Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Down goes the MA5B . . . up goes the Hexbeam!

Yesterday, after a long time thinking about it, I finally decided to take down the MA5B minibeam in favour of a second hand hexbeam. Although the MA5B has served me very well, being my first beam and being a big improvement over the Butternut vertical in many cases, the gain figures for the hexbeam are better and those who have them swear by them.

The Hex Team! Thos EI2JD, Pat EI2HX, Anthony EI2KC
and Tony EI4DIB. What a crew!
So it was with mixed feelings that I finally decided to swap them. My antenna team swung into action here on Tuesday and consisted of Thos EI2JD, Pat EI2HX and Tony EI4DIB, without whose help it would never have happened.

I already had the arms and the stay ropes of the hexbeam assembled to move things on a little bit. Working in a very confined space with the hex was difficult, but we worked well as a team, ironing out the problems as we went along.

We discovered too, regrettably, that my old Moonraker rotator is kaput, and had to make the decision to erect the hexbeam on an armstrong rotator for the moment. (For non hams, this simply means the pole is manually rotated, using just the strength of one's arm!!)

The whole operation took about four hours, with tea breaks! It was a lovely sunny day which made it easier and we got to work on our sun tans too HI! The hexbeam is lighter than the MA5B, and without the weight of the rotator the new structure does not need stay wires.

Upon completion, we did the SWR test. SWR is flat across the 20m band, and is around 1.5 - 1.7 on 17m, 15m and 12m. It is a bit high, inexplicably, on 10m, but at 3:1 the ATU will tune it and also the Acom 1000 will handle it if needed.

Who's a happy boy then?

Although band conditions have not been great since it was erected, I worked a good bit of DX yesterday evening and last night, and was impressed with the many 59+ signals I was seeing on the FT-1000MP. Here is a summary of DX worked:

Japan 20m CW 400 watts
Asiatic Russia 20m CW 400w
Sumatra (YB4) 15m SSB 400w
India 15m CW 100w
Svalbard 17m SSB 100w
Swaziland 15m SSB 100w
Tanzania 10m SSB 400w - new country on 10m!!
Few Stateside QSOs on 15m CW 100w
Dominican Republic 15m SSB 100w
Peru 12m SSB 400w (new band slot)
Nicaragua 15m CW 400w
Gibraltar 17m SSB 100w
St Lucia 15m SSB 100w
Venezuela 17m CW 100w


  1. So, it does a better job as the MA5B I pressume? It looks nice. I like the "happy boy" photo. I guess you will gt "thick" arms now with the new rotator hi. It looks like the antenna is mounted not that high? Could be the picture of course. 73, Bas

    1. It's hard to say at this stage Bas because the bands are poor, but it would seem to be better on initial testing. And you are right, it is only up approx 9-10 metres.

      PS: Watch those biceps grow !!!

  2. Its a very nice antenna and looks great!! To bad you have to use the "arm strong" rotor for now. Have you ordered a new rotor as I imagine as the weather gets colder I am told the arm strong rotor gets weaker.....:)

    1. Mike, I will have to get a new/secondhand rotator soon, before winter comes in. While the weather is nice now, I can imagine in the pouring rain and the dark it will be a different story !

  3. Nice looking beam! Hope it holds up to the wind!

    1. Thanks Brian. Definitely an improvement on the MA5B. Was working into Japan and Australia a couple of nights ago on 20m CW with 100w. Worked Swains too.

  4. Hi Anthony,

    Hope your keeping well, the SWR on that Hex should be alot better, mine is a bit high down the end of 20m but 17,15,12 and 10 are all under 1.5 and lower across the whole bands,

    Have you any other antennas near it maybe something like a 10m vertical ???

    hope your having fun chasing NH8S hope to get a few slots during the week but not much time for radio here at the moment.

    talk soon


    1. Yes Trevor, there are other antennas nearby, the Butternut and the Vees. I will have to get it up higher !!!

  5. Replies
    1. It sure is Brendan. And doing a great job so far too !

    2. How does it affect the hexbeam one year after use? Especially compared to the MA5B aerial? I myself have yet ma5b (45ft) antenna, but I have ordered hexbeam antenna by SP7IDX. Yes, I have worked with almost all of it too, but linear (SB-220), I have often used.
      Pekka, OH1LA

  6. Good to Hear that your Hex is working well Tony,i am using a MA-5B and intend to change to a 6 band Hex soon, Good-Luck.



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