I moved

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  • Updated 1 year ago
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So we finally relocated, out of HOA hell and out on an acre of land with very few neighbors (one I can see across the street).. Imagine if you will tearing your entire shack down and starting over.......anyway getting setup again and trying to figure out how I really want to set things up.  First I discovered with my "temp" antenna setup (Alpha Antenna) that electrically this area is VERY quiet as compared to where I was.  Just installed the new version of SmartSDR and got it finally working (thanks for the assist).  Now I have installed WSJT-X again and find this new mode FT8, got it working and WOW are there lots of folks on there.. busy busy busy..

So here is my question:
Any suggestions on the WSTJ-X Graph / waterfall?  I can not seem to get it to look right..

Second, and feel free to say (if I had that space i'd do......) I have a 43' vertical I have not setup yet, it does require ground radials but right now I am trying to determine the optimal location on the property for it, but am thinking about a second antenna and tower, like maybe a Hex or Spider beam.. thoughts?  suggestions?

My equipment is as follows:
Flex-6500 with GPSDO
Elecraft KAT500
Elecraft KPA500
43' vertical (ZeroFive)

I also will be setting up in the future my SAT setup, I have the SAT PAC a rotor and 2 transverters (elecraft)

Thoughts?  Suggestions?

Thanks in advance
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David Warnberg

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Posted 1 year ago

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Mark WS7M

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Congrats Dave!

Wish I was in the same boat...

I think the antenna decision really depends upon the following factors:

1) Your interests, what you want to do
2) Your budget
3) What you and your significant others and neighbors will put up with

I have always wanted a tower and a beam.  The idea for me would be a 65 foot tower with a Monster StepperIR on it.  I'd also hang some OCF or other types of wire antennas for lower bands.

This is a big investment.  Probably one I will never make but it is fun to dream.  The think about the stepperIR antennas I love is that your match is pretty much always optimal.

That being said if you are not into towers and beams the next best solution I can suggest is an elevated loop.   If you can find the space to put up about 280 feet of wire where the broad end is up as high as possible and the narrow end (feed point) is lower, near where you can get your feed to, Delta loop, it is my experience that this antenna will work 160m through 6m with a tuner.

I will not argue that it is certainly way less than optimal at 160 or perhaps even 6m but it does work and with a good tuner you will get a match.

If you can do open line that is great but if you want to do Coax then get a balun from Balun Designs.  I use a 2.5 to 1.  They are high power so you won't get a lot of heating.

This is a cheap antenna.  The Balun is like $100. The wire perhaps another $100 then some ropes and pulleys if you have some good trees.

Mark - WS7M
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David Warnberg

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Thanks Mark.. that's part of my quandary I want to do it all, I was at one time a MARS operator, a frustrated one at that in the HOA.  Had not really thought about a steppIR..
I was looking at that MONSTER of a antenna Sentinel Barrett Broadband (all band) Hex Beam Antenna... Lots of trees on the property, pines mainly tops about 40' 45' or so.. I did play with end fed wire antennas at one point (trying to be stealthy) again the electrical noise where I was was horrendous but this opens so many new doors for me...

Thanks for the suggestions
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Mark WS7M

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Wow well if you have 45 foot pines to get you started I'd do the delta loop.  Get the broad end up real high in the trees and feed it either open line or balun.

This antenna will do extremely well until you receive your Tower and MonsterBeam.

Be sure to update us on antenna install pictures as you make progress.
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"Any suggestions on the WSTJ-X Graph / waterfall?  I can not seem to get it to look right." Compared with the SSDR waterfall, the WSJT (and kin) graphs are pretty darn ugly. I've been using JTDX more lately for other reasons (same ugly waterfall). This is what things look like at the moment on 20 M along with the settings I'm using. All I use this graph for is to find an empty place to either call CQ or respond to DX (I don't have TX=RX locked).

I love my hex beam. It sits only about 10' off the ground and probably has a pattern like a dropped raw egg but it is quiet and surprisingly directional for such a low elevation. I also have, in the closet where it does me no good, a look antenna I need to set up for receive only. My current go-to antennas are a dipole fed with 600 ohm ladder line (which, as much as I love it, has some real problems I hadn't considered before) and an OCF which loves to turn my wife's TV on and off and change channels and such. Things I can fix... but probably won't. When things warm up a bit I'll be pulling down the old dipole and putting up a new one that will cover down to 160 meters. All this on 1 acre (long and narrow riverfront). So... my suggestion here is, don't stop at one. Cover the sky!

Final suggestion... have a blast!

Kev K4VD
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David Warnberg

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Thanks Kevin
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Mark WS7M

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Hi Kev,

The spider beams are a great option too.  If some people move on in our HOA I might try putting one up and see what happens!!!
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I meant to say:
I also have, in the closet where it does me no good, a loop antenna I need to set up for receive only. 
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N5LB - Lionel B

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Congratulations David on your new found freedom. Isn't it nice to actually plan an antenna install.

I got out inJuly 2017; feels great!
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roger na4rr

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Cant go wrong with a hex beam for the price.  I'm one of those 6m freak's.   So I am in the process building a 6m 6ele LFA antenna.  I looking to again beat my friend in the 6m June contest. I use 43ft vertical wire in the rv for 40 meters. No radials other than the rv frame.  It works local and dx great.
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Rory - N6OIL

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Hey Roger, are you building one of the designs Justin G0KSC has on his website? I'm looking at using Chris' design but only a single and not stacked. http://www.gare.co.uk/6m_antenna/
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Ken - NM9P

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If you are going for a tower, first decide what antenna you want, then get the tower based upon how much you need for an antenna one or two steps bigger than the one you want. Ecause eventually you WILL want to upgrade. Lol.

On a practical note: a hex is a great antenna for the money, but is subject to wind damage. There are a lot of them out there and have a good reputation.

A good simple antenna that is a little more money is a T-8 log periodic. 8 elements and performance on all bands 20-10 of about halfway between a 2 and 3 element monoband. Good and simple compromise and NO regular maintenance. If you want to add 6 Meters, get the T-11. It is just over $1050 US. I love mine.

Next up would be trap Yagi arrays or log-cell arrays like the TH7 or TH11DX. The TH11DX is about $1300-$1500 and kicks serious butt, especially on the higher bands where it has essentially t elements on 10 Meters.

The ultimate, but relatively Low wind load SteppIR series can get you 3 elements on 40-6 Meters for about $4000-$4500. Ballpark.

Then there are the really big antennas that I can only dream of.....

If you have the space, try to get the beam up 65 - 70 ft. Then you can also put up an inverted L for 80 and 160 from the same tower with little trouble.

In 160 season, just run a couple elevated or on ground radials and you can do well. Not as good as a field full of wire, but I got 160 WAS with a 35 up and 85 over inverted “L”.

Any beam up 30+ feet will outperform a 43 ft vertical on 20-10 Meters.
My T-11 averaged 2 S-Units over my wires and verticals on 20-10 Meters.

The verticals outperformed dipoles at 38 ft, on 30 & 40 Meters. And the inverted L was much better than full dipoles on 160 and 80 at 38 ft height.

The best advice, though is get something up and start playing.

Ken - NM9P
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Tim Nolen, KE4UK

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I was fortunate enough to be able to write the HOA bylaws for my neighborhood and my lot is 2 acres. I have 2 towers, not to high, and a 6 element hex beam. My wire antenna is my own makeup with a full 80 meter loop and an 80 meter inverted vee . They both are fed at the same feed point with RG8 coax. SWR is 1.2 to 1 at 3.926 mhz. works great. It is also fun running the flex 6300 remote mobile through the hex beam. 
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Winston VK7WH

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Congratulations David on the freedom you have gained from your move.

I also would recommend a 6 Band Hex Beam plus wires ( Fan Dipoles for 80M, 40M & 30M) as an economical solution with good performance, covering nine bands with only two 50 ohm coaxial feed lines plugged into your 6500 or Linear

My K4KIO 6 element HexBeam was originally only on a 20 foot high guyed pole and together with the Fan Dipoles, gave me 230 countries (SSB & CW only - no digital) in 15 months. A great Bang for your Buck.

Exciting times ahead for you.

Good luck and good DX

Winston VK7WH