Antennas are always fascinating, with lots and lots of options from homebrew to buy it off the shelf. Then there’s six meters, the Magic Band, where the antennas are small enough to fit in your backyard or even your attic. I’ve tried a few along the way. Here’s the rundown.
What’s not to like about a six-meter dipole? It’s simple and easily built. Roughly 9 feet from tip to tip, it can fit almost anywhere. It is horizontally polarized, which purportedly is best for VHF DX. And, it works.
My write-up on my efforts at Six Meter Dipole has been the post with the most traffic on this website since it was published in 2014. So it must be a popular option as well. I’ll also note that I’ve worked Argentina and Uruguay using that dipole and 100 watts.
Here my experience has been surprising given the prevailing wisdom that you must be horizontally polarized for VHF DX. I would imagine that is true above six meters. But my own experience has been eye-opening.
In 2011 I purchased a Cushcraft MA6V vertical that covers 20 to 6 meters. This added to my HF contest capabilities. Here’s my blog post HF Verticals. I avoided using this antenna on six since at first I had the dipole and later a Moxon followed by a 3-element Yagi.
But, over the past few years, the only antenna I had was the vertical. So I started working stations on FT8 and to my surprise, they answered. That included Scotland, my first European six-meter contact. I will note that the MA6V is an offset center-fed vertical dipole. And mine is mounted at roughly 20 feet above the ground.
So, a vertical is worth trying on six meters. Plus, it’s easier to fit into the yard.
Moxon’s are my favorite type of antenna. My first experience was with a homemade 15-meter version that snagged lots of QSOs for my single-band contest entries. The advantages of these antennas are directional, good front-to-back, and smaller than a Yagi. With the tips of the driven element and reflector bent to nearly touch, it squeezes the width of the antenna into a much smaller space. I’ve posted a 15-meter Moxon video too.
The Par Electronics Stressed Moxon brings this compact design to six meters. It works great with good gain, sound front-to-back rejection, and incredible construction. I’ve used it for years at home on a push-up mast and more recently on my rover operations. It can hit a tree and be bent back into shape for the next grid stop — don’t ask me how I know.
While the gain isn’t as great as the multi-element Yagis, I like that its broader beamwidth covers a lot of ground without needing to tweak the rotator. That works great for contests when the band is open.
This is easily my favorite six-meter antenna.