Receive Four Square System

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Does anyone have any experience with the Receive Four Square System from DX Engineering?  There are no ratings on it and am looking to see if this system will fit the bill for a high quality, improved receive antenna system for my application.

Considering the purchase but do not want to pull the trigger until I get a better idea of what I am getting into here.. have plenty of space now to put on up.

Thoughts?

Thanks
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David Warnberg

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  • undecided

Posted 4 weeks ago

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Gayle Lawson

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David:

I do not have any experience with the antennas, however, below please a couple of E-ham review links(not clickable) that you should take a look at.  The German review will make you a believer, the DXE system was compared against beverage antennas.

I have been looking at this set up for a while but can't get my self to dig into the wallet.   I have an acre in town, the TX antenna uses elevated radials, I'm worried about the radials  re-radiating noise.  Also read the DXE manuals regarding RX antenna placement near fences, and buildings.   I have confirmed 68 countries in the last two winters using a K9AY receive loop set up and a reversible BOG.  If your like me you need to hear that next lower level of DX signals .  Hope this helps.  At my QTH the BOG and K9AY are about equal.

Hope this helps, It raining here so back to winding transformers for a multi K9AY array in an end fire configuration.

Gayle K0FLY

Reviews Categories | Antennas: HF: Verticals; Wire; Loop | DX Engineering ARAV-4P Active Receive Verticals, 4 Pack

Reviews Categories | Antenna Switching, Phasing, Controllers | DX Engineering Receiving Four Square Antenna Switch
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David Warnberg

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Thank you... I have been debating over the purchase myself.. we did recently move out of the city (HOA hell) onto an acre of land and just purchased the 1 acre lot next door for a future separate garage / workshop... 

Yes I am at that point where I want to hear that next lower level of signals I know are there.  Been testing an RBOG but still not quite what I was hoping for.

I will look over the reviews you sent and continue my research..

Thanks for the info
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Ed Stallman

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I've played with RX ant for the past 20 years for 160 and 80m doing most of my work on 160 . If the RX ant work good for you 160 , 80 will take care of itself , I started with beverages, loops and rotatable Waller Flag . All were at some point better then my TX ant . I then went with the Hi-Z RX 4 SQ . Trying to save money and labor , The location I selected was not the best . I was picking up noise and could never detune the fence or tower to remove the noise . My next and last step to the next level was a quieter location and more directions ! I went with the YCCC 8 circle , they call it a YCCC 9 , theirs one in the middle . Away from fences , towers and power lines . Hi-Z makes a very nice 8 circle . I didn't have the 200ft needed for the Hi-Z 
I will say the Hi-z or YCCC 4sq or 8 circle are ur best chaises . How well it works will depend on how quiet ur location is . Some are claiming good luck close to fences or metal buildings . I don't think theirs a one recipe fits all . I find it very exciting to hear the rare DX on the low bands , making all the work worthwhile . 
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David Warnberg

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Thanks Ed
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Gary NC3Z

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Another option is the Array Solution's Shared Apex Loop. It takes up less space (although you said you have no issues) and uses the coax for all control logic. It is electronically steerable in 8 directions.

I run a SAL-30 and I have been blown away by it's performance on the low bands. I can hear things that others without a RX antenna can't hear. 

https://www.arraysolutions.com/antennas/receiving-antennas/as-sal-30-mk2
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David Warnberg

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Interesting.. I will check it out.. thank you
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Rory Sena

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Hello Gary, did you consider before buying the SAl-30 on building your own? I saw QST did a how-to many months back.
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Gary NC3Z

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No, but I did make my own conversion from the Mark I to the newer Mark II. I know there are some who did build their own. I wanted a control box that looked more professional than I could cobble together.

If I had space (I have 8 acres but that still was an issue) I would have done several 600' beverages as they would have been more cost effective. But all my prime open space was taken up by the TX verticals.
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Rory Sena

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Yeah, I whis I had more acreage for a bev but 2.5 acres is not enough and with a 2500sq house on the middle of the property really limits what you can do.
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W7AH

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In January I installed a DX Engineering 160m Thunderbolt Vertical Antenna for transmitting on 160m and a DX Engineering Receive Four Square System for receiving both 160m and 80m. With the help of these antennas, FT8, and a FLEX-6600 I was able to go from about 50 countries to more than 100 confirmed countries on 160m in about 4 months.

At least for me, the DX Engineering Receive Four Square System worked well on both 160m and 80m, but I do not know how it compares with other receiving antennas. 

I should mention that generally I used two slices on my FLEX-6600, where the 4-square was used as the receive antenna on one slice and either one of my 160m dipoles or the Thunderbolt 160m vertical was used as the receive antenna on the other slice. As long as I had the 4-square switched to the right direction, it generally performed better than the other receiving antenna, but occasionally on FT8 the best receiving antenna would switch from one 15 second period to the next. Perhaps that was due to the large distance between the antennas.

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David Warnberg

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Thank you... sounds similar setup to what I am looking to have.. I already have a 43' vertical that will work on 160 meters.. just do not hear all that great.

Question.. what is your Four Square Configuration?  i.e. how long down one side?  Also are you using the HF Preamp at all?

Thanks
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W7AH

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I used 98 ft sides because I wanted to use the 4-square for both 160 and 80m. The HF Preamp helps.
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Lasse Moell

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I am currently using an active loop from LZ1AQ which does work nice on 160. I hope to squeeze in two more and have a phased array of loops that may be even better than a 4SQ rx antenna, you find a lot of useful information on LZ1AQ web page.  Not too expensive, and one can go easy start with one loop or a crossed loop. I do notice that there are noise reradiated from my transmitting antenna, and putting a null in that direction does give me 6 dB improvement of SNR. Wish my 6500 had diversity, as previous posters says, often propagation varies and the TX antenna can be better than the RX antenn. Now I have one receiver for each antenna and try do the diversity in my head :)
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HCampbell WB4IVF

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There are plenty of good reviews of the DXE array on Top Band, etc., and in my opinion it is a good choice for 160/80M.  But since I don’t have a beam antenna of any sort for the higher bands, and since the beverages are not very directional on the higher bands, I’d probably go for the Array Solutions Shared Apex Loop (SAL) to augment my beverages.  They make 3 versions, each optimized for a range of frequencies (frequency range of each is quite large and they overlap), take up much less real estate than the arrays, and seem to stack up quite well against the arrays:

https://www.arraysolutions.com/antennas/receiving-antennas

And an interesting video of the SAL vs. the HI-Z array:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9joJ3knUYPM

Array Solutions make great products, and Jay, the owner, is always responsive to questions.

Howard


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David Warnberg

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Couple questions, just how accurate does one have to be placing antennas for a four square system?  Lets say 70' sides, what is an acceptable margin of error?  1", 3", 6", a foot?  I have read elevation should not exceed 10% of side length, does this apply to each corner placement as well?

I'm on a fairly heavy wooded and brush lot and would be clearing some for the system, just wondering how much work it will be..

Second question, they mention staying away from fences (wire fence in my case), how far would be acceptable?  again 70' sides.. 10', 20', 50', 70' what is an acceptable distance?

Just trying to figure out what I might be getting myself into here.

Thanks
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David Warnberg

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If anyone is interested, they recommend no more than 2% error based on side length... so 70' sides each corner should be within 1.4' with less than 1% being ideal.
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David Warnberg

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UPDATE:   So I pulled the trigger on the Four Square receive array from Dx engineering.  Cut a few corners for now (not as long of sides as it will be someday) as I just moved, bought the lot next to mine and there are lots of trees, bushes, etc.. to clear yet.  Am planning to build a separate garage on the new lot where my check will eventually reside.

So at this time I have put together the array in the back corner with 35' sides (less to clear) and have been testing.  First, at this size array the delay control lines are critical, side spacing is critical for best performance.  I am also working with poor soil conditions for grounding (I can take an 8' ground rod and shove it in the ground by hand about 4').  I still have a few things to do to improve on the array but here are my initial thoughts.

First I do not notice an increase in signal strength compared to the 43' vertical I have, however what I do see is a LARGE reduction in noise floor.  With the 43' Vertical I used to spend lots of time trying to filter out all the noise to hear a station, now I simply flip over to the array, get it pointed the correct direction for best signal and I can hear them.  Second I can now reduce static crashes greatly by pointing the array a different direction (HUGE bonus here in Fl).

I do have a few more things I still need to do, one getting the Feedline current choke in place (ran out of ground rods).  I still need to get the sequencer setup (right now just listening) and I think I will use a preamp to help boot those weak signals a bit.  Lastly if all goes well I may have to do the ole stack 2 ground rods on each corner (16' depth) I did this on the 43' vertical and it made a noticeable difference even with 36 ground radials down.

So far, I'm impressed.. even at 35' sides the array works well and has helped me to hear those stations that I could not hear before.