DX antenna suggestions for newly licensed operators

Discussion in 'Antennas, Feedlines, Towers & Rotors' started by KF7RO, Jun 14, 2021.

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  1. KF7RO

    KF7RO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page


    I have two friends that are in the process of acquiring their tickets as techs, but who wish to progress to their general tickets as well. Both are interested in DX and are wondering what to do for a beginning antenna.

    I like my 2 element 3 band quad for 20, 15, and 10 meters, but I know it's not for everyone.

    I was wondering about what to recommend to them - perhaps either a Spider Beam, or perhaps a Hex Beam for their first units.

    It appears that the Spider Beam is more directional, but the Hex Beam is more sturdy, but this is only by website observation, since I've never used either one.

    Please give me your thoughts about what might work best in this situation.


  2. AK5B

    AK5B Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi John; Kind of a kick to see your call and QRZ page---I used to be a "7RO" as NH7RO a while back---and am also fond of Virginia City, NV (as well as the whole Silver State) and having lived a number of years in Santa Fe and Albuquerque---New Mexico is also one of my favorite states.

    I think a tri-band quad would be a great antenna to chase dx with, but that may be a bit on the ambitious side for a newcomer to implement right out of the gate. My advice is keep it simple and basic for starters.

    An elevated 20 meter ground plane with two or four radials or a simple center-fed traditional dipole would be great, easy to make and both would virtually guarantee them working dx right away---Cycle 25 is waking up now; a good time to start as a new ham. If they should build both and have a way to switch back and forth between antennas, all the better!


    WA8FOZ, WB5YUZ, WD4IGX and 3 others like this.
  3. N4UFO

    N4UFO Ham Member QRZ Page

    With some help to do the tuning, a cobweb would be a good starter antenna... I took down a mini beam and replaced it with a cobweb and was quite happy with it. No need to fuss with rotors and such. NO, it's not a beam and will not have the gain or rejection of a beam, but you asked for suggestions for beginners. I think a beam is rarely a 'first antenna' in my experience. That said, if you do want to recommend a beam between those two, i would say the hexbeam or maybe a mini beam of some sort. However the latter can be a bit to tune and have narrower bandwidth. - As usual, rarely is there a one size fits all solution. Good luck! :)

    73, Kevin N4UFO
  4. W1VT

    W1VT Ham Member QRZ Page

    15 CW is a good beginner band for working DX. Compared to FT8, there are fewer stations and the QSOs per 10 minutes is faster, so you have a much better chance of getting through.
    I normally use tree supported dipoles on 15M. But, if there is a DX-pedition scheduled, I can put up a full wave center fed dipole with a matching section to 50 ohms to give me a little gain.

    Zak W1VT
    WB5YUZ likes this.
  5. W4HWD

    W4HWD Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have nothing but wire antennas (check my page on here) and an R6000 and I work plenty of DX - it don't take much to build and string one up and they can be very effective (unless you put it in the attic). My latest QSL card is from Afghanistan! No towers, masts, rotators needed. For a beginner keeping it simple is the way to go and nothing is simpler than wires, a length of coax, some rope and a couple trees.

    Plus, if they decide ham radio is not for them they're not out much time, money or effort.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2021
    WA8FOZ, KI5WW, K5GHM and 2 others like this.
  6. AK5B

    AK5B Ham Member QRZ Page

    True enough, and once they begin to get the taste of dxing they might become inspired to delve further and further into building and tinkering with antennas (often more addicting than chasing the dx!) :D
    W4HWD likes this.
  7. W3TKB

    W3TKB XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    The other thing to consider is that not everyone can, or possibly wants, to erect large towers or masts, or have large arrays dotting their roofline.

    I don't have any HOA considerations to worry about where I live, but I DO have a wife that is very opinionated on how she wants our house & property to look. If she perceives a tower to be an eyesore, there ain't no way I'm getting to put one up, short of filing for divorce. But wire antennas are fairly stealthy, depending on how they're run, so I'm able to get away with a couple of those no problem.

    So make sure towers, masts, and beams are OK for your friends to put up before heading them down that path. Remember: a happy spouse keeps you out of the doghouse!

    K1LKP likes this.
  8. W4HWD

    W4HWD Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    True, it could go either way...I have a dream station that exists in my head, but I have neither the room nor the deep pockets to make it happen. Still fun to ponder, though.
    AK5B likes this.
  9. K1LKP

    K1LKP Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Remember: a happy spouse keeps you out of the doghouse!

    AMEN TO THAT................

    dog house.jpg

    THREE CHEERS FOR ........YES DEAR..............hihihi.....





  10. KI8DJ

    KI8DJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    The IMAX 2000 is a great 10 meter antenna they can use as techs and when they upgrade it does a very good job on 12,15 and seventeen meters with the built in tuner in the rig. Worked lots of dx on 17 and 15 with mine as well as 10 of course. Don't let the fact that its a CB antenna bother you it just works.
    UT6IG, G5TM and KD8WU like this.

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