Project HF Vertical! (part 1)
In the past few weeks I have decided to invest in a good HF vertical antenna and try that out. I have always heard that verticals work quite well for DX due to the low angle radiation they give off. I have also heard that they can be quite noisy. But regardless, after much research I decided to buy a Hustler 6BTV antenna from DX Engineering.
First of all, I have to say the people at DX Engineering were excellent. Even though I ordered everything from the web, I did have a few questions about some of the parts that I was purchasing. They were great to help me find everything that I needed for my desired installation.
I decided that I really want to get as much out of putting a vertical up as possible. On the web I found an EXCELLENT guide made by DX Engineering that shows step-by-step instructions for an antenna that will really perform. I found this guide on K6RF’s web site here. After reading though it I decided to buy all the parts and the antenna from DX Engineering.
Let’s take a look at all the goodies I got!
DX Engineering Vertical Radial Plate:
Look at this hamsexy hunk of stainless steel awesomeness. This plate is pre-drilled for up to 60 radials, made of stainless steel, and has a really nice laser etched DX Engineering logo on it. This is going to help make a great radial system. I have heard the more radials the better, but only have room for 20 24-foot radials at the moment. I may decide to add a few longer 40-foot radials in 2 directions as well, but I am going to start with the 20 24-footers to see how well that works.
The Hustler 6BTV antenna:
I looked at several different types of vertical antennas and saw several that rated very high on eham.net with their owners. But the 6BTV seemed to me like the best combination of performance and also durability. I live in northwestern Indiana about 2 hours south of Chicago, and we get a lot of ice storms in the winter and can get strong winds from thunderstorms in the summer months. With weather being a factor I definitely wanted something durable. The 6BTV covers 80m (small bandwidth of like 100 kHz is all), 40m, 30m, 20m, 15m, and 10m. However DX Engineering sells an awesome 17m and 12m add-on kids for this antenna, so I bought those as well. I am really hoping that this antenna will shine on 40-10m especially 10m!!!
DX Engineering Vertical Feedline Choke:
This choke has a shelf that will mount to the antenna mounting pole right above the radial plate. It is designed so that you feed the vertical antenna with this choke and connect your coax on the end to run to your shack. The choke makes it so that your coax cable doesn’t turn into a radial thereby feeding back RF into the shield of the coax. NO RF BURNS FOR ME THANK YOU VERY MUCH!
DX Engineering Vertical Antenna Tilt Base:
This is what makes having a vertical antenna, especially in a suburban neighborhood worth it. This tilt base allows you to take down the antenna for maintenance (such as tuning), for inclement weather, or if you just want to run your antenna stealthy like a radio ninja! For me I wanted the ability to take it down quickly in the event of a storm, and or to maintain and tune it.
This past weekend I was able to get a 4ft. post into the ground and I poured 2ft of concrete so that it would be level. Next I started to assemble my radial wires:
I made 20 24-foot radials using 14 ga THHN stranded wire. I crimped and soldered lugs on the end to connect to the radial plate. Once I run these out into the yard, I am going to use sod staples to lay them down so that my mower wont get a hold of them.
Next week – weather permitting, I plan on finishing up my installation and mounting the antenna. I will make another post then that shows the completed setup and tuning.
I am really hoping that this antenna performs as well as people say it does. I do have horizontal dipole antennas (my G5RV works pretty darn good really), but want another option to see how well it works as well. Looking forward to using it on 40m, 15m, and 10m really. I haven’t had much luck on 10m this summer, and I know there are people out there that are on that band, but I think the G5RV holds me back on that band.
That’s all for now. Stay tuned for part 2 of this interesting story! 🙂 Got a 4/5/6BTV or other HF vertical antenna? Share your experiences in the comments below. I would love to hear about and or see pics of your setup!
73! de Nick N9SJA