A question for DXers, just got a hex beam, need some advise...
Last week I went from a rotatable dipole to a hex beam I'm very happy with it's performance. Around dusk, I try to work japan on 15 meter cw. On the dipole I had moderate success when conditions were right. Yesterday, I heard japan for the first time since installing the hex beam. To my surprise, I rotated the hex the full range and never peaked the signal, it stayed the same.
I live in eastern NC. About 100 mi from the coast, center of the state. What direction does my beam need to be pointing considering the grey line. Also, I'm not sure I'm on the grey line 100% of the time.
How high is your antenna?
Originally Posted by KB4MNG
To find the direction to any station, look them up on QRZ, click info and read the "bearing" direction.
Beam direction from Central NY to Japan will be around 330 degrees.
The hexbeam seems much more directional on transmit than on receive, though you'll certainly want to be pointing toward the incoming signal. With that said, you sometimes won't hear a difference in signal strength regardless of where your beam is pointed. This seems particularly true of very strong and sometimes very weak signals.
I'm not sure I understand your statement about the gray line. You'll only be "on the gray line" twice per day - once at sunrise and once at sunset. The directions you'll point your beam to follow the gray line at those times varies a bit based on the time of year - the angle of the gray line at your location changes with the seasons. In general, the morning gray line for the US favors Europe and Africa (beam Northeast) while the evening gray line favors Asia (beam Northwest) and S. America (beam Southeast). In other words, your propagation to Japan in the morning is not gray line.
You can see gray line maps at http://www.w8mrc.com/dx/propagation/
Yeah, nobody's on grey line for very long, since it's continuously moving at about 1100 mph.
But from NC to JA isn't a tough shot; if 15m doesn't work well, try 17m, it can be better. Your short path beam heading is indeed about 330 degrees, but a Hexbeam is probably +/- 30 degrees wide at -3 dB points, so don't go too crazy about precision.
I'd think if you notice no difference at all as you rotate the antenna, something's not right. Could be the antenna's too close to the ground or some other reflective surface (metal roof?).
A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.
-- George Bernard Shaw
Brian, if you want to look more at propagation, grey line, path predictions, bearings etc, then it's worth downloading the VOAPROP and/or HAMCAP programs. Both very simple and intuitive to use.
GQRP 11767, SKCC 10219.
I use a hexbeam, see http://www.k4kio.com for a picture of my antenna. I'm not sure how the antenna could RX differently than it can TX. Anyway, if the antenna is only up 20 or 25', it won't be very directional.
Originally Posted by N7SMI
The hex is about 30 feet. Normally there is a big difference rotating the hex on a signal but that was not the case with japan.
On 10 and 15 metres point your antenna towards Europe when the sun is setting in the UK about 16.00 UTC, it won't last long, about half an hour