When I first moved into my Orinda house in 2006, I put up a simple 20M Moxon (orange circle). That was up only 30′ or so, but I worked lots of DX with it. A year before I made DXCC Honor Roll (New Years Eve 2012/13), I had hit a brick wall – I missed E4X and ST0R. I used HFTA and realized because of my surrounding hills and because we were at the bottom of the cycle, my high angle signal wasn’t cutting it on the Polar Path to the Middle East. I bought an AB-957 and put a 3 element Cushcraft A3S up at 40′, and that made a huge difference. To make Honor Roll, I had a 40M QSO with Monk Apollo, SV2ASP/A – and using a dipole up in that 70′ tree (circled in Red because just a few months later it was cut down).
I made a few steps up, and had arrived at an AB-577 with a N6BT DXU-32, which had 3 elements on 20 and two on 40M. That was my biggest, highest (up 50′) and best antenna ever. I was shocked when I took it down – while Kurt, K7NV, assured me that the Military Mast was good enough, I didn’t realize just how big and heavy that antenna was until I tried to take it down. To be honest, I felt like I was lucky that it stayed up for a couple of years as it did. I had to take it down so I could put up 160M antennas – for RX and TX. Its was a hard decision, but it turned out well – because my “last” DXCC band – 160M gave me 9BDXCC, and that concluded my DXCC interest. Sure I have two more to work them all – but I actually have lost interest in DXCC.
Now I am back to an antenna (SteppIR UrbanBeam) up 34′, and its a light antenna on a very sturdy mast / tower – the US Towers ALM-31. The best thing – it covers 40 – 6M which is the only antenna of its kind with this footprint.
The best antenna for 40M evening Short Path . . .
The antenna that has stayed up longer than any – the DX Engineering DV-40-P phased array for 40M. I will be adding the same kind of DX Engineering phased array – but on 80M. The only thing that is the same since I moved here 12 years ago is that I have 2 elements on 20M up 30-ish feet. Back then – that Moxon was only 20M, and the A3S was only 20-15-10M. I am a lot more comfortable with a sturdy tower that can easily handle the load – and now I can have a rotator again! The DX-32 was way too heavy for a rotator – and trying to put one on top of the AB-577 would have been very dangerous – so I turned it with the “Armstrong Method” . .
Now I have 80 – 6M covered, and with gain on ALL of these bands! I cannot say that I have ever had antennas that had gain on so many bands.