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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



K6FI

6 comments:

  1. Any updates? Did signals get better with more radials? I am curious about the effect of adding more radials to get a lower swr. My 4BTV is roof mounted and I am having a terrible time tuning it. I have 24, 20' long radials.

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  2. More radials the better. I went with 60 radials alternating between 32 foot and 16 foot on the DX Engineering Plate. Signal TX and RX was awesome after some additional adjusting of the BTV sections for SWR.

    I hit stations I never could hear before from San Diego to the Philipines, Russia and a few other countries.

    What I learned is with the cost of the BTV, DX Engineering accessories, Trench Digger and all that Copper Wire, it might be cheaper to get a Yaggi :)

    Now mine is not roof mounted as you see and my radials were not burried either. Could be an issue with metal on the roof impacting the Radials? Honestly not sure. But I do know adding more is always better and proper SWR adjustment of the sections.

    Its a great setup and I am very impressed. The sad part is I had to move and I am now in a Condo, so now Ham Radio. But when I get a house again. This is a setup I shall go with.

    Hope this help and let me know if you have additional questions.

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  3. Radials for an elevated antenna need to be resonant. Use the formula 234/ F (Mhz)=length in feet to determine their length for each band. 20 foot radials resonate at about 11.7 Mhz so you are trying to tune the antenna with half of it resonant at 11.7 Mhz. You will also need to adjust the traps on the antenna per the DX Engineering published instructions. The antenna was designed to be installed on a 4' pipe hammered into the ground with no radials. When you put it over a good ground (elevated resonant radials or a lot of ground mounted radials, either laying on top or buried) the antenna will resonate way low. Use an antenna analyzer to set it up. Once you have it tuned it makes a very effective low angle DX antenna for not a lot of money. I have installed two 4BTVs using elevated radials and a 6BTV using 32 X 33' and 16 X 66' radials ground mounted and all three played very very well. The 6BTV was installed in a HOA and camo painted at the edge of a stand of trees and hasn't been noticed after 2 years. With 1/4 wave verticals it is all about the ground.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Radials for an elevated antenna need to be resonant. Use the formula 234/ F (Mhz)=length in feet to determine their length for each band. 20 foot radials resonate at about 11.7 Mhz so you are trying to tune the antenna with half of it resonant at 11.7 Mhz. You will also need to adjust the traps on the antenna per the DX Engineering published instructions. The antenna was designed to be installed on a 4' pipe hammered into the ground with no radials. When you put it over a good ground (elevated resonant radials or a lot of ground mounted radials, either laying on top or buried) the antenna will resonate way low. Use an antenna analyzer to set it up. Once you have it tuned it makes a very effective low angle DX antenna for not a lot of money. I have installed two 4BTVs using elevated radials and a 6BTV using 32 X 33' and 16 X 66' radials ground mounted and all three played very very well. The 6BTV was installed in a HOA and camo painted at the edge of a stand of trees and hasn't been noticed after 2 years. With 1/4 wave verticals it is all about the ground.

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  5. Nice post!....I recently purchased a new Hustler 6BTV Vertical yet to be installed....I also purchased the DX Engineering tilt plate, choke, radial plate, and 17 meter add on.....Got a question about the radials sir.....I will be using #14 gauge coated stranded wire...my back yard is small...I want to mount the base of this ground mounted vertical to the left corner of my backyard leaving only a 90 degree opening to lay the ground radials....I would have approximately 60 feet of maximum space going West for the radials to be layed and no more than 20 feet or so of space going South .... I understand that the more the radials, the better off I will be...I could put probably 30 radials or so within that 90 degree span but all different lengths....would this work, with the understanding the antenna would favor only those directions?....the lengths would differ between 15 feet to 60 feet....thanks!...73...K8ESE Harold😊

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    Replies
    1. You may run into issues as I recall placing them in one direction may cause problems which is why I had to find a location so I could place radials all around the antenna.

      Below is a excerpt from the manual.
      When radials are installed they should be equally spaced around 360 degrees with radials of equal length opposite each other. Never bunch radials as one will detune the other.

      ""

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