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Reviews Categories | Antennas: HF Directional: Yagi, quad, rotary dipole, LPD, etc | Spiderbeam Help


Reviews Summary for Spiderbeam
Spiderbeam Reviews: 24 Average rating: 4.3/5 MSRP: $300
Description: The spider beam is a full size lightweight tribander yagi for 20/15/10m, 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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ZS1ZY Rating: 5/5 Aug 23, 2011 09:58 Send this review to a friend
fantastic antenna  Time owned: more than 12 months
this antenna has been in the air for 36 months
I imported the 5 band hd version from Germany in 2008 it sat in the garage for about 3 months while I read the instructions.
started with the balun used some cable ties to hold the coax in position after the balun was finished I filled it with electrical resin
cutting the elements and the kevlar rope
you need one or two people to help with the measurements once that was done I started to assemble the antenna in the back yard
during the essembly I only used the supplied insulaters on the kevlar rope at the ends where the elements were tied I used nylon rope 3mm to exstend the wires on the end of the spreader
I used two rings and a small stainless shackel makes for quick assembling the nylon rope I tied off with two small cable ties so you can easily tension the wires
I mounted the antenna three mt above the ground and tested the swr with a analyzer all bands were between 1.2 and 1.5 so I left it like that.
putting the antenna up on the tower is not easy due to its size
I stood the antenna on two legs after the tower was tilted and then bolted the aluminum pipe to the rotator
It works better then the 3 element 20m mono bander I had. I have done about three thousand contacts with it, seldom get less than 55 mostly 59 or 59plus .
had to replace the kevlar after 30 months the kevlar was ok but the cotton cover was in bad shape due to the African sun
if you have the space get one you will not be disapointed
 
KE7ZAG Rating: 5/5 May 23, 2011 15:37 Send this review to a friend
HD is Great Performer  Time owned: more than 12 months
I read the reviews and approached the HD 5 band Spiderbeam with trepidation, and only bought it after a new one still in the box became available from another party.

Well, no worries.

It performs outstandingly well.

It is tough as nails, and has withstood windstorms that have taken down four 100 foot fir and cedar trees on my farm. It handled a good quarter inch build-up of ice this last winter, and never had a problem.

Bang for the buck is outstanding, and does not stop at just the antenna. The support structure and rotator required are also very economical compared to the conventional beam alternatives.

Also, do not waste your time getting it farther up than maybe 42 feet above the mean ground level. Any higher and you are just wasting your time and money for no reason.

Now, it is not for the faint hearted. The instructions are a detailed construction guide that explains far more than the average guy needs to know to just put one together. Download the guide and use a PDF viewer like Nuance (free) so you can search and edit the file. Then print only the pages you need for assembly.

The element cutting instructions for the HD 5 band version are found in two different places in the guide - so put together a table of the lengths and then if you are in doubt, ask Spiderbeam, and only then cut. There is a great Spiderbeam group on yahoo, so help is always available.

The instructions regarding use of the insulators provided with the HD kit can be misleading, as you really do not want them anywhere you can avoid using them, which is just about everywhere on the HD kit. Just use common sense and good knots.

Shabby knots will get you in a peck of trouble with the monofilament used to suspend the elements! If you do not know how to tie good knots, get a book and practice.

When stringing the drivers, start with the Balun properly set at the recommended height on the mast, and string from there. If the drivers end up too tight, then drop the Balun down the mast just enough to take out the tension.

Spiderbeam says to draw up the Dacron/Kevlar guy ropes used to hold the spreaders "tight," that is incorrect. Draw then just snug and all will be well. Tight will lead you to have "S" shaped spreaders, and at snug they are straight as an arrow and will not lose their shape in the wind.

The only guy lines that need to be tight are the top ones that hold the spreaders slightly elevated above the aluminum spider assembly. Even those are not all that tight, as you tie them first before the lower guys are installed.

Regarding the aluminum spider assembly, use blue LocTite on all the bolts to keep the stainless steel from galling. Assemble to the mast you intend to use for mounting, so all your bolts can be torqued so it stays stable as you work on the spreaders and elements, etc.

They also only take one person to completely assemble.

I cannot speak to the light weight Spiderbeam, as everyone I have talked to ends up buying the HD version for permanent installation.
 
NI2S Rating: 4/5 Jul 1, 2010 09:36 Send this review to a friend
Great antenna, but room to make it even better  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
First off, this antenna (in triband flavor) works great. I followed the assembly instructions VERY carefully, and the antenna didn't even need adjustment on the first try. The reason I don't give it a 5 are all related to the construction phase of the antenna -

* The instruction book co-mingles building from scratch and building from the purchased kit. They should be separate manuals.

* All wires and guys associated with the antenna should have dynamic tensioners rather than fixed length ropes and/or monofil guys. Since I use this antenna portable only, reassembly would be greatly aided if all the ropes/guys had the ability to adjust. Even initial assembly would be easier if you could adjust the tension on all the elements and guys as you go.

* The instruction book could be more clear on some aspects of assembly - such as the balun construction as one example. Illustrations were lacking in some respects.

After reading through the assembly manual several times, I approached the antenna assembly as I would any other kit - slow and steady. I didn't try to build it out in one day - I spread the assembly tasks out over several weekends. I also invested in an 11m metric measuring tape to aid construction so I didn't have to do metric conversions. Really, the manual should provide these conversions for the US market IMO - it's just too easy to make a tragic fat-finger mistake on a calculator.

As a portable beam, the lightweight version of this antenna met or exceeded my expectations. With some tweaking, this could be the best portable beam on the market.

 
N2EIK Rating: 3/5 Mar 29, 2010 04:15 Send this review to a friend
taken down  Time owned: more than 12 months
At year 3 I had to permanantly remove the spider.
Three winters, three failures. It was a very good performer but just cant hold up to the snow and ice of the north east USA. I would rate it a 5(best) as a PORTABLE yagi but NOT as a permanant antenna.
 
G3TEX Rating: 5/5 Nov 19, 2009 05:53 Send this review to a friend
Indestructible and magnificent  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
20/15/10 lightweight version.
Works a treat. I can work stations s7/s9 both ways that I can bearly hear on my LW doublet.

Initial construction is a bit of a chore but slow, methodical work gets it done. I cut the 20m dipole a bit too short but after adding 4cm each end it's perfect. You must, however, have a 11m diameter space near the ground at the final erection point to build the antenna. I have, just.

Down here is S France we get quite string squally winds up to 120 kph [Tramontane]. The antenna flexes quite a lot but stays intact - even when the winds were so strong as to bend the 15m aluminium Spiderbeam mast I has up at 10m after being up at least 7 months. My inadequate guying didn't help. I'm just now fixing the mast and will add a 40m dipole to the antenna. The flexing also badly scoured the antenna's mounting pole - I'm going to add a thru bolt to stop the rotation and drill thru holes near the base for armstrong rotation/fixing.

It has strong f/b ratio which is handy avoiding powerful Italian signals here.

Bottom line: excellent 20m up yagi. Rugged and performant.
 
KC2ANS Rating: 5/5 Jul 23, 2009 15:21 Send this review to a friend
Great Antenna  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Good Day fellow Hams:
I have owned the HD 5 band version of this antenna for 4 months and from the first day I installed this antenna it has proven to be a great antenna. The swr are very low as described by the manufacturer. The antenna is large but light weight.

To save some time, I also paid the extra money for the kit. Some fine tuning was needed and expected. For the total price of this antenna it is well worth the money in my opinion. it still comes out to be a couple of hundred dollars less then the other Germany competitor's wire beam. I will OPT out of posting the name. ;)

I have had the pleasure of experiencing great customer service from the US Distributor.

I think it would be great if they started producing 6 and 40 meter beams. I am sure it is probably in the works.

73,
 
F6DDR Rating: 5/5 Mar 16, 2009 16:46 Send this review to a friend
Very nice antenna  Time owned: more than 12 months
Hello

I have the antenna SPIDERBEAM HEAV DUTY 5 BANDS for 2 years, it has been with 15m ground, I am really very happy, I make many DX you can listen to at this address files MP3.

http://www.f6ddr.fr/spiderbeam_f6ddr.htm

Best 73s
Phil F6DDR in F- NANCY / JN38DS
 
ZL2MAT Rating: 4/5 Mar 11, 2008 22:42 Send this review to a friend
5 band h/duty  Time owned: more than 12 months
Well 1st things first.I have had the antenna up at this location ( Wangnaui,N.IS ZL land ) for over a year now and i have the following to say about this antenna.
1. READ the instructions.....as the other ops have said the instruction manual for the 5 band requires you to flick back and forth between the front and back due to different measurements as for the 3 band.
2. Measure correctly! Any difference will make the swr go out of sink.
For an extra charge con will send you a PRE-MADE antenna.All measurements done and that inc the balun.I bought the kit version and i must say it took a while to put together.But if i had known about the pre made antenna i would have gone for that version.I will be in the future purchasing these pre made up elements for future repairs.
3. I made the mistake of mucking the feeder lines up as i was getting VERY high swr on all bands. But a quick e-mail to con the owner and a few photos of the feeder line produced a set of feeder lines correctly made from Germany( at no expense to me..wow thanks con.)Now the swr is great on 4 of the bands.15m is out.My father was visiting from the GW land an i let him measure....!!Not again...lol.
4.Yes the antenna is large!..you do need space to put this antenna together ,but its very light and i was able to put it on the tower with help from ZL2FT jason.
5.Yes this is no monoband yagi...or steppir antenna..............but you are able to work all the band without the swr going to high.
Now for some other dissapointing points.
1. For a heavy duty antenna you will find if you live in a windy location that the 2 6mm bolts holding the u clamps to the centre plate will shear off....mine did about a dozen times.So sick of buying the 6mm bolts i drilled them out and now have 10mm bolts with an extra 2 exhaust u clamps and the antenna is sturdy as hell in fairly strong winds.I do however tilt the tower down in really gale force winds.

Comunication between Con and myself was first class even while he was away on business i received a reply within 24 hrs with the required help.No question,how stupid was answered.
I have found this antenna to be excellent ,especially on the 20m band...i have had excellent reports from all over the globe and have enjoyed many a pile up on 20m.
17m is excellent also...1;1 across the band and again have found the antenna to work well.
15m well ...due to heavy wind here in Wanganui..the 15m feeder line always breaks ..so now all i do is roughly measure it and put it back up..its a little high on the swr but the icom 756 pro 2 does the jo9b,even running 500 watts.
12/10m i havent worked many stations on these bands as they have been dead due to sun spot cycles.

Over all i would conclude that this antenna works very well for what its made from!!It keeps up with the motorised antennas and i would have no problem in putting another one up! But with the extras i have done myself.This antenna would be ideal for a weekend retreat, i look forward to when the cycle really kick in as i cant wait to see how this little beauty performs.I ahve managed to work other spider users..Volker ZS1Y with no problems both ways.
Front to back is also great but like most wire antennas a little gets left in through the back door so to speak.
Anyway.for those thinking of getting in touch with Con.Dont be put off by some of the negative comments on this antenna......all i have to say is check the dx cluster most evenings and see how many zl stations are spotted!!I have always been consistant on there since erecting this antenna....to some operators annoyance.....and remember..if something breaks on this antenna you still can use it on other bands...unlike the..well...you know the antenna!!I wont STEPP in it so to speak.

73 and take a look at my qrz.com web page for a photo of my antenna.

MAthew ZL2MAT
 
LA8NHA Rating: 2/5 Dec 3, 2007 05:30 Send this review to a friend
Heavy duty ?  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Used 4-6 days during the springtime to put this thing together. Finnally mounted it 3m above the roof, about 10m above ground level. Connected the antenna to my TT Omni VII via 15m of RG8-x, and turned on the tranceiver. What a disapointment ! Compared to my other antennas ; one full size loop for 80m and a 43 foot vertical from Zero Five mounted on the ground with 90 radials total length of 4000 feet the Spiderbeam only occasinally produced a better signal into my tranceiver. But thats ok, here comes what you should remember. Living at 60 degrees north at 1200 feet close to the coast meens a lot of weather during the wintertime. First snowfall of the season the hole antenna collapsed, one one the fiberglasspole was broken. I could certainly have ordered a new from Spiderbeam, but enough is enough and I say 73 to this antenna and a SteppIR is on its way.
This was the Heavy Duty version, build as a 5 bander.
 
VO1AU Rating: 2/5 Aug 9, 2007 20:36 Send this review to a friend
Too tangly for a small space  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I bought a heavy-duty five-band spiderbeam in 2006, and tried unsuccessfully to erect it in the spring of 2007. I had hoped it would be a good choice for my new restricted-space location in VE3-land. I was wrong.

My own experience with attempting to assemble and raise a Spiderbeam was very frustrating. I followed the directions very closely, but I noticed some contradictions. For example, when it came to measuring guy lines, the instructions gave a specific length in millimetres, then separately added the critical instruction to add an additional 20 centimetres to each end.

Assembling the 5 band version requires different element lengths form the 3-band version, but those lengths are contained in annexes separate from the main body of the instructions. That required continuously flipping back and forth between the main body of the directions and the tables of element lengths at the back of the instruction booklet.

The holes in the ends of the small black insulators are too small to accommodate the heavy-duty dacron rope used to support the elements. The insulators will not hold a guy under tension without slipping.

The instructions directed me to burn the ends of the dacron rope as I cut them. This was a bad instruction, as the rope did not respond well to flame. The outer layer receded at a different rate that the inner layer, and the two layers would not bond. My ends of dacron were just frazzled messes.

Assembling the antenna MUST be done on the mast you intend to use, at ground level. Only once it is completely assembled on the mast can you raise the mast and antenna to it's tower-top location. The directions are NOT explicit about this. They should be, as this can make a huge difference in planning you installation, or even deciding whether this antenna is suitable for your configuration.

The antenna is so large and has so many wires and cords attached that you ABSOLUTELY MUST have a large clear area in the immediate vicinity of your tower. This is not an antenna that can be erected in restricted space environments. You do not want to have any tree, structure, shingle or bush within 10 metres of your tower when raising this antenna. I suppose you could use a crane, but using a crane to erect an 11kg antenna sounds beyond stupid.

This antenna can ONLY be mounted at the top of your mast. If you have fantasies of erecting VHF antennas above your Spiderbeam, abandon them now. You will not be able to get them through your Spiderbeam.

The O-rings that are used on the fibreglass arms do not install well, and I am unconvinced that they afford any real advantage or security.

This antenna is great in concept, and I admire a great deal of the cleverness of the design, but mine is sitting in a box in my garage. In my case, therefore, it was C$600 very poorly spent. I am now looking to buy a conventional small tribander.
 
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