Products & Product Reviews

Is an HF Vertical Antenna Right for Your Amateur Radio Station (Part 3)? DX Engineering High Performance 75/80M Vertical Antenna

In our latest installment on DX Engineering HF vertical antennas, we’ll be looking at the 75/80M Full-Size, Heavy-Duty Self-Supporting Quarter-Wave Vertical—a high-performance antenna featuring ultra-wide SWR bandwidth; impressive gain; and either a 3 inch or 4 inch OD base section. A model with a 2 inch OD base section (guying required) is also available.

Specifically designed for the 75/80 meter band, this rugged, full-size quarter-wave vertical stands at 68 feet and is built to withstand steady-state winds in excess of 92 MPH without guying. It delivers full band coverage, with a 2:1 SWR bandwidth of up to 557 kHz depending on your radial field. Use of an internal tuner can get the SWR down to 1:1 on any DX frequency for maximum power transfer.

About 75/80 Meters

Experienced operators know that like other low bands, 80 meters (3.5 to 4.0 MHz in North and South America) is effective during daylight hours for local rag-chews and regional communications networks, but only hits its DXing stride during the late afternoon and evening, when high signal absorption from the ionosphere’s D-layer isn’t a factor. For an excellent primer on how to make hay on 80 through 30 meters when the sun goes down, read this article on low-band DXing from OnAllBand blogger Ward Silver, N0AX. It includes a look at propagation tools and desired characteristics of a low-band-friendly antenna, including its ability to send out low-angle signals.

While most Hams recognize the band between 3.5 to 4.0 MHz as strictly 80M, 75M (mostly used for phone) is officially defined by the FCC as between 3600 to 4000 kHz, while 80M is between 3500 kHz to 3600 kHz (for CW, RTTY, data, etc.). In Europe, the upper portion of 75M is a shortwave broadcast band.

Other features of the 75/80M Vertical Antenna include:

  • 5 kW SSB and CW rated
  • 3 inch OD (DXE-7580FS-VA-2) or 4 inch OD (DXE-7580FS-VA-3) aircraft-grade heavy wall base section and thick-wall 6061 aluminum tubing mid-sections, providing a strong antenna with no guying required
  • Easy lowering and raising with the provided patented DX Engineering Pivot Base and the optional DXE-VRW-1 Winch
  • High-strength, UV-protected EXTREN® insulators
  • Stainless steel tubing clamps and hardware

DX Engineering recommends installing a minimum of 32, 65-foot-long radials. For detailed installation instructions, other items you will need, and suggested parts, read the instruction manual here.

Enter “Vertical” at OnAllBands for more insights on deciding if an HF vertical antenna is right for your Amateur Radio station.

What do Hams think?

Five Stars: In less than 8 weeks I have worked 82 countries. With 60 MPH wind predicted one day I cranked it down, then back up the next day. It only takes a few minutes to raise or lower. I never thought it possible to work DX on 80 meters this easy. Five band DXCC will be coming soon.

Five Stars: I used the VA-2 as the basis for an elevated radial vertical. Using an interface plate and six DXE mounting blocks, we attached a 3″ OD pipe to the side of a ROHN 25G tower section. When mounted on this pipe, the vertical is within 1/2″ of the center of the tower and is quite stable. We then mounted a pulley at the base of the vertical (now 10 feet up) where the winch would normally attach and mounted the DXE winch option on the side of the tower where we could easily crank it without climbing up the tower. Using an optional DXE shunt inductor and DXE tapping clips, we were able to get a near perfect match and >200KHz BW at 1.5:1. DXE does a fabulous job of robust designing and very accurate/understandable instructions. I highly recommend this top performer.

Leave a Reply