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 check the Help Center for known solutions.
Need technical support from FlexRadio? It's as simple as Creating a HelpDesk ticket.

antenna choice

2

Answers

  • Bill RobertsBill Roberts Member ✭✭
    edited November 2015
    Agree...  and they're quiet.
  • Jim GilliamJim Gilliam Member
    edited May 2015
    You are absolutely correct...a vertical is a vertical is a vertical. They are outstanding mechanically but suffer from ground loss just like any other vertical. There have been several interesting articles about maximizing the radial current in an elevated vertical with elevated radials. With careful tuning, an elevated vertical with 4 properly tuned radials can be efficient as one with many buried radials. However for an elevated SteppIR to be efficient on many bands would require judious tuning of several sets of four. Going that far, almost makes it more practical to just bury 60 radials at the base of a ground mounted vertical.
  • KY6LA_HowardKY6LA_Howard La Jolla, CA. Paris and Sablet FranceMember ✭✭✭
    edited December 2014
    Agreed... BUT they can be tuned to 1:1 SWR without traps and resistors and other gimmicks ... so in a side by side comparison with verticals like an R8.. the SteppIR BigIR played much better everywhere....
  • KY6LA_HowardKY6LA_Howard La Jolla, CA. Paris and Sablet FranceMember ✭✭✭
    edited January 2017
    Tony:

    You never answered the question...why are you restricted to a vertical?
  • Andrew VK5CVAndrew VK5CV Member ✭✭
    edited November 2015

    I was about to suggest a loop too. I have an 80m horizontal full wave loop and started with a 40m hfwl. Work well on both odd and even harmonics as well.

    The other is an inverted L on an ATU.

    How much room do you have?

    A local antenna guru in the downtown area has a multiband vertical on his metal roof and a radial mat bonded to that in a barely detached town house and is a very big signal.

    The elevated antenna and ground plane is also quiet.

    Andrew

  • Tony HateleyTony Hateley Member
    edited June 23
    because im in the uk,and our local concile look down on any antenna system with distain,you have to have planning permission from the said concile which you have to pay for it and is a very lengthy process,plus the fact that im a disabled pensioner does not help,no disrespect to you in the usa but you a spoilt when compared to the uk.thanks tony
  • Steve K9ZWSteve K9ZW Member ✭✭✭
    edited November 2016

    Dealing with UK authorities to rebuild a long derelict cottage in the Lake District was borderline insane.  I know that the individuals I dealt with were fine people, but they would have never themselves accepted the limitations they tried to impose on folk like myself. 

    Took a bit of doing, but eventually I used their incremental edicts to nudge them to allow what I wanted all along.  Involved too much stress, risk of arbitrariness leading to failure at any stage, and the risk of "finding things" made this success hollow - it just took much to do.  Oh and on "finding things" a friend's construction crew digging to repurpose an old cellar into a wine cellar found a 4-600 year old human skeleton... talk about finding trouble!  Cost him dearly too between the project interruption and the private mass & internment he felt compelled to provide this centuries old hunchback.

    Stateside we're not always free of these same sorts of games - you can read all about my permitting fun & games when I put up my tower on my blog, but usually most of us do have more options for antennas both in available area and more relaxed code enforcement. 

    Tony without some details on your QTH it is hard to suggest a solution, but perhaps it is worth consulting with some of your area hams to find out what solutions gave them the best performance? 

    73

    Steve

    K9ZW


  • Walt - KZ1FWalt - KZ1F Member
    edited November 2016
    But Don, with any antenna you can only work one band at a time with a flex. It's not so much "I made that mistake" buying a LP. Frankly I don't find myself watching multiple bands at a time, which is why I got the 6500 not 6700. I thought I might but, in practice, I am not. It is nice as soon as you switch TX bands you can instantly go to transmit. With a Steppir, you wait a couple of seconds. But if you make the switch because you saw someone talking you'd have to wait for them to finish talking anyway.

    Walt
  • Walt - KZ1FWalt - KZ1F Member
    edited November 2016
    As I had said earlier, I did have a Gap Titan. They are not the least bit stealthy. You also really need to guy them so they actually take more real estate than you'd suspect. I suspect that is true regardless of the vertical. The Titan would need to be in the center with 14' or so of space at 4 corners.
  • Ken - NM9PKen - NM9P Member ✭✭
    edited December 2016
    I usually agree with Howard on most points.  In this case also, with the exception that a vertical can outperform a low dipole on 80/40/30 and a good inverted 'L' will way outperform most dipoles on 160 Meters unless the dipole is VERY high.  On 20 and above, most hams can get a dipole up high enough that it will outperform a vertical in MANY directions.

    In my case, until I get my tower and 11 element Log Periodic in the air, I am using a 160 meter offset fed dipole at 38 ft.  It works well on most bands, (a good 4:1 or 6:1 current balun is necessary) and it has gain on higher frequencies at certain directions.  

    However, my homebrew 34 ft. elevated vertical with 4 radial sets (like fan dipoles tuned to multiple bands) at 8 ft above ground often shows 6-12 dB gain over the dipole for DX out past about 3-4,000 miles on 40, 30 & 20 meters, and in many cases outperforms the dipole on 15-10 at selected distances and directions.  It is almost always better on 40 meters for most DX, but the dipole beats it in most of the US.

    Yet, in 2013 I won the CQWPX 9th Region Unassisted QRP All Bands with a flex 1500 at 5 watts and a simple doublet 85 ft on a leg fed with 450 ohm line and a good tuner.  (It was also 4th in 9th Region in low power unassisted TB/Wires category)  So a simple wire antenna can be very effective.

    In any case, if you have no option other than a vertical, make sure you have either elevated radials, or a good ground radial system under it.  DO NOT be fooled by those who say "I have a trap vertical and it loads up fine with no radials at all."  So will a dummy load!  Will a vertical WORK with no ground system?...yes.  Will it work WELL?  NO!  Especially not for DX.  Your take off angle and efficiency are both dependent upon the quality of the ground.  One note.... As you add your ground radials, you SWR may actually go UP because it lowers the impedance of the vertical and you will need to match it better.  But efficiency and power transfer are key... NOT SWR.  Matching networks can adjust for swr, but they cannot add RF efficiency that only proper antenna design can do.

    But then... If I had permission, and unlimited funds, I would love a tower and antenna like Howard has!  And I would STILL drop an inverted 'L' from it for 160 and 80 Meters!

    Good luck.  Ken - NM9P
  • ai6reai6re Member
    edited December 2014
    Walt, The big difference between the Hexbeam and the Steppir is the turning radius is half at 9'4" for the Hexbeam and almost 20' for the steppir. My Steppir works great but it is still much larger and more expensive, 4 time the cost, of the Hexbeam. If those things don't matter then the Steppir would perform best. Don
  • Walt - KZ1FWalt - KZ1F Member
    edited November 2016
    Don, I was referring to the Steppir vertical. I believe Tony says on the next page he is limited to verticals, in response to Howard's question.. I was responding to your comment about only working one band at a time.This is way off topic (sry Tony) but if FRS came out with the 6300 first, there would likely not need to have been a 65 or 6700. Yes, you can listen for openings on other bands but is being in a null worse or equal to being not 1:1. I suspect it is worse. I don't know, in hind sight, just how useful slice receivers 3-8 are. I do understand those that spent $8,000 are compelled to defend their purchase. Back on topic:

    Tony, buy the best antenna you are allowed to have and can afford. A great radio with a suboptimal antenna is worse than a suboptimal radio with a great antenna. You've got a great radio, give it a great antenna. Hopefully we can all agree on that point.

    Walt - kz1f
  • Ernest - W4EGErnest - W4EG Member ✭✭
    edited January 2015
    Ken,
    Your statement  "I have a trap vertical and it loads up fine with no radials at all." So will a dummy load! Especially not for DX.
    I just have to tell you that in my case the 18-HT vertical has given me the opportunity to work DXCC + with NO radials:At an elevation of approx 1000 feet and agricultural soil. I operate 160-6 meters running 100W out of my 6700 and I am relocating to NE Florida and I am taking my vertical 
    Is it the vertical or the operator that makes the difference and not theory?
  • KY6LA_HowardKY6LA_Howard La Jolla, CA. Paris and Sablet FranceMember ✭✭✭
    edited June 23
    Ernest and Ken

    Debates about Antennas are starting to sound more strident and opinionated than the debates about Religion, ****, Politics, Legacy Radios and SDR's...

    As I said, Verticals USUALLY tend to work poorly in all directions.  Traps, Resistors and Gimmicks instead of radials USUALLY tend to have very poor radiation efficiency.so that they can fool the radio into thinking that the SWR is 1:1

    However... with lots of Radials, Verticals can perform OK as the radials tend to improve radiation efficiency...Verticals tend to have low angles of radiation so they CAN SOMETIMES work well for DX.

    I have used a couple of phased verticals over salt water on a small DXpedition to Bora Bora in 2001.... They were amazing...beat the other guys on the team with their small Force 12 beam....

    Tried to do the same thing with a single vertical over salt water on my DXpedition to Da Nang Viet Nam in 2012.. it worked terribly ... could not make any Q's beyond Indonesia and Thailand
    Did better and worked the same guys remoting from my Flex 5000 in San Diego at the same time...

    As Ernest knows, Dennis N6KI and I  as well as the other boys in the San Diego Contest Club have over the years bought or borrowed and tested virtually every antenna, and radio on the market to see if we can find any edge for contesting.  I think many of you read our humorous debate about the K3 vs 6700.  i have at least one first in North America and 2nd in the world contest result to my name so we must be doing something right.. albeit my location helps (600' ASL on the Pacific Coast) win Japan / Asia Pacific Contests...


    Tony

    A lot of what you choose for an antenna depends on local conditions including Politics, the soil you are on, the terrain and even your latitude. and climate

    For example,even though I am 600' up from the ocean, I get a lot of salt water spray from the ocean.. which rusts any steel...so a Fiberglass SteppIR looked ideal.. except i have 320 days a year of sun .. so I had to marine paint the Fiberglass to prevent UV damage....


    So I suggest you ask local hams in your area what seems to work well locally and what you can get away with Politically

    .. you may be surprised to see what they say...
  • Walt - KZ1FWalt - KZ1F Member
    edited November 2016
    Cool, can we talk about **** and politics now?
  • Larry - WA7LZOLarry - WA7LZO Member ✭✭
    edited April 2016

    "...A dipole is directional so it has gain while a vertical is omni directional so it has -2.3dB less gain in the dipoles direction..."


    This is a very small amount of difference. One S-unit is equivalent to 6 dB, so 2.3 dB equates to less than one-half of a S-unit, a trivial delta.


    Larry

    WA7LZO

  • SkupSkup Member
    edited December 2014

    Check out a Zero5 vertical if your looking vertical, I have 2 of them and work very well! If you have room for a wire, Look at a Off Center Fed Dipole! works great with a Flex to look over multiple bands.

    73!

    Jim AA9NN

  • Richard McClelland, AA5SRichard McClelland, AA5S Member ✭✭
    edited January 2015
    A vertical HF loop may still meet your vertical antenna constraint.  Here is a good  presentation regarding these: http://www.kn9b.us/loop-antenna plus there are many more articles to be found via Google.  If you use appropriately small diameter wire, these antennas can get by many HOAs.  My HOA covenants prohibit exterior antennas but my horizontal loop has been up for three years without any complaints.
  • Richard McClelland, AA5SRichard McClelland, AA5S Member ✭✭
    edited January 2015
    (Smoozing the neighbors does wonders when concealing antennas.)
  • Terry K8EETTerry K8EET Member ✭✭
    edited July 2016
    Yeah, I put my loop up when no one was around and then asked my neighbors if they noticed anything different in the back yard. They couldn't see it until I showed them where it was. Then I invited them in to look at the signals bouncing up and down on my big screen. They were more impressed with CW then SSB.
  • Richard McClelland, AA5SRichard McClelland, AA5S Member ✭✭
    edited January 2015
    One of my neighbors is a professor of psychology.  He told me that he watched me for two hours as I put up my loop and was genuinely concerned for my well being.  I told him I am a ham operator and he realized in a flash that I wasn't performing some type of ritual incantations at dawn one Sunday morning.  He was very much relieved.
  • Jim GilliamJim Gilliam Member
    edited May 2015
    If I were a professor of psychology, I would be more worried that you were a ham radio operator!
  • Rich McCabeRich McCabe Member ✭✭
    edited December 2014
    I  agree with James. I am not going to debate this as I am not qualified to do so with some of the hams posting in this thread.  I do not have that level of expertise. However a Zero Five with  lots of buried radials AND a remote antenna tuner which is much less loss than running the UN-UN option is a decent antenna.

    I am surprised that distance of communication has not been discussed. Not only is there a difference in gain but angle of radiation differences are significant. So the difference between horizontal and vertical is not the same for me at 300 miles vs 3000 miles.



  • Walt - KZ1FWalt - KZ1F Member
    edited June 6
    I believe we have successfully hijacked this thread. We should all be better about the squatting thing. The original question was, "I've narrowed down my choices to these three...which is best". Now people are just talking amongst themselves off topic of the original question. Personally, I hate when people hijack my threads, it's totally annoying. I suspect if Tony was into DXing or Contesting his three choices wouldn't be verticals. Tony, if limited to those three choices, I'd go with the Gap Titan and put it in the middle of a 6'x6' metal mesh at ground level per Gap engineer. He told me the difference would be astounding.

    Walt - kz1f
  • KT0AM  - MarkKT0AM - Mark Member
    edited December 2016
    Hear, Hear!! And in the meantime, I'll keep using the big resistor to get DXCC! Happy New Year to all fellow Flexers.
  • Jim GilliamJim Gilliam Member
    edited September 2018
    Did anyone ask the engineer why this "magic mesh" isn't included as part of the antenna kit?
  • Walt - KZ1FWalt - KZ1F Member
    edited November 2016
    Jim, He and I actually talked about it. The Gap Titan does not need radials as it has the counterpoise that, in theory, negates the need for them, it also helps with 40mtrs. But he said the mesh augmented the counterpoise to give the signal a lower angle of radiation. I did not try that as I didn't want a 36 square foot brown patch in the middle of our backyard. I provide that information only as advice from a Gap engineer. He, btw, swore by it. That was in the summer of 2002, so I am sketchy on the specifics. Personally I am not a fan of verticals but given Tony limited his choices to one of those 3 verticals, I commented on what I knew about the Gap Titan. I also know several other hams that love theirs. FWIW.

    Walt
  • Jim GilliamJim Gilliam Member
    edited May 2015

    I am not an antenna engineer, but my gut tells me that a vertical dipole with the lower element at ground level, is more a vertical with one vertical radial. I am going to pursue this idea further. It would seem since the lower element is not a "free radiator", that there has to be some inefficiency compared to a horizontal dipole at a reasonable height. There is just too much poor information given by manufacturers to get you to buy their wares.



  • Walt - KZ1FWalt - KZ1F Member
    edited November 2016
    There is a gap, ergo the company name, that separates the 2 primary radiators. When you order you specify which segment of 80mtrs you want to be on as they supply the capacitor that helps tune the 80 mtr segment (phone/CW). Radiators for the higher bands are electrically isolated from the main radiator as side appendages, for lack of a better term. I believe, if for no other reason than, being called a vertical dipole there is likely some gain radiation shaping. I refer all interested to here http://www.njqrp.org/data/gap.html

    Walt - kz1f

  • Richard McClelland, AA5SRichard McClelland, AA5S Member ✭✭
    edited January 2015

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.