...... I had decided long ago that the only way I was going to be able to hear (and work) the weak European stations on 160m was to have myself a Beverage. A Beverage antenna that is.
After reading countless articles and watching a YouTube presentation video on Improving 160m and 80m Antenna Performance I finally decided on a Reversible Beverage On the Ground (RBOG). Essentially that would give me the benefit of two directions using the same space as one beverage as well as not needing to be as long nor elevated from the ground. The wire just lays right on the ground, sometimes over a small fallen tree, but otherwise on the ground. Of course this approach does come with an inherent reduction of gain and an increase in angle of reception, however a compromise was the path I chose.
As soon as I had the antenna setup and tuned to 160m I was amazed at the difference I noticed immediately when I flipped the power switch on the pre-amplifier and a Slovania station that I could otherwise not hear well enough to work was now coming in with a strong enough signal that I felt I could now work them. Now actually working them was a different story as I quickly rushed to tune the transmit side of the house (antenna tuner on the doublet and the amplifier) only to find the signal had died out. Solid state amps and tuners do have their advantages, but that is the way it goes sometimes.
No need to worry though as later in the evening after the sun had set I tuned in and worked a Romanian and German station that I otherwise would not have even heard to work before the Beverage. It was already paying off in spades and after going back out today (the day after installing the Beverage) and getting exact coordinates on the feed end as well as the 'terminated' end and plotting on Google Earth, I came to realize that I had only ran a 161 feeet of wire for the antenna. That being just inside the length that they recommend with a BOG (between 160 and 200 feet).
Suffice to say the addage often tossed around; "a short beverage is better than no Beverage at all", seems to be very true. Simply increasing the received signal by approximately 6db (One S-unit) and in turn decreasing the noise floor was the difference in me working Europe and prior to the antenna installation, not even knowing they were there.
Below are various photos of the installation. Yes, it could very well be altered to increase performance, and possibly at a later time I will do just that. Matter of fact, I think I will be experimenting with an additional ground rod placed about 500 feet out and splicing the wires and extending the existing Beverage in the hopes of grabbing the 10db gain listed above. Just depends on whether I think the additional 4db is worth the effort and materials.
The three photos below show GPS positions and distances of the terminating end, feed end, as well the distance from the doublet, my main transmit antenna (long yellow line). The red line represents a planned future RBOG to cover from NW to SE (Alaska). Bear in mind that the distance from the transmitting antenna is approximately 1/4 λ - which is far closer than most would recommend, however I do not seem to have a problem so far (the kenwood TS-590S has a dedicated RX RCA jack and switches the circuit open on transmit) and I am willng to risk it based on my unique sittuation (buildings sheilding path, height of transmit antenna, etc.. ). Generally the further the better for reason other than possible receiver overlaoad as well, such as the transmit antenna transfering noise to the beverage via coupling, re-radiating, etc..
Coax running on the ground, over fallen trees, etc.. over to the feed end of the RBOG. Next photos are of the 16/2 Lanscape Lighting Wire, and finally the far end conection. The ground rods are actually 8 foot long and leaving approximately 1.5 foot above ground will allow me to go back out and paint the upper portion of the rod with white or orange paint so that they are not likely to trip me up when out in the woods hunting or - well - running more antenna wires.
Any of the photos can be enlarged to full resolution using the expand icon in the top right portion of the popup window. ESC key will close the windows.
Below is a video example of the low S/N ratio that this short BOG exhibits.