Your experience is not unusual. In my experience, I have found that
the 4-square is a very good receiving antenna and will normally
surpass the performance of a short (i.e.,300-500 foot) beverage.
On certain occasions, the beverage might be better, but not enough
to warrant the construction and maintenance.
My experiences with LONG beverages are limited to a few stints
as the 80 meter op at K1KI's multi/multi. Tom has a 4-square
that really kicks butt. On 80, I had a selection of beverages,
most of them 5-600 footers, but one 1200 (!) footer to Europe.
The 1200 foot beverage was incredible, allowing me to pick out
signals that were barely audible on the 4-square. On one occasion,
we had a pre-amp in line, but most recently (in ARRL DX CW 1998)
there was no pre-amp. I don't think I lost any QSO's because of
the lack of pre-amplification.
Someone else made a comment disparaging pre-amps in general on
beverages, but I can't agree. At the KE2NL station, we successfully
the 580 foot EU beverage. However, the primary transmit antenna is
a pair of phased dipoles, and doesn't have the F/B and F/S of a
properly functioning 4-square.
Conclusion: If you can, build a bigger beverage, at least 500+ feet.
If not, you are probably wasting your time.
73, J.P. W2XX
J.P. Kleinhaus, W2XX (fdba AA2DU)
As we say in the software business: "You are hosed."
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