hear him. I switched to NE Beverage and he was as strong as he was on the SE Beverage. Reason to have more than one Beverage pointing at one direction. Other words I have a SW West, West,  North West and North North West Beverage. I understand most can not do this.

I think I read where W8JI said that he would receive VK or some station north of that area off a South West Path many times.

 But so far  100% of the time my short 500 foot Beverage pointing a 350 degrees are picking  up Japan station better than the longer 900 foot 300 degree bi-directional. Fooled me for sure ! So far the 300 degree Beverage picks up VK the Best which I would expect.

This morning  I switched through my west Beverages and ZK3T was strongest on my 300 degree NW Beverage . I was not hearing him on the one pointing at him very  well at all  today. I believe the west Beverage is installed as well or better than the Bi-directional.

I built a North Beverage for Polar path signals and it has paid off big time. I would not be without this North North West / South South East Beverage or should we call it a North South Beverage ?

Majority of time the noise level qrn is S9 on my Vertical  transmit antenna. On the Beverage I have  ZERO qrn on the s meter. I do hear noise with preamp on but zero s meter qrn seen. If I had a strong signal and wanted to cut out the Icom  preamp  I would be able to hear a pin drop at their location.
No way would I ever do without a receive antenna of some kind on 160 meters.

Contest -ARRL /CQWW / Stew Perry there are so many station on band  that it rattles my Icom 746 pro. Switch to the NE Beverage and it is like a filter and a US station 30-40 over  is reduced to s 9 or less. I have been able to work  weak stations from Europe in between loud USA stations. ( if only I had a amp )

Last night 160 A VO2 Station to north came up with S9 signal on xtrm antenna . I went to SE Beverage and he was reduced to less than 1 s unit , same as the station to my south in the Caribbean with S9 .
A Texas station with a 4 Square more or less to my back side with a signal of 30over  was reduced  to s5 maybe s7 on SE Beverage

I forget what the F/b was figured on these longer Beverage of 900 and 1050 feet but it is pretty good I think.
On the shorter one A signal to my south go's from 20 over to S9 ,this I know the stations state side are not reduced in signal as well on the short Beverage compared to the longer ones.

Some day I will build at least one 2 3 or 4 element phased Beverage.I would also like to try a 8 circle receive system. But that would be way in the future . 

Besides having Zero QRN on the Beverage or almost zero . Stations state side are reduced in signal . In fact going to a NE Beverage I may not even know Caribbean stations or SA are on freq with out watching Reverse Beacon. All depends on how strong they are though.

The way I measure height for installation is simple As high as I can reach to nail a electric fence insulator, and that is the height I choose for Beverage. A person can walk under them and also deer . I am 5feet 11 inch tall. I use electric fence wire in all my Beverage.

I am shocked at how well the short 500 and 580 foot Beverage work. But I still lean toward the the longer Beverage due to F/B and also qrn pick up. But of course maybe other hams would  do better installation job and have other results than I have experienced.

My Beverage  go through wooded area and they just work. But I do use ground rods and radials at the ends.

Not to say there are not better installations and length used by others. But after 3 seasons on top band I am convinced my station is NOT balanced. I must get a Amp !

73 JIM
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W3HKK
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« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2013, 12:32:08 PM »

Great testimonial, Jim.  Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences. 

How far are your  Beverages from the transmit antenna on 160?  I read concerns about too much rf into the receiver.  My  xcvr is an IC7600 with a separate receive antenna connection, but it also has   blown the rf stage THREE times  for unknown ( ICOM says estatic discharge from lightening and perhaps  precipitation static )  reasons.  This last time I had them replace the entire rf board, figuring it was a lemon.  So far ( 2 months) so good.  The last RF board failure happened 1 month after I had it repaired for the very same problem.  So Im a bit sensitive to exposing  the 7600 to  transmit RF.

I also saw some plots in ON4UNs book showing  a Beverage running 30 ft from a transmit inverted L, where plots show  a greatly diminished F/B due to interaction.  Something like 18-24dB less. 

I have two 500 ft spools of  galvanized fence wire (#17 I think) that I use for radials.  Come a nice warm spell I might  run a 500 ft wire NE-SW.

Have you had any lightning induced failures of your terminating resistor induced from  distant lightning surges?  Ive read this is an issue....and also to the rig.

Bob ( in central Ohio)
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WB3CQM
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« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2013, 01:07:32 PM »

The NE - SE/NW - S/N Beverage are 150-175 feet away from transmit antenna . The West Beverage is 130 feet and the East and SW are 250 plus feet away. I am just talking about the feed points not the antenna them self. They travel away from the transmit very quickly.

I would like to have the feed point  further away but I am stuck at those distance for now.

I am using a Icom 746Pro and a DXE RTR-1 Receive Antenna Interface. So far it has worked flawlessly and qsk is great . So this unit has made it possible for me to use Beverage antenna .I know you can build a interface , but I am not much into building. Also what I have done off and on is use a DXE RLS-2 2 port receiving antenna switch with a second Icom 746 pro as a sub receiver. I hooked that up two ways . One using the Beverage into the second Icom with a separate transmit antenna  and sometimes using only the beam on higher bands for both transmit and receive . I mostly did that for practice and seeing how they performed in working DX pile ups split . Does give the brain a work out while receiving Mores code to be receiving 2 sides of the pile up at the same time. 

So you could say the RTR-1 has protected the front end of both my Icoms in different set ups at the same time.

I am not smart enough to know or not , without some further study. But could a RTR-1 Be used with your transceiver for more protection or some other unit. The key is to place the Beverage as far away from our transmit antenna as we can of course . What is suggested minimum ?

Hopefully some one else with more knowledge will give some more insight.

And as far as lighting ( quiet lets not speak about that :lol:) No , I have not experienced any lighting strikes near by at this location.
Hopefully I did not jinks my self saying that .

Hope this helps

73 JIM
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AB3CX
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« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2013, 06:26:10 PM »

Barry, N1EU has a website with some great suggestions for making Beverage transformers inexpensively yourself. Following his suggestions, I used small binocular ferrite cores wound with a 3:1 ratio (450 ohm to 50 ohm coax) using 9 turns in the secondary and 3 turns in the primary, and for about 50 cents each they work great.  He suggested not grounding the coax shield at the transformer for lower noise. I used small watertight electric boxes to build the feed point and the terminating boxes.  They drill easily for SO-239 and through bolts for wire connections. You can build them for alot less $$ than you's pay for pre manufactured units. Use a technique that makes it easy to swap out the terminating resistor in case it opens up due to a lightening induced ground surge; that saves time down the road.
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W0BTU
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« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2013, 10:14:28 PM »

Barry, N1EU has a website with some great suggestions for making Beverage transformers inexpensively yourself.

Yes he does. That was a source for the info on our site, which we expanded on.
http://www.w0btu.com/Beverage_antennas.html#Beverage_Antenna_Transformers
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W3HKK
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« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2013, 05:10:08 AM »

Appreciate all the  input, guys. 
How about sources for inexpensive ladder line? I found one source at $100/500 ft which uses #22 solid copper rather than the usual #18 transmit ladder line which costs a bit more than double that.
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