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Reviews Categories | Antennas: HF: Vertical, Wire, Loop | Alpha Delta DX-LB (shorty) dipole for 160-80-4 Help

Reviews Summary for Alpha Delta DX-LB (shorty) dipole for 160-80-4
Alpha Delta DX-LB (shorty) dipole  for 160-80-4 Reviews: 22 Average rating: 4.0/5 MSRP: $$119.95
Description: 100 ft long dipole for 160-80-40M
Product is in production.
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You can write your own review of the Alpha Delta DX-LB (shorty) dipole for 160-80-4.

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WB2WIK Rating: 4/5 Feb 5, 2007 15:58 Send this review to a friend
Misunderstandings?  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had one of these for a year or so and after reading some of the reviews, it seems some users misunderstand the antenna...

First, it is not intended to work or even load up on any bands other than 1.8 - 3.5 - 7.0 MHz. Not on 20 meters, not on 30 meters, not on 15 meters, not on 6 meters. If yours loads up on some other band, that's a coincidental conjugate match you've struck with your particular length of coax, but the antenna doesn't work these other bands.

Second, the arc suppressor cartridge *must* be removed from the center insulator if you intend to ever operate off-resonance, which means basically if you ever intend to use the antenna on 160m at all; or if you intend to use it over more than about 50 kHz of 75/80 meters. If you leave the arc suppressor cartridge in place (it's factory installed), it *will* short out when you transmit...

Next, the only weak link I've found with the DX-LB is the end insulators, which are molded from some sort of thermoplastic resin that is definitely NOT up to this task. I had one fail the first time it rained and I transmitted with a kW on 160m; I replaced that one, and then later, the other one failed the same way. I replaced them both with ceramic insulators, but the original failures were a bit scary in that the insulators caught fire and melted. I found one melted, charred remains in my yard...

The ceramic replacements are fine and have been doing well, even in the rain. :-)

"Performance" on 40m is identical to a conventional 1/2-wave dipole, and on 80m is very, very similar to a full-sized 1/2-wave dipole as well, based on hundreds and hundreds of reports I get on the air ("Steve, you're very strong, and stronger than your neighbor Joe there who's in your neighborhood" is a common report received from stations 2000-3000-4000 miles away. I only make such comparisons if I can find a literal neighbor on the air at the same time -- another ham within a mile or two of me, similarly equipped. There are dozens of those to choose from, here in Los Angeles!)

Now, on 160m it's obviously a compromise and has narrow operating bandwidth. Despite that, it accounts reasonably well for itself. In the ARRL 160 contest (which is all CW, so usually doesn't cover more than about 50 kHz of the band), I have no problem making 30-40 contacts an hour, for as many hours as I stay up (zzzzzzzzzzz). I've worked a lot of the Caribbean, South America and the Pacific but have serious trouble getting into Europe on 160. However, most other guys in southern CA also don't do well into Europe unless they have very good antennas, so I don't feel so bad.

In all, I'd give the antenna a "5" except for the weak end insulators. If A-D would use ceramic or glass instead, I'd probably give it a "5" then.

KP4ZW Rating: 3/5 Feb 4, 2007 18:59 Send this review to a friend
Ok antenna  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Bought one recently and it performs well on 40 and 20M without a tuner. It is too narrow on 80 and 160 meters therefore a tuner is needed. For a trap multiband dipole I think it performs ok but definitively it is not worth the money.
K3ICH Rating: 2/5 Dec 22, 2006 06:12 Send this review to a friend
Expensive for what you get.  Time owned: more than 12 months
I had one up for a couple years and agree that it's performance on 40 is typical of a full size dipole, but 80 and 160 were disappointing. The useable bandwidth on 160 was more like a mobile whip, about +/- 8 kHz. The antenna DID work marginally on 80/160, but you can do a lot better for $120. I replaced it with a two wire per leg dipole, one wire with 80 meter traps for 80/160 and the other leg with 40 meter traps for 60/40 coverage. I used the Unadila traps. The shape is that of a lazy "Z" extending the 160 meter wires where ever they fit. This works like a full size dipole on all four bands. It is possible to tune the DX-LB lower in frequency if you happen to trim too much off, by adding a short piece of stiff wire from the ends of the "traps". I was able to get the center frequency of the DX-LB dead on where I wanted it with that method.

A much more reasonable alternative is a Lew McCoy special....a dipole as long as you can make it, fed with open wire line and a tuner. Most local's suggest 190 feet total as a good compromise, but I wanted to try the trap approach first
K3LL Rating: 1/5 Dec 21, 2006 17:09 Send this review to a friend
Good SWL Antenna  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I'm not impressed with the DX-LB.

I bought a DX-LB as an experiment and installed it as an inverted vee, replacing my 40m inverted vee, to see how things would go on 80 and 160.

Bottom line that I took it down and used the wire to make a trapped 80/40 inverted vee. The DX-LB coils are now in my scrap bin.

1. Performance on 40 compared to inv vee is fine as expected since it is full size on 40m.

2. 80/160 2:1 SWR Bandwidth is narrow as expected, but not easy (if at all possible) to move the reasonance point. I gave up on it thinking it would have been better to install it as a flat top than an inv vee.

3. Two emails to AlphaDelta remain unanswered, even after complying with their spam filter.

For much less money I bought two 40m unadilla traps and went for an 80/40 trapped inv vee. Plus the antenna can be easily trimmed to where you want to operate. I can use the tuner on 160 and basically get the same performance that I did from the DX-LB. I do think the DX-LB would make a great SWL antenna though or it will be fine if you are happy using a tuner to fool your transmitter all the time.
KB0LSG Rating: 3/5 Nov 21, 2006 12:30 Send this review to a friend
40 good 80 OK and 160 :-(  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I can't give this antenna a great review or a poor review. Lets face the facts here. I had a SWL friend who owned one that used it to listen on low bands. He had the antenna a couple of years before passing away and said that it always worked well for him. I got the antenna along with some other radios from his wife and decided to give the DXLB a try. Sure the antenna is not a trapped antenna but it is still very narrow band width on 80 and 160 meters because of the loading coils for those bands. The 40 meter portion performs as a full size dipole. Initially I fed the antenna with RG213 and it worked well at 600 watts on 40 and 80. If you were not within the 20KC bandwidth on 160 you can forget running the amp. My arched 2060A Heathkit Tuner would tell you the story. The voltage and feed line loss was very high on 160 with SWR in excess of 3 to 1.

My recommendations are simple. If you have a 120 bucks plus burning a hole in your pocket, and live on a small lot, and you are going to use this without an amp on 160... go for it. If you get an amp later and want to use it on 160 feed the antenna with 450ohm ladder line. You will gain much more band width with the ladder line and your tuner will thank you for it.

For the about the same amount of room and much less money I recommend you build yourself a stagger tuned dipole antenna with the top element for 160. The 160 dipole can be linier loaded or bent around to get the full 130' needed to fit your lot. Feel free to contact me for details on the ones I have built. They can be fed with good quality 50 ohm coax and will run full legal limit with good bandwidth. For much less money, and about the same amount of space, the stagger tuned antenna will outperform the DXLB any day. Put the extra cash in you pocket and take the wife and kids out for dinner. You will be much happier while at the helm and the wife and kids will thank you for the meal. Please look me up in QRZ. I will be glad to share my antenna design with you for FREE. 73 OM DE KB0LSG Trent
KN7T Rating: 4/5 Sep 26, 2006 13:28 Send this review to a friend
Good Choice For Small Properties  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've owned my DX-LB for a number of years and it has always performed fine. No issues, not even with the traps although I did notice that the clearcoat on the trap cores is starting to peel off but that's no big deal - easy enough to re-apply and I consider that part of normal antenna maintenance anyway. My biggest problem is that I just couldn't get it mounted high enough to let it really perform - with the center at 30 feet and the ends at around 12 feet. The 2:1 SWR bandwidth on 160 is very small so be aware of that. The heavy duty construction of this antenna is one of it's strongpoints and the center insulator assembly is very durable. When I first bought this antenna, the center insulator had a small crack in the plastic near the SO-239 connector and even after being exposed to the elements for a number of years, the crack hadn't grown. The outer coating on the wire insulation is starting to come off due to UV exposure but the underlying jacket is not cracked or otherwise damaged.
WA8EBM Rating: 5/5 Sep 6, 2006 20:13 Send this review to a friend
Works as Advertised  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Live on a small city lot. Have been running 102 foot dipole with open wire feeders. Wanted to get on 160. Hung the LB at 40 foot apex with ends at 25 feet. Fed it with 213 coax. Per the specs, out of the box it resonated fine 1800 to 1825khz. Tried using the autotuner in the PW-1 KW amp and it would tune for about 50 khz with full output. 80 and 40 also resonated per the specs. Tried using the Heath 2060 tuner and it arc'd at about 500 watts when leaving the cut frequency range. Since I wanted more flexibility I Removed the arc-plug in the center insulator and feed it with 450 ohm open wire feeders. Using my Heath tuner or my new Palstar AT5K I can now run a KW on all bands 160-10 meters as long as the SWR is flat- without arc's.
The height is not optimum and I am sure the pattern is strange on 160 but I get extremely good signal reports throughout the Midwest.
I looked at all the options and this, to me, was the most efficient. Until I can talk the wife into moving to the country, this is probably the best you can do for low bands on a small lot.
It is a little expensive but copper wire prices have become outrageous.
Also, sent emails to customer support ref my options and received immediate responses.
If the coating holds up on the loading coils, I would say this is a very well built antenna and easy way to get on top band for the winter months.
N2DWS Rating: 4/5 Sep 6, 2006 11:31 Send this review to a friend
nice alternative  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
SWMBO has made it quite clear that multiple wires hanging in her back yard are no longer allowed (we just got a new house) so, a bit of negotiation got me permission to run one wire. I have a tower for 10,15 & 20 so a trapped dipole seemed like an option for the low bands.
The alpha delta went up easy, hides well coming off the tower and loads like a dream. 40 mtrs resonates most of the band without a tuner. Most of my operating on 75 is near the top of the band and I can load up with just the auto tuner in the IC-746. 160 almost always seems to need a tuner and that holds true with this wire also.
By and large,despite the price, this is a good value. Solid construction and open traps that won't collect bugs and water make me very pleased with this unit. The only reason I didn't give it a 5 was the cost. It just seems pricey for the components involved.
N8BHB Rating: 5/5 Apr 30, 2006 18:01 Send this review to a friend
Worth the price  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I was skeptical about shelling out more than $100 bucks on a wire antenna, but it's well worth the price. I was impressed with heavy-duty construction and quality parts.

80 & 40 meters tune up effortlessly with my LDG 200 auto tuner giving full band coverage. 160 meter bandwidth is somewhat restricted, even with tuner, but not unexpected considering short length.

Maximum height above ground and a good grounding system are essential for proper operation. Mine's currently at 30', but I'm trying to raise it another 10' in hopes of even better performance. I've been able to work most of North America and Carribbean with 100w or less.

When I called for advice about tuning 160m and use of a current balun, I was referred to the antenna's designer, Don, who was extremely helpful. No overseas call centers with reps you can't understand!!
AC0DV Rating: 5/5 Apr 12, 2006 23:19 Send this review to a friend
It works on 160... I'm happy  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I got a DX-LB to replace a 135' dipole fed with ladder-line. I was getting some RFI I could NOT get rid of.. even with careful ladder-line feeding... a low-pass filter.. upgrading the station ground... using a Link-coupled tuner... nothing worked.

I feed the DX-LB with RG-213... and some ferrite beads at the feed point. (Perhaps a 1:1 current balun to replace the Alpha-Delta's center would be a better solution?)

I can say it works on 160. I got out and got heard. (Never got out on 160 with the old 80M dipole. Ever. But then I never expected the old antenna to work on 160M.)

Both 80 and 40 appear to work at least as well as the 80M dipole... and perhaps even better. The first night I had it up... the bands were noisy. Murphy's law. The last couple of nights... it appears this antenna might pick up a lot less noise than the 80M dipole.

With the 80M I always had 3-7 "S" units of noise on 80 and usually 3-4 on 40M. NOW.. I've seen nights with NO (ZERO) "S" units of noise.. but I still get signals at +10/+20 over 9.

NOTE: I have a Cushcraft MA8040V that I can compare this antenna to... and I knew how the 80M worked in comparison to the vertical also... so I can say with certainty that this is not just "band" conditions.

I've not tried it on 20/15/10M yet... and if it doesn't work well.. I'll add a few wires to turn it into a fan dipole. (Homemade DX-LB "plus")

COMMENT: I use a tuner.. so was not really concerned about resonance.. but after a week with this puppy... I've decided I like having resonance. I tune the band... hear something... and in many cases I don't have to do any tuning. So I'm changing my mind about resonance. I like it. Which is why I'll probably add the 20M/10M wires and turn it into the DX-LB "plus".

(When I bought it I didn't buy the DX-LB "plus" because: 1. HRO-Denver didn't have it in stock. 2. Those bands aren't real active right now. and lastly 3. I can add a few wires and save the $30.00 price difference.)

I've been through a number of horizontal antenna's this last year. 1. G5RV with ladder-line/coax. 2. G5RV with only ladder line. 3. 80' full wave horizontal loop. 4. 80M dipole. 5. This new DX-LB.

I can say that the DX-LB rates as one of the top two antenna in this line-up... even though it's weight pulls the center down perhaps 5' at the center of the horizontal run.

(BTW: I think the 80 Loop Skywire is the other top choice... but it was too much work keeping it up... and ran too close to some service line feeds for power... so for sake of safety.. and also the noise it picked up... I took it down.)

I'm happy. I'd buy it again.
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