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At this point in time - Antenna experiences so far

Discussion in 'CB Antennas' started by HomerBB, Aug 4, 2012.

  1. HomerBB

    HomerBB Sr. Member

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    This discussion was afoot on another forum wherein a member had found what appeared to be a NOS StarDuster for sale at a good price and had, inevitably, asked what others thought. Many responses had been forthcoming, and, of course, all of us were right in our own eyes - how could those other guys be so wrong? . . .

    Letting anyone interested in on one of the responses I made after reading many on the thread which had led as antenna threads do to some not surprising run offs into tangents beyond the initial question - is the SD a good antenna and should I pay $x for it?

    Here you go:
    I agree completely on the general principle expressed in this post regarding the advantages of more capture area.

    On the other hand, there are other properties of antenna design that influence the performance of a given antenna - as in Take Off Angle (TOA), or the mounting placement can greatly affect performance - height above ground, nearness of other objects, quality of ground beneath the antenna, weather variables, etc.
    Antennas can be deceptively excellent performers when looking at them, such as getting better performance from a cheap Radio Shack mobile antenna than from a $100+ high end design (yes, it happens).

    Also, what one wants to do with their antenna can influence one's choice. Do you want to swap compliments with stations 800 to 1200 miles out running mega watts of power? Do you want to drop the maul? Do you want to round table ratchet jaw with a handful of local friends? Do you want to talk around the world with reasonable wattage, or QRP (5 watts or less) on SSB?

    The variables of antennas can be nearly endless, and different conditions and needs can dictate completely different expectations from one antenna or another.

    Is the SD a good antenna? - Without a doubt, yes.

    I have made and mounted a whole variety of antenna types ranging from full wave loops to 1/4 wave GP, dipole to Yagi, Quad beams to a variety of vertical omnis - 5/8, 7/8, 1/4, and currently a 1/2 wave endfed. All of them have delivered results, and I've come to favor one or the other at my location. I have experienced a plethora of different antenna types and have narrowed my personal choice down to one were I to have to pick a single vertical Omni-directional antenna over those I've flown at my location.

    I will be building another all-metal Homebrewed original styled Astroplane.
    Why?
    1. it performs admirably well, both as an international DX antenna logging me contacts into Europe, SA, and SW Pacific, and all points of the North American continent as well as nearly any mentionable island in the Atlantic and Caribbean.
    2. it handles more power than I can afford to put into it.
    3. it is light weight.
    4. it has a smaller wind displacement.
    5. absolutely nothing I have flown at my location has out-performed it for my purposes all around.

    Beams out perform it in the distance, but not locally. The Vector 4000 edged it out at 40+ miles or more, but not closer in, nor to DX locations that are largely conditions dictated. The 1/4 wave GP, like the StarDuster blew smoke locally, and did well within the US continent, but not so well into Europe or Australia. A variety of 5/8 wave antennas proved to be neither better at longer distance local - 30+ miles - nor DX, and proved to do less well for local work - under 30 miles - for me.

    My point is not that the Astroplane is the best antenna out there, but that variables abound when it comes to which antenna is the best. The first one is always what it is you wish to do with the antenna. After that, one never really knows until they use a given antenna for a while. The AP best meets my all around requirements, and that is the only real test in the long run.

    I can't tell you whether you should buy that antenna (NOS SD), but I would. I love antennas.

    Respectfully,
    Homer
    [/quote]

    Perhaps others on the forum could share what has been their experiences at their locations without delving too deeply into a debate on whether or not it is true because of this red line, blue curve, or yellow shading on their models, etc. Don't get me wrong, I really find modeling advantageous in exploring the potential of given antenna types. I just would like to see if there is any anecdotal experiences that seemed to work for us that may or may not have defied other points of logic/science. Naturally, it is okay to discuss the results we've had as opposed to what should have been expected, so modeling is okay, too. The thread would be senseless without it. Just let's accept the anecdotal answers at face value no matter how much it hurts should this thread gain any traction.

    I have gone out on the limb with mine . . .



    Homer
     
    #1 HomerBB, Aug 4, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2012
    1 person likes this.

  2. ^^^STICKY WORTHY^^^
     
  3. Zman

    Zman K9FON

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    Hoooo boy...................... Just get whjat you like and try it out. All omni antennas do the exact same thing, they radiate POORLY in all directions!!!!!! LOL!
     
  4. Marconi

    Marconi Usually if I can hear em' I can talk to em'.

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    Hey Zman I'm curious, does your personal experience support your words of wisdom here, or are you able to produce the exceptions?
     
  5. HomerBB

    HomerBB Sr. Member

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    LOL @ everyone
     
  6. hey homer .... did you ever get a antenna tuned by the 259B to work better than it did when just tuned by a vswr meter ?
     
  7. bob85

    bob85 Supporting Member

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    my favourite performers in order ignoring build quality,


    big-mac,
    the longest most eyecatching cb vertical i ever owned,
    rarest & most expensive of the cb verticals sold in uk back in the 80's & the best performer in low wind, this antenna caused arguments,

    old vector/sigma hybrid,
    more compact & much stiffer than big-mac, never directly compred them,

    avanti sigma4, comtel 444, tagra clone, all about equal

    i-10k, sigma2, electronlca special,

    best white stick, gainmaster.
     
  8. HomerBB

    HomerBB Sr. Member

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    I don't know, Booty.
    Since i got the 259b I've used it exclusively, and I have no idea whether it would have been any different without it.

    I've used it to build three antennas since receiving it: the .64, the EFHW, Sigma 4 redo.

    I achieved fair results on the .64 - it acted typical of such an antenna with nothing outstanding I could remark about.

    The EFHW is doing better than the A99 1/2 antennas I've used in the past with its last configuration that includes a GP radials. I am unable to say it is because of the 259b . . .

    The Sigma 4 works when in the air, but so far I have been unable to get it to read ideally on the 259b. Achieving a low VSWR is easy enough, but the R= and X= are never where you'd want to write home about. To date I have never known of anyone reporting anything on whether their Sigma.Vector antennas look good on an analyzer so I just scratch my head on that one. I'll build one more from scratch and try again in due time.
     
    #8 HomerBB, Aug 7, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2012
    1 person likes this.
  9. HomerBB

    HomerBB Sr. Member

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    That's quite a line up Bob.
     
  10. Needle Bender

    Needle Bender ...he thinks it's funny that I stepped in it

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    But some omnis are more POORLY than others.

    I'm getting all my radio and stereo stuff ready for sale and had just cleaned up all the antennas when I read this post, so I decided to have one last hurrah before the big sale.

    Using 70w CW to a radio friend 27 miles away, 3 element vertical Yagi and a 'friendly' Yaesu ft-102 analog meter, I scored:

    s9+2 - Gainmaster
    s9+.5 - Penetrator500 (original from 1976)
    s8+ - Imax2K
    s8 - Avanti Astro Plane
    s7 - Starduster (sold)
    s6.75 - Proton
    s6.5 - A99 (sold)

    All were on the same coax, radio and 45' high telescopic TV antenna mast using dacron guy lines, over the course of 2+ hours on Sunday, and when finished the Gainmaster was back on the mast and still right at s9+2 on her meter.

    Another friend about 8 miles away was watching his meter on & off while I tested and said he missed a few but agreed the Gainmaster was several needle widths better than the Penetrator and much better than the Starduster and Proton, but said he couldn't tell the difference between the Starduster and the Proton.

    When I get my Sigma4000-Vector4 broken pot-metal gamma hub replaced, I'm going to build a ball-type top hat and set it up as per Vector4k spec and compare it (against only the Gainmaster and maybe the P500) before I sell it too.
     
  11. HomerBB

    HomerBB Sr. Member

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    Sweet!
    Thanks for the results of your testing.
    Your findings more closely represent some of those others have been reporting.
    Even your AP doesn't match my findings for mine, and your differences are clearly more discernible by your testing station using CW than even voice on AM.
    I'm looking forward to the V4k results against the GM.
     
  12. Needle Bender

    Needle Bender ...he thinks it's funny that I stepped in it

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    So am I! - Because that means I'll have it repaired & finally fully functional! [​IMG]
     
  13. Marconi

    Marconi Usually if I can hear em' I can talk to em'.

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    Homer, NB, just gave us his report on his antenna testing only one contact, and it indicated a rather large difference among the CB antennas he tested, a difference greater than 2.5 Sunits. That is a lot of difference for me, and I have never experience that much difference in signals at one time between any of the CB vertical antennas I own. Is this the kind of differences you typically might see Homer, assuming all the antenna's are working well and they're close to the same height?

    I don't do a lot testing using TX signals, and maybe if I did I would see some differences that I don't see with testing RX signals only. I say this in spite of the fact most consider antennas are reciprocal in nature. In your initial remarks you suggest that capture area is what makes the difference in the results that you and NB see. I disagree that capture area is the real factor here, albeit is probably something to consider and maybe even measure under a lab control setting.

    For years I have heard such claims about capture area making the difference, and just thinking and visualizing on the idea, common sense might suggest the idea has merit. However due to my personal experience working with numerous antennas at the same location and time in most cases, I've wondered how a real test of this capture area idea would work out...were it possible.

    I've wondered if there was some way we could take out the natural advantage that taller antennas have over the smaller designed antennas, due to increased height, because a capture area advantage, if it is an advantage, should be evident at any height.

    Then I remembered an article, along time ago, discussing testing of antennas on a standardize RF test range. Much of the work was beyond my understanding, but I took away one unforgettable fact about the method and procedures of testing used by this test range. They used a rota-table platform as the test center, and they laid the antennas down flat to test. The stated purpose being...to eliminate height and it's effect on maximum gain angles as a factor in the comparisons.

    I'm not sure, but I think your idea here is to exclude modeling examples from this thread and go mainly by anecdotal accounts, but I don't know how we could test the affects of capture area without considering models or what modeling might show. Modeling would not produce iron clad results that fully answer the questions, but it could be informative along with the results from other's that hopefully are participating with their real world testing. iMO, most would heartily disagree with comparing antennas of different lengths with their tip heights at the same height, or their maximum current nodes at the same height, so there is a bias advantage for the longer antenna going in, if we are to consider capture area differences. So what can we do to get around this bias?

    IMO, when folks start talking about the differences, this or that makes, I'm provoked to ask the simple question, how much difference are we talking about?

    So Homer, without holding you accountable for NB's numbers, are you suggesting that it is capture area that is responsible for the advantages his report shows?

    I think not to be including modeling in this discussion is like leaving the wheat flour out of your bread, so I'll ask this question:

    If I modeled each of these antennas laid down on their sides at 36' above the Earth, could this be a fair test for comparing the effects of the capture area?

    .25 wave GP,
    .50 wave end feed,
    .625 wave,
    .64 wave,

    How do you think these four will rank regarding gain and angle in this position?
     
    #13 Marconi, Aug 7, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2012
  14. Marconi

    Marconi Usually if I can hear em' I can talk to em'.

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    Hey NB, if it will be helpful, tell me exactly what antenna hub you're talking about, and if it is not for the newest Vector, I might have one laying around here that I'll send you...just to get you up and working on your claim the Vector does not radiate constructively or at all from the bottom cone area.

    I also disagree with your claim that some of these antennas we tend to discuss work more poorly than others. I find all my antennas work well at allowing me to work my radio to anybody that I can hear, and that is good.

    Our forum buddy Zman is claiming how poorly all vertical antennas work and in his latest Youtube video he is raving that the HyGain SP500 is the best vertical ground plane ever made. The boy just don't make sense sometimes. I'll even give his video a plug.

    Penetrator 500 5/8 wave CB antenna. AWESOME ANTENNA!!!!! - YouTube
     
  15. The DB

    The DB Sr. Member

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    Does width not also affect capture area?


    The DB
     

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