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