eHam Forums => Station Building => Topic started by: KD4KNR on May 29, 2004, 06:20:03 PM

Title: MY first HF station
Post by: KD4KNR on May 29, 2004, 06:20:03 PM

I'm putting up my first HF station and would like some advice...
I have a IC-706 planning on getting a full size G5RV antenna and manual antenna tuner. The coax run will be about 200 feet.. Any suggestions on brand of antenna tuner and other issues I've missed.
Your comments,suggestions and war stories are appreciated.

Title: MY first HF station
Post by: K7VO on May 29, 2004, 08:35:09 PM
Antenna tuner to avoid:  MFJ.  Poor fit and finish.  I'm afraid to look inside.  I bought an MFJ 945E at Frostfest in Richmond in February and I'll gladly sell it for a whole lot less than I paid.

If you don't mind looking on the used market Tokyo Hy-Power made some fantastic manual tuners back in the '80s.  They were built like little tanks, had a choice of 200W or 20W scales, and the better ones had multiple antenna inputs with a choice of tuned or bypass for each antenna.  I'd look for an HC-200 or HC-200A.  It's relatively small (though a bit bigger than your IC-706) and relatively inexpensive (around $75 in nice shape is typical, sometimes less).

Some of the older Kenwood manual tuners were quite nice but they tend to be expensive.  If you do find an AT-230 at a good price it would be a very good choice as well.

Good luck, whatever you choose.


Title: MY first HF station
Post by: W7DJM on May 31, 2004, 01:26:24 PM
You absolutely do not want to run a G5RV, or any other "non resonant" "non matched" antenna, with this much coax.  Depending on the SWR, the losses in this much coax operated in this fashion could be very high.

There is no easy answer if you MUST run this much coax, for multi band.  (How many bands to you want?)  A so called "fan" or multiband dipole may be better.  There is nothing wrong with a "trap" dipole, either, within their limits.

Thought about feeding with ladder line?  low loss.

By the way, there is no such thing as a G5RV that is anything else BUT full size.   A so called G5RV that is not made like  G5RV intended is NOT a G5RV.   These so called "half size G5RVs" or "double size G5RVs"  might be a "center fed, non resonant doublet,"  but one thing they are not is a G5RV.

As far as your tuner, yeah, MFJ is pretty much low end for construction and quality control, but SO IS their prices.  Just remember to scale down the power rating.  Their so called 300 watt tuners are REALLY good for about 100 watts.  I recently mistakenly bought a VCI Vectronics HFT-1500

"World Class Quality" according to their website.

the very first line on their ad says

"Arc-Free Operation
Two heavy duty 4.5 kV transmitting variable capacitors and a massive high current roller inductor gives you arc-free operation up to 2 kW PEP SSB."

Believe me, that is the biggest crock of you-know-what I've seen lately.  The two caps are about 1/2 the size of the ones in my old Heath SA-2060  That Vectronics will not even handle 500 watts on a 160m ladder line fed antenna.

Calling that thing a 2kw tuner is a huge joke.

The point I'm trying to make is, take ratings with a little salt.  "Your mileage may vary."

One thing you might do is search around on ebay for "antenna tuner" or "antenna coupler."   You can get a good idea of used ones available, what they sell for, and so on.  Also, I've found some GREAT his resoloution pictures of the INSIDE of tuners on ebay and elsewhere, give you an idea of you they're built.

Title: MY first HF station
Post by: K7VO on June 02, 2004, 12:07:58 AM
I agree with W7DJM about the G5RV.  The way our property is laid out I pretty much had to go with a long run of feedline.  The shack is to the front of the house, covenants prevent any antennas in front, so the feedline runs to the tower way out in the back yard.  

I chose the fanned multi-band dipole that W7DJM suggests.  I have a full sized 80m dipole that also works on 17m (5th harmonic) and 12m (7th harmonic).  The 40m dipole also works on 15m (3rd harmonic).  There is also a 20m dipole.  They all come off a single feedpoint (a 1:1 balun) and fan out in different directions.  The whole mess works well enough on 10m with a tuner as well.  

I did feed with coax and I do use an Ameritron RCS-8V remote switch so that I can have other antennas and only one good quality feedline.

I should point out that I run QRP (10W or less SSB, 5W or less CW/digital) 95% of the time and I do get out amazingly well.  YMMV of course.

Good luck!


Title: MY first HF station
Post by: AD7DB on June 02, 2004, 09:52:56 PM
Save up some more money and get the AH-4 remote automatic tuner. Run coax and control line out to THAT from your shack. Hook up some 450 ohm ladder line to the ground and antenna connectors on the AH-4 (which you do NOT ground) and run that line up to your doublet antenna, which can be anywhere from 33' on a side on up to whatever space you have. If you can make a horizontal loop that'll be even better (the loop is quieter on receive). You will now have something that will work a lot better than the much overhyped G5RV design.

Title: MY first HF station
Post by: KD4KNR on June 05, 2004, 10:07:26 AM
Thanks for all the help!

Title: MY first HF station
Post by: K8AG on June 10, 2004, 01:31:22 PM

I have an Amp Supply Company tuner AT-1200.  It works very well.  Cheap on the used market.

Might I suggest a small change in antenna.  Instead of a standard G5RV, I would recommend a ZS6BKW.  These are basically G5RV style antennas, modified to optimize SWR on more bands.  If you are going to have a 200 foot run, you probably will run into RFI problems because of radiated signal in the shield (even with a balun).  I noted when I switched that my RFI problems drastically reduced.


John Pawlicki, K8AG