Antenna or Amp

Discussion in 'Antennas, Feedlines, Towers & Rotors' started by W9EMM, Jun 20, 2020.

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  1. W9EMM

    W9EMM XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Here is my situation I have an Icom 7300 and a GAP mono band 20 meter vertical dipole. I have done some DXing but would like to have a better chance of getting through pileups.

    I have a limited space and budget would I be better off buying something like a Cushcraft MA-5B compact yagi that can be mast mounted or something like an Ameritron AL-811H amplifier.

    I am not sure if a compact yagi antenna will be any better than my GAP vertical.

    I am an old guy new at ham radio was on my bucket list since High School not trying to live my dream
  2. KI8DJ

    KI8DJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Try the beam first it will help reception as well as transmission. Horizontal antennas tend be quieter as well. You can always get the amp later.
    WD0BCT, WB5YUZ, KE5OFJ and 6 others like this.
  3. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    If you're using only 20 meters and like DXing, I'd go for any decent antenna that covers more bands. 17m can be way more "open" than 20m (earlier in the day); 10m/12m has Sporadic-E ionospheric propagation (right now, June, is the peak month for that) you won't find on 20m (20m is too low a frequency); 40m can be way more "open" than 20m after 20m fades out (40 is especially good for propagation to the "west" around sunrise, if you're an early riser); 30m is a very good CW-digital mode band for DX; etc.

    An MA5B or similar "mini beam" will probably work better than your monoband vertical most of the time, but of course only in one direction at a time so you certainly need to rotate it...and its takeoff angle won't be so beneficial for DXing unless you can install it at least 33' above ground level. Double that is better.

    I'd always go "antenna first" when possible, and then once the antenna is as good as it's going to be, determine if an amplifier will be really helpful when and if you find you hear a lot of stations fine who simply don't hear you! If you find you can work 90% of anything you can hear without an amplifier, you've just saved some money.:)
    KL7SG, KK4NSF, WB5YUZ and 2 others like this.
  4. W9EMM

    W9EMM XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thanks for the Info.
  5. 1KT01

    1KT01 QRZ Member

    W9WQA, KB2SMS, KK4NSF and 6 others like this.
  6. W1FBV

    W1FBV Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have no personal experience with respect to the MA5B, but, from reading about it, it appears hard to tune and doesn't provide much gain. If your current antenna is ground mounted, I would raise it as high as possible and go for the amp.
    AK5B likes this.
  7. W9EMM

    W9EMM XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Is a Cushcraft MA-5B compact antenna better than my Gap antenna? If it is not then I would go for an Amp
  8. AE1N

    AE1N Ham Member QRZ Page

    Most will tell you go for the antenna since reciprocity says your transmit antenna gain will also be your receive gain. But you don't need to go to antenna extremes. By the time you buy the tower, beam, rotator, these days I would first get a 500watt amplifier, then start improving the antenna system.
    ---Layne AE1N
    W9KEY likes this.
  9. AK5B

    AK5B Ham Member QRZ Page

    Are apples better than oranges?

    I would get the MA5B (beware the cap hat rods come loose over time), put it up as high as possible (don't forget you'll need to rotate it) and get the amp, too. I'd also install a remote switch so I could add more antennas over time---we need all the tools we can get with this low solar cycle now.

    K6LPM and PU2OZT like this.
  10. W9EMM

    W9EMM XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I am new at this but do realize that a compact antenna will give up something gain. I hear stations running power 59 or better, but my report will be something like 55 or 56 so maybe an amp would be the way to go. That is why I ask the question thanks for your reply.

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