antenna choice

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  • Updated 4 years ago
iv narrowed it down to 3 antennas for my qth with limited space,first choice is gap titan vertical,second is mfj 1775,and thirdly is the comet h-422,would like some comments on the best to get for my qth,running the flex 6500 with a pr40 microphone.thanks
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Tony Hateley

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Posted 4 years ago

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Jon - KF2E

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For years I used a Hustler 6BTV vertical. It was an awesome antenna that worked very well.

Jon...kf2e
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Tony Hateley

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got the 5btv not impressed
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James Kennedy-WU5E

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Tony you need to think about your operating habits. Contester or Rag Chewer. The Gap Titan has the best repartition.  You going to run power? 

Jim

wu5e

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Tony Hateley

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no contesting,hopefully a lot of dx but no high power
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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Have a Happy New Year Walt!  You owe me a beer for being grumpy and negative, but I will buy you one in return - perhaps at Dayton? 

You do need to remember I am entitled to my own opinion just like you are. 

And yes you are entitled to yours without my judgment, though negative baseless speculative pontificating does deserve being called out as baseless.

If FRS come up short, shout it out.  But if they haven't come up short then get a hold of your doubts and self importance.

In all honesty I am very pleased with both my 6700 and my 6300 at the present (1.38) level of SmartSDR.  They work fine for me - YMMV and I respect that, but I have no time for you if you think your issues trump the success (and enjoyment) I am experiencing.

If being successful with a Flex-6x00 makes a person a "fan boy" in your book, remember what you think doesn't matter to anyone other than you.  I'm more than willing to share everything about how I've made the 6700 and 6300 perform well for me to anyone who needs a hand. 

No piece of any gear is the ultimate panacea - the universal solution - and we need to be realistic about that.  My buddy George W9EVT has perhaps 800 transceivers, several hundred ready to go in his shack, and I learned from him that from the lowliest to the highest every one of the radios has something to experience. 

Because I learned that lesson I always have fun - always.  There are radios I don't want to keep or just don't get along with, but that is me, it is my experience and it is my choice.  I also happen to quite like a few radios that aren't all that popular or held in that high of regard, but they are fun for me.  And some I just like to play with a bit to see what they are about.

Let's reverse the Dayton beer - I've somehow upset you with my enthusiasm and I will buy the first round - but you need to tell me something of your radio experiences that is worth sharing - where I can learn, or enjoy or get insight from - before I cover that second round too..

All the best, hope every day is a better one for you, and that we all have a terrific New Year!


73

Steve

K9ZW


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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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I would love to join the FREE BEER Society
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Jim Gilliam

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I would love to spring for the free beer.
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Walt - KZ1F

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Free beer for everyone. Or maybe just the three of us, unless of course, others opt in as well. How many nights is Dayton? We could have a designated buyer per night.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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As per my usual Dayton trips, I have booked a block of rooms at a group rate at the Miamisburg Doubtletree Inn... Our rate includes a Hospitality Suite... we arrive Thursday PM and depart Sunday.   I still have a couple of rooms in the block that are not yet taken... 
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James Kennedy-WU5E

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OK good luck with the Gap if that is your choice. Remember Antenna is always the best part of your station.

Jim

wu5e


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Jim Gilliam

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I would read the reviews on eHam as there are good and bad reviews on all the antennas.
(Edited)
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Jay -- N0FB, Elmer

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Hi Tony!  I have owned a GAP Titan for over 5 years now and it has been a superb performer.  The GAP is essentially a off center fed vertical dipole with an impedance matching harness in the vertical element.  This is why you don't need ground radials. I have over 120 DXCC's with the titan.  Most of these DX contacts are from 30 Meters and up.  40 Meter performance is reasonable, but on 80 Meters, as to be expected, a 25' antenna is too much of a compromise to perform well.

This spring, I'm going to rehab my Titan.  I bought it used from Associated Radio in Overland Park, KS.  They had this antenna on top of their building for several years, then took it down and laid it on the flat surface of the roof.  The center harness was found in a puddle of water.  Water has wicked its way into the harness (I still had great performance even with this issue).  The folks at GAP are top notch and take customer service very seriously just like Flex Radio.  Even though I was not the initial owner, they supported me without question.  

Even though I cannot  give you A-B comparison between the Titan to the MFJ or Comet, I can without hesitation recommend the GAP.  There is a reasonably active yahoo group for the GAP Titan.  Check it out.  You may get more helpful info there.   https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/gapantennas/info
(Edited)
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Neil K2NF

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may also want to check out the zero-five ground plane verticals if you have the space for them
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KT0AM - Mark

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I also have a Hustler 6BTV and like it. It tunes up fine on all 6 bands with no radials. In fact the autotuner on my 6500 bypasses on most of the 10, 15 and 20m bands. I live in a covenant restricted neighborhood and have hidden the antenna in with some large trees and no one has complained so far.
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Ernest - W4EG

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I used the Hy-Gain 18-HT -  HY-Tower when I lived in a small lot in Thousand Oaks, CA.
I had no space for radials. However, I managed to worked DXCC with it and 100W from the Flex radios I owned.

I also tried the Hustler 5BTV; I was a totally disappointed.

I highly recommend it.  
(Edited)
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Jim Gilliam

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What is 'it"?... the 5BTV or the Hy-gain 18-HT?
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Ernest - W4EG

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Jim, 
I should had made it clear.. I recommend the Hy-Tower.
The antenna is a vertical antenna sold by Hy-Gain for more than 50 years and usually advertised in QST and all major ham publications. 
I used it from 160 thru 6 meters with great results as I stated on my previous comment.
(Edited)
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Burt Fisher

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I have one, a G5RV beats it
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Walt - KZ1F

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Hi Tony,
   I'd take a different view. I had a Gap Titan and I really did not like it. From Massachusetts it was good into Western Europe to the Mississippi River. Keep in mind, you did NOT buy a crap rig so why connect it to a 'crap' antenna? I, and this is personal opinion, believe verticals are 'compromise' antennas. If you can swing a tower (even a 30 footer) and yagi, go for it. If you can't and your choices are vertical or dipole at 15' then go with the Gap, it's likely the best of the verticals, which is why I bought one. If I had to build a second one it would take way less time than the first. One thing about the Gap Titan, and likely any vertical, get some metal screen door mesh and form a 6' by 6' square with the Gap Titan coming out of the middle of it. That was the advice from a guy at Gap.
   I think the other advice you got is good, figure out what it is you want to do, DX chasing, contesting, or rag chewing. That should drive your decision. The other advice I agree with is the antenna is the biggest bang for the buck component of your shack. Get the best antenna you can afford, both monetarily and zoning wise.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Tony

I have used various verticals including all of the above. And I have been fortunate enough to have owned several yagi's as well.

Bottom Line: VERTICALS WORK EQUALLY POORLY IN ALL DIRECTIONS

Most verticals that claim to cover all bands are just giant resistors which provide a good match but waste all your power.as heat.

if you can't get a yagi or even a dipole up in the air, then best vertical I have used so far is easily the SteppIR Vertical. At least it is not a compromise. Giant resistor.
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Walt - KZ1F

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Yep, what the good Doctor said.  I didn't even think of Steppir, if I had I would have said the same.
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Jim Gilliam

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Why is a vertical less efficient than a dipole if the vertical has 120 buried radials?
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Simple. 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.
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Stan - VA7NF

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The biggest problems with a (quarter wave) vertical are two-fold.  Firstly almost all the current, hence radiation and reception is at the bottom right in the local noise.  Secondly, talking about current, half of that current is in the radials/ground and is not radiated at all.

Now an off-center fed vertical diploe, or inverted "L" if the top is folded horizontally, has the advantage of the current fairly high up.

Here is where I disagree with you Howard.  If you can't turn a horizontal dipole, the vertical dipole puts it power (at a relatively low angle) and is good for skip and no power "wasted" straight up.  This makes it very poor for local rag chew.

The LOW dipole is great for cloud burning vertical radiation for local rag chew and emcom work but has very little low angle radiation for distant skip. Whereas the HIGH dipole is a different beast.

So the question remains, what do you want to do with the antenna?  Skip or local rag chew?  In many cases the Inverted "L" has a good mix of cloud burning and skip; just try and aim the horizontal part so your destination(s) are broadside.

Stan VA7NF

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Larry - WA7LZO

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"...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

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Ricky

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I would go with the GAP. They are also wide band versus the other 2 and MFJ is a pain to tune.


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Bill Roberts

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I'd strongly favor the GAP. They're much quieter than any quarter wave vertical. I've had Butternut HF 6V, 18-HT, or trapped Hustler. One vertical to consider is the MFJ 1792 or 3. They are less expensive and are more broad banded than Hustler or Butternut.
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KT0AM - Mark

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LOL! This has been an amusing thread to follow... So, there, Tony, good luck on your choice, glad we were able to help clarify things for you! Let us know which direction you end up choosing.

Cheers, all!
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Tony Hateley

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my head hurts lol
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Bob G W1GLV

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Tony, vertical antennas are a compromise. I had a GAP but got rid of it for a hex beam. Much happier with the hex.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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To Amplify what Bob Said...

Unless you have absolutely no other choice (or you are sitting on top of a salt water ocean and can put up multiple phased verticals) almost any other antenna will perform better than a vertical...

For example even a simple dipole will have a 2.3dB gain advantage in its favored direction over a vertical...

If in fact you have no other choice, then I would spend the extra bucks on a SteppIR Vertical as it is the least compromising vertical as it is actually resonant on every band without gimmicks such as large resistors or loading coils (except on 80) to fool the radio into thinking it is resonant...
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Brad - N6SPM

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Hi Tony,

Nothing will get Hams (or Engineers) going like antennas. I'm an engineer and have owned, operated and modeled many types of antennas. Here's my particular take.

I only operate DX and I live in a small tract-house in a congested Los Angeles suberb. I run 100W now, although in the past I ran my Henry Linear and a beam.

The best performing antenna I used was a KLM KT-34(A) - used both. Great antennas hands down. Trouble (for me) with beams is the total cost with towers and rotors, the major troble to put up and maintain/change as well as the limited number of bands most allow - tri-band being the most common. Nowadays I want bands other than 10, 15 and 20M and I want a simple setup.

Dipoles have so many obvious limitations, I only use them when I have to, but I have worked a fair amount of DX with them.

Trap verticals proved to be problematic over time: water and the like. Traps and high power are not my favorite mix. For that matter, verticals and power just don't make a lot of sense to me, but that's just me.

I'm presently using a Hy-Gain AV-640. I chose it because of the lack of conventional traps, lots of bands (all I want), and no radials. It was cheap and I had it up in no time at all. I'm tired of the serious work (and money) it takes to put up and maintain Beams/rotors as well as verticals with adequate radials. It *does* have a rather peculiar radiation pattern, but it works. I have worked hundreds of DX stations in the last couple of years all over the globe with this antenna and 100W, many during the last solar trough. I can't bust pileups, and I don't try to get dxpeditions on the first couple of days. However, with good operating technique, especially split, and emphasizing CW and digital, I do just fine thank you. Oh, and some will say the lack of radials ruins DX and causes RFI issues. Not true based on my experience. I already said I have all the DX success I want, and my neighbors (and my shack) are only 25 or 30 feet from the antenna: no RFI issues at all although I did add HF ferrite chokes to the coax when I made it up. Oh, and these old houses have 2 wire Romex - no real ground or shielding.

I can argue the technicals from my engineering background with anyone, but who wants to? This outfit does well enough for me and not too bad for a "resistor" :-) It's a hobby. Don't let the battle of the dBs and technicals worry you. Buy what fits your wallet and circumstances and enjoy the hobby. Compromise is not a bad thing.

73
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ai6re

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M y suggestion to anyone with a new 6000 series Flex would be a Hex Beam as it will function on multiple bands at the same time and does not need redials. I have talked to people with Hex Beams mounted as low as 15' to 20' and they still work well. I have a Steppir and it is a great antenna but really can only work on one band at a time. IMHO

Don
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Walt - KZ1F

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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
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ai6re

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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
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Walt - KZ1F

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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
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Well Tony

I can now understand why your head hurts.

Lots of totally different and conflicting opinions.... some based on theory... some based on experience.

Like Brad, I am a professional engineer and i have designed and built comm systems around the world     My ham radio antenna experience is based on having tried virtually everything on the market at one time or another.  A lot of my testing was paid for by clients so we could research alternatives.. and some of it was for our Contest Club group to see where we could squeeze out an edge...

I ended up with a SteppIR MonstIR @ 85' on a crank up tower because in the end it was NOT a compromise.. even with 100W I can break ANY Pileup, we can occasionally win a contest (1500W) and usually I am the first or second person (1500W)  to work a DXPedition.. but then for me compromise means finishing second or thirds...not something I like to do... 

Our contest group uses SteppIR's and a Force 12...  We have several verticals as well but they perform so poorly (except of the SteppIR Vertical which is the best of the verticals) compared to the Beams that they are hardly ever used except for diversity reception..

I don't like most commercial verticals because they use gimmicks like traps and resistors to fool the radio into thinking the antenna are resonant without any consideration of the radiation efficiency of the antenna.  Most commercial Verticals are compromises that have very poor radiation efficiency where lots of your power is lost in traps and resistors...


Ultimately it depends on your personal situation...   If you live where you can't put up a beam or a dipole then you are stuck with a vertical.

Still I would advise ..Spend as much money as you can afford on the best possible antenna system.
It will give you by far the best bang for your buck..

Don't be discouraged by Brad... I have had my Tower up Since Dec 19, 2004. and the MonstIR since March 12, 2005. with minimal maintenance issues.   Why?  Because I spend the $ up front to design and build it right the first time....
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Bill Roberts

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Just curious...  what makes Step-IR verticals so superior?  Aren't they just base loaded quarter wave verticals that require lots of radials and pick up lots of noise?  Yes, I know they can be tuned to a 1:1 SWR.  I'd think they'd suffer from the same limitations of other base loaded quarter wave verticals.  Never owned or used one.  Not an engineer, just a ham for 50 years.

Thanks in advance for your patient explanation.

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Jim Gilliam

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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.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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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....
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Walt - KZ1F

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As I said as well as the good Doctor and others, start with the best antenna system you can afford and local zoning will allow. Steppir also makes a vertical if that's the best zoning will allow. The Titan is good but not so much without the 6 squared mesh at ground level, not buried. Remember, a bad radio with a great antenna is better than a great radio with a bad antenna. That's where you should focus. Perhaps the first order of business is what is it you are allowed to put up. Next is what you can afford to put up.
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Terry K8EET

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Before you invest in a commercial vertical, you should do some reading about loops. If you have any thing at all to hang one from they are great antennas for limited space. 
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Bill Roberts

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Agree...  and they're quiet.
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Andrew Russell

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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

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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Tony:

You never answered the question...why are you restricted to a vertical?