VE3FRX Hexbeam
project
OK, I think I'm done with new transmitting antennas at VE3FRX for awhile.

This is the DX Engineering 5 band (10-20m) Hexbeam that I ordered at Dayton.  Actually I bought it on May 14 when the Canadian dollar was at 98 cents USD.  But by the time they actually placed my VISA purchase a week later, our dollar was back down to 93.5 cents USD!  Cost me about $43 more!  I also added the DXE current balun and mounting bracket.  Add $205 for shipping and taxes and it was just under $900.  Ouch.  Fortunately no duty on amateur radio gear.

Anyways, it was fun putting together and is really well built.  Took one day to build and the next day to install. I had to harness the XYL Linda to pull it up (and take pictures) as I guided it up the tower to avoid the wires snagging on the panel screws on the side of the barn.  I couldn't figure out how to use the gin pole, that I picked up at the Central Ontario Hamfest last week, without getting all tangled up in the hexbeam wires.  So I went with pulling up to the tower top and then dead-lifting it through the thrust bearing and into the rotator (a TV rotator is all that is needed).  It is supposed to weight only 25lb.  But add the RG-215 coax and a small mast section (21" of 1.5" OD aluminum) and this was all I could handle.  Fortunately there was no wind at all, rare at my hilltop QTH.  Next time (?) I'll use the gin pole!

So the SWR was fine on all bands - totally flat on 10, 12, 15; about 1.3:1 on 17m and 1:1 in the CW portion of 20m, but that rises to 1.8:1 at 14.200MHz when pointing South.  All bands seem to be resonant just below the low end of the band.  This is probably due to being only about 17ft above the steel roof of the shack.  Also some 20m interaction with the mast about 20ft to the South.

So the plan is to add another 8ft straight section to my 40ft tower to reduce the interaction and raise the resonant frequency somewhat, before I start trimming wires.  Maybe next year....

Just after checking the SWR about 2100Z I heard 4X4FR calling CQ on 17m SSB, so I swung the beam to 45° gave him a shout and with one call got a 55 signal report with my 100 watts.  He was 56 with 200 watts.  Very quiet on receive compared to my R7 vertical (of course). Now I just need some more sunspots to really check this thing out!

73
Jeff
VE3FRX

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