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Reviews Categories | Antennas: HF Directional: Yagi, quad, rotary dipole, LPD, etc | Sommer XP Series multiband beams Help


Reviews Summary for Sommer XP Series multiband beams
Sommer XP Series  multiband beams Reviews: 24 Average rating: 4.9/5 MSRP: $450-1,250
Description: Heavy Duty Multiband Beam
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You can write your own review of the Sommer XP Series multiband beams.

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W3DX Rating: 5/5 Mar 31, 2013 10:51 Send this review to a friend
Tribute to Alf Sommer: Great Antenna System!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had a Sommer XP-508 multiband yagi for fifteen (15) years. We just had a very destructive wet snow that managed to bridge five of the closely-spaced elements and pile up a foot high. I calculated that the boom was holding 500 pounds of snow, and the boom finally collapsed.

I tried to contact Sommer Antennas to buy spare parts, but learned that Alf Sommer passed away in 2009 or 2010. I was very sorry to learn of Alf's passing, so wanted to write a review of this great antenna, and to pay my respects to a great guy.

Fortunately, I was able to fix the Xp-508. The booms consist of a pair of parallel 1 x 2 inch rectangular thin-walled aluminum tubes held together by aluminum castings. It turns out that the aluminum is stock-standard, and I was able to find what I needed online for thirty bucks, and got the antenna back on the air after a few afternoons of hard work. I’m glad I have a Glen Martin Engineering aluminum tower with a crank-down Hazer, so could do the repair with my feet on the ground.

But this is also a tribute to Alf’s genius. The XP-508 doesn’t have any traps or complex motors to fail. Other than the balun, everything consists of standard aluminum tubing that can be easily replaced. What you see is what you get.

As for the antenna, it’s been a great performer. The XP-508 has nine elements that provide coverage on 6 through 40 meters. It provides a rotatable dipole on 30 and 40, and has at least three or four elements working together as a yagi everywhere else. Alf managed this with an ingenious juxtaposition of carefully designed elements.

Over the years, I’ve especially appreciated having more than 8 db of gain on the WARC bands. I’ve found that many guys in the big pileups have tribanders, so they’re competitive on 10-15-20, where I can also hold my own, thanks to the XP-508. (I’ll never forget a brief opening that enabled me to work P5 on 15 meter SSB, when the P5 station asked everyone to go QRX so he could listen for the East Coast.)

But most guys are using verticals and dipoles on the WARC bands, unless they happen to own a WARC beam or a SteppIR or something else with some gain. So those are the bands where I can usually break the pileups with a single call. That’s made a big difference, and has been my “unfair competitive advantage” that enabled me to reach #1 DXCC Honor Roll.

So, thanks Alf. You designed a bullet-proof system of easy-to-maintain antennas that are broadbanded and have tons of gain. And forget about my mishap in the snow storm. It could have happened to anyone. Who could have ever expected that 500 pounds of snow could pile up? It was really my stupid fault. I should have cranked the antenna down and brushed it off. And if anything ever breaks, your what-you-see-is-what-you-get design will be easy to fix. You were a truly great antenna designer. Rest in peace, dear friend.
 
KB9SI Rating: 5/5 Dec 15, 2012 00:36 Send this review to a friend
Excellent multi band beam  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Have the XP808 on my 55' tower and absolutely amazed at what it can do. I can operate all bands 10-40M with almost flat SWR readings everywhere. This antena is built like nothing else I have seen and performs equally as well. Takes time to build and quite large but you will be very happy to have this on your tower. Has the gain of monobanders!! Only negative is that Sommer is no longer around.
 
K5SL Rating: 5/5 Jan 3, 2011 17:26 Send this review to a friend
XP 707 2nd One Put Up/Great !  Time owned: more than 12 months
My 807 has been up now for almost 15 months and still looks/performs like the day I put it up. This antenna is still my choice "If there can be only one". I came across a new 707 together-on the ground,& never put up. Ham became SK. A neighbor made a deal on the antenna and I put it together under my 807 for testing. I have a free standing tower and had the knowledge fresh from last year how to put it togeher. Yes, they take a little time to tune, but his went together easier. It went up in place of a TH3 at 40'. Once up, all SWR curves fell into place. This one was one of the last one's Mr. Sommer built 2 yrs ago, and has a new plastic balun affair for the 30m tuning. This new 30m tuning section seem to work very well, better than my model with the aluminum tubing underneath the boom. So far the 707 seems to be a good performer. It is nice to have this much gain on 17 & 12m also. Once up it doesn't look much bigger than his tribander, but he says the difference is really noticeable. We both hear stations most in town can't. A great antenna to get if you find one.
 
K4BH Rating: 5/5 Feb 20, 2010 23:02 Send this review to a friend
Best antenna I've had  Time owned: more than 12 months
I got my XP-608 bac when Alf was still using metric tubing. It is definitely complicated to build, but I followed the directions and had no problems. The antenna works well on all bands. I can't afford multiple towers with monobanders, but I like to operate on all the bands. This is a great solution if you want one antenna for multiple bands. SWR is low (I don't own an external tuner). Forty meters it the only band where the whole band is not under 2:1! I hope Alf did not keep all the technical details in his head. It would be a shame for such an innovative design implimented so well to disappear with him.
 
K5SL Rating: 5/5 Nov 9, 2009 09:31 Send this review to a friend
Nothing good comes easy.  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
After many months of piecing together a XP 807 I can say it is not a 2 day job. Mine came in 3 boxes UPS'd . Lots of hardware and nuts and bolts. Thanks to many here with manuals and emails, it is up and appears to be a great antenna. It would be nice if Mr. Sommer had made a boom support as part of the original boom hardware. You MUST support the ends while putting it up. Some aluminum fr Home Depot, & some Phillystan as line, and it can be fabricated fairly easily. It takes a little up and down the tower to tune, but as KM4GQ said- it is worth it. If you can find one in good shape I would grab it. Sorry to see Elf Sommer is SK, he built a great performing multi-band HF antenna.
 
WZ7I Rating: 5/5 May 18, 2009 10:56 Send this review to a friend
Good condition after 20 years  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have a Sommer XP-807 mounted on a tower below a 40 meter yagi from another major manufacturer. I just took down both antennas to repair the 40 M antenna and the difference in the condition of the two antennas is striking. The Sommer is 20 years old and is in pretty good condition. The 40 meter yagi had more than one problem and it has been up about six years.

With the amount of work and expense involved in gaining access to HF antennas for maintenance, especially when multiple antennas are mounted on the same tower, compromising on initial build quality just isn't good economics. It is hard for me to believe that hams don't understand this and that price sensitivity is so great that manufacturers can't be at least as successful building more reliable products.

These comments are not meant to replace my review of this antenna of several years ago.
 
VK6XH Rating: 5/5 Feb 15, 2008 06:13 Send this review to a friend
A great all- rounder  Time owned: more than 12 months
Our club VK6ANC, bought a 2nd hand XP808 about three years ago and myself and VK6YEL spent a lot of time refurbishing it as it had been in storage at 2-3 locations before we acquired it.
With help from Neil VK6NE who has an XP 807 at his home QTH we ordered the missing/damaged parts from Charlotte. All arrived and the result can be seen at our club website www.ncrg.org.au
We also have a TH6DXX at approx the same height and the Sommer just has the edge on the 10,15,20 mtr bands but of course it has the advantage of the WARC bands. 40 mtrs has never worked for us on this antenna despite many attempts to tune it in and 30 mtrs has always been around 2:1. We didnt put the 6mtr element on as we already have a 6 ele beam above it on the tower.
Overall it has proved to be a great contest/dx antenna for us and we would happily recommend it to anyone needing the same type of coverage, and the service is excellent.
73 Keith VK6XH
 
KB5OZE Rating: 5/5 Mar 31, 2007 15:55 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Antenna  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I have had this antenna up for a little over a year and it is an exellent performer. It has survived multiple severe thunderstorms with no problems.

Definately a winner!
 
K5ZR Rating: 5/5 Jun 12, 2005 16:47 Send this review to a friend
Very Good Performer  Time owned: more than 12 months
I’ve had the XP-808 for several years now. It’s large, 13 elements on a 26 ft. boom, and weighs around 110 lbs. It takes up most of the real estate on my tower, so it needs to be versatile and it is. It covers 40 through 6 meters, with SWR under 2:1 throughout all bands except 30m where SWR is around 2.4:1. It was not exactly plug and play-- took a lot of trips up the tower for the initial tuning, but it turned out well. It has been a very respectable performer on 20 through 10 meters, and surprisingly effective on 40m, 30m and 6m where it’s even more of a compromise. Over the years I’ve had a number of wires, verticals, and tribanders (Moseley, TET, Telrex TB6EM, KT34XA), and just before the XP-808, two excellent Force 12 monobanders, for 20 (4 el) and 15 (6 el).

After a couple of years experience with the 808, out of curiosity I put up a 17m 4 el. monobander (F12, EF-417) for comparison on that band. The playing field was not level – the 417 was at a fixed height about 24 feet above ground, on a pipe mast about one foot above the chimney, whereas the 808 was about 45 feet up on a crankup tower. SWR on both antennas was in the 1.4:1 area. Observation through my receiver showed the 417 to have a noticeably sharper pattern (front-to-rear, front-to-side) but otherwise performance on receive was close, with the 808 having an edge as the quieter antenna even though its less-sharp pattern presumably allowed more competing noise.

Personally, I prefer the ability to hear more around me afforded by the pattern of the 808. I’m not an avid contester, and my dxing is starting to move downscale from avid to casual. I would also like as much forward gain as is reasonably obtainable (wouldn’t we all?), but I understand that gain is closely related to an antenna’s directivity pattern (as well as to losses in the antenna). In QSOs from Texas with stations in the Indian Ocean and Europe the transmit performance of the two antennas was about the same, as evidenced by reports from FR5xx (“exactly the same”), GI0xxx (“no real difference”), EA1xx (almost the same, 808 perhaps slightly better), and ON7xx (“not much difference,” although the 417 seemed slightly better). The tighter pattern of the 417 would suggest that it has more gain, perhaps serving to overcome its height disadvantage in this case. This exercise proves nothing really, but gave me the comfort I was looking for that the 808 was hearing OK, and I concluded that on 17 it could at least get into the ballpark with a 4 el. monobander.
 
W7SWB Rating: 5/5 Aug 25, 2004 20:54 Send this review to a friend
Excellant antenna  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
In Sept 2003 I acquired a used sommer xp-504. It is a very early 504. It was originally purchased in 1987. Instead of 10-12-15-20 meter coverage as today's 504 , it is 10-15-20-40. The antenna came from a very wet climate, (western washington), but I was amazed at it's excellant condition. Someone else disassembled it , so that gave me a bit of uneasiness. It came with the original instructions. Basically all I did was assemble per the instructions . I did replace the hose clamps used on the elements. It's quality of construction is top notch. 16 years in western washington was hard on the clamps, but everything else was in excellant shape. The clamps would have been ok if the antenna had not been disassembled. I have used a 2 el quad for a number of years with excellant performance, but was frequently having to do quad maintenance because of wind damage. The XP-504 performs as good if not better than the quad. The quad is known for it's excellant bandwidth, but the sommer beam has better swr bandwidth. 14.0 mhz=1.15:1 - 14.35 mhz=1.6:1. Similar results on the other bands, except 40m. My installation is only at 40 ft, the same height as the quad. Even though the quad is known for its performance at low heights, this beam works very well at 40 ft also. Results on DX have been very good. On 100W have had little trouble working every thing I hear. Even do well in the pile-ups with an amp and about 600W. Have had some 75 mph winds with no ill effects. The only down side of this antenna is the 40 meter performance, narrow bandwidth and my inverted vee performs better. Looking forward to 16 more years of service from this antenna.
 
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