Next upgrade: Hexbeam Antenna?

Discussion in 'Antennas, Feedlines, Towers & Rotors' started by KM4TIN, Nov 7, 2016.

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  1. KM4TIN

    KM4TIN Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I'm going to be upgrading my license from Technician to at least General very soon and would like to update my antenna "farm" with a multi-band Hexbeam for 20-6m DX work. No HOA or local regulations to worry about, and no overhead powerlines. I'm currently running an FT-857D as a base with a 1/2 wave 10 meter dipole on the roof. I also have a 3' tripod tower with a 5' mast supporting a 2m/70cm Diamond antenna. I hope to move the Diamond to a chimney mount and install a hexbeam with rotator on the tripod. I am looking for suggestions and gotchas before I procure the hardware.

    Thanks in advance and 73s,
    Jon KM4TIN
  2. N4UP

    N4UP Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I am a big fan of the hex-beam. I bought and assembled the K4KIO version and it worked very well on 20-17-15-12-10 meters. It had the 6m elements, but I didn't try it on 6m. Mine was mounted on a 1.75" military surplus push-up guyed mast. At 20 feet it performed quite well. Even better when I raised it to 25 feet. Mine did not require a tuner, and handled high power without any problems.

    My first caution is to have help when installing, raising, or lowering the antenna/mast. While the antenna handles moderately high winds just fine, it is nonetheless a fragile antenna. In my case I was adjusting the guy ropes by myself and one of the guy ropes got away from me, and the whole thing came crashing down to the ground, braking several of the support arms ( and hurting my feelings ). Now I have a much better antenna ( 10-element LPDA ) on a 72' motorized crank-up tower, but I am thinking of buying another hex-beam as a backup.

    My second caution is simply to get your feet wet on HF before investing too much money. The solar cycle is in decline, so the higher bands are not as vibrant as they were a few years ago. Even so, there are openings and DX to be worked. My caution is simply not to have unrealistic expectations. In my opinion, the hex-beam is much better than a dipole or a vertical, but with declining solar conditions, you might also want to invest in a better radio. I say "also" because in my view an upgraded antenna comes first, then a better radio, and lastly an amplifier.
  3. NH7RO

    NH7RO Ham Member QRZ Page

    Not sure if you get much snow or ice in Virginia but if you do it will be wise to invest in the heavy-duty support ropes for the spreaders. My memory is not so clear whether or not these are an option on the KIO hex; I think they were several years ago when I was in a place where I could have put one up; perhaps they are standard items now.

    I know the KIO and just about all of the other hexbeams on the market tend to get rave reviews so have fun getting on HF when you get yours in the air. Everything Peter said is good advice, too. Although propagation on the bands above 20M is declining rapidly now there will still be occasionally openings hither and yon (even sporadic E on 10 and 6M regardless of the sunspot cycle) so you should still be able to enjoy some dx occasionally.

    Don't know how high you will mount it above ground but 30-50 feet would be about ideal; do get some help when you put it up as it always weigh a lot more once it's assembled and ready to hoist (standard antenna rule to live by).

    73 (not 73's!), Jeff
    KC8VWM likes this.
  4. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    It would be good to know the design characteristics of the 3' tripod and exactly how it's installed. The 20-6m Hexbeam is a much bigger load than a 2m/70cm vertical.

    The Hexbeam will also need a rotator, so unless your tripod accommodates mounting a rotator on a plate inside the tripod, you'll need two masts: One in the tripod with a rotator on top, and another one above the rotator for the Hexbeam. Make sure the masts are strong enough for the job, especially the "lower" one supporting the entire load.
  5. W5MCU

    W5MCU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Jon, I was in the same boat as you and decided to upgrade antennas incrementally. My YL isn't too fond of my 'tower talk' and will probably have to trade the purchase of some expensive patio furniture for tower approval. In the meantime, this weekend, I put up a Zero 5 multiband vertical. (Think of a huge 'CB' base antenna). First contact was Brazil on 20 meters middle of the day from North Texas! Running 100 watts, not bad at all.
  6. KC8VWM

    KC8VWM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Most activity is going to occur on 40m and below as we head into these sunspot doldrums.

    So don't neglect to install that wire antenna to operate on these bands too.
    W2CSI and NH7RO like this.
  7. KM4TIN

    KM4TIN Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Excellent advice from all!

    I have a Rohn Tripod Roof Tower (5') attached via lag screws to reinforced roof rafters. And yes, we DO get snow and ice in Northern Virginia, see this link and KIO does offer Kevlar spacer and support lines. I definitely plan on guying the antenna mast as well as install a rotor and thrust bearing.

    I do plan on getting a radio specifically for base operations and move the FT-857D into my truck permanently. I am strongly considering the Yaesu FT-991A for its DC to Daylight as well as digital and waterfall capabilities. But first, the antenna!

    I will keep my 10 dipole up, or perhaps upgrade to a multiband 40/80 meter dipole, space and cost permitting.

  8. W2CSI

    W2CSI Ham Member QRZ Page

    I order a Hex beam a few days before Christmas. One box has arrived and other parts are on back order. The back order parts are should be here by 1/3/2017. I hope to work some of you guys on 20 meters when I get the Hex beam up and going.
  9. KE0EYJ

    KE0EYJ XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Seems to be good opportunity to work 20m at greyline, these days. Sadly, it's mostly the same players, around here, between Europe and Asia.
  10. NH7RO

    NH7RO Ham Member QRZ Page

    You're already getting jaded with that new Moxon, Derek. Tsk, tsk.

    Be thankful for whatever DX you might run across during the next 8-9 years.;)

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