Q. What is the difference between a Hex beam and a hexagonal beam?
A. They are both hexagonal beams. Hex beam is a trademark of Traffie Technology.
Q. What is the difference between the Traffie design and the design used by DX Engineering and KIO Technology?
A. The Traffie Hex-beam is the original design of the hexagonal beam and when viewed from above is a M, inverted W shape. The design used by DX Engineering and KIO Technology is a
later design that has a broader frequency response and slightly different shape. Viewed from above it is a M, U shape. You can find more details about the differences here.
Q. How high does the hexagonal beam need to be?
A. Generally, higher is better for DX. However, many owners have used their beams as low as 15 feet successfully. Thirty or forty feet seems to be typical for most owners.
Q. Does a metal roof cause problems with the hexagonal beam?
A. Generally, no. Many hexagonal beam owners operate their beams atop a metal roof with no adverse effects.
Q. What size mast do I need to fit into the KIO beam?
A. The push up mast usually has a 1 ¼ inch O.D. section at the top which is a nice fit for the standard flange size on the bottom of the KIO base plate. Other sizes can be used also with
either the larger flange option offered by KIO or with use of a customer made adapter. More on this can be found here.
Q. Should the rotator be located at the top of the mast or at the bottom?
A. Either will work. At the top, the rotator is under less stress from weight and momentum, but the weight of the rotator at the top of a push up mast makes it considerably harder to raise into
position. Locating the rotator at the bottom requires that the entire mast turn and also places more stress on the rotator. See more on this here.
Q. How do I couple the hexagonal beam to my mast?
A. See several methods here.
Q. Do I need a balun?
A. All balanced antennas fed with an unbalanced feed line like coax, need to have a balun. See more on this here.
Q. Can the KIO hexagonal beam be used as a portable antenna?
A. Yes. The spreader arms come apart readily and are easily re-assembled. Dismantling the beam and re-assembly probably takes about an hour for one who is experienced with it. The
dismantled beam will fit into a golf travel case that is at least 48 inches long and one foot wide.
Q. Why don’t you build a 40 meter hexagonal beam?
A. A forty meter hexagonal beam would be twice the size of a 20 meter beam and the structural requirements would be much different. As a result the price would be much higher and it is
felt that despite the numerous inquiries, very few people would be willing to pay for a 40 meter beam.
Q. How does the KIO hexagonal beam compare with the Spider beam?
A. The Spider beam is available in a variety of configurations but generally has three elements per band. Therefore, it has better gain and front to back performance than a hexagonal beam
which is a two element array. However, the Spider beam seems to be more vulnerable to storm damage because of its larger size, the shape and structural design. Also, the Spider beam
is a kit requiring the cutting of wires, cords, assembly of fixtures, etc. whereas the KIO hexagonal beam is a plug and play beam ready for simple assembly.
Q. Does the six meter band cause interaction with 17 meters?
A. Six meters does not interfere with 17 meters at all. The 17 meter band does cause some interaction only at the upper end of 6 meters because 54mHz is the third harmonic of 18mHz. A
high percentage of KIO customers opt to buy the 6 meter band with their beams and there have been no complaints of unsatisfactory performance due to interaction. Another reason for the
absence of concern is that most hams operate at the very low end of the six meter band where there is no effect from 17 meters at all.
Q. Does the 12 meter band degrade 10 meters and other bands?
A. Only slightly. Most people feel the minor degradation is worth the convenience of having both bands available.
Q. Can I paint the beam to blend into the background and be more stealthy?
A. Some do this and there is no problem at all in doing so provided you do not paint the wires as this could cause some de-tuning.
Q. Sometimes I can't tell much difference between signal strength on the front of the beam from that on the rear. Is my front/back performance sub-standard?
A. Front/Back performance varies across the band more or less like a bell shaped curve. So it might be less on the lower or upper portion of the tuned area of the band. Furthermore, the
Front/Back performance is different depending on the elevation angle of the incoming signal or its distance away from you. Finally, with QSB on a band it can seem at times as if a signal is
as loud on the rear as on the front when actually the band conditions are causing this effect. Generally, over a period of time and listening to many stations, you will be convinced that there is
significant discrimination of your hexagonal beam between the front of the beam and the rear. This helps you by reducing QRM through suppressing signals from unwanted directions.
Q. In wet weather, my SWR seems higher than normal. Why is this?
A. In wet weather, a thin film of water more or less, is on the elements of antennas and causes a change in the permittivity which is enough to de-tune the antennas slightly. This happens to
all antennas but affects wire beams more than wire antennas generally or aluminum beams. Actually, the antennas still perform but the resonant frequency is shifted downward slightly.
Q. With my tuner I can get the SWR down low enough to operate on 40 meters using my hex beam. Is there a problem with this?
A. There definitely is a problem with operating your hexagonal beam on any band other than those for which it is designed. Modern tuners are able to make the antenna system look like a
good match for your transceiver even on a band that the hexagonal beam is not designed for. But any performance on an "off band" is very poor and it is likely that you are hearing stations on
your coax feedline and not the antenna itself. And transmitting on "off bands" causes very high RF voltages on the terminals of the hexagonal beam which could cause damage to the beam
and void your warranty.
Specializing in Hexagonal Beams for the DX Enthusiast
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