A permanent 30m solution? At least: I hope so.
The 30m band has always been my favorite. It supports DX all year round, all through the solar cycle and most hours of the day. I like that fluttery polar path sound of W6/W7 at my winter sunset. Or winter sunrise: a full hour of my best JA pileups time after time. I wish I had those in the contests. I once tried RTTY on 30m on a summer evening when the sun was indeed rising in the land named thereafter. They went nuts. Not many Belgians really CQ’ing on 10.1 MHz it seems…
I spend many weekends on the regular contest bands. But I also like to work some casual DX. So I try not to call CQ on the contest bands but revert to WARC. Especially 30m.
In 2004 I started with a 12+17+30m triband dipole on top of the tower. It brought me lots of DX pleasure for its size and simplicity. Too bad the trap got blown almost ten years ago.
I removed this dipole and replaced it with a 40m rotary dipole. This antenna is so kick-ass good that 7 MHz is my best band, especially since the higher bands are worked with a yagi. So this antenna can never go.
After that I have been trying various things for 30m. It all works but never as good as the flat top dipole on top of the mast, even if it was trapped.
A monoband vertical.
A monoband sloping dipole.
A delta loop.
A triband WARC wire dipole.
A triband WARC vertical.
These are all antennas that work. Especially if you don’t have anything else. But they need to be put up when there is no contest and taken down when there is a contest. Because they eat up real estate, or use a pulley that is needed for 80/160 low band contesting etc.
I was looking for something that can be installed permanently without interfering with my contest setup. So I was looking at the OptiBeam (link) or DXAvenue (link) dual band dipole. Or upgrade / modify my OptiBeam 40m dipole to include 30m. This can easily be done but the major issue was hooking up the 30m parts to the 40m loading coil.
But in Spring there was this OptiBeam 30+40m dipole for sale on the second hand classifieds. The price was right so I did not hesitate and bought it. I went to pick it up and installed it this week.
I could keep the feed point assembly on the mast as it is the same size and length. That made installing it easy. Moreover I could use a friend’s scaffold which made the one man install job quite easy.
Is it a permanent 30m solution? That is now under evaluation. I’m sure it’ll work on 30m and bring me DX pleasure. And work better than any of my 30m solutions. The big question is: will it have any negative influence on my 40m contest results? If so, I will probably revert to 40m monoband operation. Let’s hope not…