Opinions: multi-band vertical vs. rotatable dipole

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prcguy

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Can you describe your wire antenna?

I've played with similar antennas to the MFJs you mention and performance is really bad on 40m, you can't expect much from a 12 or 14ft long antenna. It would not be any or much better than a pair of Hamsticks horizontal on a mast.

On higher bands like 20 through 10m the short MFJs could outperform your wire and only because your long wire antenna will have lots of nulls and lobes on the higher bands. You might find the small antenna filling in where you wire has a null. That's not to say the super short MFJ antennas work well, they just might work better than the worst null on your wire.

One antenna I had that was a little similar to the MFJs you mention was the Cushcraft MA5V 20 through 10m vertical. I got it for my office to supplement a 165ft long version of the lossy B&W BWD-90 broad band terminated folded dipole. Turns out the lossy B&W dummy load antenna worked better on 20 through 10m DX than the Cushcraft vertical.

I've used lots of verticals and have been very disappointed with most except for large ones. One of the better multiband verticals I've tried was a Cushcraft R7 series but it was not good enough for me to consider keeping it. I currently have a DX Engineering 43ft vertical over about 30, 33ft long ground radials with an auto tuner at the base. That works very well 160 through about 20m, then the pattern starts to get squirrely above 17m and its not worth using up there. I also run a 32ft Shakespeare military whip with 500w tuner at the base as a temporary and camping antenna. It also needs lots of radials or long runs of chicken wire under it to work, but it works very well 160 through about 17m and can outperform a multiband horizontal wire antenna on DX.

For the last 20yrs I've run various wire end feds and multiband dipoles in the 100 to 133ft range on my house and recently added a Hexbeam to supplement the higher bands. The Hexbeam is a small compromised 20 through 6m 2 -element beam, but every time I use it I'm blown away with its great performance.

In the last week with nearly dead bands I've talked all over the place on 10m from coast to coast and from CA down to Argentina and Brazil. I usually leave it pointed east and enjoy talking to friends across the country effortlessly compared to my current 133ft 80m offset center fed dipole. I'm usually about 2 S units stronger on 20 and 17m with the Hexbeam compared to my wire antenna.

After lots of research I went with the NA4RR Hexbeam and its also the cheapest on the market. It went together and was ready to go on my tower about 45min after opening the boxes and does not require any tuning. It also has a great match on all bands and no tuner is necessary.

If you really want to supplement your wire antenna for the higher bands I would recommend something like the Hexbeam, or if a vertical is still in your plans go big, otherwise your existing antenna might just work better.
prcguy


I have a 10m to 160m wire antenna but looking for a second antenna either a vertical or dipole. Opinions on each?
https://www.dxengineering.com/parts/mfj-1775
https://www.dxengineering.com/parts/mfj-1796
 
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prcguy

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If your talking about the Comet CHA-250B, its by far the worst performing vertical HF antenna ever marketed, a true dummy load. If you can make any contacts with it you will blow the speaker out of the receiving station with any other vertical antenna that you replace it with.
prcguy


I like the Vertical made by Comet; GP-3 for VHF / UHF
 

k1agh

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I have the GRV5 wire antenna and just want to have other options. The two I listed are made for the bands I work including vhf. Just not sure what I want.
 

prcguy

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When I did a lot of my comparisons between a horizontal wire and various verticals my wire antenna was a G5RV in the early days and later its cousin the ZS6BKW. I would not be happy with either of the MFJ antennas you mention compared to a G5RV.
prcguy

I have the GRV5 wire antenna and just want to have other options. The two I listed are made for the bands I work including vhf. Just not sure what I want.
 

N5TWB

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I like the way my Hustler 6BTV vertical gets the job done for me. I've got it over a good field of ground radials and placed about 50' away from the house. DX Engineering has a good install package, including very specific info on a proper installation. I highly recommend reading that publication as most of the info there applies very well to nearly any vertical installation.
 

gonefishn1

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Comet Antenna GP-3

If your talking about the Comet CHA-250B, its by far the worst performing vertical HF antenna ever marketed, a true dummy load. If you can make any contacts with it you will blow the speaker out of the receiving station with any other vertical antenna that you replace it with.
prcguy
Put your reading glasses on! I did not mention HF. Its a Comet GP-3. Look it up!!!!!
 

majoco

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I have an old HyGain 18AVT/WB that works well 80m to 10m but it does need a good set of radials or set it up in a marsh - don't know what a more modern equivalent is. No gain but good low angle takeoff. Only small portion of 80 and 40m bands but I'm a brass pounder so good for me.
 

K7MEM

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I have a 10m to 160m wire antenna but looking for a second antenna either a vertical or dipole. Opinions on each?
https://www.dxengineering.com/parts/mfj-1775
https://www.dxengineering.com/parts/mfj-1796
I can't comment on the MFJ-1796, but I do have experience with the MFJ-1775.

A friend of mine, who is not very mechanically/electrically inclined, purchased the MFJ-1775 and I agreed to help him set it up. I have put together lots of antennas over the years, but the MFJ-1775 did turn out to be a challenge. Before you do any building, you need to separate everything and positively identify all the parts. Then, read the instructions, twice. Otherwise you will be swapping parts later on.

I had an additional problem, in that, the friend wanted to use it portable! We had to make it so that it could be stored disassembled and then deployed when needed. But that part is another story.

The MFJ-1775 is basically a loaded fan dipole. The 40, 20, 15, and 10 meter sections have loading coils and and radials, on each end. The section with the loading coils comes pre-assembled, but you have to add the radials. It's very much like building a porcupine, so you need lots of space, vertically and horizontally. Just work slowly and carefully, or you could poke an eye out. In the end, it is pretty light so doesn't cause a problem when putting it on a mast.

Functionally, it does work, but the lower bands, 40 and 20, are not very efficient. The antenna is just too short for it to work very well on those bands. A initial test, with a MFJ antenna analyzer, showed that it was very close on all bands and only needed a little tuning. But being a loaded dipole on most bands, the bandwidths are not very wide. I would recommend using a tuner, if you intend to use all of 40 and 20 meters. I haven't gotten any real reports from my friend yet, but it appeared to work fairly well when I was testing it. But, while it is rotatable, don't expect to null out that kilowatt station that has their yagi pointed your way.

Someone also mentioned the 5BTV. I bought one used at a ham fest over 10 years ago and have been using it ever since. I have had it installed in a variety of locations, with the current one being the best. One of my limitations is that, I have horses and tractors. So I need to keep everything off the ground. The horses would destroy a ground mounted antenna in minutes. My 5BTV is mounted at the top of a 18 foot section of 2" iron pipe. I use four angled (45 degree) radials for each band (40, 20, 15, and 10 Meters). I don't use radials for 80 meters because, the 80 Meter Resonator "exploded" during a lightening storm. A nice feature of the 5BTV, if you like to tinker, is that extra bands, like 12 and 17 meters, can be added. I think the 6BTV comes with 30 or 60 meters.

But the rest of the antenna still works. I find that it is a little noisier than my multi-band trap/fan dipole, but it still works great. Like any shortened antenna, the bandwidth on the lower frequency bands is small, but a good tuner can take care of that for you.

Martin - K7MEM
 

k1agh

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Its a tough decision. I like the Hustlers but the MFJs have good reviews online. Just not sure what I want to use with the GRV5. By the way anyone using the GRV5 or any wire antenna? Which direction is best for it?
 

n3ouc

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I use an OCF Dipole for 80-6 meters which works really well for me. In the same amount of room an 80 meter dipole uses, you can work 7-8 bands without much tuning. I only have 100 watts and using this antenna I can break pileups on 80, 40 and 20 meters.
For the upper bands like 17,15,12 and 10 meters, I have an old R5 CushCraft vertical that works pretty well. Found it on Ebay for next to nothing.
I made a full size delta loop for 30 meters fed 8' up from a corner so it vertically polarized. At 32' a side, it does not take up a ton of room and doesn't need to be very high off the ground. I have the bottom at 10' off the ground and that plays very well on 30.

Mike
 

prcguy

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The radiation pattern from a G5RV or similar antenna is a bit complicated on the higher bands and there are published patterns on the internet. For most people who have them horizontal and 20 to 30ft high they are fairly omni directional on 80m and mostly omni directional on 40 with a few lobes.

The problem with most antennas like these are the upper bands have nulls and lobes and once you put it up you can turn it to favor a station in a null. I've worked a lot of DX on 20m and above on a G5RV, ZS6BKW and 80m offset center fed, but I knew I was down in level compared to other stations in my area with antennas better optimized for 20 through 10m. If I knew how well a Hexbeam improved things I would have bought one years ago.
prcguy

Its a tough decision. I like the Hustlers but the MFJs have good reviews online. Just not sure what I want to use with the GRV5. By the way anyone using the GRV5 or any wire antenna? Which direction is best for it?
 
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The best rule of thumb when discussing vertical antennas is; a vertical antenna radiates equally poorly in all directions.
 
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