#162 - My Next Antenna Build - The New DX Commander Nebula xTreme - THIS THING IS MASSIVE
The 18 meter tall DX Commander Nebula xTreme is on its way here from the UK. FedEx was supposed to deliver it today, but apparently it was never loaded onto the plane in Memphis so it is still sitting there. Hopefully it will be here tomorrow.
I have no idea what I was thinking when I ordered this antenna. I was not realizing exactly how tall this antenna was at the time. 18 meters tall is approximately 60 feet tall, that is basically the same as a 6 STORY TALL BUILDING.
The height is not the problem in itself, but the height becomes a problem when you factor in the guy lines that are necessary to hold it up. The guy line stakes should be driven in the ground at approximately the same height of the antenna away from the base of the antenna. In the case of this antenna, the guy lines should come out approximately 50 feet from the base of the antenna at three points around the antenna. So, the ground footprint necessary to set up this antenna would end up being around 100 feet wide in each direction. That is a MASSIVE footprint, and one that will not fit in my yard.
After thinking about this I have decided that I will go ahead and build the antenna, but I wont be using it here at the house. This antenna will be saved for portable operations like Field Day setups and multi-day operations when out camping or a disaster situation. Because it will take so long to set up the antenna and break it back down, I wont be using this antenna for short duration events like the Honolulu Marathon or Parks On The Air activations. Those would be good uses for the DX Commander Expedition which is half the size of this antenna and much easier to set up and take back down.
One main difference between the Nebula xTreme and the Expedition antenna is the 80 meter element. Because the Expedition is only half the height of the xTrteme, the 80 meter element only goes part way up the antenna mast, and then goes horizontal to a tree or other mast to create an "inverted L". With the Nebula xTreme being taller, the 80 meter element is a completely vertical element. The 20 meter element on the Expedition is a 1/4 wave antenna, whereas on the xTreme it can be a 5/8 wave element which will increase the dB on both receive and transmit, basically making it a higher gain antenna.
The Nebula xTreme will be able to adequately cover all amateur radio bands from 80 meters up through 70 cm, yes, all of the HF, VHF, and UHF bands that I will need access to in a disaster, all in a single antenna.