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Reviews Categories | Antennas: HF Verticals and Wire | Snowdonia Radio Company, SRC X80. Vertical, HF, Multiband Antenn Help


Reviews Summary for Snowdonia Radio Company, SRC X80. Vertical, HF, Multiband Antenn
Snowdonia Radio Company, SRC X80. Vertical, HF, Multiband Antenn Reviews: 10 Average rating: 4.1/5 MSRP: $ £45.00 - UK Pounds
Description: The X80 is an end fed aluminium vertical antenna, capable of allowing the user to work 80 meters through 10 meter bands using an ATU, also not requiring any counterpoise and can be fed using coax cable. The antenna can be pole mounted at ground level or elevated depending on the users personel requirements. The antenna is rated at 150 watts pep but will handle up to 200 watts sideband. The antenna comes complete with all fixings and fixtures and full installation guide.
How it works: The antenna is fed using coax via an SO239 socket at the base of the unit. A tried and tested SRC 9:1 UNUN transformer is located in a weather sealed box at the bottom of the 21 foot telescoping aluminium element. The transformer reduces the high impedances generated to a more acceptable level making the antenna much more efficient and allowing proper and easy tuning via a manual and most automatic ATU's. The antenna can be grounded if the user experiences excessive local static noise, but as the UNUN is DC grounded grounding will not effect the tuning ratio.
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.snowdonia-radio-company.co.uk/
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You can write your own review of the Snowdonia Radio Company, SRC X80. Vertical, HF, Multiband Antenn.

AB7FS Rating: 4/5 Jan 20, 2013 15:25 Send this review to a friend
Inexpensive but value for money  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have used this antenna on and off for the last 4 years operating from the Cook Islands (E51). A short vertical with an UNUN is inherently inefficient BUT for portable operation it does quite well. It survived a full gale bolted to the rail of a 39ft Sloop in the South Pacific, and the last time I used it was during an impromptu activation of Palmerston Atoll (OC-124) after we were marooned there. Using a Yaesu FT 857D running about 60watts PEP output into the SRC X80 I worked over 1,000 stations in 90+ counties. Can't complain at that!
 
GW6ITJ Rating: 3/5 Apr 4, 2012 14:26 Send this review to a friend
Cheap and gets you out there  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Unfortunately the Snowdonia Radio Company have ceased trading as they offered very good value products.

I bought the X80 a number of years ago but it seemed far too flimsy to put up so it was put away for another day.

I eventually figured that if I packed the end of the smaller elements with electrical tape so they were a tight fit into the larger elements the movement would be a lot less when I tightened the clamps (no electrical tape at the clamps!).

This done (I purchased better stainless clamps) the X80 was more like one solid aerial. It went up and has survived hefty winds and storms. I doubt it would have as supplied.

The antenna can be tuned on 80m to 10m and gets your signal out. It is inherently inefficient but with a few radials it is better.

It will not get you good DX but at least you will be on all bands and having QSOs.

If anything it will make you appreciate the effectiveness of wire dipoles etc.




 
MM0LUP Rating: 4/5 Apr 25, 2011 11:12 Send this review to a friend
Good service  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Folks I wrote earlier about the Snowdonia Radio Co. I should now say that the owners sent me the broken section free of charge which was great service for my vertical. It is now up and running again, well guyed against the strong winds in this location with good DX results, its a great antenna for the price. SRC must maitain the family company spirit unlike the main manufacturers who sometimes let us down. I have added 10 radials at 1/4 wave 20m band whether they are required or not, who knows, Thanks Liz
 
M0MDA Rating: 3/5 Apr 20, 2011 12:18 Send this review to a friend
WORKS GREAT BUT POOR BUILD QUALITY  Time owned: more than 12 months
the src x80 works great for what it is. i have had contacts worldwide with mine.
the problem is the poor build quality, the aluminium used is a very thin gauge and bends very easily even with very little wind. i put the antenna up and within a few weeks there was a bend in the second section from the top. we didn't even have any high winds. i took the antenna down and gave it to a friend of mine he put it up and after a few months the antenna snapped and fell to the ground. i know of quite a few people who bought this antenna and they all say they bend far too easily.

a cheap £20 gp cb antenna will outlast a x80. i have seen gp's up over 20 years and they are still not bent.

apart from that they do work and i still use one when i go portable with very good results. it tunes on every band 80-6 meters. i have worked vk,zl and ja with no problem at all. but i wouldn't use it if there was any wind.

if they made a better quality version i would buy another but as they are now and with the recent price increase i think i would rather buy a 5/8 wave cb antenna and an external unun (prowhip £20 posted). you can do it a lot chaeper and it will last a lot longer.
 
G1HQK Rating: 2/5 Apr 6, 2011 10:09 Send this review to a friend
Updated Review  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Further review.

I have dropped this down a rating now because having spent out for an external LDG tuner to help, I find it makes no difference whatsoever, £140 well spent.

The customer service from SRC has also been poor, there has been no suggestions or advice or indeed interest in any of my messages, nor was a phone call returned. I will not be buying from them again.

I can only surmise that this antenna must be grounded despite what the hype from the company says, I suffer from a lot of stray RF causing a bit of interference even on just 10 watts.

Oh and another thing it really bends in even a slight wind!

I will probably keep it up as my other antenna does not cover 17m, this does tunes ok and puts out a reasonable signal.
 
G7IGB Rating: 5/5 Oct 6, 2010 05:15 Send this review to a friend
A compromise, but good value for money  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I recently bought one of these X80 verticals second hand but after cleaning it up and replacing two 'Jubilee' clips; I found that the quality of construction is quite good. I got the X80 rigged up on a short pole mounted about 2m above ground and fed it with 10m of Westlake 'Mini 8' coax, as apparently they work better close to ground level. I immediately noticed that the RX noise floor was much higher on all the HF bands, but this is always going to be a problem with verticals and typical of others which Iíve tested. However I was pleased to see that the SWR was reasonably good on most of the HF bands, with only 10m and 40m requiring ATU matching. Here are my test results with the X80:

10m - SWR 2.5:1 / S0 noise on RX
15m - SWR 1.7:1 / S6 noise on RX
17m - SWR 1.3:1 / S9 noise on RX
20m - SWR 1.8:1 / S7 noise on RX
40m - SWR 6:1 / S6 noise on RX
80m - SWR 1.3:1 / S9 noise on RX

I also found that varying the length and position of the coax cable affects the SWR seen in shack, especially when it was lying along the wet ground for example. The counterpoise / RF ground which I installed also made little or no improvement to noise levels, signals and SWR readings. This seemed rather strange, but according to the SRC web site the 9:1 UNUN at the feed point is DC grounded, which may explain why my wire counterpoise had little or no effect. Also on the site, a 15m length of coaxial cable is recommended and I used around 10m, so this clearly had some effect on the antenna tuning.

The increased noise levels are my only real complaint with the SRC X80 compared to my other HF aerials, but this is always going to be a problem with verticals and Omni directional pickup. I also noticed that the SWR had risen slightly from my initial measurements, possibly due to the antenna drying out following the heavy showers when it was first installed. All in all, a cost effective solution and although it's a compromise, it did the job of the three wire aerials which I normally use to cover 80m-10m.
 
G7RHF Rating: 5/5 Aug 29, 2010 16:06 Send this review to a friend
very good  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
src x80 mounted at ground level worked south america no problems ,zl on 40 this morning ,i have earthed the x80 to a barbed wire fence ,but that is all very pleased for money ,small price for such a great antenna well done Simon ,heard or worked in last week ,vk,zl,ja ,usa ,tf ,south america ,falklands ,all on 100 watts on x80 the doggys
 
MW0CVW Rating: 5/5 Jul 14, 2010 16:32 Send this review to a friend
WORKS WELL  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I Phoned Simon at Snowdonia Radio and asked him was it possible to collect the SRCX80 vertical from him.

Arrived at his workshop,construction of the antenna is very good,with all my technicial questions being answered during my visit with Simon.

Building the antenna from the list of parts was completed in about 30 minutes.

I connected the antenna to my 756 with 20 meters of Westflex 103 and confirmed it would load up on all bands from 80m to 10m as detailed in the documentation.

I worked Brazil,Peru,Canada all within a couple of hours.

I am very please with the performance and would recommend this antenna to anyone with a small garden.
 
M3SKF Rating: 5/5 Jan 14, 2010 07:31 Send this review to a friend
WORKS WELL  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I HAVE BEEN USING THE ANTENNA FOR ABOUT 12 WEEKS NOW AND I MUST SAY I AM MORE THAN PLEASED WITH IT.THIS ANTENNA IS A HF VERTICAL COVERING FROM 80M TO 10MTS ITS APROX 23FT HIGH AND LOOKS JUST LIKE A CB SILVER ROD TYPE OF AERIAL.AT THE BASE OF THE ANTENNA IS A SMALL WHITE BOX THIS IS THE BULUN,ITS WELL MADE AND VERY WEATHER PROOF.
THE ANTENNA WORKS VERY MUCH LIKE A LONG WIRE BUT ITS A VERTICAL LONG WIRE AND PERFORMS LIKE ONE.THE PERFORMANCE IS QUITE GOOD WITH LOCAL CONTACTS MADE INTO EUROPE WITH EASE ALSO LONG DISTANCE CONTACTS TO NORTH AMERICA AND NEW ZEALAND TO NAME BUT A FEW.YOU MAY HAVE PROBLEMS WITH STRAY RF WITH THIS TYPE OF AERIAL,I DID AND CHANGED THE FEEDER CABLE TO A COUPLE OF FOOT LONGER AND THE PROBLEM STOPED.YOU WILL NEED A GOOD MANUAL OR AUTO ATU TO TUNE THE ANTENNA THE AUTO ATU IN THE TS-480 SEEMS TO COPE OK WITH THIS VERTICL WITH NO PROBLEMS AT ALL.SO WHAT DO YOU GET FOR YOUR MONEY WITH THIS VERTICAL,YOU GET A VERY GOOD HF ANTENNA AT A VERY SMALL COST.BY NO WAY IS IT THE BEST HF VERTICAL BUT IT CERTAINLY GIVES THE OTHERS A GOOD RUN FOR THE MONEY AND PLEASE DONT FORGET THAT THIS ONLY COSTS £45.00 IN THE UK.THE CONSTRUCTION IS FIRSR CLASS RIGHT DOWN TO THE MARINE GRADE ALLOY AND VERTY THICK ALLOY BASE PLATE, THANKS TO SIMON AND HIS TEAM FOR PROVIDING A LOW COST EFFECTIVE MULTI BAND HF ANTENNA THAT DONT BREAK THE BANK.
 
MM6FSP Rating: 5/5 Jan 13, 2010 12:14 Send this review to a friend
Very pleased.  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
As a relative newcomer to the hobby of amateur radio, I have been experimenting with different types of antenna to see how best to make use of my legally permitted 10 Watts (I'm a UK Foundation License holder), whilst keeping good relations with the neighbours and the local planning department.

My QTH is a listed building in the middle of a conservation area, so there's no question of a mast going up in my garden. On the plus side, I live right by the beach, just above sea-level, so have good ground below me.

For most of 2009, the deep solar minimum, and resultant poor HF conditions, ensured that most of my radio time was spent on the amateur satellites, with only the occasional foray on 20 metres (via an indoor, resonant, dipole, +/- 9m above ground, up in the attic), or, less frequently, on 15 and 40 metres (by way of a half-size G5RV, also up in the attic).

I wanted to mount a multi-band vertical antenna up on the chimney stack, which would give decent HF coverage with minimum visual impact. I considered the Comet CHA250B, Diamond BB7V and Moonraker GP2500 amongst others, before deciding on the SRC X80. A big part of the decision was based on cost. I didn't want to spend over £300 to buy and erect an antenna, only to be told by the local authorities to take it back down again. The £45 price tag on the X80 made it the obvious choice.

The order was submitted and two days later my new antenna arrived.

A quick inspection confirmed that all parts were present and correct, and I set about laying it all out on the driveway before beginning the assembly.

The radiating element of this antenna consists of six, progressively smaller diameter, aluminium tubes, inserted into one another (telescope style) and held together by jubilee clips. The instructions say to insert each section 6cm into the next, leaving the antenna 21 feet long.

Snowdonia's website, as well as the instructions, state that this antenna is 5.8 meters, or 21 feet long - but 5.8 meters is actually only 19 feet! I wanted to assemble this antenna correctly and needed to know how long to make it, so I gave Snowdonia a call.

Simon at Snowdonia came across as enthusiastic, knowledgeable and keen to help. He explained to me that the antenna was designed to be 5.8 meters long, but some people had been experimenting with them and making them longer. From a health and safety perspective he was forced to include the instruction to telescope at least 6cm per section (any less of an overlap wouldn't be safe).

For my situation (wanting to keep the antenna as stealthy as possible) and my QTH (exposed sea-side location) this was good news. Shorter meant that not only would it be less visible, but with more of an overlap in each joint, the antenna would better resist the high winds we regularly experience in the north east of Scotland.

With the antenna assembled, I Denso-taped the top of the antenna, each joint, the unun and the coaxial connection (this is not in the instructions, but my locality to the sea makes this almost a necessity).

Less than an hour from opening the box, my new antenna was up on the chimney stack (fixed with the base around 10 meters above ground), with 25 meters of low-loss coax joining it to my Icom IC-736.

The antenna tuned-up quickly and easily on all bands 10 - 80 meters, and also, surprisingly, on 160 meters too (I tried 6 meters as well, but no chance!). A quick (and, admittedly, unfair) comparison between the X80 and my 20m dipole showed the vertical to be noisier (by 1 or 2 points on the S-meter) and to be 1 or 2 S-points down on received signal strength. Static noise can be reduced by earthing the base cradle, but I didn't want to run another wire down from the roof (yet!). The X80 is very flexible (think 6 meter long fly-fishing rod) and the signal can come and go as it moves in the wind.

Unfortunately, I had very few opportunities to play radio over the next few weeks, and whenever I did, it was on 20 meters, where my preference was to use the dipole (as a relatively new ham, virtually every contact is a "new one" for me, and I wanted to give myself the best chance at making them).

The end of 2009 and beginning of 2010 saw some decent solar activity, and with it came some openings on 17, 15 and 10 meters.

My first contact with the X80 was made on 17 meters SSB, and was with Fred, K8CW. I heard him calling CQ, gave one shout and he came back straight away with my callsign. My signal was only 55, so the QSO was a bit strained at times - but I had just made a contact in Ohio from Scotland (a distance of 5700km) using a multi-band vertical, and 10 watts, during the deepest solar minimum for half a century! To put this in perspective, my previous farthest contact had been with RZ3TZZ, a Russian club in Nizhny Novgorod, 2800km from home.

I have since made contacts using the X80 on 40, 20, 15 and 10 meters, including my first IOTA QSO (2M0OSK - Andy on the Isle of Harris), and my first short-skip QSO (with M3GFQ - Lenny in England). The X80 consistently out-performs my G5RV junior, often achieving a contact when the G5RV doesn't even hear the other station.

The X80 has withstood some awful weather over the last few months, with winds reaching around 50mph at times (not extreme, I'll admit, but I'm sure we'll get 60mph+ before the winter's out). I've been outside watching how it moves in the wind, and after seeing how much it flexes, still find it hard to believe that it returns to stand straight when the wind dies down - testament to the strength and quality of the aluminium.

So, in conclusion, what can I say about the X80? Will it out-perform a resonant dipole (or a Yagi or a cubical quad)? No. Of course not. But if you need an unobtrusive, multi-band, vertical antenna, for a very reasonable price, I would suggest you look no further than the Snowdonia website.

I intend to post updates on this antenna (performance improvement or degradation, physical condition etc.) as time goes by.

Until then, best 73's, and good DX. MM6FSP.
 


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