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Moderator: JR Moderator
- Red Warrior
- Posts: 791
- Joined: Tuesday, 24 July 2007, 14:23 PM
- Radio: Galaxy 959
- Location: Santa Maria, California
My antenna arrived in good shape about two weeks after I ordered it. I assembled it in about an hour. The assembly went without issue and I followed the excellent directions precisely. Some additional pictures would have been handy.
For symmetry I ensured both spirals began on the same leg of the supports although the directions did not suggest this. I would have placed the outer support facing in and the inner support facing out so the wire would have been symmetrical rather than varying up and down with the thickness of the supports. We considered the use of a balun to keep RF off the feed line.
Saturday night the two Hams assisting me tuned the Tak-Tenna. We met for coffee and I had the antenna in the back of my truck and they were very intrigued so we adjourned to a Ham Shack at the Santa Maria Airport. We hooked 12’ of 213 coax and an MFJ antenna tuner to the antenna. The antenna was very responsive to tuning but in order to get it to resonance at 27.2 MHz with 50 ohms and X-3 we had to add about 1 ½” of stubs to each segment (may have been because of the large area of tarmac we were on). The antenna then came in to perfect resonance, a condition none of us had ever seen before. Quite frankly one of the Hams was seen staring at the antenna as though observing a UFO....
We used the MFJ as a source and switched back and forth between the Tak-Tenna and a well tuned Predator 10K center mounted on the roof of a truck. The Tak-Tenna seems to be about 12 dB down from the Predator (to be expected since Tak-Tenna was horizontally polarized and Predator was vertical). After installing the Tak-Tenna on a 15’ mast at my house and adding a 1:1 coax balun, the SWR increased to 2.2 (obviously I need to do some tuning to account for local conditions). Again we tested the antenna against a known configuration and it seemed to be down about 12 dB.
The antenna seems to be directional with the main lobe off the “hot” side of the coils. The lowest gain seems to be from the “cold” side of the coils.
We rotated the Tak-Tenna vertically and placed it atop a 10’ plastic pole. We also placed a 1:1 coax balun on the antenna and we removed the 1.5 inch stubs. We attached the MFJ with 12’ of RG213 coax. Instead of the recommended starting points of 1’ from the cold end inside spiral end point and 3’ from the hot end inside spiral end point we used 1’ from the cold end outside spiral end point and 3’ from the hot end outside spiral end point. The adjustment immediately responded and we got the antenna tuned in all but reactance. The reactance value was 33 (X=33) and the minimum SWR was 3.5.
We then removed the balun and the antenna tuned to 27.2 MHz SWR 1.2 reactance 4. Near perfect. It is interesting to note that the stubs were not required in this orientation. We suspected the balun might somehow be defective so we connected it to a dummy load and checked it with the MFJ. The balun checked out good. The Tak-Tenna definitely does not like a balun in the circuit. I do not recommend attempting to tune this antenna with only an "S" meter.
I erected the Tak-Tenna on my back patio. It is on the same plastic 10’ pole and tripod we tuned it on and it reaches just above the eves of my house. First contact was again with a radio at the airport 3-5 miles away. Changing the antenna to vertical improved received power by at least 3 “S” units and maybe more. We are very impressed with the performance. We will leave the Tak-Tenna in its current position for further testing and within a week I will raise it another 10 to 15’. I can’t wait until conditions allow me to test its performance at distance.
SWR is 1.2 on 27.405 and 2.0 on 26.965.
Overall this is a very small and stealthy antenna rated at power up to 1000 watts. It is easy to assemble but requires some skill to tune. It does tune to extremely accurate levels and is very responsive to tuning. Radiation angle is reported at 24 degrees which should make for great skip contacts.
Overall Rating: 5
RX TX: 4
Ease of Use: 4
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