G5RV or Carolina Windom?

Discussion in 'Antennas, Feedlines, Towers & Rotors' started by AG6TA, Jul 17, 2008.

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  1. AG6TA

    AG6TA Ham Member QRZ Page

    I would like hams who have had both G5RV's and Carolina Windoms to give me feedback about which one was better over all or which antenna does one particular thing better than the other.

    kg6zan <<johnorzel@yahoo.com>>
  2. W5LDA

    W5LDA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Simple,,,Go for the Windom
  3. N4EDX

    N4EDX Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have a "new" Carolina Windom

    I was given a Radioworks "Carolina Windom" which was set-up for 40 meters.

    I added the correct measurements of copper strand, 50ft on one side and 83ft. on the other side of the balun which makes it right on 80 meters..

    Here is the weird thing... after I replaced the 10 ft. radiator with the correct 22ft length of coax, it would tune fine on 80, and parts of 40.. but beyond that it was not as friendly... So just for fun, I put the 10ft. section back up between the balun and choke. Well here is what I found...
    It will work 160 .. not great, but 80,60,40,20,10 all ttune right up in just a second or so and most amazingly 2 meters ! I run an old TS940Sat and the tuner is slow at times.. but I get great reports, when I put up my 100ft. tower a couple weeks back, all I used was my Windom.. all bands .. and 2 meters was kicking.. worked some 150 miles out on 2 !

    All in all.. I am very happy with my free windom ! With my experience at field day with a G5RV, I'll prob never buy one of those... Try a windom.
  4. AC0GR

    AC0GR Ham Member QRZ Page

    I was not going to respond to this thread because I had not actually 'used' both types of antenna. But thought perhaps my experience in choosing would help.

    I was looking into which of these antennas I wanted to build for field day last year. I finally decided on the 80m windom because of a web page that contained a side-by-side comparison of the SWR and complex impedances of the two.

    Sadly, I cannot find that page now. Perhaps Cebik?

    But essentially, the windom's SWR stayed below 3:1 on all bands from 80 thru 10. Where as the G5RV was as high as 20:1 on some bands.

    I was very pleased with the results, and this antenna is now one of my favorites. My setup is a bit shorter than recommended, only getting 28ft off the ground at both ends, but it tunes up very well, and was very easy on my autotuner from 80 thru 6m. I have not yet tried tying the ground and shield together for 160 yet.
  5. W4PG

    W4PG Super Moderator Staff Member Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I'm not surprised with the SWR of the G5RV. It's designed to be used with a tuner and being fed with twinlead, will give decent results with little loss in the feedline, something you can't do with a coax fed dipole.

    I have an OCF dipole, but the SWR sucks on all bands. I'm sure it's because the antenna is held up in the center with a 20 foot metal mast on the roof and it's not too far from the roof. From what I hear, the OCF dipoles need to be very clear of anything remotely representing possible interference with the RF. I will soon have one end up on my tower and FAR AWAY from the currently interfering stuff, so I'll be interested how it performs then.

    Both antennas need to be kept clear of objects, especially the feedline of the G5RV. While it makes sense for ALL antennas to be kept clear, my experience with standard dipoles fed with coax is they are much less susceptible to nearby objects and work VERY well as long as you're in the 2:1 SWR bandwith.
  6. KI4TWB

    KI4TWB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Have never used a G5RV, but am very happy with my OCF dipole. That's almost a Windom, right? ;)
  7. K4SAV

    K4SAV Ham Member QRZ Page

    I noticed that so far you have received no responses from anyone who has A/B tested these two antennas. I'm not surprised. Even if someone did that, it would be an extremely difficult evaluation since the antennas have different patterns. It is most likely that any station you listen to will be better on one antenna than the other, and when you change to a station in a different location, the results will probably also change. Any answer you get will most likely favor the antenna that has a maximum lobe pointed toward the location with the most hams.

    Seems to me that a much better evaluation could be made from a NEC analysis of the two antennas.

    You should be able to get some experimental data on RFI problems associated with these two antennas, especially when using high power. I have heard many accounts of RFI problems with off-center-fed antennas when using high power.

    Jerry, K4SAV
  8. PA5COR

    PA5COR Ham Member QRZ Page

    No RFI in the town, running 1200 watts from 160 to 10 on an Fritzel FD-4 with AMA 83 balun, nor my homebrew OCF with 1:6 and 1:1 balun, used here on Jota/Joti, holliday etc, both lengthened with an 190 micro Henry coil and 30 feet wire on the short side for 160 meters.

    An OCF is easily build so build both and try them out.
  9. W5DXP

    W5DXP Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've used both G5RVs and Off-Center-Fed dipoles. They have somewhat different radiation patterns. The main difference is the G5RV doesn't work well on 30m, 17m, 10m and is marginal on 15m. The G5RV is a good antenna for 80m, 40m, 20m, and 12m. If you want to confine operation to those 4 HF bands, I would recommend building (not buying) the G5RV.
  10. KC9HFZ

    KC9HFZ QRZ Member

    I have a G5RV up about 25 ft at highest point,,,, and I live in Central Indiana and have talk to Cuba and Canada off i....SWR wise mine is tune 1.4 : 1 and does a great job....

    Good Luck
  11. N3IK

    N3IK Ham Member QRZ Page

    Depends on your operating requirements

    I have used both antennas. I did modify my G5RV per Bill Orr's article in CQ back about 1981 which inproved the swr on all bands. Basically each leg of the G5RV was cut to 47 feet (94 ft total) and the 300 ohm matching section was cut to 28 feet and a coax choke used at the feed point. This antenna works quite well on 80 thru 10 plus does fair on 6 and 2 meters.

    The Carolina windom worked very well on 80 and 40 but I did have problems loading it on bands above 20 meters. 15 meters especially was difficult to load. After a summer of expermenting with the windom I took it down because the G5RV suited my purposes better. Later I built a double size G5RV so I could work 160 and have been very happy with this antenna.
    N3IK, Ike
  12. G0GQK

    G0GQK Ham Member QRZ Page

    The G5RV was designed in 1946 for 20 metres in the days before the four bands we use today, 10, 12,15 and 17 metres were available for radio amateurs. Most users of the antenna use the internal ATU provided by the tranceiver manufacturer. Is anyone aware that 20% of the power from the rig is lost in the ATU ? A test was recently made in Britain with an item of OFCOM's highly expensive equipment, and it was found that using a TS 570 only 46% of the 100 watts was being transmitted.

    Perhaps the best antenna is a Windom but having got it loaded on all these bands do you know where your RF is going ? Perhaps most of it is at a very high angle. I suggest that an external ATU be used in preference to those power hungry internal ATU's
  13. W5DXP

    W5DXP Ham Member QRZ Page

    20% of the power is 0.8 dB = 0.13 of an S-unit. "I'm sorry, OM, but your signal has dropped from S7.13 to S7 and I can't hear you any more.":)
    GI0BDX likes this.
  14. AI4IJ

    AI4IJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've had a G5RV up as an inverted V with the feedpoint at about 70 feet. And, I don't ever have to do that, again. If I needed a dedicated antenna for 20M, I might would choose a G5RV - but, only if I could have only one antenna for 20M and no ability to rotate it. As a 20M antenna, it's decent. But, the feedline losses are prohibitively high (for me) for many of the other bands. There are many superior multi-band options - the Carolina Windom being one of them.

    While I have not used a Carolina Windom, I don't have to have used it to recognize the benefits it enjoys over the G5RV - not the least of which is the lack of a need for a tuner. Being 100% coax-fed can also be an advantage.

    Regardless of which of these you choose, I would advise that you build it yourself.

    And, of course, my favorite wire antenna is a five band Hex Beam for 20M, 17M, 15M, 12M, and 10M. It, too, can be home-brewed for a lot less than you can buy one. I also like parallel, or fan, dipoles.

  15. W5DXP

    W5DXP Ham Member QRZ Page

    Absolutely true for 30m, 17m, and 10m - also somewhat true for 15m. If someone wants to work HF bands besides 80m, 40m, 20m, and 12m, the G5RV is NOT a good choice.
  16. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    ::Yeah, it's a bummer when that happens.:p
  17. K0EWS

    K0EWS Ham Member QRZ Page

    I like my G5RV, but I really use it only on 75/80, 40, and 20 meters. I have it up about 40 feet and in a flat top configuration. I really like the job it does on 20 meters.
    A Carolina Windom does a great job on all the bands. I think it's a great antenna, and if it were my only antenna, I'd take it over the G5RV.
    My favorite antenna for an all around wire one is an 88, or 44 foot doublet. I used an 88 foot doublet for years, and really liked the fact that the antenna patterns were always predictable. Go onto Cebik's site and search for the article "If I could only have 1 wire antenna." He recommends an 88 foot doublet for anything 80-20 meters, and a 44 foot doublet for anything 40 meters and up. Of course, these are to be fed with ladder line, twin lead, etc. As a matter of fact, I'm getting ready to construct a brand new 44 foot one. I had an 88 footer that broke last fall, and I'm going to replace it with a 44 this time.
    I use my G5RV OK on 80 and 40, and 20, but really miss 30, 17, and 15 meters. I'm going to put it up about 50 feet in the air, and it will do nicely. It's one of two remaining summer antenna projects. (The other is to elevate my 6BTV)
    Good luck!
  18. K0RGR

    K0RGR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I've used both, and 'it depends'. Frankly, if they're both high enough off the ground to operate correctly, they're both reasonable antennas. But, I think I would favor the Windom. I had one mounted between two very tall trees down in Iowa, and it was a very solid performer on the lower bands. It doesn't work on 15 at all, nor 30 meters. I built a homebrew Windom once that did work on 15, and outperformed the commercial Carolina Windom. As I vaguely recall, it consisted of two off-center-fed dipoles, one cut for 80 and the other cut for 40 meters. Each dipole was fed at about 1/3 of the way from an end, and the two dipoles sat at a 90-degree angle to each other. I fed them with a 4:1 voltage balun, which was all I had available at the time. This worked very well until I ran high power to it, and destroyed the balun. A proper current balun, 6:1 ratio I think, would be a big improvement.

    My dad used homemade G5RV's and many variants on it for many years. He favored them for their ability to be forced to operate reasonably well on MARS frequencies, often far removed from the ham bands. He eventually did away with the coax feed altogether, and fed the G5RV as a doublet with open wire line. This worked better. He built several 'high-efficiency' antenna tuners for balanced lines. Sadly, I didn't inherit any of them.
  19. WA8RTI

    WA8RTI Ham Member QRZ Page

    I got my Icom 746 Pro in '06 and put up a homebrew G5 (102' overall length). The center was at about 38' and the ends were at about 10'. From May to November (when the wind took down my wooden mast) I worked 30+ countries mostly on 20 and 17 meters. My biggest suprise was working several Europeans on 40 meter SSB. The internal tuner had no problem on finding a match on 80-10meters. I've never used a Windom but the G5 is a decent multiband compromise if you can't put up a beam or single band dipoles.
  20. WA7OET

    WA7OET Moderator QRZ Page

    I am perplexed when I read that RV's dont work on 30, 17 and 10.... no one ever defines "doesnt work well." Are you referring to SWR? I use a G5RV fed with open wire line and it works great.
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