6 meter Antenna Info

Over the last quarter century, antenna performance has improved dramatically. Thanks to the development of computer modeling software, antennas can now be designed to provide excellent results. Many older antennas are still in use around the world that were built using less sophisticated techniques. A number of 6m operators have wondered if it is time to upgrade their antenna systems.

There is no question that each operator has different interests and constraints. Some want to arrange various antennas to “fill in the nulls” in ground gain patterns so they can be assured of not missing signals coming in at certain angles. Others want to increase maximum signal strengths while still fitting the antenna in their garden. And still others are interested in assembling an antenna system that will have enough free space gain to enable them to complete EME contacts while the antenna is elevated (without any ground gain). With the differences in how antennas are marketed and what specifications are published, it is no wonder that many hams have expressed confusion when they try to compare antennas to determine what would be the best choice for their particular situations.

Lionel Edwards, VE7BQH, is well known for his pioneering work in EME and his knowledge of antenna design. His comparison table of 2m antenna designs has been a valuable resource for weak signal enthusiasts on that band. Lionel now has generously put together a table comparing a number of popular 6m antennas to help guide Magic Band operators on antenna decisions. This table was painstakingly prepared to include the free space gain of each yagi with respect to a dipole, the optimum and 75% of optimum stacking distances for both two and four yagis and resulting gain figures, and the SWR of a single antenna 150 kHz from the design frequency. The SWR value provides an indicator of the “Q” of the antenna, and how likely it is to be affected by rain, ice and snow; the narrower the bandwidth of the antenna, the more susceptible it is to such detuning by the weather.


Please join with me in thanking Lionel for graciously agreeing to undertake the very laborious challenge of preparing such a table. I will also post a link on my website to the table for convenient future reference, along with links to more information on many of the antennas listed in the table.

GL and DX! VY 73, Lance W7GJ