Ideas For Enhanced Beverage Antenna Performance

by Peter Hutter, WW2Y and Rob Flory, K2WI

This page is an update to the presentation given by Peter Hutter, WW2Y at the 1997 Dayton Hamvention Antenna Forum. The material presented here is essentially the same given in the talk, with a bit more emphasis on practical implementation of the antennas.

Single Wire Beverage Improvements

First, lets look at some of the properties of single wire Beverages, which have been in use at WW2Y since 1984. A single wire Beverage is typically a wire 1/2 to 3 wavelengths long, and 6 to 10 feet high. The forward end of the wire is terminated through a resistance of 400-600 ohms. A 9:1 unbalanced to unbalanced transformer is typically used to match the feed impedance to 50 ohms. Here are the typical patterns of this antenna.

Single Wire Beverage Pattern

These patterns do offer increased S/N ratio over simple transmitting antennas such as dipoles and verticals. However, more directive transmitting antennas at WW2Y often out performed single wire Beverages. A more directive antenna was desired; one that would offer more high angle rejection of local signals and improved F/B and F/S ratios to reject storm QRM from the southwest. Several methods can be used to improve performance of single wire Beverages. Victor Misek, W1WCR, describes a "Cone of Silence" mode1 which offers best low angle F/B ratios for Beverage lengths near one wavelength. Also, Brunemeir, KG6RT described a 40 meter Beverage which used reactive terminations to achieve the same goal.2 Elevation null control has been implemented on 1.8 MHz at WW2Y using a 500 foot Beverage terminated with variable resistance/inductance.

Arrays of Two Beverages

Broadside Arrays

The desired performance could not be met with single wire Beverages. In the mid 1990's we became aware of a broadside two Beverage array that had been in use at the N2RM multi-multi contest station location. It was two 600 foot Beverages fed in phase and spaced about 200 feet:

Two Beverage Broadside Array

Here are the patterns of the broadside array, compared to a single wire Beverage:

Pattern of 2 Element Broadside vs. Single Wire

The broadside array offers approximately 15 dB of F/S ratio improvement and a narrowing of the azimuth beamwidth. One disadvantage is the large amount of real estate required to implement this antenna. Many people have enough trouble finding the room for one Beverage, let alone a pair spaced 200 feet!

End-fire Arrays

This was the situation at WW2Y, not enough room. A Beverage array that offered improved performance but took up less real estate was desired. During the 1995-1996 160 season, K2WI and WW2Y developed a phased end-fire array that somewhat met this goal. It consisted of two Beverages spaced 20 feet apart, offset 1/4 wavelength and fed in quadrature. Each Beverage is terminated with a 500 ohm resistor.

Offset Beverage Array

Here are the patterns of the offset array.

2 Element End-Fire Beverage Array vs. Single Wire Beverage

As you can see, this offset configuration offers a much smaller rear lobe compared to a single wire Beverage. One disadvantage of this configuration is that the quadrature feed requirement essentially makes this a single band antenna. At WW2Y, the Beverages are fed through a homebrew 90° hybrid similar to the diagram below.

Quadrature Feed Implementation for 160M End-fire System

In this system, each individual Beverage is fed through a 9:1 transformer and equal lengths of 50 ohm transmission line are brought to the ports of the hybrid splitter. For readers wishing to use different impedances, or implement this antenna on bands other than 1.8 MHz, additional design information for hybrid splitters can be found in ON4UN's Low Band DXing book.3

Broadside vs. End-fire

To conclude this section, here is a review of the properties of both broadside and end-fire Beverage arrays.

Comparison of End-fire and Broadside Beverage Arrays 
End Fire
Requires large amount of real estate Real estate requirements similar to that of single Beverage
Easy to feed Feed system more complex
Narrowing of azimuth beamwidth Azimuth beamwidth preserved
Improved F/S ratio. 3 dB gain improvement over single Beverage Improved F/B ratio, 3 dB gain improvement over single Beverage
Performance improvement realized over large
bandwidth - eg: 1.8-3.5 MHz
Primarily a narrowband system - 1.8 MHz only

A 3 Element End-Fire Array

In the fall of 1996 some modeling with K6STI's AO program suggested that the WW2Y 2 element end-fire array could be improved by adding an additional element to the array.

3 Element End-Fire Array

If you feed these elements in quadrature with a binomial current distribution, (1:2:1) some amazing patterns result.

Three Element End-Fire Array

The binomial feed system for this antenna is quite complex and definitely limits this antenna to single band implementation. A description of the feed method is beyond the scope of this paper. Interested readers are referred to ON4UN's Low Band DXing book for information on one type of binomial feed.4 The binomial feed was implemented differently at WW2Y.

WW2Y has used this antenna toward Europe since late 1996. The performance has been extremely satisfactory. For example, during the 1997 CQ 160 CW contest, a storm in the southeast US plagued many northeast US stations with high QRN levels. The QRN from the storm was effectively nulled out with this antenna. Sometimes, we think the antenna works too well as many western stations are almost inaudible on this antenna. Many times while we have all antennas pointed toward Europe, a W6 will start CQing on our frequency, and we will not notice him until a different receive antenna is switched in. The bottom line is that although the implementation of this antenna required a large amount of work, a better European receiving antenna has never been had at WW2Y.

Further Ideas

Dual Band Endfire (Offset) Phased Beverage Systems

Certainly, there is interest in an offset array that performs on both 80 and 160 meters.

There are at least three different ways to implement endfire arrays of Beverages that will work on 2 bands. None can really be considered optimum for all situations, so you have to make the tradeoffs that work best for you.

The simplest system is to offset the Beverages 1/4 wavelength apart on 160 and feed them through a 0° splitter such as a Wilkinson Power Divider with an extra 90° (on 160) delay line on the forward Beverage. This gives extra front to back ratio on 160, and on 80 provides enhanced rejection off the sides and at high angles, but not off the back.

If you want enhanced front to back on both 160 and 80, then you have to compromise on the offset, using something in the neighborhood of 100 feet, or about 3/16 wavelength on 160. The pair of Beverages can then be fed via a single coax feedline and a broadband 90° hybrid. A broadband 90° hybrid, consisting of cascaded hybrids is described in a paper by R.E. Fisher.5 This single-feedline system can potentially save money on coax, and may be the best option for the single operator station, who may not need to use it on two bands at the same time.

With a 100 foot offset, you can also split the output of each Beverage first, and run one output from each antenna into single band 90° hybrids, and run 2 feedlines to the shack, one for 160, and one for 80. Having separate phasing networks for each band allows you to optimize phasing and amplitude on each band independently for best front to back ratio. This could involve adding additional delay lines or tweaking the hybrids for amplitude balance. An example would be to put an additional 22.5° delay line on the 160 hybrid to get 112.5° phasing. Having separate feedlines for 160 and 80 would be valuable in a multi-station environment.

Ultimate Phased Beverage Systems

The ultimate Beverage array would be a pair of end-fire offset Beverage arrays in a broadside array (four total Beverages). This gives you improvement in both the side and rear lobes. The real estate to implement this array is not available at WW2Y, but it sure would be interesting to try somewhere.

Some Hints

Here are some lessons learned after years of playing with Beverages at WW2Y:


We hope you find the information presented here useful. Anyone with any feedback or questions are welcome to contact either WW2Y or K2WI.

See you all on TOPBAND.


  1. V.A. Misek, The Beverage Antenna Handbook, second edition 1987, section 2.95, pages 27-31.
  2. B.H. Brunemeir, "Short Beverage for 40 Meters," Ham Radio, July 1979, page 40.
  3. J. Devoldere, Antennas and Techniques for Low Band DXing, American Radio Relay League, pages 11-11 through 11-13.
  4. J. Devoldere, Antennas and Techniques for Low Band DXing, American Radio Relay League, pages 11-30 and 11-31.
  5. R.E. Fisher, "Broad-Band Twisted-Wire Quadrature Hybrids," IEEE Transactions on Microwave Theory and Techniques, May 1973, pages 355-357.