As a Tech studying for his General Class, I am making my ham shack ready for the future. As a result, I would like to know what Coax is recommended (RG-8, etc?) for HF and also if anyone has any good HF antenna recommendations, in the $100 to $400 range. The antenna will be mounted likely on my apartment roof, vertically.
A very good question.
If you are working on a short run of 50 feet or less, I would use RG58/U. This has a 2dB loss per 100 feet and a 1dB loss is minimal on HF.
If you are working 100 feet or more than I recommend RG8/U. The loss is about 1.2dB per 100 feet.
These 2 cables are on the cheap end of the coax line.
Many now have gone to using RG8 mini instead of RG58/U but the cost increases. This cable has a lower loss than RG58/U but is higher than RG8/U
LMR600 is a good replacement for RG8/U. The loss is extreemly low compared to RG8/U but the cost is up there.
I guess it depends on frequency, lenght, power, stealth, etc.. Beldens web site gives you all that information and the best suitable cable to fit your needs. except stealth of course.
I use RG58/U only when I have to. I use RG8/U whenever I can. This is rather inexpensive and has a low loss for HF. Its a larger diameter cable so it is not the most stealthy cable.
One more thing. If you plan to go beyound 200 feet than hard line is where you want to look. The loss is extreem for any cable on a run like that.
Hope this helps you.
Bill - there's not one answer to your coax question. I suggest you obtain one of the Wireman catalogs and read it through completely. They explain the various types of coax and which to use for which application. One thing for sure - if you don't buy your coax from Wireman, look it over VERY closely for voids and/or lumps in the outer jacket. I made the mistake of buying RG-213 type coax from another large vendor and there were voids in the jacket large enough to allow you to see the shield inside when the coax was flexed. I sent the coax back to them, with the bad places market with yellow tape, and they said there was nothing at all wrong with the coax. The coax I've purchased from Wireman has always been of the highest quality and their customer service is excellent.
73, Floyd - K8AC
West Jefferson (Ashe County), North Carolina
Ok on the coax answers. As to the antenna, the most efficient vertical antenna around in my opinion is the butternut vertical. Can't beat it's performance except for a full size 1/4 wave vertical.
I agree there's no single answer to these questions.
The Butternut HF6V or HF9V is indeed a good antenna, but is a bit finnicky to tune, and definitely requires radials (or it doesn't work at all). If you have room for radials (you can buy the Butternut "roof radial kit," and they're all pre-built and ready to attach) and don't mind spending a bit of time on a stepladder making adjustments, the Butternuts do work well.
GAP antennas have no adjustments, and may be easier for you if you cannot spend time making adjustments or won't have any access to the antenna once it's up.
There's lots of stuff on the market...search around, and check the product reviews.
Regarding coaxial cable, I don't recommend RG58/U for any use outdoors other than very temporary. Of all the cables amateurs use, it's the worst, mostly because it's thin, frail and fragile. If it were electrically the world's most perfect cable, I still wouldn't use it, because mechanically it has too many problems. At only .195" outside diameter and made mostly of polyethylene and very thin copper conductors, you can literally pull hard on it and snap it in two. Walking on it is not a good idea. Running it around tight bends, especially any "blind" bends, can destroy it. It's just weak.
RG213/U, at .405" diameter and considerably greater strength, is a far better choice. An excellent "direct burial" grade of RG213/U is available from Cable X-Perts for only about $.50/foot. Even if you never intend to bury the cable, this stuff is designed using a very tough, strong jacket material that is guaranteed to last a very long time, even in the hot sun. The Wireman, Davis RF and some other cable speciality distributors carry similar material.
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