Thursday, May 29, 2014

Hustler 6BTV Installation and Alterations

I feel I am becoming the original grumpy old man but sometimes I do feel justified.

The Hustler was delivered yesterday and without going in to too many details, I had questioned the seller about how old the antenna was (a claimed 3 months) but on arrival and inspection it was obvious it was much older. 

There was corrosion and rust and some connections looked very worn, added to the fact that the seller had mysteriously sold a hustler antenna the week before with the exactly the same pictures and description except that one was highlighted as 6 months old, I was naturally suspicious
He assured me it was a different antenna and that a friend of his on seeing he was selling a hustler asked him to sell his, (yeah right)! 

Anyway, grump over and after a thorough inspection check, all parts were duly ticked off and I knew I could work with the antenna. I would however have to give it a good clean and at the same time add a few of my own minor accessories.

Thankfully having a motorbike I have all the metal cleaners you could wish for and I spent most of the day cleaning up each segment and traps, it’s by no means perfect but looks a lot better, I now just need to spray on some Krylon coating to keep it protected.

I also looked in to buying the DX engineering direct coax feed connector and tilt base plate which is supplied via a dealer here in the UK. The coax feeder £27.98 plus postage, the tilt over base plate (are you sitting down) £79.94 plus postage! 
I'm sorry but someone is taking the mick here how does it cost nearly £80 for a metal plate with a few holes in? 

Anyway the coax feeder looked pretty straightforward to build and I'd fabricated one within the morning. The tilt over base plate will take a little longer as I've had to order some aluminium plate but for the price of £6.50 I'm quite happy to wait, as it really doesn't take too long to drill a few holes and cut out some small slots.

This plate for the coax connector was cut from an old aluminium roofing slot I needed to shape one side of the plate to fit round the antenna, drill some holes for the attachment nuts and also drill a hole and fit the actual connector.

The antenna core wire was then soldered to the connector core and the other end will then attach to the antenna centre screw

I cleaned up the base then added the completed connector and finally added the ground wire which will be connected up to my radial base. The antenna will be separate from the ground radial plate, hence the ground wire.

The completed item doesn't look too bad and cost me nothing but a mornings work. The base has come up quite well so if I can get the rest of the antenna looking as good I shall be rather pleased.

There's not much else I can do now except carrying on with the clean up and wait for the aluminium plate to arrive to build the tilt over base.
More to follow when I get the ali plate.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Tidying Up, Refurbishing the Ground Radials and Thoughts Turn to a Hustler 6BTV

Looking over the garden I have a number of antennas dotted around various points and it’s definitely beginning to look rather scruffy and the XYL has started to make some comments! 
This time though I actually agree with her and I really ought to do something about it. Although I love my hobby I don’t want antennas to take over my garden, after all I am very lucky to live in a wonderful location and I don’t want passers-by to think who’s that messy individual ruining this wonderful countryside! 

At the moment In one corner of the garden hanging some 30ft up in the silver birch is my home brew experimental G5RV, it’s in the inverted vee position and has various bits of cord hanging down off the ends and does look very scruffy. 

In the opposite corner is the 30 meter vertical and the old Hygain 18vs, now a 20 meter mono bander, both placed there simply because that’s where I have all the ground radials centred, the 30 meter vertical is a simple wire thread through a fibre glass pole but works very well, the pole is some 25ft high and is white so stands out against the spring foliage which is rather obvious and not exactly stealthy! 

It actually looks quite picturesque but believe me it is a bit of a mess, especially when you go up close and see all the wires hanging everywhere.

Then to the side of the house I have the 40ft mast which has the Cobweb and the W3DZZ. Obviously I cannot use the antennas all at once and really I think the time has come to reduce the number and just concentrate on one particular area of the garden. So I'm going to remove the G5RV, the 30 meter vertical and Hygain and replace with one smaller multiband vertical.  

The Cobweb will stay as it’s my pride and joy and I doubt for the size if any other antenna besides a small Yagi (what's one of them?) would beat it and since the mast and Cobweb are staying I might as well keep the W3DZZ as it's an excellent antenna for the lower bands, this way I will eventually just have 3 antennas that will be used for the all the transceivers. 

While mulling over my antenna dilemma I did a check on the ground radials and the plate needs a good tidy as some of the bolts are looking very rusty and grass and mud is beginning to cover the plate which is not good for the connections, so I've gone ahead and dismantled it and given it a good clean ready for mounting the new multi band antenna. 

Where is the ground radial plate?

So once I had unbolted all the 30 odd wires and cleared away the muck I managed to prise it off the ground and give it a good inspection. Considering it's a home made job it has lasted pretty well and providing I maintain it every few years it should go on for many years to come.

The wires are a bit of a mish mash, some connected together others are separate, I guess because I've added extra as I've gone along. I will add some more as I'm short for 80 meters so whilst they are free of the plate I get busy adding a few extra.

After a good clean the actual plate doesn't look too bad but there are some bolts that will need replacing and I'll need to re-coat them with some protective grease. Then its just a matter of adding a few more radials and putting back in the ground.

All cleaned up and reconnected plus a few extra wires for 80 meters.

.........So what vertical multi band antenna should I get or make? 
To be honest I'm rather tempted with something commercial like a Cushcraft or a Hustler, normally I like to build my own antennas but quite honestly I just fancy a change. 

My Brother in law has a Hustler 6BTV and reckons it’s an excellent vertical, I've had a play on his FT1000D (wonderful radio) and the antenna does bring in some good signals and transmits pretty well especially considering he’s surrounded by telephone and electrical cables and has minimum ground radials. With my location, nearly 1000 ASL plus my ground radials I should see a definite improvement to his set up. Also the Eham reviews are very good for the Hustler but, there is no way I'm paying out over £200 for a new one. 

By chance I happened to be looking in Ebay last night and there as if fate was telling me something was a 6BTV for sale, 3 months old but going for £150. A little high on price but I have to admit I was bitten and so purchased it there and then, (oh Lord what have I done, don't tell the XLY!!)