July 2012 (updated Sept. 2015)
Current antenna farm: Figured I should provide an update on which antennas are currently in use, as they do tend to be changed from time to time. Right now I am using the following:
- 20M, 17M, 15M, 12M, 10M — SteppIR 3-element yagi on a 47′ crankup tower
- 30M — SteppIR 30M/40M dipole
- 40M — 2-element full-sized wire quad: aimed at Europe and New Zealand
- 80M — triangle of three elevated verticals, switchable in six directions
- 160M — Inverted-L, 70′ vert., 65′ horiz. due East
160M, 80M — 260′ long Beverage, unterminated, hears East and West. It’s fed with RG58 coax, and uses a small transformer at the feedpoint, wound on a binocular core BN-73-202 toroid.
Competitive advantage in the terrain
The SteppIR yagi is usually at 25 to 30 feet in height (tower cranked down) but can be cranked up to 47 feet. When I point toward Europe, the antenna performs as well as — and in some cases better than — an identical antenna on a 120′ tower, due to beneficial surrounding terrain that drops off sharply in that direction.
Yes, I said 45′ here compares favorably to 120′ on a flat landscape (say, prairie country), if you believe in terrain advantages.
Similar benefits are found when working Africa, Canada, the U.S., and South America. In fact, working Canada and the U.S., I no longer crank up the tower and still get great results due to the higher take-off angle combined with the much lower far-field topography at this QTH.