W3PP towers down
AA1K items For Sale
DX News
Elecraft K3
160 TX array
160 BS/EF array
The shack
QSL info
2000 Jetta TDI

Beverage Antennas, that is

Not the kind you drink.

The Beverage is a receiving antenna made of wire and no more than 10-15 feet above ground.

The wires

The Beverages are typically 10 feet high, strung through the woods on available trees. What we have at various headings:

5 degrees: A new addition -- single wire, about 450 feet long. Helped me hear HS0ZEE a couple of times this season.

25 degrees: Single wire, about 600 feet. Mostly useful for pulling out weak VE2 and VE3 stations in the 160-meter contests, but occasionally the best antenna for Central Asia. Some RFI issues from a neighbor's plasma TV led me to install the 5-degree wire on opposite side of our property.

37 degrees: This started as our original European single-wire Beverage at this QTH, about 540 feet long. Later, after success with our first stagger-phased pair at 45 degrees, this was expanded to a stagger-phased pair with 750-foot wires, spaced 25 feet and staggered 132 feet. This hears significantly better than the 45-degree stagger-pair in roughly the same direction.

45 degrees: A stagger-phased pair of wires about 525 feet long, spaced 33 feet and staggerd 132 feet.

70 degrees: A single-wire Beverage, only 7 feet high, toward the Mideast. About 540 feet long.

75 degrees: Installed January-February 2005. A broadside pair, each 450-feet long and spaced 400 feet. I have found this to be an excellent antenna for Africa and the Middle East, and at times it is the best antenna for Europe.

90 degrees: A single-wire Beverage toward Africa, about 540 feet long..

105 degrees: A broadside phased pair, spaced 390 feet, about 500 feet long, toward Africa.

110 degrees: A single-wire Beverage, about 880 feet long, toward South Africa. Unfortunately this runs beneath the power line coming down our driveway and often picks up significant noise.

162 degrees: A single-wire Beverage, 880 feet long, toward the Caribbean and South America. This wire has relays and feedlines at each end to reverse direction.

162 degrees: 1000 feet long along my longest property line, three feet high, for Caribbean and South America. This follows a "meandering ditch" along the property line. I have found it to be about even-up with the 880-foot Beverage in same direction, but usually quieter.

180 degrees: A single-wire Beverage, 300 feet long, toward South America.

205 degrees: A single-wire Beverage, about 540 feet long. This has been the best antenna for receiving long and skewed path signals from Asia such as JT1CO, XZ1, XU.

245 degrees: A single-wire Beverage toward New Zealand, about 500 feet long.

280 degrees: A single wire of about 750 feet, toward the Pacific.

312 degrees: A single-wire, 400-foot Beverage, toward Japan and the northern Pacific.

320 degrees: A broadside phased pair, 935 feet long, spaced 175 feet. Spacing is close but offers some improvement over a single wire. This is generally the best antenna for Japan.

342 degrees: A single-wire, 880-foot Beverage toward the Phillipines and Asia. This one is the reverse direction of the switchable 162-degree Beverage.

342 degrees: A stagger-phased pair, spaced 33 feet and staggerd 132 feet, each wire about 465 feet long. Almost even-up with the single wire, longer Beverage in the same direction.

All of these are fed with either 50-ohm 7/8-inch Prodelin hardline or 75-ohm 3/4-inch CATV hardline. Feedline lengths vary from a 150 feet to 800 feet.

I once did a lot of remote switching with relays, but have been gradually shifting to the 50-ohm hardline and bringing all of them to the shack for switching. This creates a maze of cables coming through a window feed-through but switching eventually will be done just outside the house in a new relay box. Separate feedlines allows for more separation of the feedpoints to minimize coupling.

Stagger-phased pairs
These offer significant improvement over single-wire Beverages of similar length.
My first exposure to stagger-phased Beverages was when fellow FRC'er WW2Y gave a talk describing his at a club meeting (and later at Dayton). I made some notes but didn't immediately get the momentum to build one. Then later when ON4UN described them in his Low Band Antenna book (Craig K1QX sells these at Ham Radio Bookstore) it inspired me to build one -- and many more later. 

W8JI describes another method of phasing on his Web site, www.w8ji.com.

Both work.

While John's system was designed for 160 (with separate specs for 80) I have found the 160 design works great on 80m as well as 160 -- and 40 too. W8JI's is designed as a multiband system.

My original pair toward Europe is about 540 feet long (each wire that is), with spacing of 33 feet between elements. The stagger is about 1/4 wave -- 132 feet. Height is 10 feet.

There is a matching transformer at each feedpoint. In my original, I used the MN8CX cores John recommended at the time. Later W8JI introduced everyone to the BN202 binocular cores and all my newer ones use these.

The matching transformer changes the Beverage impedance of 500 ohms to 50 ohms. A 1/4 wave electrical length of 75 ohm coax or hardline connects from the transformer of the rearward element to a point we'll call T.

The matching transformer on the forward element connects to 1/4 wave electrical length of 50-ohm coax or hardline; the other end of this cable connects to another 1/4 wave electrical length of 75 ohm coax or hardline which in turn connects to point T.

The two 75 ohm lengths transform the 50 ohm impedance of the feedpoints to 100 ohms at the T point. At this point they are connected in parallel -- converting the 100 ohms back to 50 ohms -- and to a 50 ohm feed or coax to the receiver. A novel approach so no matching transformer is needed at the T.

The far ends of the wires terminate through the usual carbon resistors. Mine are each around 540 ohms -- matched fairly close together from the junkbox using an ohmmeter.

I use a single ground rod at each termination and each feedpoint -- typically 3-4 feet of 1/2 inch copper water pipe. We have mostly soft soil and sand here -- no rocks.

At the feedpoint, the antenna side of the transformer connects to the ground rod. The feedline side just connects to the feedline -- do not ground the shield here.

About 15 feet back from the feedpoints, ground the feedline shield to another ground rod. Also use another ground rod for the shields at the T connection.

I like to mount the transformers and terminating resistors at eye level just for convenience -- so I can inspect them easily. I don't mount these inside any boxes, they just hang in the air on the wires attached to plastic electric fence insulators mounted on various wood supports I use -- including trees.

After I installed the first stagger-phased pair toward Europe, I built a second stagger-phased pair about 100 feet separated from it and aimed in the same direction. These wires were longer though -- about 750 feet each wire -- and spaced 25 feet. The stagger was again about 132 feet. This one used the BN202 binocular cores for the transformers.

The increased length made a big difference -- signals just at the noise on the short pair were typically out in the clear on the long pair.