Call Search
     

New to Ham Radio?
My Profile

Community
Articles
Forums
News
Reviews
Friends Remembered
Strays
Survey Question

Operating
Contesting
DX Cluster Spots
Propagation

Resources
Calendar
Classifieds
Ham Exams
Ham Links
List Archives
News Articles
Product Reviews
QSL Managers

Site Info
eHam Help (FAQ)
Support the site
The eHam Team
Advertising Info
Vision Statement
About eHam.net

   Home   Help Search  
Pages: [1] 2 Next   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: New Ham Seeking HF Antenna Advice  (Read 4771 times)
KB3ZIM
Member

Posts: 13




Ignore
« on: May 24, 2013, 07:36:22 AM »

Greetings Everyone!

I'm quite new to the amateur airwaves, having received my General Class license in March of this year.  I have an Icom IC-7600 awaiting installation, for which I'll need to erect an antenna to work the HF bands.  I have everything else I need (CW key, power supply, etc.).

I've been diligently researching my possible antenna choices, based on the following criteria:

- I have very limited space, so I'm basically forced to use a vertical (dipoles of decent length may not be possible at my QTH)

- My IC-7600 covers 160 through 6 meters, so I'd like to take as much advantage as I can of its capability to work all of those bands if possible

Now, I know that the above-mentioned criteria is going to meet with plenty of negative reaction!  I'm fully aware that it's a "tall order" to expect just one antenna to work well over such a wide range of frequencies, especially a vertical.  Believe me, I'm very cognizant of the fact that what I wish to do is compromising quite a bit, but allow me to explain my intentions...

I have no experience working HF bands, so at the onset, I'd like to dial around the frequencies my General class ticket allows me to work, just to see what it's like and to find out which of the bands I would most enjoy and care to work in the future.  A very wide-coverage antenna will allow me to do that, although I know it will be far from ideal.  In the future, I very well may replace such a wide-band vertical with a beam or other more efficient antenna(s) that will be less of a compromise.  For now, just to get started, I want to get on the air and have some fun ASAP.

That said, I've been looking at the following antennas....

- HyGain AV-680
- Cushcraft R-9 (which I know may be basically similar to the AV-680)
- Butternut HF9V
- One of several Zero-Five tall verticals (about which I've read wonderful things, but may not be able to "fit" on my property due to ground radial requirements)

Other than the Zero-Five verticals that require ground mounting, I intend to mount a vertical antenna on a tower or pole attached to the side of my house, high enough to clear the roof line.

Can anyone suggest any other wide-band HF vertical antennas which I should consider?

Again, I am very much aware that I'm compromising a great deal, but as I mentioned, my intention is simply to get on-air soon and have some fun, with plans of upgrading to more optimal antenna(s) after I get some operating experience.

Any advice or suggestions would be appreciated!

Bobb
KB3ZIM
Logged
W1JKA
Member

Posts: 1765




Ignore
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2013, 07:49:03 AM »

While awaiting replies,once again have you read the many previous post in this forum on this frequently asked question or read the Review forum on different vertical antennas?
Logged
K5LXP
Member

Posts: 4506


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2013, 08:35:13 AM »

Other than the Zero-Five verticals that require ground mounting, I intend to mount a vertical antenna on a tower or pole attached to the side of my house, high enough to clear the roof line.

From a performance point of view I think all these antennas are pretty much a wash for what you want to do, so then it comes down to practical installation. So decide if you're going to ground mount or roof mount.  That will thin the herd here a bit. 

Elevated mounting of HF verticals is difficult except for the likes of the "ground independent" ones.  So for the butternut you would need resonant radials for each band which results in a messy roof and a tuning chore.  So it would seem if you're bent on roof mounting the Cushcraft and Hy gain would be your option, ground mounting would be the zero five or the butternut. 

The zero five style antenna requires a tuner.  Not sure if you anticipated or budgeted for that.  I think it's a PITA to retune every QSY and that would be a non-starter for me but that's a personal preference thing.  The butternut does not require a tuner and my personally biased opinion is the butternut is a more practical ground mounted antenna than the zero five is.

I think having an antenna like these can be a very useful thing even as you advance through the hobby.  I wouldn't think of this as a "starter" or "compromise" antenna but rather a general purpose one you can keep around and use in concert with more specialized ones you may add as you move forward.  It's convenient to have a known performance, omni antenna you can take a quick spin through the bands with, and use for general purpose operating.  I've had my butternut for about 25 years now and use it for one band or another every time I'm in the shack, even with a selection of other wire and beam antennas in the yard.

Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
Logged
K5TR
Administrator

Posts: 387


WWW
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2013, 11:04:15 AM »

I think most if not all of these antennas will need to tuned - tweaked once they are in their mounting place. This will mean that you will need access to more than just the base of the antenna.  So if you try to mount it on a pole or mast or tower tuning the antennas will likely be difficult. So take that into account. And as LXP stated you will need radials  for most of these antennas to make them work well or work at all. 

One that you did not mention but would allow you to tune it from the ground would be the StepIR verticals.

I am a big fan of wire antennas.  1/2 wave resonate dipoles feed with coax in particular.  You can
put them up in many forms - flat top, sloping from a tower, tree or pole on in an inverted V configuration.
They are cheap (although copper wire has gotten pricey) and easy to build.  You can even share a feed point with two or more bands.  As you add bands it can get hard to tune but for years I used a 40 meter sloping dipole that had a 20 meter dipole hung off of it and the 40 meter elements were resonate on 15 meters.  So I had one antenna that worked on three bands with no tuner or anything.

Multiband verticals can be very good and convenient but I would make sure I had it mounted in a way that would allow me to have radials and some easy way to access it when tuning it the first time.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2013, 11:08:15 AM by K5TR » Logged

George
K5TR
KD2CJJ
Member

Posts: 369




Ignore
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2013, 11:54:12 AM »

Here is what I have compiled based on research and rag chewing I have done with other hams with all these antennas.  Here are some points (some of contention) that will guide you to your decision.

Its always better to elevate a vertical antenna - Your signal can improve significantly - there is no dispute on this but If you elevate the antenna then you will need at least 2 tuned radials +-5% for each of the bands you want to operate. Ideally four in each direction not more then 6 (again for each band).
If you elevate the antenna TOO much (above 20 feet) you will raise the take off angle thus reducing your DX ability - though not much and this is theoretical.
If you ground mount a 1/4 wave (mount it to a pipe in the ground) you need a significant radial field to combat ground loss but ground mounted 1/4 wave antennas do not need tuned radial - you just need many of them at varying lengths.. Ideally over 60, but there is no magic number as it depends on your soil type and where you live.
As your radiator increases beyond a 1/4 wave your ground losses are reduced and radials are less of an issue but will change the take off angle and pattern of radiation - this could be positive or negative - but generally it is a good thing.
All verticals are affected by their surroundings.  If you cant move the vertical away from structures then get them above the structures.
All verticals are noisy - be prepared if you live in an urban area.
All verticals are not as efficient as a dipole... but not everyone has the space for a vertical.

There are 2 dominant types of verticals.  Resonant and Non-Resoant verticals.  

Resonant verticals typically have methods of center loading the vertical, typically using traps to tune each section to 1/4 wave (butternut works differently and why they are just about the only manufacturer that does what they do; Cushcraft and Hygain are also a different beast - I will get to those).  Some have higher efficiency than others.  

There are also resonant/nonresoant vertical dipoles.   Resonant/non resonant dipoles have their own issues... but the biggest benefit is that they are NOT ground dependent!  No ground losses thus in theory they radiate what you put into them (taking out your feedline system out of the equation.).  

Butternet will by far have the most efficiency out of the list you have compiled BUT will also have the most aggravation in tuning.  It depends on a good radial field if ground mounted.  It does NOT using traps but uses various methods to add capacitance and inductance in the radiator itself without the negative effect of resistance (which traps create).  Thus to the benefit of NOT being a 1/4 on all bands...  If you elevate it then guess what your not only tuning the antenna itself but also the radials!! and each affect each other.   Its a very very nice design and truly a superior antenna - but a real real bitch to get setup as your first antenna and would highly recommend against it if you dont have help and/or patience and/or analyzer.  

R9 and AV680 - They are a unique beast.  They in fact use various methods to load the antenna, they center feed the antenna, they use capacitance hats and they use traps - I guess you can call it a hybrid dipole?  I dont know but it still has the benefits of being a 1/4 wave on all bands with the benefits of a vertical dipole, no ground losses.  The drawback is a narrow bandwidth and more losses over the butternut.  Everyone I know who has any of the R or AV antennas have always been very happy when they are elevated above 10 feet and below 25.  Lower then 10ft it doesnt perform well at all - which means there is some coupling to the ground that can happen.  These do require tuning but again no where near as difficult as the butternut since you are removing the need of radials.

Gap Titan - Since you didnt list this, is a vertical dipole with added capacitors to add capacitance since it is severely shortened.  Again no ground losses but questionable performance.  Feedback has been that it is very sensitive to its surroundings - not sure if anymore than any other vertical though.  10 feet mounting seems to be the magic height for this for some reason.

Non-resonant verticals are base loaded.  You will either use a coupler at the base (auto tuner) OR some other impedance matching circuit (like a UNUN) to provide enough inductance for your tuner in the shack to tune the antenna.  This will NOT be a 1/4 wave on all bands.... Some will be less than a quarter wave (depending on the length of the radiator) and some will be MUCH MUCH more than a 1/4 wave.  These antennas when NOT using an auto tuner (using a UNUN) at the base will have significant losses on the feedline.  Even though you will be able to obtain a match at your radio the SWRs will be VERY VERY high on the feedline for certain bands thus those losses will turn into heat.  Ironically for this antenna to work well it may actually be the most expensive since you will want a high quality tuner at the base; you also SHOULD have a good radial field if ground mounted.  Zero five doesnt have any magic in their antenna except great workmanship.  You can take any piece of aluminum coupled with a matching network at the base you should be able to make this antenna.  It is by far the easiest to setup... No tuning necessary just mount, add radials and connect feedline system - start using..


My advice would be IF and ONLY IF you have help and/or patience setting up the butternut that is the way to go... If you have the space ground mount it with a massive radial field... this will be your antenna until you can put up a tower with a beam... If you dont have help/patience and/or space for a large radial field then I would go for a R or AV antenna mounted on a pipe 10-15 feet above ground - no radial field needed, no expensive tuner but know the bandwidth limitations.

All verticals should be in the clear..

Good luck!



Greetings Everyone!

I'm quite new to the amateur airwaves, having received my General Class license in March of this year.  I have an Icom IC-7600 awaiting installation, for which I'll need to erect an antenna to work the HF bands.  I have everything else I need (CW key, power supply, etc.).

I've been diligently researching my possible antenna choices, based on the following criteria:

- I have very limited space, so I'm basically forced to use a vertical (dipoles of decent length may not be possible at my QTH)

- My IC-7600 covers 160 through 6 meters, so I'd like to take as much advantage as I can of its capability to work all of those bands if possible

Now, I know that the above-mentioned criteria is going to meet with plenty of negative reaction!  I'm fully aware that it's a "tall order" to expect just one antenna to work well over such a wide range of frequencies, especially a vertical.  Believe me, I'm very cognizant of the fact that what I wish to do is compromising quite a bit, but allow me to explain my intentions...

I have no experience working HF bands, so at the onset, I'd like to dial around the frequencies my General class ticket allows me to work, just to see what it's like and to find out which of the bands I would most enjoy and care to work in the future.  A very wide-coverage antenna will allow me to do that, although I know it will be far from ideal.  In the future, I very well may replace such a wide-band vertical with a beam or other more efficient antenna(s) that will be less of a compromise.  For now, just to get started, I want to get on the air and have some fun ASAP.

That said, I've been looking at the following antennas....

- HyGain AV-680
- Cushcraft R-9 (which I know may be basically similar to the AV-680)
- Butternut HF9V
- One of several Zero-Five tall verticals (about which I've read wonderful things, but may not be able to "fit" on my property due to ground radial requirements)

Other than the Zero-Five verticals that require ground mounting, I intend to mount a vertical antenna on a tower or pole attached to the side of my house, high enough to clear the roof line.

Can anyone suggest any other wide-band HF vertical antennas which I should consider?

Again, I am very much aware that I'm compromising a great deal, but as I mentioned, my intention is simply to get on-air soon and have some fun, with plans of upgrading to more optimal antenna(s) after I get some operating experience.

Any advice or suggestions would be appreciated!

Bobb
KB3ZIM
Logged

73

Mike
KD2CJJ
WH7DX
Member

Posts: 1029




Ignore
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2013, 12:01:19 PM »

Greetings Everyone!

I'm quite new to the amateur airwaves, having received my General Class license in March of this year.  I have an Icom IC-7600 awaiting installation, for which I'll need to erect an antenna to work the HF bands.  I have everything else I need (CW key, power supply, etc.).

I've been diligently researching my possible antenna choices, based on the following criteria:

- I have very limited space, so I'm basically forced to use a vertical (dipoles of decent length may not be possible at my QTH)

Bobb
KB3ZIM

Assuming you live at the address listed on your FCC License - it appears you have about 1/2 acre with some big trees right behind you.   Looks very nice..  green.

You have plenty room for some Dipoles in those trees or a vertical and same radials in the ground etc...   
Logged
M6GOM
Member

Posts: 944




Ignore
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2013, 12:53:03 PM »


- I have very limited space, so I'm basically forced to use a vertical (dipoles of decent length may not be possible at my QTH)


In the UK this is a far more common problem than the USA. For 20-10m, the G3TPW Cobwebb or the G3TXQ variant is very popular. 5 fullsize dipoles in an 8ft x 8ft antenna which will slaughter your verticals if you can get it 30ft high. Virtually everyone can manage to fit one of those somewhere. Downside is you're probably going to have to build your own as I think Steve Webb no longer exports.
Logged
WB0FDJ
Member

Posts: 144




Ignore
« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2013, 01:40:19 PM »

FWIW

Like K5TR I'm a big fan of wire antennas. He offers very good advice. The new verticals are getting really expen$ive!.

Back in my novice days my friends and I seemed to always be building dipoles. Cheap. Easy to put together. Generally work the first time. Not terribly difficult to put up.
So maybe while you're doing your research on which commercial antenna you want to buy you might just get a simple dipole up, heck do a two wire 40 and 20 meter. It'll work and you can explore the bands without spending much money. When I moved into my present house a few years ago I really wanted to get back on the air so ran a 33' wire out the window of the upstairs shack to a nearby tree and end fed it on 40-10 with an ancient MFJ tuner I had laying around. Filled a lot of logbook pages running 5 watts with the FT-817.
Point is: get "something" up and avoid analysis paralysis. Have some fun!

GL, 73 de WB0FDJ Doc
Logged
K8AC
Member

Posts: 1477




Ignore
« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2013, 04:52:10 AM »

Frankly, I think you're taking the wrong approach.  Your QRZ bio says you're really interested in working DX.  If that's still true, forget the all-band approach for now, and build an antenna that will allow you to work one of the best DX bands - 20 meters.  You can build a simple 1/4 wavelength vertical with stuff you can buy at Home Depot for not much money.  Take the time to learn which bands are best for DX at the times you'll be able to get on the air.  Both 160 and 6 meters are a bad idea for a beginning DXer and 80 meters isn't much better.  I suggest concentrating on bands where you'll be able to work DX just about any day of the year and that is most likely 40 and 20 meters.  Being able to transmit on 160 through 6 isn't of any advantage unless you're going to chase the DX Challenge award from day one.

73, Floyd - K8AC
Logged
KH2G
Member

Posts: 307




Ignore
« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2013, 08:51:51 PM »

You might take a look at the GAP Titan. I've had good luck with a variety of GAP antennas.
73
Dick
Logged
N4LEC
Member

Posts: 1




Ignore
« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2013, 01:30:04 AM »

Bobb,

My primary antenna for the last five years has been a GAP Eagle vertical. It is ground mounted on a six foot piece of TV mast which is buried about 1/2 the length (~ three feet) into the ground. This gives the antenna a total height of about 36-ish feet and allows me to easily work anything from 10-40 meters, with an occasional 80 meter option when conditions are right. The GAP Titan is more robust, adding (I believe) 6 and 80 meters wit virtually the same installation guidelines.

The best part (for me) is that on my relatively small lot, I do not need any radials (I believe none of the GAP line use them). With this setup, I've made nearly 1,000 QSOs, a significant portion of them DX. My experience with GAP - antenna performance, customer support, and low maintenance - make them a great choice and one I willingly advocate to other hams.

Good luck!

73 - Larry - N4LEC
Logged
AC4RD
Member

Posts: 1235




Ignore
« Reply #11 on: June 02, 2013, 06:47:00 AM »

My primary antenna for the last five years has been a GAP Eagle vertical..... My experience with GAP - antenna performance, customer support, and low maintenance - make them a great choice and one I willingly advocate to other hams.

I'll second Larry's recommendation, with one small exception.  I used an Eagle for a while, 12 years ago--we had moved to a new house and my wife said, "Do you HAVE to put a bunch of wires up at our new house?"  So I got the Gap Eagle, and it did work pretty well.  After a while I started putting up wire doublets and loops again.  And doing A/B comparisons, the Eagle against simple dipoles up as high as I could manage (usually 20-35'), the dipole was better for DX on about 90% of the signals.

So an Eagle or other Gap antenna MIGHT be a good choice for you, no doubt.  But my own advice would be to start off with a simple dipole or doublet.  If you've got a half-acre you've probably got room for some nice wire antennas, and the cost-vs-performance ratio for simple wire antennas is absolutely as good as it gets.  You can get better performance than a high dipole, but only at significant cost and bother.

Hope this helps; good luck and 73!    --ken
Logged
KB3ZIM
Member

Posts: 13




Ignore
« Reply #12 on: June 03, 2013, 06:56:57 AM »

MANY THANKS to everyone who has taken the time to offer advice to me.  It is very much appreciated!
Logged
N3DF
Member

Posts: 252




Ignore
« Reply #13 on: June 03, 2013, 07:29:30 AM »

I fully understand the joy of buying a current, high-grade transceiver like the IC7600--there's a lot of pride of ownership.  However, with identical operator skill (moderate), a $500 used transceiver with a standard, 3-element yagi will beat a $3,500 transceiver with a dipole or vertical to any given level of DX achievement. 
Logged

Neil N3DF
AC4RD
Member

Posts: 1235




Ignore
« Reply #14 on: June 03, 2013, 09:27:47 AM »

... with identical operator skill (moderate), a $500 used transceiver with a standard, 3-element yagi will beat a $3,500 transceiver with a dipole or vertical ...

You're certainly right.  But a tower and a beam are expensive, take a lot of work, in most places they require special permits, they're forbidden to many hams because of HOAs, they take maintenance, they're very visible to the neighbors, and they offer only three bands.   

A simple doublet fed with ladder line costs practically nothing--at most a tuner/balun--and avoids many of those problems.  So it's still a good solution for a lot of us.
Logged
Pages: [1] 2 Next   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!