Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by VK7HH, Jul 5, 2021.
I run thirty five 3.5 meter radials on mine
Mine has 41 radials, most are 7.5m long (10% of the longest band I operate). 7 connectors, 6 radials on each connector except one which has 5 (ran out of wire). One of the bundles is shorter as we have a picnic table under the oak tree and the radials off that side of the antenna stop short of it (they are about 4m long). The one request of my wife - otherwise she actually likes our antennas and has used them in her sculpture work. If not for the HOA, yagis would be flying but stealth is the order of the day. The DXC is the best multi-band solution I've found for our setup - ymmv. I do have a Tarheel but it is on the Jeep. Thought about running one in the yard but then you have to retune. One strength of the DXC is all bands all the time, so dual VFOs can sit on two bands and instantly be able to transmit on either.
Actually 42 radials would likely have resulted in better cosmic performance but alas...
I'm thinking of getting a DXC sometime soon, maybe once the exchange rates cool off. I eventually plan on running an amp with it. (1500w)
I've watched most of Cal's videos, but is there anything I should be aware of that's not obvious?
73 de W8IJC
Without reading every response, IMO there's never any "best," as the best is always bettered.
But in my experience, no ground-mounted vertical with any amount of radials ever beats a similar antenna elevated well above ground with tuned radials. I've just experienced this too many times and the elevated vertical (above the roof of the house or whatever it's mounted on, and above local structures) always wins, at least on the bands above 80m.
The installation of such may require more planning and is usually more permanent. But for a home (permanent) installation...worth it.
I put up a 10-80 DX Commander just before Field Day 2020, and took it down a couple of days ago. While it was up, it was mounted on a pole-in-ground, and due to some physical constraints the radial field covered an arc from WNW to ESE. I had 36 radials in that space.
While it was working, I made contacts world-wide, including Japan, Australia, and Asiatic Russia. As far as I'm concerned, it works and works very well. I would leave 80M off as it complicates tuning (at least it did for me-did finally get it though).
However, it's down now and will be replaced with a Hustler 6BTV with some of the DXEngineering add-ons. It may survive the outdoors long-term in a temperate climate, but where it freezes, I don't think it will make it long. I took great care with the build, adding silicone to waterproof the pole segments and 2 additional sets of guys. Unfortunately, it appears that something, perhaps water or perhaps strain on the pole from the mounting method lead to it splitting for about 3' in the middle of the first segment. I used some big hose clamps to get me through until I could consider a new antenna, but apparently the additional flex in the pole started the various elements catching on the hose clamps. I'd go to use it and all of a sudden a band wouldn't tune. I'm out there with a long pole trying to untangle things, usually with a flashlight. Not fun.
Finally, I got tired of all the PITA and took it down. The Hustler will go up after vacation. I'm going to rework the DX Commander into a 6-40 (I hope) portable, assuming I can figure out a fix for the split pole section that doesn't involve a new pole. It's going to become a portable antenna for when I'm RVing or for Field Day.
I would be interested to hear from other DXC owner about their experiences with the radials. Callum has a video about number of radials, and points to an article which concurs with some other technical articles I've seen, that says that once you get to about 16 1/4wave radials, you are reaching a point of diminishing returns. You will gain only small increase in efficiency for a large number of radials. Alternatively, you can make more 1/8th wave radials, and get a similar result.
My current setup is 16 radials each about 13ft. This is probably not ideal, but I'm a bit limited in yard space, and even so, I get out to Europe, Asia and Oceania quite easily on 40m. I can work EU and AU on 80m without too much trouble if the band is cooperating. I am curious what the results would be if I set up 16 20meter radials, for 80m. Maybe will try this winter when then snows come.
I've never had mine up for more than a couple of weeks, so no long term feedback here. I guess with a telescoping fiberglass pole, I just don't consider that as permanent .... permanary maybe
Because of what I had heard about tuning, I put on the 80 meter inverted L right off the start and tuned all the rest of the elements with it on .... eazy peazy and very consistent!
works very well for me no mater where OR forest to AZ dry desert, as well as N. NV on top of snow installation.
I did find that an extra bundle(2 wires) of long radials under the 80 meter inverted L element made the SWR for both 40 and 80 drop appreciably.
My attempt to elevate it with tuned radials failed...... I guess I didn't have the patience for it..... 20 and higher no problem, but 40 and 80 were my problem children with the radial lengths.... gave up! I have a buddy who put it up on his roof with all his short radials and it works for him well... he sounds good with it.
One last weird comparison.... I have an old basket case SteppIR vertical, that I converted to a portable setup. It works very well too and is faster to setup than the DX.
It's a very subjective feeling, but I think my DXC has done a marginally better job for me....purely seat of the pants no hard data.
I've seen a lot of people on club outings spend two hours (and more) trying to get a Commander to work properly on all bands. I have to say I don't know why they bother.
It takes 60 seconds to deploy a monoband vertical, the matching will be stable, predictable and low SWR (typically 1.2:1). If you want another band, put up another pole and wire, or just pull the dead band wire down and stick the active band one up; takes seconds. It really is much simpler, neater and cheaper.
i have one also. It’s 20 years old. It’s super finicky to tune but it’s working great. Mine is ground mounted with 60 radials. It’s definitely a DX takeoff angle. I can usually hit 16K miles no problem.