Common Questions about HOA Flagpole Antennas for Ham Radio
Common Questions, a Q&A.
Is this an FT8 antenna? The answer is a natural, YES. It's a Low Angle, Low Noise, NVIS, Real DX Vertical, aka DX Flagpole Antenna.
As for the QRP (super low power) operators, it's knowing that even their 1 Watt of transmit power is making it whole to the antenna for its broadcast signal use that catches this group's attention. The very low losses inherent in the Greyline Performance antenna system, and extra-low angles come standard for DX operations. Just add power!
The digital modes such as FT8, FT4, WSPR, and WINLINK (and to be fair, the non-digital modes too) have found attractive the lower noise level and NVIS components extremely important for sensitive emergency communications, regional Net Traffic, and disaster services. If you can't hear them, you can't work them. This is non-negotiable especially for welfare traffic during times of uncertainty.
Note: All modes of operation, such as SSB and CW can appreciate the main attributes of the Greyline Vertical Dipole line of antennas. The same design behind our HOA-approved, DX Flagpole Antenna.
Radio Operators ask, "What do I need for a complete system?"
- Choose your Greyline Antenna. DX Vertical Antenna or DX Flagpole Antenna. Both are vertical dipoles (VDA). No radials are required for either selection and one is stealth. (You guess which one)
- Choose your desired, required, or height of vertical antenna height: 12-16-20-24-28 feet
- Choosing your Remote Tuner selection should be determined by your power level needs or frequency usage needs. Some ATUs offer 160-6M, others 160-10M, typically. Note that impedance ranges are wider in some tuners which may help you on 80-160M. All tuners we have selected on our website tune 160-10M or 160-6M HF radio coverage, most will tune as low as 160M. This includes non-Amateur Radio frequency segments such as Emergency Services Agency bands.
- Ground Kit: This is included with your antenna purchase (at this time).
- Feed-line Kit: This is included with your antenna purchase.
- Flag Kit (if you desire a Flagpole) is included when you purchase a Flagpole Antenna version. *You can add a Flag kit to a Greyline HF Vertical Antenna later if you wish.
- RF Choke: This is included in the Feedline kit to address CMC (common mode current) up to 100 Watts.
- RF Choke Upgrade: Running more than 100 Watts? You might wish to add additional RF Choking. We have 500W and 3500W rated versions available. A second choke is helpful on the radio end (behind the radio or amplifier) for Military-Grade RF Choking, and to remove local QRN picked up on the coax along the way back to your radio. This is a popular choice for those wanting every dB possible on TX and RX. This too can be added later, as needed.
- Coax to Shack: Consider using LMR-400 or better. The Coax length between the radio and the antenna site is inconsequential and does not change the performance of the antenna. There is no need for any "matching coax length" in our system. This is essentially a vertical dipole antenna.
- Note on Bundles: Bundles are meant to direct your thinking towards the complete antenna system. Add each desired system element to your cart separately for the best price.
- All Kits are currently included in any Antenna purchase. This includes the Ground Kit, Feed Kit, RF Choke, and Flag Kit.
Shipping is included in the USA. DX shipments are typically 50-75% off UPS/FedEx/DHL rates based on your QTH.
How does Greyline Performance Flagpole Antenna Compare to other well-known HF Vertical Antennas on the market?
What is the difference between each Greyline Performance Antenna System?
Graphic: Performance difference between the antennas: Looking carefully at the graph for the angle of signal and antenna gain comparisons you'll notice incremental increases in depth of signal penetration, on the lower bands mainly. As many believe bigger is better, we clarify this by including a 43' vertical with radials in the comparison as well. "Pictures tell 1,000 words," right?
Key: *80M-red | 40M-blue | 20M-green | 15M-orange
See that? On 80M, even the 12' HF vertical antenna holds its own!
Notice the GP 20' and GP 28' VDAs have an even lower angle and deeper punch for deeper DX performance. (to plot the 24' consider it mid-range between the 20' and 28')
Customer Review: Here you’ll see one customer reporting his installation (with pictures) is working 160M with the 16' DX Flagpole. That's great news!
Let's be sure you are choosing the correct Greyline Flagpole Antenna system for your needs.
Most folks will see little to no difference interchanging between a 20' and 24' VDA antenna. That said, some seasoned radio operators have reported seeing a "night and day" difference. On paper, it doesn't add up but in real-world feedback, the extra 4' can make a difference. In any case, the added length is meant to make life easier for the ever-popular, lower-cost ATU matching networks on the lower bands, such as 80-160M.
Do I need a Tuner at the Base of the Greyline DX Flagpole Antenna or HF Vertical Antenna or can I use a desktop or shack tuner?
We get this question often and we do urge our radio op friends to consider using a remote tuner at the antenna. Still, many folks find great success on the bands using their manual or auto tuner in the shack, and they are very happy with the results. (Alternative Methods to Feeding your Greyline Performance Antenna System)
With short coaxial runs to the antenna system, losses may be overlooked. Some bury coax or as noted, even preferably ladder line (aka twin lead, open wire, or window line) for the lowest possible losses. That's okay. We strongly believe the tuner at the antenna is the best way to keep efficiency at the highest levels. Again, lots of radio ops are working the world with the tuner in the shack and everything in between. We will address in more detail, the differences and present options for alternative feeding and matching systems again below.
Rig ATU: The tuner inside your radio is likely not strong enough to tune (owing to a narrow impedance, or tuning range) a multi-band antenna on more than a couple of the bands. These rig-tuners are meant to resolve a rather small mismatch. The Greyline HF Antennas are designed as non-resonant antennas. Therefore, they require a quality matching network to achieve the high efficiency we have designed for you to enjoy across 160-6M. Remember, the remote tuner does the same job as the unsightly stubs, coils, traps, etc., and looks much prettier to family, friends, and neighbors. This goes a long way at home or in sensitive locations.
Desktop ATU: Most desktop tuners on the market will do the job easily from 160-6M and this is a very popular method that works loads of DX and passes important traffic, we are sure of that. Please know that the tuner at the vertical antenna site is the lowest loss option that we offer to feed your antenna system. If you choose this method we ask you to consider using best-of-breed RF Choking at the antenna to mitigate any CMC (common mode current).
Remote Tuners: The advent of remote tuners for installation at the antenna has become a major benefit for the Amateur Radio enthusiast. They are cost-effective, smart, and work like magic when within the impedance range required. Each ATU we recommend on this website indeed works well to tune the Greyline VDAs thus radiating with efficiency on every frequency you desire. Look closely at the power ratings and impedance range to ascertain the level of quality your selection may offer your favorite band use and modes of operation. In any case, all of the remote tuners on our website do the job nicely and you'll be very pleased with how easily they match up together.
Power over Coax: Most of the remote tuners we’ve identified for you to conduct their tuning do so without the need for a second line of control cabling and therefore are controlled over the single feedline (coax) between your radio and the ATU. This makes things less messy. It does this by simply sending a 12V signal over your already existing coaxial feedline. Note that any makes and models of HF Radio can match over coax with these Remote Tuners, providing the radio can send a steady signal to it.
Home Brew Tuning Options: We share a wide variety of client tips, experiences, feedback, and reviews on this subject within our FAQ sections. Here are a few examples…
Alternative Methods to Feeding your Antenna, here:
How do I tune my Greyline Performance HF Vertical Antenna and remote tuner on the bands?
We work routinely with new-to-ham-radio and returning-to-the-hobby customers that ask about our antennas, so this is an important review. We do try to keep it simple and please know this does not translate to an entry-level antenna or beginner results. This is a Real DX antenna.
To begin preparing to check your antenna for tuning, let’s assume your antenna system is built properly (you followed directions), the coax is of good quality back to the shack, and you're using a relatively modern radio and remote tuner - let's agree that everything is working as it should and begin:
- Please be sure all the gear is on and connected properly.
- Lower the power output to 20 Watts or so for this first tune cycle
- Set the display to showcase SWR to watch the tune cycle
- Go to the frequency you wish to operate/tune to
- Put the radio in AM mode (or FM)
- Find the "Transmit" button and press it and hold it
- Allow the remote tuner to run its tuning cycle until finished (1-5 seconds) then release it from transmitting
- Turn the power back up to your desired output power
- Select your intended Mode of operation
- Repeat for each band.
- Example: The tuner likely has memories. To train the tuner to remember your habits, start from one end of the spectrum such as the 80M and work up to 10M. You’ll note all bands tune down to near 1:1 SWR. Even 1.5:1 is a good match. You can retune if this SWR seems to go higher in time reacting to rain, snow, or other environmental details.
- Now that your Tuner has cycled the bands, tune around the bands and have fun!
Pro Tip: Be certain you're feeding the top, longer vertical radiator! Check to be sure the internal conductor within your coax is connected to the longer, upper section of your Greyline antenna. This may add 25-35 dB to your signal. Otherwise, you are using the lower portion of your antenna and, well, that's lower. Imagine if you've been working DX with the lower four feet of the antenna and discovered this bonus? It's happened more than once :-)
Customer Install Series:
Do you have an install story, pictures, or YouTube worth sharing? We'd enjoy adding this to our list. Please contact us. Thank you!
- LIST OF BENEFITS for Greyline Performance Antennas
- Common Questions from Ham Radio Customers
- 16' DX Flagpole Antenna and SGC-237 remote tuner works 160-6M (install pictures) at KJ7CWQ
- Beautiful Flagpole Antenna, regularly work DX (Africa, Europe, SA) with 60W on FT8 and CW at WJ8B
- "Happy XYL" in Pennsylvania: New Ham says "happy wife, quiet bands & loud signals! Going for my Extra."
- Do I need a Tuner at the Base of my Greyline Flagpole Antenna and HF Vertical Antenna
- 28' HF Vertical Antenna in New Mexico reports "good reports about strong signals"
- 20' Flagpole Antenna, Bill in Florida one-calls XR0ZRC with 100W & runs the bands after 30 years off the air!
- 24' Flagpole Antenna: K7CWC Cliff in Washington (W7) is spotted around the World on his Greyline 24' DX Flagpole
Be sure to look over our FAQ and Blog entries for a growing list of helpful topics.
We're honored to do our part one radio op at a time. Remember, Ham Radio is Fun Again!
It's a pleasure to serve you with Stronger and Smarter Antennas d'Elegance.
Contact us with any questions you may have! We'll see you on the air soon...
73 Greyline Performance