|Mike Traffie makes a fine product with his hexbeams. This antenna is also a great do-it-yourself project for those of us who like to roll our own. The problem with most of these type antennas is coming up with a baseplate that is light enough yet strong enough to maintain the proper shape for a wire beam. Aluminum is the best choice, but there are problems for those like me who are ill-equipped.|
I don't have the tools or equipment (or patience) to properly measure, cut and drill a piece of aluminum to make a proper base plate. Thankfully, Ron W4RDM does. While his commercially-available base plate kit may seem pricey, it is actually such a key cog in the final product that I think it is a bargain at the price. Plus Ron includes the U-bolts, hardware, and floor flanges that make this thing bullet proof.
Here's the deal. If you don't want to fool with building a homebrew hex, buy Mike's. It is a tough, multi-band (if you want it), low-windload, easy-to-turn antenna that works slightly better than a full-sized 2-element yagi on each band. Mike also offers, I understand, great customer service and one thing you won't get with a homebrew antenna -- a guarantee.
However, if you want to build your own and have a machine shop, drill your own base plate. If not, get W4RDM's kit. It took me 10 minutes to attach my fiberglass spreaders to it and it looks like it could handle the next hurricane with no trouble. (MaxGain has pre-cut spreaders, wire and rope, too, and if you follow K4KIO's directions from his website, you'll have a good antenna, built with your own hands). I don't think I'll have to worry about durability since it is alumnium with stainless steel hardware.
Thanks to W4RDM and to MaxGain for making these parts available. There could not be much profit in them and they sure do open up the options for us all-thumbs, ill-equipped antenna builders.