After using the radiator of the Jaybeam as a dipole for a while, I was really missing the Cobweb, as it provided more wavebands than the Jaybeams 20m, 15m, and 10m. I was also considering just keeping the cobweb as a backup and getting a mini beam with some gain.
It would have three advantages. Multiple bands, Gain and a reasonable front to back ratio. Ever since I have got my licence, I knew that I fancied a Cushcraft MA5B. This is a three element trapped beam with capacity hats. Whilst not offering the same performance on all bands, it is probably the biggest all around beam I can get away with at my QTH, but try as I might, I could never find one at a price that I could afford.
Well in July 2017, that all changed, when I heard that Roger Mansell Williams, M0RMW was selling his bungalow and downsizing his setup in a move to Selsey Bill! He was offering his MA5B for just £50, which is a considerable saving over a new one, which cost upwards of £530! All I have to do was to go down to Farnham in Hampshire to take it down.
It came down really easily, it had been well looked after and was in really good condition. It fit OK into the jag with the back seats folded down. Roger was a gent and provided a manual for me to piece my new jigsaw puzzle back together again. It was not too difficult as I put insulating taped codes on the elements as it took it apart to aid with reconstruction!
Waiting for a couple of days for a lull in the thunderstorms, I managed to whack up the beam in a few hours, consigning the Jaybeam radiator elements back to the pile of aluminium down the side of the house, which is the Tribander. Initially the I used the mini beam using the internal matcher in the Icom and it worked well, out-performing the wire antenna by at least 3S units and being far less susceptible to noise. In increase of the signal to noise ratio meant I could hear station I just could not hear before. In order to increase efficiency, I will go through a tuning session with the antenna analyser. This will increase transmit efficiency and reduce losses to make this acquisition a real bargain and my find of the year.