“Best” Multi-band HF Antenna ?
I am looking for good ideas on multi-band HF antennas. I have two constraints: No tower and No tall trees nearby. The antenna can be ground/roof mounted or elevated on a mast of up to 30’ long. It can be directional or omni-directional, wire or ridged. I have a wide-matching-range antenna tuner.
I would be particularly interested to know of any great antennas that are: vertical/horizontal dipoles, “no-radial” verticals, “cobwebs,” stealth, mobile, portable/transportable, multi-polarized, “magic,” etc. - anything out of the ordinary. However, they must work well. What is/are your favorite HF multi-band antenna(s), in two categories?
1. Antennas with which you have some actual experience
2. Antennas you think look great but have not actually used
IMO (and I've been doing this 46 years and have installed hundreds of antennas) there's certainly no "best," and for the most part, there isn't even any "good" if you're restricted to 30' above ground on HF.
However, with that kind of restriction in mind, one of my favorites is a horizontal full-wave loop, supported by four 30' masts or poles. Loops are cool because they're easy to match on all harmonics, both odd and even; so an 80m loop which is only 285' in circumference or perimeter will work most of the HF bands without a big mismatch. That's pretty slick for a single antenna made of wire and costing almost nothing.
Of course the same antenna works better when it's 60' above ground. But keeping your restriction in mind, it's not a bad multi-band solution that doesn't take up much space and isn't expensive at all.
You don't need any towers or trees, just four 30' tall poles.
The Cobwebb is five fullsized dipoles from 20-10m and it works great at 33ft high. I use mine in conjunction with a 75ft inverted L for the lower bands tuned by a SGC 230. Every now and again, there is a station that can be heard better on the L than the Cobwebb though and I would say you need two antennas because there are times where a vertical will work better than a horizontal.
The ideal is a beam so you can send power wherever you want.
My experience is with multi -band wire antennas such as the doublet or G5RV. I would recommend these types for their simplicity and ease of use. They also perform well on their design frequencies. Personally I wouldn't recommend a vertical antenna as it has been said they radiate equally poorly in all directions!
An antenna which I don't have but think would perform well is a rotatable dipole.... and a beam of course! Best of luck!
The rougher the seas, the smoother we sail!
Richard, I live with CCR's and can't have an antenna showing. For the past 7 years, I have been using a long wire that is up under the eaves of the house. It runs around most of the house in somewhat of a U pattern. I have worked DX into Europe, Japan, down south. Also have worked all but 5 states. I am using an Icom radio with the AH4 antenna tuner. It works great.
The other day, I converted the long wire to a loop, again using the AH4 tuner at the feed point. In other words, the hot post on the tuner is attached to one end of the loop and the ground post to the other end of the loop. Not a perfect setup because the whole antenna is probably not more than 10 feet off the ground. But it is working and I am getting out.
It is an "olde wyves taile" that a vertical is an antenna that radiates equally as poor in all directions. A properly installed vertical is an excellent antenna. However, because of the low angle of radiation, it is not a good antenna for distances out to around 1000 miles to 1500 miles. As such, they are very good for working DX but not so good for working more "close in" stations. Since the majority of operators are not primarily interested in working DX (although most will take a DX contact without any problems), they judge a vertical by the fact that working the more local stations is very difficult.
Especially on the lower bands, phasing verticals even lowers the angle of radiation as well as giving gain. Again, this improves working DX but definitely restricts working the more "close in" stations even more.
The fact that "close in" stations are much harder to work using a vertical is why that antenna has, for many decades, been called an antenna that radiates equally in all directions.
The best situation is, if you don't have a tower and directional antennas, to have both vertical and horizontal antennas. That way, you can pick and choose the antenna that works best for the conditions at the time.
It has been shown time and again on the forum by those who use EZNEC modelling that a horizontal dipole installed properly and cut for the band outperforms a vertical both on DX and NVIS everytime. In fact a vertical shows no marked improvement in low angle radiation. This is not an old wives tale but a proven fact!
The rougher the seas, the smoother we sail!
I've been using a multi-band (6-80M) no radial vertical mounted on a 5ft mast strapped to a chimney about 30ft above the ground... So far, it seems to be working great as being in the midwest (southern IN), I've made contacts as far south as Belieze & Costa Rica, all over FL, east coast, MN, TX, and AR in just the past couple weeks I"ve had it up... It has a coil at the base and didn't cost too much.. Not as good as a inverted V dipole, but respectable performance IMHO. It's made by jetstream.
K2POP, you didn't say if you have a budget requirement for your project. If your budget allows a hexbeam antenna might just work for you. I have been researching this guy and looks to be a very good preformer for a rather small antenna. I haven't seen the cobweb antenna design as of yet so I don't really know if it is the same as the hexbeam guy.
6 bands are possible on some designs (6M - 20M)decent F/B ratio/forward gain for this antenna. The designer of this antenna (G3TXQ Steve) posts here on the Zed all of the time. From looking at past posts, Steve looks to be very forthwith with answers if you happen to have any questions about the antenna. I would do a search on the hexbeam here in this Forum and see if it might just fit your needs. Gd luck on your project.
Thank you, Mike. I have been considering a loop under my eves (at about 20' agl.) I have also looked at a dipole, ocf dipole, or random wire in a "U" shape under the eves. However, I was concerned that they might not work well because they would not be "in the clear." As WB2WIK said in post # 2, I am sure they do work better if up high and in the clear. Apparently, though, they do work in less than ideal conditions. Is you loop any better than your "U"? Our home is a little southwest of you in Oceanside. Can you think of any reason that a U or loop would not work as well for me?
Originally Posted by WA6UIJ
Glen, post # 6 said that a vertical might be good, too. Does anyone have a favorite vertical antenna? What other favorite antennas do you have - wire, ridged, vertical, horizontal, portable, stealth, etc.?? I appreciate your input.