G0VQY's Amateur Radio Blog

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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in hex beam

It's been awhile since I last posted anything in the blog on here, been a little bit busy doing other things such as fishing, anyway haven't really been the wilful lots of amateur radio apart from a couple of hours in the evening, nothing to write home about, no extraordinary contacts, just the normal stuff into North America. Anyway, a few months ago I purchased a hex beam, it was really as a standby antenna just in case I had to spend prolonged periods of time in bed. Thankfully and touch wood that hasn't happened so the antenna has been sitting down in the cellar still in its packing. My good friend Steve, M0BKL who is primarily a VHF man installed a vertical antenna a few months ago which is really for the CB frequencies that works really well and 10 m, and also on 12 and 17 m as well. 17 m is one of my favourite bands so Steve and myself had been able to get on the band together. Unfortunately when it comes to 20 m he hasn't got an antenna, until now. I persuaded him to try out my hex beam since he had taken down his six and 2 m antennas leaving his 10 m mast with nothing on for the moment. So yesterday Steve finally managed to get the hex beam up on his mast, apparently a little bit of a struggle but it's up. So last night we got on the band together and as usual I took the lead and put a CQ call out. N4FTV return my CQ call with a 58 signal. Now was the time to see how well the hex beam performed, to my delight Steve had absolutely no problem working the station in the states, couple of S points down but nevertheless the antenna will doing a really good job.

So we spent the rest of the evening working stations in North America, the USA and a couple in Canada. We even managed to work two stations on the West Coast, a station in San Francisco and another in Oregon, and also a VE6 which Steve worked with no problems whatsoever. The hex beam performed extremely well, in fact its performance far exceeded my expectations, Steve could hear everything I could hear on the three element SteppIR, albeit only residing at 30 feet because of the winds we've had. Els also using my amplifier running at 400 W so it's not surprising my signal was a little stronger. We are going to try again this evening but this time I will be running at 100 W, the same as Steve.

I've heard many good things about the hex beam, I've also spoken to countless people who have been using them and nobody has got a bad word to say about this antenna. After witnessing firsthand how well the hex beam performs, I can categorically recommend this antenna for anyone who may have slightly restricted space or can't put antennas up because they may look unsightly. These antennas are made of wire and really do blend in extremely well, unlike a large three element steppIR that you can see from miles away.

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17 m was extremely open to day. I didn't get on the band until fairly late in the afternoon, however stations were coming in thick and fast. I worked over 30 stations in the USA in just over a couple of hours. That's not a lot I know, but I do like to have a rag chew rather than just exchanging signal reports, just don't see the point in that.

Funnily enough, I don't think I have worked so many "K" stations in the US in one day, they were coming thick and fast, many number "8's" from around Ohio and Wisconsin. I have no idea why this was, but at one stage it seemed that the skip was only coming from a very short area, most of the stations were very weak to me although my signal was very strong going back. A lot of the stations are only registering about 1S point on my meter, however they were giving me an S point 9 in many cases, the propagation is very strange. I was also told by a couple of stations that I was the only "G" station they could hear, maybe the ionosphere chose me as its favourite amateur for the day HI HI.

I put the radio on at 9:15 PM just have a little listen around and see what was going on. 17 m was pretty much dead so I had a look and 20 m, PJT/AF6WF from Curacao was giving me a very good signal. For those of you who are not aware, this is formally the Netherlands Antilles. She had a massive pileup from the US so I didn't really hold much hope that my modest little station was going to be heard. However, check the video out below, I'm trying not to gloat :-)

Unfortunately I'm not able to stay up late so my operating stops at around 9:30 PM. During the winter time this has really matter that the band have all shut fairly early. However, the bands are now staying open well after 930 which is a little bit frustrating. I have got a hex beam which I am planning on putting up so I can operate from my bed. I know this will be step down from my normal beam antenna, but by all accounts the hex beam albeit fairly small and basic is actually a very efficient antenna for what it is. At some stage I will let you will know how I get on with it. I've just been looking around my property deciding where it should go. I think I have decided on a small Tennamast attached to the side of my house, I think this will be ideal, but this is another story for another time.


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