What is it about the hexagonal beam that has made it so wildly popular?
It’s nothing more than a two element beam, isn’t it? There are lotsa beams out there with more gain. The thing looks ungainly to say the least and draws looks of vague skepticism from neighbors who already suspected something weird was going on there and now are pretty convinced of it.
Well, here’s why the hex is so hot.
Yes, it is only a two element beam. But it offers six bands fed by a single cable, no traps, no coils, no complications. There are no SWR issues to finagle with. You put the thing together and it works the first time. And it works well. You can install it on the roof chimney if you want to or on a simple cheap mast. You can even hang it from a tree limb although this is not the best arrangement in the world. And it won’t cost you your retirement to get one. You can buy a commercial hex, all the stuff needed for a simple push up mast, including guys, thrust bearings, rotator and the whole shooting match and you haven’t come even close to what you would spend to get a SteppIR up in the air, with the tower and all that beam requires.
It fits on a small lot, withstands the wind well (I’ve heard numerous reports of 100 mph winds with no problem), disappears into a background of trees and works well at modest heights (I get many calls from guys who worked amazing DX while the beam was still on the ground).
It can be assembled with a screw driver and pliers by a complete idiot. Two of my daughters who think a ham is a piece of meat, assembled one of ours without ever having seen one before, in one hour. And when it is assembled, you are done. No fooling around with pruning wires, adjusting this and that, testing this way and that way; it just works.
And when you get it on the air, suddenly guys are returning your calls that you just begged for a QSO with when you had that G5RV or vertical. You are suddenly hearing guys in Mauritius and Burma that you only dreamed of before.
It’s just an antenna that lets you get on the air and compete with the big shots and not lose your voice trying to break a pileup.