The big storm of yesterday was a good durability test for my rebuilt Hex. The antenna itself survived the high winds without any problems. However, the 70 Euro cheap-ass rotator’s gears broke and we had to emergency-haul the antenna down to minimum height in the middle of the storm and heavy rains late last night to stop the antenna from spinning out of control. Today, I dedided to go for a brand new Yaesu G-450C rotator from local ham gear supplier GB Antennas. I understand these rotators are pretty durable and provide enough strength for an antenna like this. If weather permits, I will be back on air just in time for the upcoming CQ WW DX Contest next weekend…
SSB QSO with Namibian scout with callsign V55JOTA on 10 meters October 18, 2014, 16:36 UTC
Building your own antenna is fun and very rewarding when it really works!
Meet version 2 of the G3TXQ hex beam antenna I put up last May. One of the spreaders teared in high winds last weekend so I decided to completely rebuild the antenna before the windy winter season kicks in. Version 1 worked well but resonated some 500kHz below the desired frequencies. So up to the rebuild. The spreaders were made from telescopic fishing poles, I decided to go for much more robust fiberglass rods with steel reinforced rings and compression clamps. The base of the rods now has steel tubing inside of the fiberglass to avoid cracks when tightening the u-bolts. I spent more time to details this time and it has a much better look. Electrical changes: Added 4 ferrite clamps to the existing 4. The original wires were stainless steel and I decided to go for stranded bare copper this time. I used the same wire lengths as before and resonant points are now spot on. The stranded copper wires also improved the SWR an Z-mag bandwidth. I can now turn off my tuner permanently because on all bands the SWR is below 1:1.5 or better. 20 meters is even below 1:1.3 on the entire band. First QSO this morning was Christchurch New Zealand and got a nice 5/9 from Jason ZL3JAS. It broke my max QRB (long path:13219.7 miles or 21275.1 km) and added a new DXCC (#96) to my log. So my sunday turned out well. I’m a big fan of the Hex Beam antenna. Its relatively compact, very broad band, low wind profile, easy to build and light-weight.
Extra thanks to Rico PA3BVK for his ever kind assistance!