Welcome to the new FlexRadio Community! Please review the new Community Rules and other important new Community information on the Message Board.
If you are having a problem, please refer to the product documentation or check the Help Center for known solutions.
Need technical support from FlexRadio? It's as simple as Creating a HelpDesk ticket.

Flex 6400 RX Beverage Antenna

johnhalk Member
I am trying to connect a RX beverage for 160m using a DX Engineering Beverage Antenna Systems (DXE-BFS-1) with terminating resistor and using 75 ohm coax feed to my Flex 6400 (RX IN port - BNC connector).

I have selected RXA on SmartSDR but even with the +db gain turned up to maximum setting - I am not getting much in terms of RX signal on 160m.

Do I need a preamp unit ?

John VK3YP


  • Erika - KØDD
    Erika - KØDD Member ✭✭✭
    edited July 2023

    Beverage antennas are a very special type of antennas. You never use a preamp. It will only destroy your signal to noise ratio. You may want to find a Low Band DXing book by ON4UN, and read up on his page on Beverages.

    John, Roger and I spent an evening many years ago discussing and drawing on napkins in a hamburger restaurant various ideas and regarding beverage designs. You want to keep vertical components in the beverage to an absolute minimum. The height of the antenna affects the signal strength, but also increases the potential of noise pickup... At my farm I had what I considered the perfect conditions once the corn was harvested. I had a low noise location, except for electric fences for cattle confinment within 5 miles in all directions and it could hear noisy electric fence problems easily out to 5 miles. While any height from laying directly on the ground, up to 8 ft ABOVE GROUND works well, the basics are ground rod at the start. wooden support poles. no metal around the antenna. My only vertical complonent was the 12ga wire from the 9:1 transformer and 75 cable tv hard line a couple hundred feet from the shack to the start. I used 2x4 as line supports 10ft long. My antenna was at 8ft. POST HOLE DUG 24" down. used a wire staple at each top used a 1000ft long galvanized steel electric fence run. the last 200ft tapered down to a **** anchor insulator and a ok memory failing a < 675 ohm carbon resistor to another ground rod and a very short jumper from resistor to ground. For my location 45 degrees worked very well for europe and africa... Signals were loud... We had a broadcast style 130ft vertical install on the other side long aways from the beverage. I only had one of each. The cable tv line just laid on the ground back to the shack. It all came down when it was time to plant again. ON 80 meters the antenna also had a very high signal to noise... on 40 there was too much skywave and the beam worked better. OH I'M not going to argue beverage design with anybody here. It's a forgiving antenna when the basics are followed minimized vertical, no metal around it, but many have added lines to fence lines... John UN would probably roll over in his grave. We really hashed my system out and came away with a very well working antenna. With my land a beverage hub would have been possible but building and rebuilding each fall was a lot of work for a working cargo airline pilot who was gone a lot... LONG better, straight as an arrow. consistent height terminated, clean start transformer setup at top of your pole, don't go too high... My neighbors thought I was nuts and said it's an electric fence to stop the giraffe from running across my field at night... CAN'T You see and hear them? <3 Erika Ostlund K0DD.

  • WX7Y
    WX7Y Member ✭✭✭

    enjoyed your sharing your work with the Beverage Antenna Erika some very welcome and enlightened comments

  • Erika - KØDD
    Erika - KØDD Member ✭✭✭

    Hi Bret, I do not know why John isn't getting much signal at all, unless he's now plugged into the incorrect side of the loop or he doesn't have at least a 300 ft long wire... Once I got my resistor figured out on the end termination for my antenna I had two AM radio stations in my proximity. The directional one on 910 to my west was so close, a couple miles, I met the station engineer during their pattern check... His test point was at the end of my driveway. for real... fortunately a NULL POINT. He knocked on the door wondering who was the new radio station in town. When the term resistor was right there was quite a null on the 910 station. The other station was right inline with the beverage on Europe and would peg the s meter when tuned on channel. They were on 1430. I had to trap him... at night they weren't an issue back then.... My only complaint was I was gone too much. The soil at the house today is much much better than the south dakota location was... I love 160... a big ear is what I lack here in town.

    Hope to work you this winter. Erika DD

  • Stan VA7NF
    Stan VA7NF Member ✭✭✭

    For 160M, even a 300ft run is short. I would have said 600ft for 160 and 300ft for 80M.

    I ran North-South at 8ft up through the woods, and 350ft along a (wooden fence line) East-West at 6ft up. It did need some preamp even with my 6700; never had the luxury of an open field so YMMV. I ran two RG6 lines from each, one for each direction and had a push button TV switch at the shack. Excellent antenna for ears on 160M.

  • johnhalk
    johnhalk Member
    edited July 2023
    Hi Erika, Stan,

    Thank you for your suggestions. I will try again with a longer (closer to 600 ft) wire and using all wooden stakes to support the wire 3-4 feet off the ground.

    Stan when you say you needed some preamp - Is that preamp setting on the Flex or external preamp unit ?

    I used the same setup (no external preamp with the DX Engineering DXE-BFS-1) back on a dxpedition in 2012 to VK9HR Lord Howe Island. We used a Kenwood TS590S (RX port) with 75 ohm coax and it worked really well on 160M. We made a lot of CW contacts on 160m and even some NA and KH stations on 160m SSB !

    Best 73,
    John VK3YP
  • Geoff AB6BT
    Geoff AB6BT Member ✭✭✭

    The manual suggests:

    "Install the antenna wires 5-8 feet above the ground. "

    I've never used a beverage and I don't know if the height above ground is critical.

  • k3Tim
    k3Tim Member ✭✭✭

    Interesting reading about the Beverage antennas. They work magic, if one has the space.

    Here, a long wire on the ground (Beverrage on Ground aka. BoG) works well, not quite as noise cancelling as a full on Bev. The wire is enamel coated (tan/red color) and lays on the light red sand making it pretty much invisible. Since the soil is all sand or sandstone, a ground rod / terminating resistor was not used. Given all the compromises, the results were worth the (minimal) effort. As stated above, Bevs are very forgiving.

    A preamp at the antenna increased noise. The 6500 internal preamp helps on some of the bands. The coax is quad shield RG59?? or RG6 ???



  • Mike-VA3MW
    Mike-VA3MW Administrator, FlexRadio Employee, Community Manager, Super Elmer, Moderator admin

    I run 2 BOGs with pretty good success. They are about 300' long and both have preamps in their respective designs. One is reversible.

    If the pre-amp affects an overall SNR, I haven't been able to hear the difference. I did initially test this before I added it. YMMV. I do use a DXengineering preamp after the 160M bandpass filter.

    I think run a 75-50 ohm with RF limiting and common mode filtering. I use 2, one on RXA and the other on RXB.

Leave a Comment

Rich Text Editor. To edit a paragraph's style, hit tab to get to the paragraph menu. From there you will be able to pick one style. Nothing defaults to paragraph. An inline formatting menu will show up when you select text. Hit tab to get into that menu. Some elements, such as rich link embeds, images, loading indicators, and error messages may get inserted into the editor. You may navigate to these using the arrow keys inside of the editor and delete them with the delete or backspace key.