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Author Topic: Thoughts on HF verticals  (Read 1864 times)

Matt285

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Thoughts on HF verticals
« on: March 04, 2020, 0041 UTC »
So. I'm waiting for my HF rig to be repaired (fingers crossed) and thinking about installing a multiband HF vertical with multiple ground radials. Likely a Hustler 6 BTV since I enjoy working multiple bands and cant really get my 135' OCF Dipole up high enough to be super effective. Don't get me wrong I do work some DX here and there, but it's nothing like when it was at 65' (Different house) What are your thoughts on Vertical performance and what is your setup? Thanks

Offline nickcarr3151

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Re: Thoughts on HF verticals
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2020, 1108 UTC »
Heh, well, I purchased the 6BTV and it quickly became a lesson in futility and endless frustration.  Granted, I learned some harsh realities due to the experience but it was a complete waste of time and energy.  I went for the 'lower-cost' solution and that backfired. 

As they say, YMMV, but I would stay away from these kind of verticals.  They promise everything but require an extreme amount of patience. The biggest problem is that you need to assemble everything 'perfectly' from the start.  Presuming you do this correctly then you need to assemble the complete antenna and then tune (each trap) from lowest band (80m) and work your way up.  It may require tweaking each trap a little bit here and there.  So to say that you'll likely have to bring down and put up the antenna a few times is also an understatement.  You may get 80/40/20 right but then the 17/10/6 traps are way off.  Or better yet, you get 80 then 40 and then 20 tuned -- but then 80 is suddenly out of whack.  Yes, it was like whackamole.

What pissed me off about my 6BTV experience is that I finally got mine tuned for 40/20/10 (but no others would come close) and then after a few uses, one of the traps failed.  There was some arcing inside and all I found was scorch marks on the trap.  I was only running 100W too.

The *happiest* moment was tearing the thing down and throwing it in a box.  I was planning to throw it out but someone offered me shipping costs to mail it to them.

I'm pretty happy with my current antenna -- but it is a compromise:  https://zerofive-antennas.com/productdisplay/10-40-meter-groundplane-freestanding-vertical-antenna-unun

The 10-40 GP doesn't require any ground radials and is (relatively) easy to install.  It still requires commitment to do it right -- which after my 6BTV experience -- I did do it right the first time.  :)

If you have a lot of grass and don't mind doing the radial work then consider this:  https://zerofive-antennas.com/productdisplay/43-foot-10-160-meter-multiband-foldover-vertical-antenna-unun

Just note the 43ft'er is a VERY LARGE ANTENNA.  It's not for the timid.

FWIW, vertical antennas are noisy compared to wires.  If you have the space (and I really mean space here...) then it may be worthwhile.  I would ONLY buy a high quality vertical though.   Read all of the instructions PRIOR to buying one of these.  Also search YouTube for videos.  They will be valuable to learn what's required in terms of parts, tools, accessories and the commitment.

Here's a good idea of what's involved.  The author went with DXE's 43ft vertical kit:  http://www.k8jhr.com/files/43_ft_vertical_antenna.pdf
Perseus SDR + Wellbrook ALA100LN (60m loop), Wellbrook 1530S+
ICOM 7000 + Zero-Five 10/40 GP Vertical
Xiegu G90
Motorola XPR/XTS Portables, Uniden scanners, Whistler Scanners
Airspy Mini SDR + DSDPlus + Diamond D3000N Discone

Offline ThaDood

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Re: Thoughts on HF verticals
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2020, 1952 UTC »
I've always done great with upper HF VERT antennas, from 20M on up, but for 40M and below, in 2007 I tried out Shunt Feeding my 50ft tower that I had at the time. Simple set-up, a Yaesu FT-857D transceiver, MFJ-941D manual tuner, and a simple Shunt Feed to the tower using only four 100ft GND Radials. How did it work??? So-so on 100W TX on 160M, 75M, 60M, and 40M. I already had a 40M dipole, and no way did the Tower Shunt Feed beat that, but it was less noisy on RX. TX tune-up on the preceding lower bands seemed easy, but when I broke-in to several nets, several times I'd get back, "You are not strong, but we could hear you above the noise level." I actually had gotten into a 160M net in PA where folks said the same, "Not strong, but can hear you." 160M is the band where they seem kind of snobby, if you aren't at least an Arm Chair S+20/9 copy, they don't want anything to do with you. RX was a totally different story. Just about everyone was coming in at least S+20/9, and very, very low noise floor. But, medium wave was the big surprise! In the middle of the day, NYC's big 3, (660kHz, 770kHz, and 880kHz.), were all coming in at an S9, and NYC was 300 miles east of my QTH at the time. I was hearing 1kW stations from+100 miles away! So, on MW, that Shunt Fed Tower was a MW DX king. I didn't keep it for long, since I'd gotten rid of the tower, the FT-857D, and that 1,800ft ASL property, to get the hell out of Western New York. So, if I every do a Shunt Fed Tower as a VERT again, next time I'll invest into at least 20 100ft GND Radials. How do you do it? Just type in the search engine "Shunt Feeding A Tower", and several neat sites come up with various methods to do so. I still want to run a VERT insulated wire up the trunk of the tallest tree where I am now and see what that does. 
Don't accuse me of judging a book by it's cover. I'll read the Table Of Contents.

Offline Josh

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Re: Thoughts on HF verticals
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2020, 2155 UTC »
As said, unless getting the ant cheap, stay away from traps. The 43ft fiberglass ants seem to work better, but their cost is way out of line, far as I'm concerned. The neat thing about the 'glass ants is you can double the length of wire to the top, linear loading it that way. Also chared traps aren't restricted to verticals, have a few Mosley classic tribander traps here that didn't like nearby lightning strikes.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2020, 2158 UTC by Josh »
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Offline Brian

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Re: Thoughts on HF verticals
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2020, 2213 UTC »
I have very limited experience with verticals on HF but I do own a Hy-Gain multiband antenna.

I carried out an A/B test against my Inverted V. I tuned the vertical for best SWR on the frequency I was using (wasn't concerned about the other bands). 150 watts AM on 48 mtrs.
Using the Inv V, a friend could receive my signal at about an s9 on his Grundig portable ~80 miles away.
On the Hy-Gain vertical, he could only just detect a signal.

Reception of my signal on an SDR ~470 miles distant was different. About an s9 on the Inv V and s8 on the vertical.

When the weather improves, I'm going to drag the Hy-Gain out of the shed and set it up properly using my recently acquired (and brilliant) NanoVNA .





Matt285

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Re: Thoughts on HF verticals
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2020, 2355 UTC »
I ordered some SO239 connectors today and have some good aluminum material to experiment with a small vertical for 20 or 30 meters. I plan on building some other dipoles anyway and quick connection will be a plus. My current Icom HF rig is out for repair. When I get it back I can test different options. Well see how it goes. The Zero Five 43' Vertical is a wish list item at this point.

Offline Σ

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Re: Thoughts on HF verticals
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2020, 0000 UTC »
- Rob

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Offline nickcarr3151

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Re: Thoughts on HF verticals
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2020, 0011 UTC »
Verticals can rock if it's done right.  It just takes proper planning and a little monkey grease to make it work well.  Oh and loads of $$$ don't hurt either!  ;D

In some cases they are better than Yagis... don't have to rotate a vertical!   8)
Perseus SDR + Wellbrook ALA100LN (60m loop), Wellbrook 1530S+
ICOM 7000 + Zero-Five 10/40 GP Vertical
Xiegu G90
Motorola XPR/XTS Portables, Uniden scanners, Whistler Scanners
Airspy Mini SDR + DSDPlus + Diamond D3000N Discone

Offline CoolAM Radio

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Re: Thoughts on HF verticals
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2020, 2313 UTC »
Few days ago I had ordered a "K-PO Shortwave Stick" antenna

Especially for  6.200 - 6.990 khz.  It's a mobile - max. power 500 watts






length =  115 cm only!


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Offline 45auto

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Re: Thoughts on HF verticals
« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2020, 2106 UTC »
Dear IZS4,
  I too am looking into an HF vertical. 
  Only interested in the 10-40meter bands only
  There are two brands, Hustler & Hy Gain.
  Both are near identical in size and price, 4 star ratings. 
  Hmmmm, I will watch this thread very close. 

    :-)

Offline nickcarr3151

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Re: Thoughts on HF verticals
« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2020, 2111 UTC »
I too am looking into an HF vertical. Only interested in the 10-40meter bands only.

Stay away from these 'commercial' antennas.  They're junk.  Do searches for CHA250B and BB7V...  you'll find glowing reviews but a few people dissected their components and found that most offer very little for their steep prices.

I highly recommend Zero-Five:  https://zerofive-antennas.com/productdisplay/10-40-meter-groundplane-freestanding-vertical-antenna-unun

(This is the antenna I have...)
« Last Edit: March 11, 2020, 2117 UTC by nickcarr3151 »
Perseus SDR + Wellbrook ALA100LN (60m loop), Wellbrook 1530S+
ICOM 7000 + Zero-Five 10/40 GP Vertical
Xiegu G90
Motorola XPR/XTS Portables, Uniden scanners, Whistler Scanners
Airspy Mini SDR + DSDPlus + Diamond D3000N Discone

Offline Looking-Glass

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Re: Thoughts on HF verticals
« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2020, 2318 UTC »
Most HF verticals (multi band) are substitute dummy loads, careful consideration and lots of time spent reading reviews on them are required before parting with your hard earned money. 

Lossy traps are an issue, some have ground radials (a bit better performance wise) which require some space in your back yard.

Butternut, Diamond and Cushcraft seem to be the key players in this field, personally, I don't have much time for them. 

See what the "leading" DXpeditions use and go from there... 8)
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Yaesu FT-1000D, Yaesu FT-2000D, ICOM IC-736 HF/50MHz, ICOM IC R75 & Tecsun S-2000 to 450 feet of wire, 27MHz 1/2 wave CB antenna converted to 21MHz & a multi band vertical of dubious reliability.

Offline Pigmeat

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Re: Thoughts on HF verticals
« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2020, 0127 UTC »
If you live out in the boonies w/ a lot of tall trees around the shack nothing can beat a vertical. Unfortunately, those places are getting hard to find.

Matt285

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Re: Thoughts on HF verticals
« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2020, 0046 UTC »
I wish I had tall trees. I'd throw up more horizontal wires. At my last QTH I had a nice tall pine about 80' tall and sloped a OCF down to about 30'. Great setup.

Offline redhat

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Re: Thoughts on HF verticals
« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2020, 1708 UTC »
Most HF verticals (multi band) are substitute dummy loads, careful consideration and lots of time spent reading reviews on them are required before parting with your hard earned money. 

Lossy traps are an issue, some have ground radials (a bit better performance wise) which require some space in your back yard.

Butternut, Diamond and Cushcraft seem to be the key players in this field, personally, I don't have much time for them. 

See what the "leading" DXpeditions use and go from there... 8)

Monoband verticals have been very good to me.  I've never seen a multiband vertical that worked well, however.

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