Gregory Brown, KTØK, has been a Ham Radio operator since 1961. Never bitten by the amplifier bug, he’s always operated with 100 watts or less and very modest antennas, yet has managed to work over 300 countries. Devoted to good operating practices and manners, he has often “turned the dial” in the face of rude operating by those trying to contact that “rare one.” Who needs the aggravation?
After 53 years with very modest antennas, this past year saw the appearance of a 72-foot tower and new beam in his backyard. The antenna is an Optibeam OB 16-3, a large, trapless Yagi with interlaced monobanders for 10, 15 and 20 meters (8 elements on 10 meters and 4 on both 15 and 20), a total of 16 elements on a 39-foot boom.
So, is the effort and cost of upgrading your antenna system worth it? How does this system “play” compared to the typical short-boom three element trap tribander? Wouldn’t an amplifier give me more contacts? A-B comparisons between a small Yagi at 50 feet and the new Optibeam at 75 feet demonstrate the differences, and those differences may surprise you—as will the truth about amplifiers and power!