Thursday, October 24, 2013

Portable set-up with two beams

Yesterday morning I had some time to go out again to do some /P-DX-hunting and some lasts preparations for CQWW.

With 10m open as it is at the moment (yeah!) I decided to bring both my DX antennas: my 4 element yagi for 10m and my 6 band hexbeam. My idea was to try both to decide what I would bring next weekend to my CQWW chase. 

I tried to set up both antennas on my aluminium mast to do some A-B testing. It turns out my home-brew mast is sturdy enough to carry both antennas.  The hexbeam was on top (due to its construction it must be - it inserts into the upper tube of the mast) and the yagi some 2-3 meters below it. I used one guy wire just to be sure the mast would not bend too much, but in fact it was not really a necessary addition - even though it was a bit windy.

Stack: yagi and hexbeam - leafs are an indication of the windy conditions
This gave me a set-up that looks very impressive (to me as the ham-without-a-beam-at-home at least) and turned out to be effective as well. Being limited in time and of course using this opportunity also to catch some DX, I did not do a lot of A-B TX tests - it is quite bold to ask that DXpedition to give two real reports. One JA OM told me there were some 2-3 S-points difference (in favour of the yagi). Closer by a UY OM saw less difference. So there is still some testing to do. On RX however I could test the difference all the time. Here I saw that the yagi even when positioned lower is one S-point stronger. This is especially noticeable on the weaker signals. There you could really hear (as well as see) the difference.

Portable set-up: hex at approx 12m, yagi at approx 9m high
During the short period I was actually on the radio I managed to log DX from TN2 (new band), HS0, B9, JA3, R0 and D4 (new band).

What I learned for the contest this weekend is that it is useful to bring the yagi to catch the weaker DX (assuming 10m is open for a considerable amount of time). I also learned that I can have both beams on my mast at the same time. This gives me another nice opportunity: if I point the yagi and hex in opposite directions I can quickly check short path versus long path propagations on 10m. That is a feature that helps me as I am not used to working with a beam and therefore have too little experience to choose the right path given the direction and time of day.

Looking forward to more fun this weekend.


  1. Hallo Lars,

    Eigenlijk wel logisch dat de beam beter werkt. Die heeft ook meer versterking dan de hexbeam, zou zo maar 3dB of meer kunnen schelen. Ergens ben ik wel een beetje jaloers op zulk mooi antenne geweld. Ik heb hier ook nog wel een 3 elements 11m beam liggen, zo een lichte tagra. Die zou ik zo om kunnen bouwen. Maar de tijd ontbreekt helaas. Succes met de DX, misschien horen we elkaar nog. 73, Bas

    1. Hallo Bas,
      Nou ja, daar staat tegenover dat jij lekker hoog en droog zit, direct aan de slag kunt en zo weer je bed in kunt rollen zaterdag. Zijn ook goede features ;-)
      Ik zou idd. die 3 elements ophangen - als je buren dat kunnen handle-n. Zou ik zelfs wat contest-tijd voor opgeven. Nu is wel de tijd om 10m uit te nutten. Maar ja, ik ben minder een contester en nog meer een DX-visser (andere ham-levensfase waarschijnlijk).
      Succes in de contest en zeker tot sprekens. Waarschijnlijk niet dit weekend. Ik vermoed nl. dat ik niet onder de 20m kom.
      73, Lars.