Brian: AC2YI Hi Everyone: I just bought a 6600 and I need some advice on what antenna to start with.

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I just got my ticket in December 2018, so this is my first radio.  Just wondering what type of antenna I should be putting up to take advantage of this radio with all of it's capabilities?

       Brian AC2YI
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Brian Hollister

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Posted 5 months ago

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Zack Schindler - N8FNR

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Well of course money is the deciding factor. I do not have unlimited funds. I wish that I could have a large tower with a huge yagi but sadly I have not been dealt the cards to achieve this.

In my opinion the SteppIR antennas are the best HF antennas as they do not use traps. They move back and forth to the length needed for any given frequency. My SteppIR BigIR moves a metal strip in housing to create a 1/4 length antenna at any frequency from 7-54MHZ. They are not cheap though. "The SteppIR technology has had a profound impact on improving vertical antenna performance over that of traditional designs – there is no substitute for having a true 1/4 wave vertical on every frequency within the coverage range, without having to “trick” the antenna into being resonant.  Being able to adjust the length of the element allows the SteppIR vertical to be mounted nearly anywhere and still provide a good match to your transceiver. As with all 1⁄4 wave verticals, ultimate performance depends a good radial system. SteppIR verticals can be ground mounted or elevated above ground."

This is the antenna system I have for my 6400. 
1 A SteppIR BigIR with 80M coil. https://www.steppir.com/shop/vertical-antennas/bigir-mark-iv-vertical-antenna-40m-6m/
2 An SGC-239 tuner in a box on a tree. It has a 130 foot long inverted L antenna for 160M. http://www.sgcworld.com/239ProductPage.html
3 A Pixlel RX loop antenna for 160-40. https://www.dxengineering.com/parts/dxe-rf-pro-1b
4 A Directive Systems 6M 3 element yagi https://directivesystems.com/50-mhz/dsejx5-50/ turned with TV rotor.

One of the cheapest. fastest ways that you can get on the air is to get an SGC tuner, put it in a waterproof box, run some radials and then get the main element made of a random length wire up in a tree. This could be easily done for about $300. I used one for years and worked a lot of DX with it. It is not a perfect solution but will get you on the air. Take a look at this: https://www.sgcworld.com/Publications/Books/stealthbook.pdf

Your rig has diversity reception. You really should take advantage of that if you can with 2 RX antennas and at least one good transmitting antenna.

Always use good coax like this for example from DX Engineering: https://www.dxengineering.com/parts/dxe-400max
(Edited)
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Dwayne - NA6US

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As much antenna as your location and budget can support.
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Justin - KL2D

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I’ll second what Dwayne said!
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Steve

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Dwayne..GREAT answer
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Dan Trainor

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A  dipole.
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WX7Y

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Put up 2 Multi-band Fan Dipole's you can build your self with wire and PVC pipe (one dipole element per band for each Antenna Port) and no tuner required if you cut the wires to the right length.  You-tube video if your a new bee https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAlPQbf0SV0

This way you CAN have the 6600's two separate Receivers going all the time and not mute the Receiver on the NON transmit Antenna port like you do with a single Antenna. 

73's
Bret
WX7Y

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Brian Hollister

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Thanks, Bret for the great advice!!
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WX7Y

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One thing about 2 Antenna;s 90* apart from one another you can ALSO use diversity Receive for some cool noise cancelling. 
Bret
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Mark - WS7M

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Hi Brian,

Welcome to the hobby and to Flex radios.  the 6600 is what I have and you have a beast of a radio that will do more than you can probably do for quite some time.

In general, Dwayne had the best answer.  Put up the nicest antenna you can afford.

But being new to the hobby you need to get a handle on what is it you want to do.  That may take you some time.   So the other answer, two fan dipoles is a good way to start so you don't spend a ton of money.

So the next thing you need to do is spend some time operating and figure out what you like to do.  Since your ticket is new you are probably not a code operator.  So you will be up in the voice bands.  Tune your antennas to work best there.  Get a good antenna analyzer and use it to prune your antennas for a low SWR in the phone bands.

If you are interested in code and want to learn it is a great thing to do.  You will need to operate lower in the band.  That requires a longer antenna but having an antenna analyzer will help you a lot.  Look at "Rig Expert".

Currently we are in a sunspot lot.  So with a 6600 and no amp don't expect to be working the world all the time.  Sometimes you may but most of the time these days to get any kind of off US contact you need an amp.  But before you get an amp, learn what it is you like.

You might like simple SSB contacts.
You might love digital.  Check out WSJT-X and FT8  It is fun, lots of stations there and contacts are easy.
You might be challenged by CW and want to learn it.  So get a key and practice and make some contacts.

In the end, the best investment you can make in your station, beyond your Flex 6600 is your antenna.  If you can afford a tower and a StepperIR antenna then go for it.  You will not be disappointed.  You point that thing at a station, let it tune and off you go.  they work great.

Mark - WS7M

(Edited)
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Brian Hollister

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Thanks, Mark for your advice.  It was greatly appreciated!!
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John KB4DU

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I agree with Mark. It isn't hard to put up a dipole, but it is hard to put something better than a dipole. Antennas get into the area of religion, so be prepared for some passion on this topic.

As Mark said, start with something relatively simple, then grow or change as your interests change. I found that I mostly enjoy portable operation, so I don't have a big antenna investment at the house.

I use a fan dipole inverted vee cut for 40 and 80. I also use an automatic external tuner to operate the same antenna on 20, 17, 15. An antenna will radiate all the power fed into it, whatever the configuration. Line loss may be a factor at high SWR, but even 3db line loss is only 1/2 S unit, hardly noticeable during my normal ops.

For my Elmerees, I suggest two things. 1) Put up your antenna first, maybe before getting license or radio. After the radio/license arrives, the temptation  is to just put "something" up to get on the air which may be pretty marginal. 2) Consider upgrading the antenna before adding an amplifier. The antenna helps on receive and transmit, where the amplifier only helps on transmit. $1000 on antenna will usually increase station effectiveness more  than the same spent on amplifier, if you have the room. A 600 watt amplifier only increases the transmit signal 6dB, 1 S unit, over the 100 watts of the flex.

YMMV
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Brian Hollister

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Thanks, John for the good advice. It's good to have a lot of input from experienced operators.
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Pat N6PAT

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Get yourself a Hustler 6BTV vertical. For $200 plus add on kits for 12, 17 and 60 meters  you can have a 9 band (10 if you use a piece of wire to add 160 like I did - email me for details)

How well does it work with just 300 watts? Check my QRZ page.
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Gene Duprey

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I'm using a Off Center Fed Dipole from My Antennas.  Works really well, and fits my small lot size.

Gene - K1GD
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Steven Linley

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A Center-fed Zepp or G5RV (ZS6BKW version) and if possible, raise the center (inverted V style) 66 feet or raise, Center and both Ends to 66' (and keep the antenna wire as straight as possible (dipole style). And bring the feed line straight down, making a T (if dipole style) for at least 33 feet.
Sure, you hang a wire antenna any way you can and it will still get out, but with less range.
A Hex beam (2 element moxon) works well with minimal height but a 2 element Quad works much better if you have a 70' tower because of its lower angle of radiation.