Posts Tagged ‘Endfed antenna’

Comparing 2 Endfed antennas.

At my location with the lot size, the best antenna for me is an Endfed. Now I am not at all complaining because just a short time ago I was in a condo using the MFJ 1788 loop antenna. My first Endfed antenna was the W1SFR 6m-40m. I will once again repeat myself saying this antenna is great I have kept mine for portable operations once the summer comes.  The top rating for this antenna is 100 watts and since I operate digital at power levels that could be beyond this antenna rating. I did not want to overdo it and lose this great antenna. I then purchased the DXextreme Endfed from DX antennas. Mine is the 33-foot version which is the shortest but is the right size for my lot. While using my W1SFR Endfed on FT8 I monitored it's results on PSK reporter and captured these results with pictures. I wanted to see if there were any noticeable differences in results between the two antennas.  The new antenna went up on February 28th and I have been monitoring PSK reporter and taking pictures of the new antenna results. The mode of operation has been FT8 and the power output for both antennas was 60 watts. The location for the new antenna was the same as the old and the old antenna was 35 feet long and the new antenna is 33 feet long. I was not really expecting any differences but I was surprised when I compared the results.
The first comparison was 20m during the day between 14:15-14:45 local time. The first picture is from W1SFR's Endfed antenna at 14:16 and the second picture is at 14:40 from the DXextreme Endfed antenna.
W1SFR 20m

DXextreme 20m

To my surprise, the DXextreme antenna seemed to make it into Europe and a few other spots the W1SRF EndFed did not. I do have other pictures from other times as well that show the same results but I did not want to fill the post with them as I have other bands to show.
The next band is 30m and again these pictures are from early afternoon at 14:50 local time for W1SFR's antenna and 15:40 using the DXextreme antenna.
W1SRF 30m

Once again I noticed that my spots in Europe were more with the DXextreme antenna over the W1SRF.
Regarding 40m I was happy with the W1SFR antenna compared to my balcony mounted MFJ 1788 back in the condo as I really had no luck reaching Europe on 40m with the loop antenna. The W1SFR allowed me to get into Europe and I was happy with that. But the DXextreme really opened things up for me overseas.
DXextreme 30m
Overall I am very happy with the performance of the new antenna it also allows me to rest at ease knowing I am not overtaxing the W1SFR Endfed in the digital modes.

W1SRF 40m

DXextreme 40m

The Ultimax DXtreme

The retired W1SFR
For the past few days, our weather here on the East coast has been excellent nice warm weather (up to +10) with no rain and just great sunny skies. On the second day of this great weather, I decided it was time to put up my new Ultimax DXtreme EndFed antenna. The antenna I have at present is the W1SFR KX3 helper EndFed antenna.  As I have said past posts this is a fantastic antenna, very well built and works as advertised. So why am I replacing this antenna with yet another EndFed antenna, this is a very good question and was answered in this post.
Ultimax size difference
When I took the KX3 helper down I was pleasantly surprised how great the balun enclosure looked. It has been up for over 6 months exposed all kinds of weather and looked as new as the first day it went up. The first step to get the new antenna up was to install the counterpoise that I ordered with the Ultimax antenna. The configuration for my EndFed antenna is the Balun end is in a tree about 25 feet high with the wire extending down to my shed and is terminated about 8 feet above the ground. This is the same configuration I am going to use for the Ultimax antenna as well. The counterpoise from Ultimax antennas consists of a single wire for about 6 feet and then it splits into 2 separate wires. I used a staple gun to secure the counterpoise to the tree trunk.  The only choice I had was to place one counterpoise leg on one side of the tree trunk and the other one on the opposite side. The tree is only about 1.5 feet around so the counterpoise wires are not that far apart. At the bottom of the tree, each counterpoise goes along the ground in opposite directions for about 15 feet.
The Ultimax antenna is rated at 2KW SSB with 14 gauge wire along with a hefty insulator. Since my max output will be 100 watts CW and tops 80 watts DATA the insulator and wire on the Ultimax is a bit too heavy duty. Plus my support at the wire end is a wooden pole that is not meant for heavy-duty support.
Ultimax is up. 
The idea was to use the wire from the W1SFR KX3 helper as so I thought at the time it was only 2 feet longer than the Ultimax antenna wire but very light. I folded over the wire to bring it down to 33 feet to match the Ultimax wire length and check the SWR on 80, 40, 30, 20 17 and 15m both with and without a counterpoise. The results show when using a counterpoise the SWR was not as good as without. I am guessing this is because of the position of the counterpoise, I was running out of time and not able to play too much with the counterpoise. We are expecting a very large snowstorm tomorrow so the antenna play is done for now. I am going to leave the antenna up without the counterpoise attached. BUT having said that the counterpoise is very easy to attach if need be.

Results without a counterpoise:
     Band              Freq           SWR
    80.              4.000.        7.0
    80.              3.500.        8.1
    40.              7.001.        1.8
    40.              7.070.        1.8
    30.              10.100.     3.3
    30.              10.150.     3.3
    20.              14.001.     4.6
    20.              14.070.     4.6
    17.              18.068.     2.5
    17.              18.168.     2.5
    21.              21.001.     1.5
    21.              21.070.     1.5
 
  
Results with a counterpoise:
         Band              Freq           SWR
    80.              4.000.        6.5
    80.              3.500.       9.1
    40.              7.001.       5.2
    40.              7.070.       5.2
    30.              10.100.     2.2
    30.              10.150.     2.2
    20.              14.001.     4.9
    20.              14.070.     4.9
    17.              18.068.     2.7
    17.              18.168.     2.6
    21.              21.001.     1.6
    21.              21.070.     1.5
Results from W1SFR EndFed:
         Band              Freq           SWR
    40.              7.001.        1.9
    40.              7.070.        2.5
    30.              10.100.     4.4
    30.              10.150.     4.5
    20.              14.001.     4.5
    20.              14.070.     4.3
    17.              18.068.     1.5
    17.              18.168.     1.5
    21.              21.001.     1.8
    21.              21.070.     1.8
   



Arrival of new antenna

The End-fed antenna I have now is the W1SFR KX3 helper End-fed antenna. It's a great antenna and is working nicely. It is very well-made along with a 100% satisfaction guarantee, I have been very happy with mine and have used it without issue as a full time antenna. So with all this positive feedback why am I looking at and purchased another End-fed antenna? The W1SFR has a maximum rating of 100 watts. With my digital operations I have to be mindful that my End-fed is only rated at 100 watts max and I imagine that is an SSB rating. The other "thing" is the W1SFR uses the coax shield as the counterpoise and it has been causing me some grief at my  home station, some lights and our washing machine. I wanted to stay with an End-fed antenna as it fits on my property nicely and over all I am very happy with the performance of the End-fed type antenna. The antenna I decided on is from Ultimax Antennas and it's their Ultimax DXtreme, their 33 foot model. You can order the Ultimax antenna with lengths from 33-124 feet. I chose the 33 foot model as it just fits my property nicely, it would be great to go for something longer but at this time I am going with easy and convenient.
On the Ultimax site it says that the DXtreme antenna covers 6m to 160m and that ALL DXtreme models are of a different design that work most efficiently with the length of wire it is sold with. This End-fed antenna has a rating of 2kw which is more than enough of a buffer for me. Unlike the W1SFR End-fed antenna the DXtreme has provision for a counterpoise. I ordered the counterpoise that Ultimax offers for their antennas. As with most End-fed antennas an antenna tuner in needed and I have my new LDG AT200proII. I will be interested to see if I can get the antenna to tune on 80m! I would imagine the bandwidth may be narrow but that is where the AT-200proII tuner comes into the picture with its ability to call up a memory tune in no time.
The DXtreme antenna arrived here last week but the weather has not been co-operative for me to install the antenna. I don't want to rush the installation as some heights are involved and at my age, I don't bounce very well anymore!

Kazakhstan in the log.

The other day I was very pleased to work a new one using FT8  Kazakhstan UN7CBY Vladimir. I had seen him in the waterfall in the past but was very happy to get him in the log on 30 meters.

Endfed vs Nor’easter!

My Endfed antenna was put up on October 2nd with a few issues that I blogged about but mostly have been sorted out. Today was the test to see how it held up with some strong winds, today was the arrival of a Nor'easter here in the Maritimes. There was high winds and lots of rain, I did find that as it continued to rain the SWR on 40m could not be tamed by the LDG antenna tuner. All other bands were just fine. I was outside at one point when the rain slowed a bit to take out some trash. The one end of the antenna is just outside the back shed and I gave the Endfed wire a bit of a pluck like one would do to a guitar string. Water came off the entire Endfed antenna. I went back into the house and gave 40m a go again and all was well. I'm guessing a collection of water on the antenna affected 40m and I imagine over time more water would had affected the other bands.
Now back to wind vs Endfed antenna, the 9:1 balun enclosure is mounted in a tree with the other end mounted at the shed. Before putting up the antenna I had to devise a way of overcoming the tree sway  and the stress it would put on the antenna. I thought about using a spring but when I went to the hardware store here in town there were none  I felt would flex before any stress was placed on the antenna, the springs just had to have to much tension before they would start to flex. A comment I received on my blog regarding this very issue was to use bungee cord. These were easy to come by at the hardware store and I decided to use it. My installation consisted of 2 bungee cords just incase one became effective and let go.
Today as the wind gusts picked up I noticed the tree that the 9:1 balun was on was swaying a lot but the bungee took up the flex and allowed the Endfed to hardly even move. Up to this point in time the Endfed only had to deal with a slight breaze but today it was put to the test and it passed without issue.

Some positive steps forward with shack RFI

Old HDMI monitor cable
I have had some positive moves forward with regards to my RFI in the shack. I am the kind of person who has to sit back and just think things over, go on the internet and step back and have a good look around. Over the past few days that is what I have been doing. I have had great feedback from my blog readers and it has cause me to think and search out ideas. This was the first time I had ever had these types of issues in the shack but then again I have never used an Endfed antenna before. With regards to my internet adventures I came to the understanding that the Endfed antennas that uses the coax as a counterpoise there can be expected issues of RFI in the shack. My Endfed antenna from W1SFR does not have a separate counterpoise connection. On their website the purchaser is informed the coax is the counterpoise. With regards to my W1SFR Endfed antenna I have contacted the owner Steve many times via email with my questions. His support has been great and Steve has been very willing to afford me as much of his time as needed.
I am the kind of person that things just don't click right away and I need time to mull things over. One  thing that came to mind was my monitor issue I was having. I was using an HDMI feed from my PC to the monitor as I always have in the past BUT in the past I was not faced with the RFI issue. Chameleon Loop antenna  and I remembered the coax that came with the antenna had a set of RF
Chameleon coax choke
chokes on the coax. The reading that I have been doing the the comments on my blog all backed up the fact that with Endfed antennas there is a very strong possibility of RF on the coax if it is being used as a counterpoise. I was able to add the coax from Chameleon to my setup with the RF choke section of coax connected to my radio. I did some testings and found my capacitive touch keyer no longer locked up, my SWR was no longer speratic and I have not as of yet checked my electronic washing machine to see if it stops but that will be when the next load of laundry goes in.
I replaced the HDMI cable with a DVI cable that had RF chokes at either end. This solved my monitor issues of it waking up from sleep mode on it's own and characters showing up on the screen.
I did on Friday end up ordering the Balun Designs 1115 Balun and it should be arriving within the next week or so. My positive tests using the RF choked coax tells me that the purchase of the Balun was a good choice. My next step will be to try out a counterpoise that is 25 feet long secured at the PL-259 that feeds the W1SFR Endfed antenna and see what this step produces. I am hoping with the new Balun, the counterpoise and changing the monitor cable will solve the issues I have been experiencing.
It now the next day and my experiment with the separated 25 foot counterpoise have been completed. I stripped one end of the 25 foot piece of wire and attached it to the outside of the PL-259 using a screw clamp similar to the clamps you see on automative rad hoses.....but much smaller. I checked the SWR on 40m, 30m, 20m and 18m and it really did not change much but what did change was the amount of RFI what was showing up on my waterfall on the 7610. I then removed the counterpoise and the offending RFI was gone. So that was good enough for me I am going to keep the Chameleon coax with the chokes in place until the Balun from Balun designs comes in.

The Endfed antenna is up but with mixed results.

The W1SFR Endfed antenna is up and things went very straight forward with the install. My options for a location a limited so I ended up having to place the antenna in a tree that beside our mini home and then down to the shed about 40 feet or so away. The antenna runs parallel with the mini home along the north side of the mini home. The feed end of the of the antenna is about 25 feet up and mounted to the tree. The far end at the shed the antenna is about 15 feet from the ground.  The coax from the antenna to the shack is about 65 feet in total as the Endfed antenna uses the coax as the counterpoise and Steve W1SRF recommends you have at least 25 feet of coax. The time came to flip the switch on my antenna analyzer and see some SWR results:

Band.         Freq.         SWR 
40.              7.0001.     1.9
40.              7.070        2.5
30.              10.100.     4.4 
30.              10.150.     4.5
20.              14.001.     4.5
20.              14.070.     4.3
17.              18.068.     1.5
17.              18.168      1.5
21.              21.001.     1.8
21.              21.070.     1.8

I was a bit alarmed by the results so I emailed Steve W1SFR regarding the results from his Endfed antenna. He came back with positive comments saying my results looked very normal. This is the very reason it's said that with the Endfed antennas you need to use a tuner. The next step was to connect the Icom 7610 to the whole mix and see how things worked. This is where Murphy popped his head up to give me grief! I began to transmit on 40 meters and with the power at 40 watts things started to happen around the shack and house! In the shack my PC was not running but the monitor was in sleep mode. All of a sudden the monitor would wakeup from it's sleep, on my PC desktop I have a program that allows me to post notes on the desktop when I transmitted CW I would see random letters being typed on a posted notes on the desktop, my electronic keyer would send dah's and no dits and finally our new electronic washing machine would just shut down. The other band I tried was 20m and when transmitting CW at about 60 watts the PC monitor would wake up from it's sleep but no other issues. I was wondering it it was the RF coming back on the coax or because the Endfed run parallel with the mini home is about 15 feet away from the home?
I contacted Steve again who informed me that it could be RF on the coax as it's a counterpoise. His suggestion was for me to purchase a 1:1 balun and from there see if it solves the issues. Steve suggested it may or may not solve all the issues and I may have to look at other options for unsolved issues. Well I have a decision to make....do I want to start spending more money and go down a road that may lead me to gaining more "stuff" but still not being able to use the antenna. Now I did get some comments from my blog readers who do have and are using with success an Endfed antenna. 


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