When operating portable, on vacation or from a weekend QTH, Field Day or DXpedition, simple wire antennas are always a compromise. You get lost in the pileup or QRM, and you can't blank out interference. Especially when running low power or participating a contest, a beam antenna is always helpful.
Over the years many light weight wire beams have been developed for this purpose, with spreaders made from fiberglass. Performance wise these antennas are on par with conventional beams. In the U.S., UK, Australia, NZ etc. the hexagonal beam has gained great success, and later Steve Hunt G3TXQ did further research and came up with the optimized "broadband" design. Small turning radius, the simple "wire only" multiband concept, the low weight, low wind load and visibility profile are also positive attributes of this style of antenna.
Hexagonal wire beams have to be assembled on site; joining the spreader sections, mounting them on the hub, putting on the support ropes , mounting all the wires and connecting them electrically. This is acceptable to do once for a permanent installation but when operating sporadically or portable, you lose a lot of time assembling and disassembling the antenna, let alone the forgotten tools or searching for lost parts in the sand or grass. As a consequence simple dipoles, verticals and whips keep being used instead of directional gain antennas merely because of simplicity.
This all-new folding beam antenna is based on G3TXQ's proven design. The big difference is the shape, which is no longer the characteristic "upside down umbrella" style. It is flat due to the spreaders being straight now and no longer bent upwards. This eliminates major bending force and the spreaders can be thinner and lighter. The spreaders are made of 3 sections held together with locking swivel joints, and they are connected to the hub by another swivel joint, making the antenna collapsible to only 45" total length with wires and support ropes staying attached. A single person can erect or collapse the folding beam antenna in 10 minutes maximum time without the use of any tools.
The interconnecting swivel joints and the center hub are manufactured from polybutylene terephthalate (PBT). PBT is in common use for high strength moldable automotive applications where high strength and resistance to wear and abrasion are necessary. Resistant to chemicals, solvents, and natural weather and has good electrical insulation characteristics.
The antenna is available as a fully portable hexagonal beam or for permanent installation. There are further options and accessories, 6 meter operation, storm or permanent installation brackets, carry bag, balun to make your installation unique and easy to implement.
Click link at top for Folding Antennas Design for more information and the construction manual.