Cobweb/Hex Beam/Spider Beam Antennas

Alain

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Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jan 28, 2003
Messages
243
Location
San Diego, California
After teaching C.E.R.T. Academies for the past 7 years, I am now thinking of getting back to HF.

I've read several articles in QST and elsewhere on these antennas, and have been quite impressed by the [hopefully] forthright reviews that I have seen.

Has anyone here had/currently have practical experience with this antenna? A Google search shows at least 6 manufacturers, here and abroad, who will sell their items in the states. I am quite taken with the SP7IDX model. Of all the models available, this one really looks choice. Construction - SP7IDX Hexbeam

I've got a 43' fiberglass push-up mast. I'm sure that I can manage to raise the beam to 30' or so, guying all 4 points on the compass for rigidity...

Just curious which manufacturer you may have gone with, why, how long have you had it, did you UV treat the spreaders before assembly, feedline, etc? Photos would be especially appreciated, showing the antenna up on your tower or mast.

Many thanks for taking the time to respond!

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alcahuete

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Premium Subscriber
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Jul 24, 2015
Messages
1,087
Location
Antelope Acres, California
I had a horrendous experience with a spiderbeam (spiderbeam.us). You can read the full 0 Star review over on Eham.

I basically bought the antenna to cover myself between the period of not having antennas and putting up my towers. I put it on a 43' aluminum mast, also guyed at 4 points. The mast stood up just fine. The performance was very, very good. Where things went very bad was the durability.

In moderate winds (30 MPH), things were breaking constantly. I literally had the antenna down every other week. Then it would spin like a helicopter, so fast, it actually snapped two pieces of LMR-240 coax like it was nothing. It looked like a friggin' helicopter starting up. That was with a bolt through the mast as well, so no idea where it was spinning, but it was. I would take it down and fix it and 2 weeks later, same thing.

The ultimate blow was dealt by a light snowstorm. It just completely obliterated the antenna. Pieces were hanging everywhere, wire everywhere, the fiberglass spreaders were cracked. Coincidentally, someone in the city next to me (who randomly posted in the spiderbeam group) had the exact same thing happen. Hers didn't look quite as bad as mine, but it looked like the damage was permanent. I'm so pissed off, that it's still sitting in a pile on my property since last November. I immediately replaced it with a temporary tower and Cushcraft X-7, and couldn't be happier. I want to go to my shack, turn my radio on, and use it. I don't want to be fiddling around with my antenna every other week.

But your mileage may vary. There are a lot of happy people out there, apparently, and they're used on DXpeditions and such just fine with temporary installations.
 

prcguy

Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2006
Messages
9,762
Location
So Cal - Richardson, TX - Tewksbury, MA
I had used up almost all my antenna space and needed a reasonable size antenna for 20m on up. I did a lot of research on the Hex Beam, looked at most of the examples and talked to owners of the K4KIO, NA4RR, DX Engineering, MFJ and another one I forget. In the end I bought an NA4RR because it comes with everything, works 20, 17, 15, 12, 10 and 6m and came out to be the cheapest of them all. The quality is on par with the K4KIO but that cost more $$ if you want all the bands the NA4RR gives you. At least one brand was just a box of parts and wire and you had to measure and cut the wire and insulator strings and it looked like a mess. The NA4RR was a dream to assemble with all wires and strings pre-assembled and it worked perfectly first time.

Basically I received the package one day and removed the instructions ready to put things together and install on the spot. I read where they recommend painting the fiberglass spreaders to prolong the life, so I gave them several coats of flat grey and set them aside for a few days. Then with everything at my feet I assembled the complete antenna and had it sitting on a fiberglass ladder for testing in 45 minutes flat. It tested perfect on all bands with the SWR centered perfect on each band.

I use the Hex Beam to supplement a 133ft OCFD and it consistently gives me about 2 S units increase on 17 and 20m over the 133ft wire antenna. The wire probably works better but on some of the upper bands I have a null towards the east coast (from CA) and I can't turn the house and wire to fix it so the Hex Beam pulls way ahead of the wire antenna in most cases even though its not a lot of gain.

I know a few others who bought the NA4RR and had similar experience with great things to say about this antenna.
 
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