Thursday, August 20, 2009

Hex beam raised to 45 feet

I've been talking about it for a long time but I finally got around to raising my hex beam to 45 feet. It had been at about 25 feet since I installed it last December. Man, what a difference it's made! The noise level that I suffered from has all but disappeared and I'm finally getting the kind of results that I had hoped for when I bought it. I had never doubted the transmit ability, but I had grown quite disenchanted with my ability to hear with it. The noise level, which I had always read was supposed to be very low with a properly configured hex, was so high that I was unable to copy many stations that were down in the mud. I was very disappointed.

Now I'm starting to think that I was getting too much interaction with the roof of the house at the lower height. Since the roof pitches away from the mast and the antenna, by raising it essentially 20 more feet, I believe I've eliminated that problem. The noise level is now no higher than on any other antenna that I have and I'm really seeing the gain work in my favor.

But now I have another problem. I damaged my rotor whenever I raised it. It will only rotate about 45 degrees now. Either something is binding or my efforts to raise it damaged some of the gears and its now hosed. The thought of lowering it again to check it out is giving me a headache, but it'll have to be done. I'm using a tv rotor, so there's no braking to speak of. Admittedly, the actual act of raising it was not without bumps and bruises, so it's quite conceivable that I caused the problem. Nevertheless, I think the claims that a tv rotor is fine to use on a hex are somewhat exaggerated, especially if you live in a windy area or don't treat it with kid gloves. I had considered buying a Yaesu G-450A when I last stopped at HRO in Atlanta, but like many things, they didn't have one in stock, would have to order it, and I left without pursuing it any further. Kind of kicking myself over that one.

But at least I'm finally realizing what I hoped would be the case when I bought it, good performance. I will say this, some of the parts were either a poor grade of stainless or not stainless at all. Several areas showed signs of rust or pitting. Little bit surprised at that. Nothing looked to be compromised by any means, but still didn't expect to find that.

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