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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Hustler 4-BTV DX Engineering Install

Who would have thought that a simple Hustler 4-BTV antenna that costs $169.00, would end up costing an additional $800.00 to complete.  I know you are asking yourself WTF...well guess I did as well.

I choose this antenna due to my HOA.  My HOA said as long as I can take the antenna down when not in use, they would be fine with me having it.  So after some research I found DX Engineering had a tilt over base solution.  Then after reading more about this antenna and the need for radial wires, DX Engineering also had a solution for that as well, since the antenna only allows for a few radial wires attached to the bottom of it.

DX Engineering had a very good PDF file detailing how to install the 4-BTV in a "High Performance" configuration, which I decided to follow.

Yard mowed and mast installed
First step was to find a good location so I can have some 32 foot long radials.  In my yard I can have 32 foot radials going from North to South and 16 Foot radials going East to West.  So I then dug a 3 foot deep hole, placed in my mast and cemented it in and waited about a week and cut the weeds down as suggested (plus they needed to be cut down anyway).

Second step was to get the antenna wire to the mast and per the instruction of DX Engineering it needed to be buried 6 to 12 inches below the radial wires, so I got myself a trencher ($160.00) and dug a 50 foot long trench.  Once that was completed I got some 2 inch black PVC pipe($55.00) for the antenna wire, put that in the trench and buried it all with some fancy rubber caps for the ends for the antenna wire to come out of.

Yard trenched and ready for coax

Third step was to now mount the DX Engineering Radial Plate, RF Vertical Choke, Tilt Over Mast to the mast I buried in the First step.  Pay very close attention to the length between the Radial Plate and the bottom of the Tilt Over Mast...they say 7 inches, so go 6.5 and life is good.

Fourth step is the fun part, measuring the 32 foot long radial wires and getting them installed to the radial plate.  I purchased DX Engineering Bulk Wire Kit which has 500 foot of wire, 20 terminal connectors to the radial place and 100 lawn staples for the wire.  What was missing here was the nuts, bolts, washers to attached to the radial plate, so I went and bought them separately, which I suggest you get from DX Engineering, since hardware stores will cost you about 4 times the amount of money for stainless steel bolts than DX Engineering.

So I got it all hooked up minus the radial wires and tested the radio to see who I could hear...nothing but dead air.  Then a few days later I installed 6 out of 40, 32 foot long radials and was able to hear contacts...I'm sure as I get more radial wires installed, the signals will become better or I will be pissed.

Everything installed (minus the radials)
Bottom line and what I have learned installing this antenna is, read the DX Engineering Manual first, plan and ensure you get all the needed hardware from DX Engineering you need (I will list below what I got and what I missed).  Plan on spending more than just the $169.00 dollars for the antenna.

I will followup on this article once I get more radial wires installed and let you know if it was truly worth it and how the Band and SWR reading are from the MFJ-266 Antenna Analyzer after I make any adjustments to the antenna, as I am sure I will have to, since I can't get 40M to tune right now.

Equipment purchased from DX Engineering
(1) Radial Plate (DXE-RADP-3)
(1) Vertical Feed line Current Choke (DXE-VFCC-H05-A)
(1) Tilt Over Mast  (DXE-TB-3P)
(1) Bulk Wire Kit 500 foot (DXE-RADW-500K)
(4) 1 to 2 inch V-Clamps (DXE-SSVC-2P)
(1) 20 pc Radial Wire Kit (DXE-RADP-1HWK)

Other Items Purchased or Rented
1 Hustler 4-BTV Antenna
1 Day Trencher
60 foot 2" PVC Pipe
2 rubber caps for PVC Pipe
1 bag ready redicrete cement for mast
1 1 5/8" 6 foot mast
1 bag of rocks for mast hole
100 foot rope for coax pipe to pull coax