First Impressions of the Arrow II Antenna

I heard about the Arrow II Satellite antenna quite some time ago and even seen a lots of videos about it on YouTube. Unfortunately, whenever I look for an opportunity to get one, I couldn’t find it anywhere in Europe. Until recently, when I learned by a coincidence that Antenna Warehouse is also shipping them to Europe! Didn’t have to think long before I decided that I can’t live without one and so I ordered one on July 21st, 2009.

The price I had to pay was a bit of an issue. Although the antenna costs $139, which I find very acceptable, the shipping and import costs from US to Denmark are usually a very traumatic experience. This time I only had to pay $39 for the shipping, which is fine, but then came the EU import duty and Danish VAT, which was an additional $70.

So was it worth the price? Well, let me see:

  • It took two and a half weeks for the antenna to arrive but this included one week delivery to Antenna Warehouse — they did not have it on stock just when I ordered. I find this delivery time acceptable given the circumstances.
  • Once I had the antenna in my hand, it took me less than 5 minutes to assemble it without looking at the instructions.
  • Shortly after the antenna was assembled for the first time I had a good VO-52 pass where I heard many EU stations up to S8 on my FT-817.
  • Before the pass was over FO-29 came within range in a very low pass (maximum elevation below 5 deg). Nonetheless I heard K3SZH working EU stations. Wow!
  • Later that day I had a good AO-27 pass with strong signals. I heard many voice contacts in the beginning of the pass until some packet came on and killed them all (don’t know if it was telemetry (see the video below).
  • The overall construction of the antenna looks very good. I would certainly place it in the high quality end of the scale. I was also happy about the packaging; The boom, the 2m elements and the 70cm elements were in three separate plastic bags.
  • Each element has a red end cap on each end that makes the antenna look good 🙂

So, yes, all in all I am very impressed with the Arrow antenna so far. Next step is to set up my FT-817 to transmit and try to have some contacts. More on that later!

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HF2V on the Air

As you can see on my HF2V pictures, my HF2V is mounted in between a lot of trees. There is even electric fence only 10 meters from it. Nevertheless, it performs very well both on the RX and TX side. It has also been standing for more than a year now and can cope well with the winds on the Danish west coast.

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Tuning the Butternut HF2V

Like with any other multi-band vertical the different bands are coupled with each other. This means that modifying the settings on one band will influence the others. This effect is worst on the low bands (40 and below) and less noticeable on the higher bands. If you only have the basic two-band HF2V there are only two bands/parameters to adjust and you can easily get through the alignment by doing a few iterations on each band. However, if you have the 30 or the 160 (or both) extensions mounted, aligning all 3 or 4 bands can become an endless process.

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Butternut HF2V for the 160-30 meter bands

After my DX-88 died in a winter storm, I have decided to give the Butternut HF2V a try. This antenna is a 10 meter long vertical for 80 and 40, with extensions available for the 160 and 30 meter bands. I was rather curious about it since this is the only vertical antenna that provides the four lower bands in one package. Moreover, having used the HF6V previously, I had quite high expectations to this one. Although rather expensive, my success with antenna have been very satisfactory so far. As a bonus it even works well on 15 meter band with flat 1.2 SWR between 20-22 MHz.

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DX-88 Overview

The DX-88 is a very good vertical antenna by Hy-Gain, which covers the 80, 40, 30, 20, 17, 15, 12 and 10 meter bands. With an optional kit the DX-88 can also work on 160 meters. The antenna is self supporting and comes with stainless steel hardware making it quite robust in windy conditions. Like any other vertical antenna, the DX-88 performs best with a ground radial system.

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