Some of the antenna changes I make are just arbitrary, and some are part of a strategy. More than anything else – the antenna is the one thing that is easy to change and gives the biggest return on effort. It happens to be the one thing I like about the hobby more than anything – antennas and the study of radio wave propagation. Nothing else comes close . . . yes, its an obsession – and an escape in this fellaheen world.
When I put up the Cushcraft D40, it was a test to compare a rotatable dipole at 40′ with the DV-40-P 40M vertical phased array. In the back of my mind I was wondering how the UltraBeam would perform on 40M. The answer – just like the D40. It will beat the DV-40-P on the LP to ZS during our morning, but (probably) won’t beat the DV-40-P to ZS on the SP.
The point of that test was to sacrifice a couple hundred bucks instead of a couple thousand for the UltraBeam and US Towers ALM-31 crank up tower. The higher bands will go dormant – so spending money on the high bands didn’t make as much sense as making sure the UrbanBeam performs at least as good as a rotatable dipole on 40 and 30M. Now that we are shifting from 3Y0Z to 3Y0I, and later this year – at least a couple higher bands (20 and 17M) will be good. I’ll bet 15M suffers a bit from when 3Y0Z would have been on. Anyway, the verdict is that the UrbanBeam and ALM-31 combo was worth trying. But I do need higher band capability for Bouvet and Glorioso. I toyed with just saying – “the hell with the high bands, I’ll just use a remote”, but I can’t do that – I still want to try to work them all from my own shack. A friends super contest station or a remote is a plan B and C – since there may not be another activation after I work them – in my lifetime. In other words, I feel that I will get one last chance at them.
Other things are arbitrary – but follow the end of some strategy. For example, my Inverted L. Its great on 160, 80 and 30M, but I’ve suffered years of “start and stop” DX-ing on 160M. I had a ton of patience, but many times it was months in between new ones. So – since I have very little antenna space – I have to “re-use” antenna space when I might to try something else. Because of this extreme “economy of space” – I end up trying many different things – and it does seem like “thrashing” sometimes. But that’s the point – unlike all the other things in life that are scheduled – I can – at a whims notice – go out back and shoot a line over a tall tree or set up anything I’d like, any time. There is big freedom in that!
The DX Engineering antenna and the phased Wellbrook Loops are two antennas that I will most likely keep up as long as I am here. They just are that good!
The UrbanBeam won’t go up until the end of March – because the ALM-31 has a 5 week lead time. I found out they are made in California.
What will go up next is a phased 80M array – two SpiderBeam 60′ masts with a wire inside, spaced 68.5′ and phased with the DX Engineering DV-80-P. Yes, I love the DV-40-P that I want to try it on 80M.
I will have to move one of the Wellbrook Loops as it will be too close to one of the 80M array elements.
So, within the next 1 – 2 months I will have the 80M array up – followed by the UrbanBeam.