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 My love affair with fibreglass antennas is over

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SangueG
26uk81
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26uk81
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Call Sign : 26UK81
Posts : 105
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Join date : 2020-06-06
QTH or Location : Oxford
Equipment Used : ss 6900N, AT5555N, President McKinley
Age : 37

My love affair with fibreglass antennas is over Empty
PostSubject: My love affair with fibreglass antennas is over   My love affair with fibreglass antennas is over Icon_minitimeThu Dec 09, 2021 2:19 am

When I lived at my gran's place,  I used a Sirio GainMaster for about eight years on a steel mast I had concreted in the garden.   This was a great performing antenna and I simply don't entertain these arguments that they bring in more noise.   Unfortunately at year six, I had to replace three sections which were damaged by wind.... But it was good for the last two years I lived there.

Most of the breakers I talk to are old school and skeptical of fibreglass antennas, but I just assumed they were being luddite old farts. Smile

A couple of years later, I now live in a ground floor flat.   My solution for getting on air at home is drive on mast stand and aluminium portable mast.   I took the opportunity to purchase an Antron 99..   This killed two birds with one stone.   It was an antenna to get on air with at home, but also easy to separate and reassemble for DXing up on hills.    The Antron has been nothing but trouble since the day I bought it.    I found it hard to tune in across the various parts of 11 metres.   For me, an antenna needs to be centred on 27.555, with reasonable SWR on the bottom of mid block and top of muppets.   I eventually managed to get a just about satisfactory result...     Before the drive on mast stand I attempted to use a tripod mount which ended in disaster, it blew over in a light breeze and split the top section.   I replaced the top section with a "fire up" kit, which I believe to be a bit of a snake oil thing.   None the less, I gave it a try as I needed a new top.    I used it like this up until recently...   I kept getting issues with signal dropping out.   A station ten miles from me who I chat to regularly kept dropping out below my S5 noise level.    Long story short, I kept thinking this issue was resolved.   I've been replacing PL259s...   Bottom connector on the Antron seems really easy to cross thread.   Even resorted to replacing whole length of coax to the antenna, the issue would appear to be resolved but just kept reoccurring, even when there was no wind.    At one point, I was even questioning my mate's radio, as he didn't notice any drop in my signal...

I eventually decided to buy a Sigma Venom 1/2 wave silver rod, if anything to eliminate other issues.   It arrived yesterday.   It was a joy to tune in.   It came with tuning lines already marked on the sections, but like most silver rods I've had, it was tuned a bit too low for my liking.   After a bit of farting around, I've managed to get it tuned to a max of 1.5 from to top of muppets to bottom of mid block, which is where I want to be....    Long QSO with my mate tonight, no signal drop .   He is getting me better, less crackles and pops and no issues my end, despite having my mast low due to wind.

My conclusion...    Don't want to completely rubbish the A99 as I may either, have bought a dud, bought a dud fire up kit, or it suffered some other internal damage when it hit the ground.   However, I think there is a lot to say for silver rods ...   I t has been a complete joy to work with since unboxing it and it's as light as a feather compared to the Antron and a fraction of the price...  Don't knock a silver rod.   I see on Ebay you can get thumb turn jubilee clips which along with some red metal paint, could make it good for taking up on the hills.

If any one is wondering why I don't just use my Gainmaster, I had issues with it which I've never had before, it was tuned way too high and could only get a decent SWR on ten metres.   I could have added some length to it, but it was very heavy on my portable aluminium mast.

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SangueG
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Call Sign : 26-CT-3971 / M7TDV
Posts : 379
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Join date : 2021-01-30
QTH or Location : Cirencester, Gloucestershire
Equipment Used : SS6900N, Xiegu G90, DX-300 for SWL, all HF antennas home-made

My love affair with fibreglass antennas is over Empty
PostSubject: Re: My love affair with fibreglass antennas is over   My love affair with fibreglass antennas is over Icon_minitimeThu Dec 09, 2021 9:30 pm

It's possible you got hold of one of the more poorly constructed A99s. I've never used one and so really not in a place to comment properly on it. Clearly it's been a big seller over the years and many people have had great success with it. But there are reports of some that are not well made. You've probably seen it before, but if not, do a net search for "A99 exposed" and you'll see a report where someone has taken one apart. Part of what the reporting person found regarding the connections to the matching coils could be the cause of your dropouts.

If I was to buy a manufactured antenna, and wanted good bandwidth, going by how the A99 and Silver Rods are constructed I would definitely go with the Silver Rod out of the two. The girth of the Rod's main element is always going to give a wider bandwidth than the wire element of the A99, even if it's only slightly wider.

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Savwafare10
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Call Sign : 2-CT-351
Posts : 34
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Join date : 2020-07-09
QTH or Location : Greeley / Evans
Equipment Used : Kenwood TS450s TS440s Icom 706MK2 Sigma Venom 5/8 wave with home brew ground radials (8) Drake R 4B- T 4xB (twins) 4el LFA soon to go up in the air/

My love affair with fibreglass antennas is over Empty
PostSubject: Re: My love affair with fibreglass antennas is over   My love affair with fibreglass antennas is over Icon_minitimeSat Dec 11, 2021 3:59 am

I had a bad ordeal with a Imax 2000, was a "bad batch" let out of quality control I guess. I fought and fought SWR and impedence issues from day one.  I had a Maco V5/8 wave before that and had fits after 3 yrs, Swr/tuning ect. I bought new coax run,  2) different antenna swr analyzers, I question my sanity for a while, thinking all I had learned was a lie?   Me being over here in the states, alot of "gimmick" style + selling on what we can get our hands on. A 99, Imax 2000, Maco products and some Siro stuff. I threw my hands up at all of it, I aquired the Sigma Venom Silver hot rod 5/8 wave.  I know the aluminum stock isn't 1970's or 80's but I have to say, nothing went easy-er for set up and tune from what I had been dealing with.   I did cut open my Imax 2000 and seen bad workmanship as afar as solder work. My Maco 5/8 wave had a water issue that drained into the isolation material, had fozen and thawed ect, just changed the  impedence and couldn't get that "Fresh bought tune" i had in the beginning. I had made a 8 ground radial kit (DIY) and so far this cycle it has worked wonders for the vertical. I think the 8 radials has taken away from  a "local dx" take off angle, but not much "local" around here anyways ;-)   the Innov antenna 4el LFA goes up next. wish me luck
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Savwafare10
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Call Sign : 2-CT-351
Posts : 34
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Join date : 2020-07-09
QTH or Location : Greeley / Evans
Equipment Used : Kenwood TS450s TS440s Icom 706MK2 Sigma Venom 5/8 wave with home brew ground radials (8) Drake R 4B- T 4xB (twins) 4el LFA soon to go up in the air/

My love affair with fibreglass antennas is over Empty
PostSubject: Re: My love affair with fibreglass antennas is over   My love affair with fibreglass antennas is over Icon_minitimeSat Dec 11, 2021 4:08 am

I guess I'd go to say, if one aquired a good working "Fiberglass" antenna, they are decent in getting "on-air" quickly.  BUT for the RFI around my area, aluminum works best. We do get high winds that can tatter the aluminum. But I can "fix" that.  , I don't mind taking my antenna down every so offten to clean and maybe a re tune after. Maybe thats just me?  I come from the 1980's Radio Shack  CrossBow 64    or  .64 wave Ground plane antenna era.   Those were the days!!!

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Razz229
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Call Sign : 26 CT 2290 & 26 CI 2290
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Join date : 2019-07-01
QTH or Location : Kent
Equipment Used : On 11m a Anytone 6666, Moonraker 1/2 wave vertical antenna or a Sirio 4000. On PMR a TYT TH-9000D, a 1/4 wave GPA, homemade mag mount & sometimes a 8 element beam.
Age : 54

My love affair with fibreglass antennas is over Empty
PostSubject: Re: My love affair with fibreglass antennas is over   My love affair with fibreglass antennas is over Icon_minitimeSat Dec 11, 2021 9:48 am

For the nets. I've been using a "gifted" Moonraker 1/2 wave vertical antenna for the past 4 years. Which was on the side of a house before that.

Over the past 4 years, it has spent this time in the back of my van being bounced around, stood on, had boxes stacked on it, furniture, 25kg bags and the odd human body too! It has also travelled around most of England & Scotland.

The SWR is always around 1.3 to 1.8, this does depend on the weather.

For a cheap antenna, it's robust, does the job I want it to do and if/when it fails won't cost an arm and a leg to replace

https://moonraker.com/venom-gpg-1-2-wave-base-antenna

Mine is branded as a Moonraker but is properly made by the same company.


Last edited by Razz229 on Fri Dec 24, 2021 10:56 pm; edited 1 time in total
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26uk81
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Equipment Used : ss 6900N, AT5555N, President McKinley
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My love affair with fibreglass antennas is over Empty
PostSubject: Re: My love affair with fibreglass antennas is over   My love affair with fibreglass antennas is over Icon_minitimeSat Dec 11, 2021 1:05 pm

Not sure exactly how it could be done, but it would be good to see some kind of “Portable” silver rod .   Aluminium sections which screw together with brass screws (threads in aluminium would strip too easily) and an adjustable top whip.  It must be doable.
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SangueG
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Equipment Used : SS6900N, Xiegu G90, DX-300 for SWL, all HF antennas home-made

My love affair with fibreglass antennas is over Empty
PostSubject: Re: My love affair with fibreglass antennas is over   My love affair with fibreglass antennas is over Icon_minitimeSat Dec 11, 2021 1:53 pm

26uk81 wrote:
Not sure exactly how it could be done, but it would be good to see some kind of “Portable” silver rod .   Aluminium sections which screw together with brass screws (threads in aluminium would strip too easily) and an adjustable top whip.  It must be doable.
Is that how the ali poles are held together now, with fixing screws? Back in the day the ones I used had jubilee/hose clips holding them together. That made it really easy to adjust or take down and pack away if needed.
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Alan Pilot
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Call Sign : 163-CT-220...MW7TTA
Posts : 1340
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QTH or Location : Anglesey North Wales
Equipment Used : Yaesu FT-991A,,Icom ic-7300,,Anytone AT-D878UV PLUS",,LINCOLN II+.

My love affair with fibreglass antennas is over Empty
PostSubject: Re: My love affair with fibreglass antennas is over   My love affair with fibreglass antennas is over Icon_minitimeSat Dec 11, 2021 2:27 pm

First silver rod type aerial i had back in the 70s was ali with screws in all sections apart from one.
You had to tape them well as the wind vibration made the screw holes bigger and bigger over time.
But they worked well.
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26uk81
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My love affair with fibreglass antennas is over Empty
PostSubject: Re: My love affair with fibreglass antennas is over   My love affair with fibreglass antennas is over Icon_minitimeSat Dec 11, 2021 2:30 pm

SangueG wrote:
26uk81 wrote:
Not sure exactly how it could be done, but it would be good to see some kind of “Portable” silver rod .   Aluminium sections which screw together with brass screws (threads in aluminium would strip too easily) and an adjustable top whip.  It must be doable.
Is that how the ali poles are held together now, with fixing screws? Back in the day the ones I used had jubilee/hose clips holding them together. That made it really easy to adjust or take down and pack away if needed.
No, jubilee clips .   I think the vector 4000 is joined that way.    What I am thinking of is an aluminium antenna assembled in the same easy way as the Antron.
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Call Sign : M0GVZ / 26CT1760
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My love affair with fibreglass antennas is over Empty
PostSubject: Re: My love affair with fibreglass antennas is over   My love affair with fibreglass antennas is over Icon_minitimeSat Dec 11, 2021 9:36 pm

And here I am with a 20+ year old Imax 2000. I paid £50 for it from Knights, that's how old it is.
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26uk81
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Equipment Used : ss 6900N, AT5555N, President McKinley
Age : 37

My love affair with fibreglass antennas is over Empty
PostSubject: Re: My love affair with fibreglass antennas is over   My love affair with fibreglass antennas is over Icon_minitimeSat Dec 11, 2021 9:43 pm

Northern Crusader wrote:
And here I am with a 20+ year old Imax 2000. I paid £50 for it from Knights, that's how old it is.

Great to hear.   Indeed there are still plenty of old A99s also still in use with no issue.  I think the age old expression "they don't make them like they used to" applies.  My A99 has been nothing but trouble.
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