Hexbeam vs. Spiderbeam vs. Urban Beam

Discussion in 'Antennas, Feedlines, Towers & Rotors' started by K0LWC, Mar 24, 2019.

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  1. K0LWC

    K0LWC Ham Member QRZ Page

    My 60' EFW just isn't cutting it for me. It does well, but I wan't to get a better antenna in the air. I'm comparing the Hexbeam, Spiderbeam and SteppIR Urban Beam.

    Anyone care to share their perspective on each antenna? I'm under an HOA, but I'm going to go for it and wait for the letter in the mail. If they say I have to take it down the next step may be a dipole between two telescoping masts at 45-50 foot. My wire is pretty stealthy right now and they haven't said a word.



    I'm thinking the Urbanbeam might be the most likely to sneak past my neighbors/HOA eyes, but let's be real. None of these antenna are stealth by any means.

    Most important considerations for me include:

    1. Can be mounted on a single mast (25-35 foot) with the smallest footprint possible
    2. Can be turned with a light duty rotor
    3. Can handle wind as we have lots of that here on the plains of Colorado
    4. As easy to assemble and maintain as possible
    5. Overall antenna performance between the three antennas.
    Thank you in advance for sharing your knowledge and experience!

    73 ~ K0LWC
  2. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I'd go for the Urban Beam and call it a TV antenna.:)

    Some advantages: No "wires," and it can work on all frequencies between its highest and lowest resonant frequencies, not just in the ham bands. Should certainly handle high winds well, and also icing if you get any.

    Disadvantage: Probably the most expensive solution.
    NH7RO likes this.
  3. WB5THT

    WB5THT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Urbanbeam sneaking past your neighbors? Only if they are legally blind. :p
    KK3Q and N6UH like this.
  4. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Have you seen one up close?

    I have.

    It's not much, and looks a lot less than a Hexbeam or a Spiderbeam.
    NH7RO likes this.
  5. NH7RO

    NH7RO Ham Member QRZ Page

    I second this excellent suggestion and will further suggest purchasing a bottle of Jim Beam to celebrate with once it's been installed.
  6. AC6LA

    AC6LA Ham Member QRZ Page

    For those who enjoy modeling here's a study comparing the SteppIR UrbanBeam with a G3TXQ (SK) Broadband Hexbeam:


    And here's a study of the Spiderbeam:


    This one compares a Spiderbeam with a Broadband Hexbeam, part of a marathon 26 page thread:


    Dan, AC6LA
  7. US7IGN

    US7IGN Ham Member QRZ Page

    I had a homemade spiderbeam. This is a great lightweight and efficient antenna. Can be put on a simple mast and lowered if not used.

    KC8VWM and K2CAJ like this.
  8. KC8VWM

    KC8VWM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I think the choice is going to be more about what you are intending to use as a structural support for the antenna. You can get away with a telescopic push up pole to hike up a Hex or Spider Beam, but it isn't going to support the weight of any beam antenna constructed from aluminum very well, if at all. That's going to require either a tower, telephone pole or a roof top mounted option.

    In terms of what looks cleaner / better when it's up in the air from a visual impact perspective, I really do think an aluminum Yagi does look better. You don't necessarily need to get a SteppIR, there's many other more economical solutions that will work very nicely but anything along these lines is going to require a beefy rotor which doesn't meet item # 2 of your outlined criteria above.

    Now don't be ruling out a multi band rotatable dipole either. These are visually clean to look at, have a smaller footprint and don't appear to be the same kind of monstrosity to the neighborhood as the appearance of a multi element Yagi and they can also be installed on a cheap push up pole quite nicely too. They can also be turned using a light duty TV rotor, require little, if any maintenance and the fact these are steerable antennas in the first place means a rotatable dipole does in fact offer increased signal performance over any kind of fixed non steerable wire antenna. So there's at least a few additional benefits of using one of these instead of a wire antenna or even a Yagi beam right there.

    In my case, I am currently using both a 176' long flat top wire antenna at 50' and I also have Tribander 3 element Yagi at around the same height. Quite frankly, I got to tell you the difference in signal strength is not especially dramatic between the two. Perhaps around 2 S-Units when I aim it directly at them, but the main advantage is the Yagi can focus in one direction, while nulling out everything else in other directions which helps a lot during contest like conditions. I think if I didn't have the Yagi up, I would be perfectly happy with using my wire antenna as it would be good enough for government work.

    However, the wire antenna has been getting used more often than the Yagi does lately because the higher bands the Yagi is designed to operate on are dead because of limited sunspot activity. So I guess i'm not sure what you think the Yagi is going to do for you any better than the wire antenna does exactly, but it sure isn't going to change current band conditions on 10m thru 15m or anything. If you can't already hear anything on the wire antenna now, the Yagi isn't going to really change that to any especially significant extent. So that's just my perspective from someone who has both kinds of antennas in the air and it might be something to think about.

    Hey, best of luck either way you choose neighbor but if I were you I would get myself a multi band rotatable dipole. :)
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2019
    K8XG, KB2QQM, K2CAJ and 2 others like this.
  9. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    The Urban Beam isn't aluminum, as far as I know.

    But I do think it's "less ugly" than a Hex or Spider beam. Then, I don't think any properly installed beam looks ugly; the higher they are, the less ugly they are since they start looking really small.

    A tribander at 200' looks like a small TV antenna from the ground.:)
    KB2QQM, K6GB, US7IGN and 2 others like this.
  10. NH7RO

    NH7RO Ham Member QRZ Page

    What about putting up a tall flagpole with plenty of radials and a remote tuner? Might perform better than you'd expect (especially on 20 & 40m at this point in the doldrums).

    If you do end up with the UrbanBeam I'd suggest painting the whole thing Dish Network grey and retracting it to 6m whenever not in use, too.
    KC8VWM likes this.

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