Shakespeare 393 HF

K6GBW

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Hello all, I'm working on an HF vertical antenna for a very small yard. I have a small tower set up for some VHF/UHF antennas on the corner of the house. To get HF I'm considering using something like a Shakespeare 393 and mounting it to the top of the tower, with the understanding that it isn't the best antenna in the world for this application. For me its all about balancing curb appearance with an antenna that works. Wire antennas are nearly impossible because of the way the power company ran my power lines down to the house so a vertical is pretty much is.

My question is, how does one mount a Shakespeare 393 to a tower/mast? All the mounts that Shakespeare advertises appear to be for mounting to a ships deck. I'm assuming they must have some sort of mast mounting solution but I just can't seem to find it. Anyone that has experience mounting these things please let know what you did.

Thanks,

B
 

prcguy

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That antenna has a threaded hole in the bottom and must use a base mount and an insulated side bracket to hold the antenna up, its not designed nor can it be used with just a base mount. I've done a number of marine installs with these and have some mounts somewhere in my garage. Here is an example of a mount for that antenna: Shakespeare 410-R Mounting Kit | eBay You would simply get a fold over threaded base mount and adapt to your tower whit U bolts or hose clamps and mount it maybe 2ft below the top then adapt an insulated side bracket to the top of the tower to grab the antenna there.

These antennas are just a copper wire inside a fiberglass tube and must use an auto tuner at the base like an SGC-230 or Icom AH-4, etc. Placing it at the top of a tower will not work very well at all, the antenna needs some horizontal ground plane or radials to work against. If you had guy wires at the top of the tower that you could ground to the antenna tuner then you would do much better.

There are many other types of HF antennas that can be hidden and will work much better than a vertical marine HF whip on top of a tower. If you have about 64ft of horizontal space away from power lines I can make you a resonant end fed half wave that covers 40, 20, 15 and 10m without a tuner and I have some specialized 22ga high strength nickel/copper wire teflon coated with a light blue/green color with a black tiger stripe. It virtually disappears in the sky and against trees, etc.
 

K6GBW

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Good Morning PRC Guy! Yeah, I've been using a MyAntennas EFHW with a 63' wire for about six months. Unfortunately I just can't hear that well with it. I may try putting the 49:1 transformer on my tower and stringing the wire out toward the street to try and get it away from my power lines. I have SoCal houses! They just aren't made for HF antennas!

BTW: We are using 146.595 as our groups simplex and 144.460 for P25 simplex. Hope to hear from you when you're in SoCal!

Brian
 

W9BU

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I've been using a MyAntennas EFHW with a 63' wire for about six months. Unfortunately I just can't hear that well with it.
Keep in mind that vertical antennas are generally noisier than horizontal antennas. If you are having trouble hearing with your EFHW, switching to a vertical may get you a few S units better signal from other stations, but the noise floor will go up, too.

I'm sure @prcguy can elaborate.
 

prcguy

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There is the increased noise with the vertical over a horizontal wire but also differences in propagation and range. That type of vertical on a tower on 80 through 10m might get a maximum range of about 50-75mi or so ground wave with the wind behind it and less on some bands. Then there will be a fairly dead range from 50-75mi to several hundred miles until the first skip zone and so on.

A horizontal wire might do worse on ground wave due to height but it can fill in everything from 0 to several hundred miles on 80 through 40m in NVIS mode and still put in a good signal at a further distance. Overall you will make many more contacts and at higher signal levels on a resonant EFHW over the vertical in question on a tower.

A really good vertical over lots of ground plane can outperform the low horizontal wire on DX on some bands and here is an example. I have a remote station with a ZS6BKW dipole at about 25ft high and also a DX Engineering 43ft vertical over a very good ground system on the same property. At first I had the stock DX Engineering 4:1 balun at the feed of the vertical, which is a big compromise. The horizontal dipole beat the 43ft vertical in every way, local, DX and everything in between. Then I replaced the 4:1 balun with an auto tuner at the base of the vertical and it came alive, outperforming the dipole on 40 through 17m DX by about a half S unit.

The vertical with auto tuner still misses a bunch of contacts that are more than 75mi away and less than a few hundred and switching between antennas mid day on 40m is like changing frequencies, there are groups of people that just go away on the vertical but are perfect copy on the dipole. So in my opinion, if you can only have one HF antenna I think a horizontal wire type will get you into more places and will make more contacts than a vertical of any kind.

Keep in mind that vertical antennas are generally noisier than horizontal antennas. If you are having trouble hearing with your EFHW, switching to a vertical may get you a few S units better signal from other stations, but the noise floor will go up, too.

I'm sure @prcguy can elaborate.
 

prcguy

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I think you have the very best quality 40-10m EFHW on the market and sticking the transformer high on your tower and running the wire clear of stuff should work great barring any major sources of RFI on your property. I would space the transformer away from the tower at least several feet and would not ground the antenna transformer to the tower, just let the transformer and antenna float but do ground the coax near the radio to code.

Its a very good idea to use an effective common mode choke or 1:1 balun in the feedline maybe 5 to 20ft downstream from the transformer. That will help keep RF off the feedline which can happen if you try to work out of band and it will also snuff out RFI that can travel up your coax from things in the house that the coax passes near, like computers, routers, switching power supplies, etc. My noise floor and birdies went down noticeably after placing a common mode choke at both the antenna and radio end of my coax.

Good Morning PRC Guy! Yeah, I've been using a MyAntennas EFHW with a 63' wire for about six months. Unfortunately I just can't hear that well with it. I may try putting the 49:1 transformer on my tower and stringing the wire out toward the street to try and get it away from my power lines. I have SoCal houses! They just aren't made for HF antennas!

BTW: We are using 146.595 as our groups simplex and 144.460 for P25 simplex. Hope to hear from you when you're in SoCal!

Brian
 

K6GBW

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prcguy, I know, you're absolutely right about the wire over a vertical. Ideally, I'd prefer the in-close NVIS type of coverage of a wire. The EFHW I'm using now seems to work really well sometimes and then at other times I can barely hear a thing. My antenna is relatively low at between 13 and 28 feet and I know that doesn't help things, but I have no way of getting it any higher. I'm probably just experiencing the crappy band conditions we've had for the last six months. Good advise on the choke. I've been meaning to do that so maybe now is the time.
 

prcguy

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Band conditions have been dismal for a few years and everybody now uses remote SDR receivers to hear each other. I've noticed over the last week or so a local 40m lunch time net has been doing great and I can hear most everyone for a few hundred miles around and that's very encouraging.

13 to 28ft is ok and I think 30 to 35ft would be ideal being a 1/4 on 40m for the most efficient NVIS and 1/2 wave on 20m for better low angle take off. Before the bands took a dump a few years ago I use to put up a 40-10m EFHW up about 15ft high in various parks and at the beach and I got all over the place on 40 and 20m with just 10 watts. Once the bands pick up your antenna should do just fine.

prcguy, I know, you're absolutely right about the wire over a vertical. Ideally, I'd prefer the in-close NVIS type of coverage of a wire. The EFHW I'm using now seems to work really well sometimes and then at other times I can barely hear a thing. My antenna is relatively low at between 13 and 28 feet and I know that doesn't help things, but I have no way of getting it any higher. I'm probably just experiencing the crappy band conditions we've had for the last six months.
 

K6GBW

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Lets hope so. When I first got my General I was talking to people in Alaska and the Northern Territories daily. Now I'm struggling to get into Sparks Nevada!
 

K6GBW

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Thanks for the meeting and nice lunch! Based off of our conversation I'm going to be making some modifications to my set up. I'm convinced that the poor band conditions are 90% of my problem, but none the less I can make some incremental improvements. I'm adding a common mode choke to the set up. I've read that I can put the choke at the transmitter to knock down any common mode on the coax, but then I've also read that I can put it about 1-2 feet from the transformer. Any opinion on which method would be better?
 

prcguy

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On EFHW antennas I usually put the feedline choke at the antenna end anywhere from 5 to 20ft down from the transformer. That will leave some coax as a counterpoise for that rare time it might be needed. A counterpoise is not required on the MyAntennas versions within its resonant bands but will be if you are trying to use them out of band.

I and many others have loaded up a 40m EFHW version on 80m in a pinch just to make a contact and that will light up the coax with lots of RF. That's also a nasty and inefficient thing to do using a transformer with around 3,000 ohms output to feed a wire that's closer to 50 ohms on 80m but if you are only running 100w into a transformer rated for 1kW it won't hurt anything and it can make a few contacts.

Thanks for the meeting and nice lunch! Based off of our conversation I'm going to be making some modifications to my set up. I'm convinced that the poor band conditions are 90% of my problem, but none the less I can make some incremental improvements. I'm adding a common mode choke to the set up. I've read that I can put the choke at the transmitter to knock down any common mode on the coax, but then I've also read that I can put it about 1-2 feet from the transformer. Any opinion on which method would be better?
 

K6GBW

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Copy that. This actually makes mounting the set up much easier. I have some conduit clamps that should hold that choke up under the eaves nicely as well as a nice six foot LMR-400 patch cable. I should have everything next week. I'll let you know how it all works out. I'm not expecting miracles. The bands are just too weird right now. I was just on the Earlybird Net and one second I'm hearing Steve (KE6RTV) in Sparks, NV S-9+ and the next second he's barely audible at all. I guess we just have to be patient until the sun cooperates. But it will be nice to have 80 Meters again. I've always wanted to have it to reach out to other locals in an emergency.

Brian
 
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