HF Vertical Antenna Suggestions

ab5r

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I'm embarrassed to post this as I have an Extra license and been a ham for tens of years. However, It has been some time since I was on HF and have a Yaesu FT-450D arriving later this month. In addition; towers, wire antennas, or verticals needing radials are not applicable at my present location, sadly.

Therefore, I an searching for a reasonably priced vertical, not requiring radials, to get on the air.

Any suggestions appreciated.

73,
Jerry AB5R
 

ka3jjz

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Have you thought about a loop? Doesn't require any radials and certainly a lot less of an eyesore (to neighbors, not to hams, natch)

Mike
 

prcguy

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What bands do you want to operate? What your asking for exists but in various ranges of poor to mediocre performance. At the very least please avoid things like the broad band Comet CHA250B and their clones, they are basically a vertical dummy load. Ok match everywhere but so does a load.

If you can ground mount a vertical and get some ground wires down into the lawn, even a bunch of 10ft long wires or some lengths of 4ft wide chicken wire, various verticals with an auto tuner at the base can work quite well. I've had great success with a 43ft and a 32ft and even 19ft of pushup mast fed with an autotuner but it was in the middle of a 125ft X 275ft bonded metal roof.

My experience with most radial-less verticals has been dismal but the Cushcraft R7 I played with for awhile did ok. Not great but ok compared to various horizontal wire antennas here. I hope any others recommending a vertical will also post what they compared it to. I find in most cases a raving review of a vertical is from someone that has never used any other antenna and they have not experienced what a better antenna can do.

I'm embarrassed to post this as I have an Extra license and been a ham for tens of years. However, It has been some time since I was on HF and have a Yaesu FT-450D arriving later this month. In addition; towers, wire antennas, or verticals needing radials are not applicable at my present location, sadly.

Therefore, I an searching for a reasonably priced vertical, not requiring radials, to get on the air.

Any suggestions appreciated.

73,
Jerry AB5R
 

prcguy

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Have you used one yourself? I bought one brand new and it was just a little better than a dummy load. Yes it makes contacts, but compared side by side to other antennas its not good.

One of the best antennas I've heard, among dipoles, wire and verticals, on any of the kiwi-sdr remote listening sites are a GAP Titan DX and it doesn't need any radials but it will cost you $500.


/Ubbe
 

Ubbe

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You are probably correct. I looked at a comparison test with a proper dipole cut to the test frequency and the Titan where up to 11dB worse. But then at the eham.net website the user reviews leaves 5 stars from almost everybody. When I listen to 7 or 8 different remote sites it is always the one with the Gap Titan that has the best reception both locally and DX.

/Ubbe
 

ab5r

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Mike (KA3JJZ): No I have not thought about a loop. Can they handle 100 watts? Wouldn't they be directional too?
 

ab5r

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Thank you Bill (WA0CBW) for the conversation contact. I am considering your suggestion.
 

alcahuete

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You really need to provide more information. Is an HOA the problem? Something else?

Back in the 90s and early 2000s, I used a Cushcraft vertical, similar looking to the R9, in a HOA restricted community, in the middle of trees, mounted on a 5' mast, no radials. I would give it raving reviews. Of course, the conditions were different, but I was talking around the world on that thing using anywhere from 5-25 watts, even on 10m. It was a rare day to have to go up to 100w. I used to talk to a friend in Australia on 10m almost every single day in the summer, 5w.

Within the last several years, I temporarily used an Alpha FMJ while my towers were being built, and the damn thing just performed. There are people who say it's bad, there are way better antennas, it doesn't perform, etc., but I have the logbook entries to prove it performs. For being a portable 13' antenna mounted on a 5' tall tripod, I was impressed. The majority of contacts couldn't believe what I was running.

My friend here in Socal uses a DX Commander. I'm not intimately familiar with their models, but it isn't the big one. He does have a very small radial field (less than 30' as he is also in a HOA and has to hide everything). Performs quite well too, even without radials. Just last night, we were both talking to the Canary Islands, and then further south into Africa on 40m...a 10,300 mile hop. While I was 59+ on the beam using 1500w, my friend was using the Commander and 100w and was still perfectly readable.
 

N8FNR

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Get an SGC SG-239 remote tuner for $200, put it in a waterproof box at the bottom of a tree and get a loop up into some trees and you have a fairly decent antenna. By putting the tuner at the antenna feedpoint it is a lot more efficient. I used one of these for years and worked a lot of DX with it. You do have to run DC to it but that is not big deal. Mine had been in use since 2000. It stopped working in 2019 and I sent it in for repairs that cost $50. SGC sells their equipment to the government and NGO's. This book shows a lot of simple antenna ideas that can be done with their tuners; https://www.sgcworld.com/Publications/Books/stealthbook.pdf
SG-239 Smartuner https://www.eham.net/reviews/view-product?id=1509
 
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prcguy

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I've had four SGC tuner failures over the last 25yrs, two SGC 230s bit the dust and two SG-237s. I have an SG-239 that's been online for about 6mo but I will be very surprised if it makes it through the winter near Boston. Repair quotes were about $250 on the SG-230s which is about the used street price. No more SGC tuners for me.

Get an SGC SG-239 remote tuner for $200, put it in a waterproof box at the bottom of a tree and get a loop up into some trees and you have a fairly decent antenna. By putting the tuner at the antenna feedpoint it is a lot more efficient. I used one of these for years and worked a lot of DX with it. You do have to run DC to it but that is not big deal. Mine had been in use since 2000. It stopped working in 2019 and I sent it in for repairs that cost $50. SGC sells their equipment to the government and NGO's. This book shows a lot of simple antenna ideas that can be done with their tuners; https://www.sgcworld.com/Publications/Books/stealthbook.pdf
SG-239 Smartuner https://www.eham.net/reviews/view-product?id=1509
 

WB9YBM

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Niles, IL
I'm embarrassed to post this as I have an Extra license and been a ham for tens of years. However, It has been some time since I was on HF and have a Yaesu FT-450D arriving later this month. In addition; towers, wire antennas, or verticals needing radials are not applicable at my present location, sadly.

Therefore, I an searching for a reasonably priced vertical, not requiring radials, to get on the air.

Any suggestions appreciated.

73,
Jerry AB5R
I've heard of one ham who lived in a trailer park that put up a fiberglass flag pole and ran a vertical inside of it (no radials for obvious reasons) and he was happy with it...
 

prcguy

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Being happy with something doesn't mean that it works well, it just means he got away with putting up an antenna without getting arrested. That is something to be happy about but the no radial verticals are a huge compromise and you can do much better and still have a stealthy antenna.

I've heard of one ham who lived in a trailer park that put up a fiberglass flag pole and ran a vertical inside of it (no radials for obvious reasons) and he was happy with it...
 

mrweather

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I had a Cushcraft MA5V up for a few years and it worked okay. But being vertically polarized it was noisier than horizontal dipoles I've used in the past.
 

Golay

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Have you used one yourself? (you asking Ubbe about the GAP Titan DX). I bought one brand new and it was just a little better than a dummy load. Yes it makes contacts, but compared side by side to other antennas its not good.
I'd like to ask you the same question about the Comet CHA-250B. Have you used one yourself?
 

prcguy

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I've never owned one but played with an actual CHA-250 briefly and I have the same type 5:1 transformers that I have tested with various length verticals. They work as expected, which is poorly on the lower bands and better 20m and up, but still not anything I would purposely use.

I'd like to ask you the same question about the Comet CHA-250B. Have you used one yourself?
 

vagrant

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I owned a Jetstream JTV680, a copycat of the CHA-250B. I purchased it right after licensing when I had no clue, as it advertised so many bands and low SWR. Magic beans you say...sure I'll take some. Here's my money.

My experience was limited at that point to using a CB decades before. Still, one day I heard a station out of Norway and his audio was booming in, yet the signal on my radio barely moved. I knew enough that something was very wrong. Shortly thereafter I installed an Off Center Fed inverted V with a 10 meter apex and IMAX 2000 vertical. They beat the pants off of the JTV-680. With that in mind, the OCF as well as the 2000 are not stellar performers. Some would easily argue they are not even mediocre.

Honestly, a bit of wire as an end fed antenna can be difficult to see. If I couldn't do that, I would probably dust off some Hamsticks I have and make a dipole. Add a choke balun and it may not be too bad. Perhaps rig a way on horizontal PVC to easily rotate the dipole to make it horizontal or vertical and see what's what. Hmm...I actually have all the stuff I need, but never used it as it came in a trade or free. Sounds like a good project this week. Still, 40 meter Hamsticks would be terribly inefficient. I know I have double sticks of some bands, so definitely worth testing 20 meters and up.

By the way, I also use a Buddipole to make a vertical, but even then I use an elevated counterpoise rolled out to the right length to make it work as best it can. You could make it a vertical with the other telescoping bit coming out one of the sides instead of using the wire as a counterpoise. Still, when one forgets to brace the antenna, one must learn how a wire can easily become a counterpoise when one of the telescoping pieces is destroyed.
 
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