BEVERAGES

If you are a low frequency enthusiast as I am and you have some room, you could elect this classic and reliable design. The longer you can get, narrower you'll get the main lobe towards your listening target. It is also a great way to stay in shape! Personally, I do maintain them at least twice a year clearing branches and small trees that keep falling regularly over the wires. Every time, I need to walk a couple of Kilometres!

Testing at feed point my first ever Beverage with my trusty DX-392 portable. This wire is aimed to Africa (towards right) with 228 meters (750 feet)

Here in Eastern Canada, with any type of weather conditions, I had to choose a strong material for the wires. Thanks to many resources over the Internet, I found that the obvious choice would be electric fence wire. First, it is very solid and durable even under ice or physical ill treatment conditions. Second, it is easily available and cheap. I paid around $35 CDN for a near 1200 foot roll. I've been using successfully for more than four years this type of wire in forest. I still find fallen trees and branches over it and except for a few broken isolators, everything stands in place. Both European and Russian Beverages even have a snowmobile trail beneath. Over that span, the wire goes trough little holes at the top of each cedar poles securing it from any accidental fall.

I run my wires around 8ft (2,5m) over the ground. This way, I'm making sure that deer's and kids won't damage them neither hurt themselves. I'm using for the most part of the run, trees as natural supports. The soil around here is mixed with sand and can be very wet. In the St-Lawrence valley, we receive a good amount of precipitations annually. I am fortunate being able to erect towards my favourite listening target such antennas. For Latin America which is another point of  interest, I would have to cross the street with my Beverage. I'm using the unterminated one who's SW direction is rather pointing Mexico then the Pacific Ocean. Not too perfect for South America but with appropriated propagation, it does reveal something.

My typical termination post made of treated wood. I'm using 470 ohms, 2W non-inductive special composition resistor that came in the DX Engineering  BFS-1 package. The wire is tethered to that tree behind through an isolator (African wire termination shown)

PERMANENT BEVERAGE:

-228m (750ft) directional towards Africa at 88°

SEASONAL WINTER BEVERAGES (early Sept to mid-June):

-289m (950ft) directional towards Europe and Middle-East at 55°.

-445m (1450ft) toward Russia and India at 35°

View of the African Beverage run alongside the slope

A general view of the three Beverages end post from the feed side. The antenna wire then connects to a thin one. I'm using a 30 awg wire in the summer which is even more thin that the one shown. As explained in the Lightning protection page, I hope it can act as a fuse in case of nearby strike. The line matching transformers are located around 3m to the left. See bellow the galvanized steel wire an heavier gauge wire facing it which connect to a 1,5m (5ft) copper plated ground rod . My hope is that it helps sinking to ground an eventual overload of energy.

The Winter seasonal European - Middle Eastern Beverage. Up front in that forest, the wire is going downhill to feed point. Behind me, at a near 160m stands the termination point. For summertime, I have to dismantle everything due to hay growing. Thanks to the Ableson family for letting me use their farm land. This picture was taken as I was standing right in the middle of a quiet snowmobile trail

You may find that all my work on Beverage antennas was inspired largely by Tom Rauch, W8JI and his excellent page about Beverage construction. You'll also find more on the Hard-Core DX antenna page. Here's a more technical article about Beverages basic principles and practical tips, in French from André Ducros, F5AD.

I'm using two DX Engineering matching transformers for my main coax lines up to my phaser. It feeds RG6 CATV cable. You can build one easily using a BN-73-202 binocular core from Amidon in the US. For 75 ohms lines: Primary five turns, secondary two turns

In a Earth great circle view , please have a look at my own  Beverages map (PDF) centred around Quebec City, which is near to my location. Note that the extended 28°-208° goes for Winter at 35° directional . This bearing is estimated because in practice, I couldn't maintain that 28° straight line with the antenna enlargement.

SEASONAL SUMMER BEVERAGE (mid-June to early Sept):  

-106m (350ft) bi-directional "baby" NE-SW, 28°-208°

While doing some Beverage work in October  of 2008,  I had a kind local observer. I could approach it at a near 40m until it escaped into the forest. It probably was just wondering what in the hell I was about to do!

Nice winter view of the Russian-Indian Beverage passing through the bushes

SWITCHABLE BEVERAGE TERMINATION

When German dxer Jürgen Bartels wrote me about his ability of remotely switch on & off the termination resistor of his Beverages and this without the need of a return wire if not only by using earth as a returning path, I was puzzled. Initially, I thought that it needed unconditionally a certain amount of AC voltage to obtain conduction that way but I was told that I could also get the same result by using DC!  Despite explanations and for a while, it was still darkness in my head... Jürgen is using AC square wave generated from an homebrew circuit and fed by the RS232 port of his computer. This is sent through the feedline coax to trigger his termination circuitry. See the details on the "remote switched R" page from his website.   

In my case, as I already have an existing circuit to switch my Beverages and I wanted to adapt Jürgen's design to my actual gear. I was told by Jürgen that only a short pulse of DC voltage was enough to toggle the main element of the remote  circuitry which consist in a low current latching relay (and which I ends up learning on it along the way). I decided then to order 3 of those and  perform some test. Under Jürgen's advice, I had to determine first which amount of DC voltage has to be applied to make the relay "latch". In order to do so, I placed an ammeter in series while applying directly variable DC to the Beverage. I needed to get a read of 10 mA on the meter which is the current needed to excite the relay coil. The V was travelling throughout the Beverage all the way up to the 470 ohms termination already in place 445m farther and was coming back using the soil to complete the circuit. See the ammeter picture on the right showing a 10.31 mA reading. 26V was needed to reach such level. Now to make the latching relay toggle, a dual polarity voltage is mandatory and has to be injected alternately to it.

I made a dual version allowing me to control two Beverage terminations separately. With one momentary toggle switch in shack for each Beverage, I'm now able to commute alternately between +26V and -26V to be sent through each wire and switch on or off the termination resistor at the far end. When I push the button, it initiates a 3 steps sequence I would describe as follow:


1) It disconnects the Beverage from the matching transformer for 0.67 sec

2) At the same time, it sends a short 0.52 sec pulse of + or - 26V via the Beverage

3) It connects back the Beverage to the matching transformer after 0.67 sec


The time delay values are more or less arbitrary. Those were determined by the components I had on hand. The rule is that step 1 has to be a bit longer than step 2 and in my opinion, it shouldn't exceed 1 second. Listen to this demo with WBBR while switching remotely the termination resistor on & off. The antenna was the 425m 35-215° wire. The strongest signal indicates that the resistor is disconnected. Now, here’s another demo on 900 KHz this time featuring both CHML and Radio Progreso (SW-S). When opening the termination, Cuba comes in fairly well but with the termination resistor connected, the back lobe of the Beverage is literally shrunk leaving only Hamilton in the clear.

Block diagram of the system (single Beverage)

Looking at the above photo, top left is the dual Beverage voltage injector (as I would call it), bottom left is the Beverage switcher, bottom right is the in-shack controller showing two new red switches that have been added to control two Beverage terminations and top right are the two termination circuit from Jürgen's design with the latching relay. I've added a 90v gas discharge tube and a spark gap both connected between antenna and ground to protect at least the diodes

Based on this data, I began to spend some time in designing a circuit that would accomplish this task. I first did some tries with a test termination circuit and I was so happy when practice matched the theory. Indeed, as I was standing at the far end of the Beverage and telling my wife by cell phone to apply the voltage and then, reverse it, I felt a great joy when I heard the "click-click" sound coming  from the relay! Now I was really ready to move forward with the design. The circuit should be now triggered remotely using my existing Beverage switcher. The basic is quite simple: By using LM556 dual timers, Flip-Flop devices and relays, it creates a timed sequence which diseable the matching transformer from the Beverage and within this short period, a DC voltage pulse is sent throughout the beverage. This gave the circuit you can see upper right on the left picture while in test.

Remote termination circuit

Dual polarity power supply. No need to add regulation here. This very basic version does a perfect job in making the relay toggle

Complete injector circuit. It is a kinda "personnal" version since I designed it to fit my existing Beverage switcher. It gives you however a general idea of the concept

Page updated on 02/2014