My first antenna was a Hustler 6-BTV from Newtronics, purchased at HRO in April 2007. The original idea was to aerial mount the 6-BTV off my shed in the backyard with 4 radials for 20m and 40m. The antenna was mounted on the top of a 16′ mast, unfortunately the homeowner’s association did not take kindly to this.
After complying with their letter pulled the 6-BTV down and three months later I figured out a solution to the HOA problem. I used a set of plans I found developed by Albert Parker, N4AQ and disguised my vertical as a flagpole. For the price of PVC and assorted hardware it seemed to work out well…for awhile.
January 2008 saw heavy winds and rain and after the storms blew through I noticed the flagpole listing to one side. I decided to pull it down and I realized one the lower 72′ aluminum tube was broken in two. It seems when I constructed the flagpole, I did not account for the screw that held the anchor in the PVC to tie off the flag. These two screwed scraped away at the aluminum to the point it failed. I took the 6-BTV down again.
In April of 2008 I erected the 6-BTV again with replacement parts from DX Engineering. In addition to the 72″ tubing I also purchased a radial plate and started laying out varying lengths of wire. I also decided to petition the Board of Directors of my HOA to allow me an exemption to the CC&Rs and erect my 6-BTV.
April 16, 2008 I went to the HOA meeting and presented my case to the Board of Directors and association manager. They were impressed with my presentation, which laid out what I intended to do, the emergency aspects of amateur radio, as well as potential EMI/RFI to my neighbors. I included images from varying locations showing my vertical as well as a list of signatures from my surrounding neighbors.
After discussion, I was allowed to keep the 6-BTV erected in my backyard on a trial basis to see what comments the HOA would get from those in the neighborhood. To date, no one has complained. Read more about it, I Beat the HOA!. After the “win” I added a tilt-base and a vertical feed current choke to the 6-BTV.
In June, 2009 I purchased a SteppIR Big Mk III, which would be an upgrade to the 6-BTV. After joining the SteppIR Yahoo Group, I figured my limited space would allow enough long radials to provide the “other half” of the antenna. It took a few weeks to get the antenna and area prepped and installed. I mounted the antenna in the same area where the 6-BTV was. You can read about the SteppIR BigIR Mk III.
While being pleased with the BigIR, I was still in search of something better, something with direction. I was originally looking at a small 3 element Yagi, but ended up building a 5-band hex beam that I purchased from DX Engineering. I had read the March, 2009 QST article from K4KIO, as well as many online articles about the antenna and how well it worked.
I purchased the DXE 5-band hex beam in October, 2009 in hopes to put it up for the CQWW DX – SSB Contest. While I missed my target date, I did temporarily mount it on told of my shed (15′ high). It worked like a champ into the Caribbean, South America, Asia and the South Pacific. I am looking to get this mounted on a telescoping mast that will raise the hex beam to 25′ when in use and 10′ when retracted. You can read about the DXE 5-band hex beam.