Best Location for a Hamstick?

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cpuerror

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I am going to setup a ham stick antenna for rx/tx on 75m... What I am wondering is whether it would be better to mount it at ground level with buried cables and such, or go for height with an artificial ground??
 

zz0468

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You'd be better putting it up higher with an artificial ground if you can't put an extensive ground radial system in. You do realize that a hamstick is going to be severely compromised, performance wise, right? There are far better choices for a small space antenna system.
 

zz0468

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Like what?
An SGC autotuner feeding a dipole with ladder line. The dipole can be whatever size will fit, and the tuner will do what it can. You may not get 160 meters out of it, but they say a dipole with 8' legs will load up on 80 meters. A balanced antenna like a dipole eliminates the need for a good rf ground. A single vertical element will require either an excellent ground radial system, or several quarter wavelength ground plane radials to be even remotely efficient.

The other advantage to the autotuner is that you'll have multiband operation.

I have a 40 meter size dipole fed with an SGC230 tuner. It works pretty good... 15 states worked on 160 meters in one evening, contacts all across the U.S. on 160 and higher, and the Pacific, including Japan. Not bad for a solar minimum... I also run one in the car where it feeds a 20 meter hamstick. It works good on 80-15 meters. I have to change the hamstick to a 8' whip for ten meter operation.
 
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k9rzz

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Raise any kind of vertical off the ground. If you have no choice, then bury lots of wire. A LOT of wire.
 

k8mcn

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you would have better luck loading the gutters on the house than you will with a hamstick on 75m---the stick will be very narrow banded, and a dipole will work so muc better for you--gl
 

zz0468

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But a dipole for 75m would be huge. Maybe I've got no choice but to get a tuner.
Without knowing your situation, it's impossible to suggest the perfect antenna. But the autotuners are known to work quite well with small dipoles. Make sure you get one with a ceramic insulator terminal on the output. The LDG autotuners with the coax connector output DON'T work nearly as well. They merely provide a match to the transmitter side of the coax. The SGC tuners are part of the antenna itself, and are actually a coupler, not a coax tuner.

When I built my antenna, I purchased the tuner, and a 40 meter G5RV antenna kit, discarded the balun, and fed the tuner with the ladder line from the antenna. If you don't have enough room for the whole 40 meter dipole, just shorten it to whatever length fits. Setting it up as an inverted vee can squeeze more wire into a smaller space.
 

kb2vxa

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Is this another ham asking questions on a SCANNER forum? Oh well, at least you won't catch flak for asking such a question here but before you graduate you'll have to learn something beyond acing a simple test, something like a Hamstick is a MOBILE antenna and an Isotron is a poor imitation of a narrow band dummy load.

Pardon my sarcasm but we Amateurs are saddened by the dumbing down of the testing requirements and long for the days when an applicant actually had to know something about radio communications in order to obtain a license. The noobs are nothing more than licensed CBers but there is hope; PLEASE find yourself an Elmer so you can at least build an antenna that actually works like an antenna. Clubs are a great help, there are plenty who are willing to sit down and go over the books with you. We NEED skilled operators who are serious about how it's done in the real world especially since it's gotten so bad that CEPT no longer accepts American hams as qualified to operate in foreign countries.

Thanks for the opportunity to vent but PLEASE try to understand where I'm coming from!
 

OceanaRadio

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The problem with the isotrons is that they are extremely narrow banded. Particularly on the lower frequency bands.
Ditto on the narrowbandedness of Isotrons. A poor choice for any requirement that exceeds 2MHz of bandwidth. However on their designed frequencies they are anything but a dummy load, where their Tx and Rx equaled or exceeded performance of a 200'+ inverted-vee dipole (150 meter test) or a 35' whip (60 meter test).

In my opinion an Isotron is a good choice for a space-saver antenna on a specific frequency or very narrow range of frequencies. If you could afford or justify an inventory of them, they make excellent contingency communications antennas.

For those wishing to couple two hamsticks together into a horizontal dipole configuration (there are commercial adaptors that make this easy), a pretty fair NVIS-configuration is possible. That setup can be mounted against a fence as low as 6' above ground and deliver the expected vertical-shower of RF over a hundred+ miles. Because of their low and horizontal configuration, this will not receive arriving low launch angle signals such as from the opening of a band from long distance. They also miss some ground-wave if mounted very low, but they will receive anything arriving on its 1st or 2nd bounce.

73,
Jack
 

kb2vxa

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Where did you get that from Jack; actual in use reports from hams or advertising hype? What were the conditions of this so called test? Until satisfactory answers are forthcoming I'll go with what the hams who have used them say; they suck. Now please put aside the technojabber and get down to brass tacks, the Hamstick in question like any 75M mobile antenna is as efficient as a strand of wet spaghetti or at least that's how the AM Fone crowd and I see them. WA1HLR doesn't call his Cadaverlac the PW mobile for nothing, you can guess what the PW stands for.

"But a dipole for 75m would be huge."

125' isn't exactly huge and nobody said it can't be bent. You may consider the better alternative, the Zepp.

"Maybe I've got no choice but to get a tuner."

A tuner won't pull you out of the mud unless it's feeding a proper antenna to begin with. A tuner does NOTHING for tuning an antenna, it's an impedance matching device. Frankly I don't know what numptie came up with "tuner" when it used to be called a match box; eg. the EF Johnson Matchbox. Now PLEASE go find yourself an Elmer before these guys have you mixed up as a cat in a washing machine.
 
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zz0468

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A tuner won't pull you out of the mud unless it's feeding a proper antenna to begin with. A tuner does NOTHING for tuning an antenna, it's an impedance matching device. Frankly I don't know what numptie came up with "tuner" when it used to be called a match box; eg. the EF Johnson Matchbox. Now PLEASE go find yourself an Elmer before these guys have you mixed up as a cat in a washing machine.
An SGC "tuner" is actually an antenna coupler, NOT a matchbox. You CAN'T use it to feed a coaxial input antenna of any type. It is part of the antenna itself, when operated properly. In fact, the radiating element begins on the circuit board at the location of the last lumped element. Unlike the match boxes you speak so disparagingly of, a coupler will work quite well in making a random piece of wire radiate, even better if that random piece of wire is in doublet form with a balanced feed.
 

zz0468

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eham reviews for the Isotron:

http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/311

I didn't read 'em all, but the general consensus seems to be that they perform as advertised. Short, capacitively loaded antennas DO work quite efficiently over narrow bandwidth, evidenced by all the NDB stations out there being heard around the world with their 25 watt transmitters and 25' vertical radiators.

Come to think of it, I may just try one as a dedicated 60 meter antenna.
 

cpuerror

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Well I am going to throw up a hamstick for now and see how it goes. I'm not really interested in trying to talk to europe, mostly join provincial or north american nets on 75m.

I'd actually prefer using an NVIS antenna, i built one for 20m and it works well, but the new place I'm going to doesn't really give a lot of space to stretch things out, so 18m long elements are going to be tricky (hence going with a mobile antenna). Going to have to do some research to see what kind of bends I can get away with.
 

k8mcn

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An SGC "tuner" is actually an antenna coupler, NOT a matchbox. You CAN'T use it to feed a coaxial input antenna of any type. It is part of the antenna itself, when operated properly. In fact, the radiating element begins on the circuit board at the location of the last lumped element. Unlike the match boxes you speak so disparagingly of, a coupler will work quite well in making a random piece of wire radiate, even better if that random piece of wire is in doublet form with a balanced feed.
Where in the world did you get that idea???????????
An SGC tuner is NOT part of the antenna---BUT you can, and they sell waterproof boxes for them, mount them at the base of a vertical antenna-----much more efficient there as they only have to match the vertical, and not several feet of feedline to the transmitter-BUT they are still a transmatch,albeit by electronic relays.....you still have to have a fairly resonant antenna
I also agree, that a Hamstick for anything other than a mobile install is useless for transmitting---you will have more luck yelling out the window especially on a low band like 75.
The best idea i have seen in the thread is to forget the Hamstick and put up the dipole-----as the above poster said, there is no rule that it has to be straight, and a loop will also work.......

and from the SGC website--the cut and paste below says just that--all thought they use their unit to "couple" the antenna to the transmitter--it is still a TUNER
"SGC Smartuners deliver more flexibility and accuracy than any other HF antenna coupler on the market. They are independently intelligent, matching any HF transceiver and any antenna, with no user interface. Smartuners are available in power levels from 1.5 to 500 Watts and frequency ranges from 1.6 to 60 MHz. They provide efficient, accurate, all purpose tuning that is ideal for base, mobile, portable, marine or avaition. An SGC Smartuner ensures that you will get the most efficient, most accurate tuning solution possible."

Good Luck
 

zz0468

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Where in the world did you get that idea???????????
An SGC tuner is NOT part of the antenna---BUT you can, and they sell waterproof boxes for them, mount them at the base of a vertical antenna-----much more efficient there as they only have to match the vertical, and not several feet of feedline to the transmitter-BUT they are still a transmatch,albeit by electronic relays.....you still have to have a fairly resonant antenna
I also agree, that a Hamstick for anything other than a mobile install is useless for transmitting---you will have more luck yelling out the window especially on a low band like 75.
The best idea i have seen in the thread is to forget the Hamstick and put up the dipole-----as the above poster said, there is no rule that it has to be straight, and a loop will also work.......

and from the SGC website--the cut and paste below says just that--all thought they use their unit to "couple" the antenna to the transmitter--it is still a TUNER
"SGC Smartuners deliver more flexibility and accuracy than any other HF antenna coupler on the market. They are independently intelligent, matching any HF transceiver and any antenna, with no user interface. Smartuners are available in power levels from 1.5 to 500 Watts and frequency ranges from 1.6 to 60 MHz. They provide efficient, accurate, all purpose tuning that is ideal for base, mobile, portable, marine or avaition. An SGC Smartuner ensures that you will get the most efficient, most accurate tuning solution possible."

Good Luck

http://www.sgcworld.com/Publications/Books/stealthbook.pdf

And I quote:

"Antenna couplers are placed at the antenna, and precisely match conditions of the antenna to the feed line.
Antenna tuners are generally located at the transmitteroutput, at the radio end of the coaxial feed line.
A tuner placed at the transmitter, fools a transmitter into working correctly.
A coupler installed at the antenna feed point eliminates the most serious cause
of feed line losses by providing a proper match of the antenna to the feed line.
The Smartuner® is a true antenna coupler." end quote.

Putting a pi or L network at the antenna to match it to the feedline is, essentially, part of the antenna itself.
 
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k8mcn

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http://www.sgcworld.com/Publications/Books/stealthbook.pdf

And I quote:

"Antenna couplers are placed at the antenna, and precisely match conditions of the antenna to the feed line.
Antenna tuners are generally located at the transmitteroutput, at the radio end of the coaxial feed line.
A tuner placed at the transmitter, fools a transmitter into working correctly.
A coupler installed at the antenna feed point eliminates the most serious cause
of feed line losses by providing a proper match of the antenna to the feed line.
The Smartuner® is a true antenna coupler." end quote.

Putting a pi or L network at the antenna to match it to the feedline is, essentially, part of the antenna itself.
from the definition in the dictionary of an "antenna"
a usually metallic device (as a rod or wire) for radiating or receiving radio waves

So now explain to me how the Smartuner does either of the above??It doesnt--no matter how you slice it, dice it or word it in their advertising----it still is nothing more than a transmatch, and it does nothing to change the antenna radiation pattern--it just makes the transmitter very happy, and i will grant you as i stated above, gets a much better match at the antenna as opposed to trying to match all the feedline............

Dont get me wrong, i think they are very good tuners, and by all means the best place to have a tuner/transmatch is at the antenna, and i agree that it eliminates a lot of the feed line loss. but you could also put my Palstar AT1Kp at the base of my vertical and do the same thing, just manually and i am not going to leave my $400.00 tuner out in the rain :)
Great debate though--it what i love about forums----73
 
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prcguy

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I think the only "tuner" SGC ever made that was intended to be near the radio to feed coax was the MAC-200, otherwise their products are designed to be part of the antenna. You can feed balanced line with most of their models but there are more efficient tuners for this. SGC is not a bad antenna coupler (I have 3) if used within its limits and much more robust than LDG. BTW, all 3 of my SGC have blown up and SGC reduced their warranty from 5yrs to 1yr. They must have a lot of faith in their product lately. They also want as much to repair an out of warranty unit as you can buy one used.
prcguy
Where in the world did you get that idea???????????
An SGC tuner is NOT part of the antenna---BUT you can, and they sell waterproof boxes for them, mount them at the base of a vertical antenna-----much more efficient there as they only have to match the vertical, and not several feet of feedline to the transmitter-BUT they are still a transmatch,albeit by electronic relays.....you still have to have a fairly resonant antenna
I also agree, that a Hamstick for anything other than a mobile install is useless for transmitting---you will have more luck yelling out the window especially on a low band like 75.
The best idea i have seen in the thread is to forget the Hamstick and put up the dipole-----as the above poster said, there is no rule that it has to be straight, and a loop will also work.......

and from the SGC website--the cut and paste below says just that--all thought they use their unit to "couple" the antenna to the transmitter--it is still a TUNER
"SGC Smartuners deliver more flexibility and accuracy than any other HF antenna coupler on the market. They are independently intelligent, matching any HF transceiver and any antenna, with no user interface. Smartuners are available in power levels from 1.5 to 500 Watts and frequency ranges from 1.6 to 60 MHz. They provide efficient, accurate, all purpose tuning that is ideal for base, mobile, portable, marine or avaition. An SGC Smartuner ensures that you will get the most efficient, most accurate tuning solution possible."

Good Luck
 
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