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Reviews Categories | Antennas: HF: Yagi, Quad, Rotary dipole, LPDA | Spiderbeam Help


Reviews Summary for Spiderbeam
Spiderbeam Reviews: 27 Average rating: 4.4/5 MSRP: $300
Description: The spider beam is a full size lightweight yagi for made of fiberglass and wire. While the antenna is as light as a mini beam it maintains the gain and F/B ratio of a typical full size tribander. The whole antenna weight is only 5.5kg (11 lbs) making it ideally suited for portable use. It can be carried and installed easily by a single person.
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.spiderbeam.com
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NH7AA Rating: 5/5 Aug 24, 2016 18:47 Send this review to a friend
Great for home and DXpedition  Time owned: more than 12 months
Began using the light-weight 5-B Spiderbeam in 2008 on 3D2A DXpeditions. Then took it to T2T/T2V in 2011. The QSO result says it all! In 2015 I bought a new 5-b Heavy duty model and took to Hawaii. Been using it on 25' Spidermast. Again, the QSO rate says it all! Had excellent results in many contests. It has withstood 100mph gusts and is still up. You can rotate it with a rotator designed for a small yagi. I lifted it onto the push-up mast with one hand (and I am 74yo).
 
ZL2AUA Rating: 5/5 Nov 9, 2015 19:32 Send this review to a friend
Brilliant!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I wanted a light, low-windage beam for 20 through 10m. It was a toss-up between a heavy-duty Spiderbeam and a Hexbeam, and the Spiderbeam won, with less windage and slightly more gain (though it does lack the Hexbeam's 6m capability).
The Spiderbeam is a 3-element yagi on 20, 2-el on 17, 3-el on 15, 2-el on 12 and 4-el on 10.
The heavy-duty version has thicker (30mm) spreaders and thicker (2mm) aluminium plates for the centre fixture, otherwise it's the same as the portable version. It weighs 11Kg.
I bought a used one, and once I got the previous owner's mistakes sorted out it has been a real eye-opener.
I turn it with a Yaesu 450 rotator atop a 14m pole.
F/B ratio is very high on all bands, directionality is very noticeable and SWR is negligible.
I have worked a lot of new entities that I would not have been able to contact on the previous balanced Windom.
Spiderbeams have a reputation for punching above their (very low) weight, and I'm absolutely delighted with mine.
 
OH3HTR Rating: 4/5 Jun 28, 2015 04:33 Send this review to a friend
My first rotary yagi  Time owned: 0 to 3 months

I ordered Spiderbeam 20-17-15 HD yagi with kit assembly service. All metal work was done, balun was assembled and all wires were cut to proper lengths. There were no missing parts. It would have been nice to get the center joint fully assembled too.

I had a 45 mm standpipe mast (length of 150 cm) on which I built the antenna. I used English and Finnish construction quides and got the job done.

The feedline is 25 m of Aircell 7 coaxial cable. I ordered it as ready made from Paratronic Oy (good website, fast delivery, well done).

The final task was to match the feedline to the antenna. The length of feedline has influence on matching. The matching was done by lengthening / shortening the wire loops at the end of radiator wires.

I don't have a mast or a tower. I lifted the antenna with ropes between two tall pine trees and it is abt 15 meters above the ground. There are two aluminiun rods under the antenna connected 'cross armed' to the standpipe. I attached ropes to the rods and turn the antenna with them.

This is my first rotary yagi and it meets my expectations. I can notice the gain by turning the
antenna. So far it has survived good some heavy summer winds (up to 20m/s).
I have got two new DXCC entries, VP2M and 9X0.

73 de Kari OH3HTR
 
N2NL Rating: 5/5 Sep 20, 2013 05:11 Send this review to a friend
Spiderbeam HD 5 Band  Time owned: more than 12 months
I purchased the 5-band HD version of the Spiderbeam back in 2010 when I received transfer orders to Guam. I wanted a reliable light weight (low wind loading) antenna with as close to full size performance as possible.

I installed the antenna at 40ft upon arrival to Guam. First time assembly takes time - I did it over a week to make sure I did not rush and make mistakes. The measurements in the instructions were exact - no tuning required - remarkable for a 5-band antenna.

In 3+ years I have made more than 60K QSOs with this antenna and have broken several continental (Oceania) contest records. The antenna has been up in the tropical weather (13 degrees north latitude) with zero failures, and very little evidence of UV damage except to some small areas of clear coat on the fiberglass spreaders. The antenna has seen winds up to 60mph. Lots of flexing but zero failures.

The antenna works as advertized, with good F/B and decent gain.

If you are somewhat mechanically/electrically inclined (can follow instructions), then I highly recommend this antenna.
 
TA1HZ Rating: 5/5 Aug 15, 2013 14:40 Send this review to a friend
Not for 2 days of operation but once up it is great.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The first time I used a Spiderbeam was in TC0KLH, then in TC2ELH. The antenna was owned by TA2RX (see the review below). Although setup looked a little bit troublesome, I decided to get one (assemled, mny tnx to DL9USA) after my experience with wire antennas in ZA1TC and T5TC. I recieved mine (portable 5 bander)at Friedrichshafen and carried it easily back to TA. 11kg of hard cardboard box is not much of a problem. The first time antenna setup was %85 done by DL7BC when he was in TA2 for IARU HF. I just helped with the 15%. It worked very well although it was up only 6-6.5m. Second time we took it to TC0GI. With the help of TA1ED & TA1PB it was erected and fine results. Third time I got it assembled for TC2C in WAEDC CW as DL2JRM as the operator. He seems to be in the top three in class. Main problem setting as one person is quite tiring and somewhat a little bit hard. If you are going to use it for more than 3-4 days it is perfect as you get a rest the first day and 2-4 days you work for the perfect way it works on 20-10. For a 2 day op, you wont feel anything the first day, on the second day just as you heat up the game is over and disassembly is like a curse. Looks ideal for dxpeditions. Planning a trip to ZA at the end of Oct. and will see what I can get. (looking for DXCC on 20 and 15m from there )
 
SV1QOT Rating: 5/5 May 2, 2013 01:05 Send this review to a friend
Big Gun!!!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I owned Spiderbeam 5HD!!
Amazing antenna,where ever I turn it it shots.
Until now it survived 6-7 Beaufort.
I have put it up on my tower about 14 meters and
I turn it with yaesu rotator g-1000dxc and in compilation
With linear amplifier ACOM 1000 it's is a big big GUN.
Buy that antenna it worth the money.
Thanks Cornelius for the amazing antenna.
 
KENWOODUSER Rating: 5/5 Apr 30, 2013 14:19 Send this review to a friend
great performer  Time owned: more than 12 months
Why the Spiderbeam?
My Spiderbeam experience began when I decided it was time for a directional HF antenna. I have had reasonable success with dipoles over the years but wanted to try something else. I spent quite a bit of time looking at the most popular sub-$1,000 dollar commercial beam antennas on the market, comparing gain, fb ratios, cost, size, weight, etc. I arranged the data so I could easily look at it side-by-side. In short, the Spiderbeam had to be considered due to many factors. It scored highly in all categories. The final deciding factor for me was that I deducted that the YL and neighbors would probably rather see a Spiderbeam in the air than a hex beam, which is what I originally planned on building. I've only heard from one of the neighbors but he said it was "cool."

Antenna Performance:
I haven't yet performed any fancy analysis on the antenna but SWR on each band is <1.5:1. There is a noticeable fb ratio and an obvious side rejection.

Due to very limited time (maybe a few minutes here and there per day or in a week), I have not raised the antenna higher than 25ft or used an analyzer on the antenna. Since putting up the antenna early last year, and while operating casually maybe an hour or two per week, it has given me more than enough entities for DXCC. It breaks pileups and also generates incoming pileups as well and I have never used an amplifier with it. The vast majority of my short-path contacts are between 5-7,000 miles away and most are easy copy.

This beam is a point and shoot antenna. There is no comparison between this antenna and the dipole I used to use. In fact, it's such a good antenna that I don't ever want to use another plain-old dipole again. It is a wonderful electrical design.

Instruction/Construction Manual:
The Spiderbeam guide is very detailed and is not something to gloss over. I absorbed the technical manual after having carefully studied it many times. I converted all of the applicable units of measure myself only to later discover the US-version where the conversions were already made (ask Rick for the US-version!). Oh well, my conversions were verified after I compared manuals. The manuals are very detailed and provide all of the necessary information to successfully build the antenna. However, some may find them difficult to read and understand, especially the way they are organized, which requires you to flip back and forth to various tables of information. It is my understanding that Rick and team are working on revisions, which may address some of these issues. All information, manuals, etc. are available at the spiderbeam.us web site.

After building the antenna, I ended up condensing the most important information down to about 3 or 4 pages, and if I had to build another, I could do it in less than half the time. It was far easier for me to look at important tables and data on the same page.

Support Team:
DF4SA (Con) created the antenna and DJ0IP (Rick) sells and provides support for the commercial kit versions here in the US. My experience is that both will go out of their way to help you in all aspects of this antenna. Rick has proven to be nearly always available, which service is something you may not find with some other antenna manufacturers. Follow their advice and you will be happy with the antenna. There is also a healthy following for this antenna at Yahoo Groups.

I strongly recommend buying the kit version along with the kit assembly service (preassembled wire sets). This is much easier than building yourself and the the cost is very reasonable. You'll get an antenna that performs as advertised and you'll be happy with it. If you build the kit yourself, there is a tremendous amount of measuring, knot-tying, tensioning, retensioning, learning from your mistakes, etc., but if you buy a kit, it will plug and play perfectly.

Durability:
I have seen concern expressed that this antenna may have issues in icy/windy conditions. I posed similar questions myself initially. My QTH is in 7-land (wind/snow/UV) and I have discovered that this antenna performs brilliantly in these conditions. Mine has endured many spring storms of sustained winds of over 50mph. This antenna is balanced and handles the wind very well. It is light, strong, and flexible in the wind. However, if there is any doubt, one can easily add more guy rope. In fact, a little extra guying here and there has made all the difference in my situation.

Maintenance:
If you get the kit and follow the instructions exactly, you shouldn't have many issues. In order of importance, precise measuring, good knot tying, and proper tensioning are the most critical factors, in my opinion.

Other:
There are many other things to say about this antenna as well, such as size, weight, turning radius, dBd, mast/rotor support structure, etc., but it's easiest to just categorize all of this information and compare it side-by-side with other antennas rather than discussing it here. I did just that and the Spiderbeam emerged at or near the top of most categories I considered.

Overall:
I would recommend the commercial Spiderbeam antenna kit to anyone who is able to properly assemble and install one and who is looking for a cost-effective, high-performance, HF wire beam. My overall experience with Spiderbeam has been more than favorable. Cheers to Con and Rick.
 
9U4U Rating: 5/5 Mar 19, 2013 02:25 Send this review to a friend
great hardware  Time owned: more than 12 months
For the successful 9U4U DXpedition we used several Spiderbeam poles.
The 26m version for 160m, the 20m version for 80m, 2 poles for the 30m and reflector, all carbon.
3 Aluminum masts were used to lift the Hexbeams in the air.
One day we had a tropical storm, the 27m pole which was supported on 2 levels swinged back and forward but withstood all
this violence. The 18m pole, which was supported on 1 level, swinged even harder, the top nearly hit the ground.
We were afraid to lose it, but the hardware is so well made and durable that after the storm all came back to its original
position.
The severe storm snapped one of the aluminum poles, by removing the single element, the pole was usable for the rest of the
DXpedition. Afterwards we replaced the broken pipe, great customer service!
 
TANAKASAN Rating: 0/5 Feb 1, 2013 02:28 Send this review to a friend
Not Fit For Purpose  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
OK, so I posted my original review at the end of October. Since then the Spiderbeam had been trying to survive the Winter weather here and it's fallen apart. The wreckage of the beam is going to have to wait until the Spring when we can go back on the roof and until then we are at risk of falling parts.

This antenna may be suitable for a weekend trip but as a permanent antenna it is NOT fit for purpose.

Tanakasan
 
WASVE7BDJ Rating: 5/5 Jan 9, 2013 10:20 Send this review to a friend
Under Appreciated / Overly Criticized  Time owned: more than 12 months
I’ve had a SpiderBeam (5 band, HD version) for more than 2 years, and have some observations to contribute. I will also pass along some observations and information that are not my own, but comes by way of other SpiderMen who have special expertise with these antennas.

The Spider Beam is a multi band (3, or 5 band) yagi using full-sized, trap-less elements of insulated wire. It boasts 4 elements on 10m, 3 elements on 15m and 20m, and 2 elements on 12m and 17m. It is worth pointing out that, unlike most multi-band yagis, this is really 5 (or 3, depending) interlaced mono-banders on a single structure.

It is light weight (20-ish lbs for the HD version), making it ideal for mounting on (relatively) convenient, inexpensive structures (e.g., telescopic masts), and rotatable using inexpensive, lighter-weight rotors. Mine is mounted on a 30’ SpiderMast upon my roof top (16’), with the rotor at the bottom that turns the whole assembly – mast and antenna at once. It’s an inexpensive, tidy-looking installation relative to a tower!

Light, strong, and flexible – the antenna was a cinch getting onto the roof. My friend lifted it into a vertical position, and handed it to me from the ground so I could pull it up in less than 1 minute! Getting it atop the mast, and then extending it section by section using a gin pole took another hour or so (not including preparing the roof with eye-bolts for guying).

In the yagi business, there is an epidemic of “gain creep” in the promotional product documentation. SpiderBeam has taken pains not to do this. Or at least they claim so, and I believe them, based on many conversations with a physicist-friend who has done extensive independent computer modeling work on the antenna. Also, once again, think about that element spacing; with interlaced mono-banders, spacing can be better optimized for each band, rather than a mash-up compromise for all bands, the way many tri-banders are designed.

On air, I can only compare the SpiderBeam with my Butternut vertical, which is well installed over a good radial field. The SpiderBeam typically exhibits a 5 to 8 S-Unit advantage. On two occasions, a DX station was equally strong on both antennas. After last weekend, I now realize the likely explanation – Long Path! The Butternut, I have discovered, receives just like the SpiderBeam—off the back side! The beam was “looking” the wrong way.

The SpiderBeam takes the full legal output of my Drake L7 linear, and neither complains nor glows in the dark! I am not much for DX dogpiles, but sometimes just for the sake of bragging to my friends . . . . Usually I can crack a pile up in the first few tries.

One advantage of insulated wire antennas not noted in these reviews is that they are quieter relative to uninsulated wire or bare aluminum. Reportedly the antennas are less susceptible to QRN such as from static, and at least one Spider Forum member reports extensive first hand experience confirming the observation.

There are many complaints about the manual by SpiderBuilders, mostly focusing on the need to flip back and forth. Many assert it MUST be re-written. No one has identified that the manual is a very clear and obvious organizing principle, and while care must be taken building, the manual’s organization makes sense. This manual is a 36-page, 5 by 8” booklet, yet gives complete (contrary to some) information for 8 different versions of the antenna. It would be repetitious in the extreme to provide full A to Z instructions for all these versions. One solution is 8 different manuals, however, something important would be lost. This antenna has its roots firmly planted in the DIY tradition, and the manual explicitly encourages experimentation. Come the next sunspot ebb, I may wish to re-configure my SpiderBeam into another of the 4 heavy duty versions provided for.

So while the manual makes sense, no one can disagree it takes more care and attention than a paint-by-numbers project when using it to build the antenna. I might have liked some more photos, and with better resolution. Here, however, it is worth emphasizing the Yahoo Groups SpiderBeam forum. Helpful, friendly advice on any aspect of the antenna is readily available, often within minutes, day or night, on this truly international forum. SpiderBeam representatives are very active on the forum, or by email. Customer service, it is fair say, is exceptional.

Building the “kit” version saves a bit of money, but purchasing the version that pre-makes all the bits you’d have to measure and cut is probably well worth it. Mine was originally a kit, purchased from another ham after he got about half way through the project. Some mistakes were made, some his and some mine. When you’re working with wire, though, the fix is easy and cheap!

In sum, the virtues of this antenna have not all been previously identified or sufficiently emphasized, while the problems, I think, have got too much air play. It is not an antenna for everyone. If one is easily frustrated, or is . . . blessed with a highly re-directable span of attention, assembly will be a challenge, but your efforts will be rewarded. If planning a permanent installation, get the HD version.

I hope this review contributes to the discussion of this delightful product.

73 de
Brenton Crowhurst, VE6IE
 
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