HOMEBREW HEXBEAM PAGE
by W1GQL

 



 

 

 

 

 

What People Say About the Hexbeam

 

      Probably the most famous remarks about the Hexbeam were made by Lew McCoy W1ICP in a review of the commercial version of the Hexbeam that appeared in the April 2000 edition of CQ Magazine. Lew wrote books and magazine articles for various amateur publication for years and years. He was writing them when I became a ham in the mid 50's, so he had seen and used quite a few antennas in his day. In concluding his article he said "If I had to rate beams on a 1 to 10 scale, I would give this antenna a solid 10." He seemed to feel that their is something special about the Hex that computer models do not show. The argument whether this is true or not has been going on for a long time. You can download the entire review from Mike Traffie's www.hexbeam.com website. I suggest you read it.

 

     Caleb Wright WA2JJX summed up his feelings about the Hexbeam he built using my dimensions and a lot of my construction ideas in a poem he wrote about it.

 

 

"My Hex"

 

With my Hex
The dx is best

 

With my Hex,
The noise is less

 

With my Hex,
The cost is less

 

With my Hex,
The boys with beams are vexed

 

My Hex suits me best!

 


     Gerry K2HIG had this great story about his Hex. "I inadvertantly used the stationary hex for FD - good FD story ... was testing it on a 3ft sawhorse before field day started .... it checked out ok on resonance, etc., but obviously not usable ... went thru the first 18 hrs of field day before realized that i forgot to switch from the Hex to the G5RV .. worked 45 US states at that point, worked everyone i heard ..."

      Eric G0CGL writes: "In addition to a Butternut HF2-V vertical for 80/40/30 mtrs, I have the Traffie Technology Hexbeam. With the Hexbeam, two intense flattened fields are phased and coupled to provide high level performance in a compact package. Though the array is half normal size, its elements are full size. Its reflected ionospheric path gain is better than indicated in line-of-sight tests. I have found it to be at least 6dB better on transmit and receive than the Gap Titan vertical that it replaced. It covers the 5 bands from 20m to 10m, requires no tuning and it doesn't need the height above ground to perform well that a Yagi beam does. In fact mine is only 25ft up and yet I am delighted with it and would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone who needs a good quality high performance, compact antenna."

Gerry Schjelderup KC0MSX writes:

"I put up a 10 meter hex beam about a year ago and basically use it for our local weekly little informal net. I then put together a 5 bander last year but too late in the season in this cold climate to get it up. Even now this year I have been busy with other things so my preassembled 5 bander 10 to 20 is still on the shelf.

When I had assembled the 5 bander using the usual fiberglass fishing poles, I was left with the small ends of them about 3 feet long and thought "Wouldn't that be great for a 6 meter hex. After some thought I figured I would make it a portable model, not especially thinking I would ever use it, but a compulsive tinkerer just could not resist! Here are a few pictures of it as it sits parked in my living room by my easy chair. The coax is simply laid on the floor and lead to the shack on one corner of my house. I made the hub of 1/4" corian 5" round, the end of each tiny spreader is plugged with a dowel and drilling across each end and made to pivot upward at the mast. I placed eyebolts that just slipped over the spreader and came through slots at the perimeter of the hub. I used pierced pieces of fiberglass with a bolt-through tighterer to hold to the end of each spreader and put a deep slot in each to receive the elements to fit in. Making the mast separate at the middle, I can dismantle it all and put it into the trunk of my car. Can not brag about swr but it sure was fun making and I had a session last weekend with W0BNY on the other end of town and we were exchanging 60 over transmissions. Maybe if I ever get my 5 bander up we can manage a QSO some time. Best wishes and 73"

Bill Archer KC5GNB reports:

Hi Dave, Excellent site! Ok, here is the background on this end. I bought my HB5 used from a ham about 60 miles west of me. He was the second owner and the antennas was about 3 years old then, serial number 72 I think. I had been saving my pennies for a new one but every time I got close to the needed funds Mike raised the price. After the third price increase I had just about given up when I saw the posting on the Internet. A phone call and the deal was done. Two weeks later I went to fetch the beastie.

We tried to bundle the critter up carefully and strap it to the top of my minivan. That worked fine to get it home. Unloading was another matter! What a rats nest! I was fortunate to have a heavy picnic table with a center hole for an umbrella....perfect hexbeam holder. I had to take the elements free from the mast to untangle the mess. With the help of the picnic table I was able to reconstruct the antenna with the proper elements in the proper locations only to find that the SWR was out of sight on several bands!

A phone call to Mike and a half hour long consultation (what great customer support and I didn't even buy the antenna directly from him!) lead to the diagnosis of the problem. Someone along the way had decided the drain hole in the bottom of the spreader plate should be sealed so a half pound or so of silicone was injected into the bottom of the mast and the spreader plate. Naturally the mast had filled about half full with water. The internal harness was not designed to be submerged! An hour with the shop vac blowing warm air through the mast got everything nice and dry. After reassembly the VSWR was acceptable with the antenna at 4 ft elevation above ground.

The suburb I live in is not too ham friendly and getting permits for a tower is a real hassle ( not to mention the XYL's permission) Prior to acquiring the hex I had a 2 element 10m quad on a RadShack mast strapped to the chimney. OK, lets give it a try. I used the same RadShack TV rotor and 2 10" mast sections strapped to the chimney and guyed to the eaves of the house. 20" of masts, the rotor, 3' of mast from the rotor to the spreader plate and the whole thing strapped to the chimney with the base of the mast at about 8' gives me a height of 31' to the spreader plate.

This all went up in 2000 and has been up ever since. The dacron guys have been replace twice, the rotor is 10 years old, the hex is at least 8 years old and all is still very functional. Last month my wx station recorded a wind gust of 78 mph with no damage to the antenna. That is the third measured gust of 50mph or more since the antenna has been up and no damage at all. Talk about a well build piece of hardware! Of course we don't get much in the way of ice loading very often.

I have used the hex with a KW TS940S/AT for the first 2 years and an ICOM 756 Pro2 the last 3 years and have been totally satisfied with its performance. When it comes to busting pile-ups the kilowatt stations still give me a hard time but other 100 watts stations are easy to overcome. I bypass the auto tuner on bands and feed the antenna direct with very good SWR on all bands except the FM portion of 10m.

Considering the size and weight of the antenna and the cost of my support system ($50) the performance bang/buck ratio is EXCELLENT! The front-back ratio is about the same as the 2 element quad as is the forward gain. Is this the perfect antenna? No. Is it the contesters salvation? No. Is it some miracle magic antenna? No. Is it the best antenna for my needs? You bet it is! Would I buy one again? In a heartbeat! Am I a dyed-in-the-wool Hex-Nut? No. Just a very very satisfied user.

Colin M3XBM reports:
The hexbeam fits the bill of covering a lot of bands in a compact unit (limited space here) and work well at fairly low heights in my limited experience.

They also seem to possess a "certain something" on long haul dx which my big quad did not have,although it was a very good antenna. I`m currently in the process of building a 5 band hexbeam (possibly with 6m on a seperate feed)using good quality fibreglass tubes and flexweave wire.

I`ve every reason to believe its money well spent and will only be around 20% of the commercial hexbeam cost available here.

I would never buy another commercially available antenna,as i think they`re usually overpriced and easily homebrewed, not to mention the satifaction of being able to say.. i built that!

Jerry Dunn KD5YPF had this to say:
Probably Emailed you too soon.(He was getting high swr readings.) I fed the antenna with 213 got out from under it and the SWR's dropped to 1-1. Connected it to my tuner, got the SWR's flat and everything works great. Currently working on a permenant installation and installing a rotor and getting it up to around 20 feet or so and feel things will just get better. Again, thanks for all of your information on the web site and for a great idea on a 20 meter beam. I'm totally impressed.
Jerry has emailed me recently and had this to say: This antenna is great. Does everything you said. I am totally satisfied with the finished product. I used PVC for lack of any other material. So far it has held up fine. I did re-enforce the PVC on the base by inserting 1/2 inch into 3/4 inch and using bolts through the base elements to avoid some sway. I guess time will tell on whether or not the PVC spreaders will hold up. Thanks again for all the help and very good instructions for building this antenna. I'm getting 15 over db reports compared to my 5 BTV vertical which I consider a good antenna. Here is a picture of Jerry's antenna

Jason Hissong N8XE has a great website devoted to his hexbeam. See it at

http://www.n8xe.com/radio/hexbeam.html

On his site he says: "This is my first beam antenna and I must say that I love this thing!! I have worked many new countries. Some of which I have tried before and never was able to make the contact. They just could not hear me. However, with the Hexbeam, they can copy me! (Just worked 9N7YJ, never could hear them before) I wanted to dedicate a page to just the Hexbeam and give you an idea of how great this antenna can be!"

"Some say that the Hexbeam is just a standard 2 element beam. Others say that Traffie Technologies uses "black magic" advertising to entice unsuspecting hams to spend money. I say this thing works great! Consider this: how many antenna manufacturers put a 30-day money back guarantee on their product?!? Try one for yourself! If it does not do what you want, return it in 30 days. You are only out the shipping!!!"

Darren Collins G0TSM built a 5 band hexbeam and has done considerable on the air testing of the hex compared to a rotary dipole. He posted the following information to the Yahoo HexBeam Group. I quote it with his permission.

Well, I've just completed a week of A/B tests between dipoles for 10-20m against my 5 band hexbeam. Both antennae were using the same length of feeder and the height of the dipole was adjusted to the same height as the hex beam element I was checking against. The local station I used to check the results with was 9 km away. The last time I ran these tests on a hex made of insulated wire I got a lot of negative results, poor gain negative f/b on 12m etc. This time using Holger's measurements and Flexweave 12# wire the performance is much better. All measurements are in S units but in reality the S units are about 2dB.


     With local station      With DX stations (average sigs)
Band Gain (S units)   F/B    Gain (S units) F/B
20    1                4       4             8 
17    1                4       4             6
15    1                3       3             4
12    1                4       2             4
10    0                4       0             3


The best performance was on 20M, typically VR2/9M/VK were S9 on the Hex and hardly readable on the dipole due to no signal and loud echoes, this happened time and time again. When you switch from a dipole to the hex the noise floor dramatically falls away revealing many more stations. I've just worked the 3G DXped on 12M/CW who were 539 on the hex and not even a trace of them on the dipole.. The next experiment is to add a parasitic 10M director to the hex to try and improve the 10M performance.








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