DX Engineering
Reversible Beverage Antenna

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In November 2006, I installed a DX Engineering RBS-1P reversible beverage antenna system. This antenna system, designed by W8JI, is a two-wire beverage antenna system that allows you to switch directions electronically or simultaneously receive in both directions by using two transmission lines. I used the electronic switching arrangement with a single transmission line. The switching is done by applying a negative 12-volt or AC control voltage to the transmission line. With no voltage applied, the antenna receives in one direction and with the voltage applied, it receives in the opposite direction. I purchased the DX Engineering FVC-1 Feedpoint Voltage Coupler to supply the control voltage.

  The actual antenna consists of 450-ohm ladder line and DX Engineering sells some very nice ladder line supports that make attaching the 450-ohm ladder line to trees or posts an easy job. The picture on the left shows the ladder line and one of the ladder line supports attached to one of the plastic support poles discussed below.

 

In my installation I was fortunate to have many conveniently placed trees along the antenna's SW/NE path. Where I needed a support and no tree was available, I used a 10ft section of 3/4" Schedule 40 plastic electrical tubing slipped over a 4ft section of rebar driven halfway into the ground.  

 

  At the feedpoint of the antenna, an RBS-1P feedpoint unit is mounted on a 4 x 4 post. The feedpoint unit and the associated reflection transformer unit at the far end of the beverage contain all the matching transformers and switching circuits. To protect the feedpoint unit from rain, an inverted plastic office trash can (not shown) is placed over the post and feedpoint unit.

 

Grounding at both ends of beverage was accomplished using two 5ft lengths of 3/4" diameter copper plumbing pipe spaced 5ft apart. The picture at right shows one typical ground rod. The DX Engineering installation manual noted that longer length ground rods were not needed. Happily, I installed the 5-footers!  

 

  The RBS-1RT Reflection Transformer is mounted at the far end of the beverage. When installing, be sure to observe the polarity of the ladder line, i.e., the + terminal on the feedpoint unit needs to be connected to the + terminal on the reflection transformer and, similarly, the negative terminals on the feedpoint unit and reflection transformer also need to be connected.

 

The FVC-1 Feedpoint voltage coupler is used as a source of control voltage and provides a number of interface options for controlling the unit from other station accessories.  

 

How does the antenna work?? Very well! Much better than my previous attempt at a similar beverage. This beverage is not very long, only about 360ft, but has shown good results on 160 through 30 meters. Click on 160-Meter Beverage Test to hear a F/B test on 160-meters. The beverage is also useable on the higher bands. It's optimum performance is probably on 40-meters, but I found it useful even on 30-meters. During the 2006 5A7A operation, 5A7A was 579 on 30-meters using the beverage, but totally inaudible on the transmit antenna! Like all beverages I've used, results vary from day to day and signal to signal. This beverage, however, seems to exhibit a significantly higher percentage of positive results than the beverages I've used in the past.


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