Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Hygain PITA TH3jr beam

 Ok, this Hygain beam is really starting to rattle my cage a bit. The darn thing only works about half the  time, when it is dry outside. As soon as it rains (which is almost year round here in WA state) the SWR goes up through the roof. It is getting to be a real PITA to drop the telescoping mast down every six months or so and do maintenance on it.

 When it DOES work it is a Monster on the airwaves. I get consistant signal reports with it. I had a great conversation with a fellow in Michigan not too long ago on 10 meters that lasted more than two hours, which could not have been done if we had been running a vertical antenna. We actually tried switching back and forth between the Vertical antennas and our beams, and when on the verticals we could barely hear each other. That has to be one of the best QSO's I have had in a long time.

 I know that one problem I have with the Hy-gain TH3jr beam antenna is the little plastic caps that fit over the traps are worn out and dried, so everytime we get moisture the SWR goes through the roof. Maybe I should fill the traps up with water FIRST, then tune it up since it is wet here almost year round. Sure I could get new caps but the kit for the traps cost over 60 bucks, just for little peices of plastic. This Hygain beam sure is not a poor mans antenna.

 Another big issue is dropping down the mast. Since it is a telescoping pole, when it is collpased the sections tend to hang up a bit, and it is a real pain to pull the ssections back apart. I usually take a little oil and grease the sections as they drop so that it doesnt hang up as much.

 One other thing is the hairpin matching system. The hairppin matching system is attached to the boom by a standoff that tends to rust a little bit. When it does it loses connectivity to the beam and it becomes somewhat omnidirectional. Every so often When I take the antenna down I have to loosen this and clean the connection really well before reattaching it. This helps for about 6 months or so, but then it rusts again and loses the connection.

 One thing that I would suggest to anyone considering buying one of the Hygain beam antennas is to purchase an axtra set of caps for the traps (They WILL dry out on you) and expect to do regular maintenance on the antenna. It is a great bang for the buck as long as you do regualr service on it. For an inexpensive antenna that cost under $400 dollars from most retailers you can expect great performance on the 10M 15M and 20M bands.