HF Station Set-Up

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Seven-Delta-FortyOne

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First, the disclaimers:

Yes, I'm newly licensed, and probably, at this point, an "appliance operator with a license".
Yes, I intend to learn all I can about this hobby.
No, I don't think asking a question on a forum is the same as an education.
Yes, I am getting a great deal of books to further my education. Some of the one's I'm starting with are the ARRL books, "HF Station Setup", "The Antenna Book", and "The ARRL Operating Manual". If anyone hs suggestions for books that have helped them, I would be glad to hear about them.

So now, for the question:

I'm starting out with the Yaesu 897D. Obviously, finding an antenna that covers every band is not gonna happen. I have 3-4 picked out that I want to start with. So I was looking for help with the actual, physical hook-up. I assume I don't need a tuner, as all the antennas are tuned. I don't know if I should run them through a splitter, and the signal automatically goes through all or the best tuned antenna, or if I should used a 4 or 6 way antenna switch, and then select the proper one for the band I'm on.

I know this is a basic question, but some of the nitty-gritty is not really covered on the test.


Thanks to anyone who cares to assist.





Delta
 

prcguy

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Need to know more info like what antennas will you be using? You can do most of the bands with just two antennas and plug them into the two antenna ports on the radio. A horizontal or inverted V wire antenna like the 94ft long ZS6BKW can have a reasonable match on most HF bands like 40, 20, 30, 17, 12, 10 and 6m without a tuner and with a tuner you would get full band coverage from 80 through 6m. That coupled with a dual band 2m/440 vertical would cover most anything your FT-897 could do.

One advantage of a horizontal or inverted V wire antenna that's typically 10 to 30ft above ground is saturating the area from 0 to maybe 500mi or more on 80/60/40m where a vertical antenna would have trouble after ground wave fades out around 75mi and you can have a dead zone until the signals bounce back down at a shallow angle usually 1000 or more mi away.

The horizontal wire antenna will also serve the areas further than 500mi and I've found them to be much better on all HF bands overall than vertical types.
prcguy
 

Seven-Delta-FortyOne

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Well, I've not made a final decision on which antennas yet, as I will be starting out mostly operating from my truck, and temporary installations, i.e., hiking to a mountaintop and setting up.

For the truck mount, I've got my eye on the Comet UHV4 or UHV6. They cover enough, for me, for mobile operation.

For base antennas, I've noticed, 1, 160 Meter is in a league of it's own, 2, 17 and 12 Meters are not commonly included (I understand the technical reasons for this), and 3, I might want to have a combination of verticals and beams, depending on what I'm trying to do.

I figured I would install them all, and then run them all through a switch. Don't know if that's how it's commonly done.

Also, my understanding of using a tuner is, although the SWR at the transmitter is good, an untuned antenna is still going to have loss because the imbalanced swr is still present after the tuner, in the feedline and antenna.

Hope I said that right.



Thanks for the help.




Delta
 

n9mxq

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A G5RV or variant at a decent height will do most of what you want. Used one with a tuner with my 706MKIIG with great results.

If you are going the multi antenna route then yes, you should use a switch. Make sure to spend the extra and get one that A. grounds the unused antennas, and B. includes lightning/static protection, even if you have lightning/static protectors on each coax..

Your understanding is right. The tuner makes the antenna and feedline "look" good to the radio. The rest is lost as heat.
 

prcguy

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I've played with the Comet UHV series and they are ok on 2m and 440, a bit worse on 6m, 10m makes contacts but its getting to be inefficient there. They are really bad on the lower bands like 40 or 80m with the optional coils and a $20 Hamstick will greatly outperform them on 10m and lower.

Yes a tuner makes the match very good at the radio and the SWR is still bad at the antenna end but without a tuner your radio will try to shut down when the SWR gets much worse than 2:1 on most radios. My FT-897 was particularly sensitive to antenna match and would chop up the transmission if the SWR was much worse than 1.5:1. An LDG AT-897 tuner made life much better with my FT-897.

Some antennas like high Q mobile whips are extremely lossy when used out of resonance, but a large wire antenna fed with balanced line like a G5RV will work fine with a tuner if you don't have too much coax between the balanced line and radio end. A G5RV on 80m has a really bad match, well in excess of 10:1 but when matched with a tuner at the radio and little or no coax is used it will radiate most everything you feed it and will perform very well.

The reason I suggested a ZS6BKW dipole in my first post is because its a modern day computer designed cousin of the G5RV and has a good match on 5 or 6 bands without a tuner. That's good because you will not incur additional loss beyond the advertised loss of the coax, where that loss goes through the roof in a bad mismatch condition like a G5RV used with 100ft of RG-58 or RG-8X.

A G5RV works well but its really designed as a 20m antenna with a little gain and on all other bands its a random length dipole with a random length of balanced feedline. It just happens to be a very good size to provide reasonable performance on 80 through 10m with a tuner and that's what makes it so popular.
prcguy

Well, I've not made a final decision on which antennas yet, as I will be starting out mostly operating from my truck, and temporary installations, i.e., hiking to a mountaintop and setting up.

For the truck mount, I've got my eye on the Comet UHV4 or UHV6. They cover enough, for me, for mobile operation.

For base antennas, I've noticed, 1, 160 Meter is in a league of it's own, 2, 17 and 12 Meters are not commonly included (I understand the technical reasons for this), and 3, I might want to have a combination of verticals and beams, depending on what I'm trying to do.

I figured I would install them all, and then run them all through a switch. Don't know if that's how it's commonly done.

Also, my understanding of using a tuner is, although the SWR at the transmitter is good, an untuned antenna is still going to have loss because the imbalanced swr is still present after the tuner, in the feedline and antenna.

Hope I said that right.



Thanks for the help.




Delta
 

Seven-Delta-FortyOne

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Thanks for the help. That's good to know about the Comet antennas.

The other mobile I had in mind was the Diamond CR-8900A. I know it was designed for the FT-8900, but I assumed it would would work on those same four bands, regardless of the transceiver. Besides, I want to get an 8900R as my dedicated mobile soon.

The G5RV looks nice, but I was hoping to start out with something a bit smaller until I figure out exactly where I'm gonna put the shack permanently. Also, I'm looking at starting with a vertical until I get a bit more experience.




Delta
 
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