The Zero-Five streak is history!
What the devil am I talking about? I'm talking about the run of 68 consecutive perfect ratings of "5" reviews at eham.net for their 43' multiband vertical antenna. Review #69 was the review to change the course of history...it was a 3 out of 5. A three! Not even a 4, a darned 3! No more 5.
Well, in case you're really intrigued now, it appears that the bottom has fallen out completely...two reviews later, someone gave it a two! 2 out of 5! So not only is the streak dead, but the naysayers are coming out of the woodwork. Someone must've had sour grapes.
Those of you who follow my blog know that I use three different antennas on HF, a Zero-Five multiband vertical (43 feet), a WI4USA-manufactured hex beam (G3TXQ design), and a good ol' G5RV.
The Zero-Five was my primary antenna for all bands before I installed the hex beam. I only switch to the G5RV for those times where the noise level is so high that the signals on the vertical and the hex are nearly obliterated. Often the wire antenna often seems to help. Not always. When I was shopping for a replacement to my Hustler 4BTV, I took a long hard look at the Zero-Five before plunking down the rather sizeable chunk of cash it costs. In fact, one of the very things that made me the most uneasy was the 60-something absolutely perfect "5" reviews at eham.net. Seemed too good to be true. Like maybe the deck was being stacked, or a couple of ringers thrown in? But 60 ringers? In the end, unless you're writing all of those yourself, that's a lot of people to pursuade. There had to be some truth to it. And a little deception too.
I mentioned that to the builder/designer, Tom, N9ZV, and he said he understood my apprehension. He didn't really give me a reason why it was the case, but in the end I felt pretty at ease with his approach and I bought it.
Let me say this. On 20 and above, the hex is almost always a better antenna. Sometimes a far better antenna. At times there's really no comparison. There are times where I can hear and easily copy a station on the hex that I cannot hear AT ALL on the vertical. But this doesn't really surprise me. After spending the dough for the hex, I'm happy that's the case, in fact. My vertical is mounted in the clear with roughly 60-70 random length radials. I don't buy into the notion that you need to cut the radials a certain length. Most of mine are at least 35 feet or more. Some have been shortened by an errant lawn mower :) I feed it with LMR400, to minimize my losses. Does it really make that much difference? I don't know, but it makes me feel good.
Anyway, on 30 and 40 meters, the thing is absolutely killer. Those comments about being able to bust pileups with 100 watts - yeah, you can believe 'em. It's true. If I can hear 'em, it doesn't take very long. And I'm not kidding either. On 80, it drops off significantly and on 160, it isn't worth much at all.
So, for me, there's two questions. One, do I feel that I got my money's worth to be incredibly effective on TWO bands (40 and 30), so-so on another two (20 and 17), and lousy on four (10, 15, 80, and 160)? Well, since I'm going to use the hex on 20-10 almost always, and I don't hang out on 80 or 160 unless there's a contest going on...gosh, I don't know. 30 and 40 meters are pretty important to me and I LOVE being effective on those bands, soooooooo, I'm leaning towards saying, "yeah" - I think I got my money's worth. And once the sunspots start pouring in (heh-heh), I may even feel different about 15 and 10.
The second question, would I give it a 5 in an eham review? Well...no. I'd give it a 4. Actually, I'd give it a 4.5, but since that's not a possibility, I'd have to say "4".
I'm just glad I wasn't the first one to post and break the streak!
On a sidenote, in the past couple of days, I've noticed that the website for WI4USA no longer exists - there's a page that says "Coming Soon". I'm not sure what's up with that, maybe Thom has changed hosting companies or experienced trouble or maybe he's redoing his webpage?