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Author Topic: Hi-Q-5/160 install  (Read 1523 times)

Posts: 36

« on: February 21, 2007, 06:22:00 AM »

I just wanted to tell everybody about my experience installing the Hi-Q 5/160 antenna.  First the antenna is heavy so make sure you take that into account when you design the mount.  I mounted the antenna on the back left corner of my F-150 pickup with the base just lower that the top of railing on a heavy angle bracket towards the inside of the bed.  It is bolted directly to the sidepost and tailgate mounting assembly.  The bed is covered with a fiberglass tonneau (flat) cover.  I cut through the cover a put a weather seal just above the base of the antenna.  To open the bed cover, I just remove the antenna using the quick disconnect, and then the cover will work properly.  To keep the height down, I used a cap-hat from Dx Engineering about 2 feet above the coil.

It is too early to say anything about the performance.  The reception if just a little lower than my screwdriver, but the antenna is also shorter that the screwdriver.  I plan on raising the top-hat and adding a short stinger to it in the future.  (Low tree limbs are a major problem.)

Tuning has been a problem.  I can only get the shunt coil to work on 40 and 80 meters.  So far I have tried from 8 to 12 turns using a 1 inch coil.  A capacitance box does tune the antenna, but requires that I change it for each band.  I am starting to experiment with ununs.  Maybe that will help.

For the curious the uncorrected impedances at resonance are:

Band      Ohms
20      36
30      15
40      7
80      10
160      18

The antenna is resonate from 1.75 Mhz to about 17.5 Mhz with the top-hat.

More to come in the future.


Posts: 10248


« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2007, 06:39:57 AM »

If you wind a shunt coil about 1.25 inches in diameter, about 9 turns (size 14 is adequate), it will be about 1 uH. By stretching it out, or squeezing it together, you'll find a point where the SWR will be reasonable on all of the bands. In my case, 80 through 15 (I use a 8 foot whip) is 1.6 to one or less.

By the way, length matters. All else being equal, a 12 foot antenna will have twice the radiation resistance that an 8 foot one will.

Make sure you bond all four corners of the bed.

Alan, KØBG


Posts: 36

« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2007, 05:38:08 AM »

I have been working with the shunt coils  and found a 10 turn with a 1 inch center will give me and SWR below 1.3 on all bands except 160 meter.  The 160 meter SWR is 3.  Maybe a taped coil for 160?  I know 160 meters is just a dream on mobile.

My screwdriver whips are only 1.5 feet higher than the caphat and are constantly hitting tree limbs.  About the only thing I can do is to run a light stinger off the caphat.  Bonding is very heavy throughout the truck.

Posts: 2

« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2007, 04:07:56 PM »

Hi jimmy,

You may want to think about a Series Section Transformer.

In short it's a length of 75Ohm coax between the antenna and your main feeder which will help to match the antenna.

From my own expereince (I have a Hi-Q 3/80 that I just installed), I followed the same path as you, trying to get a Shunt Coil value that worked on all bands.

In the end I got a value, just over 1uh that work great on 80 and 40 meters, 20 meters however with this value was a major problem, VSWR over 2.

Using the Excel spreadsheet here

I was able to calulate the length of 75ohm cable to use as a Section Transformer, in my case about 48"

Now have less than 1.5 VSWR on all bands.

You might also want to have a look at

which will give you more of an idea of what SSTs do.

On 17 meters and up the Shunt Coil should have so much reactance
that it's not doing anything at all.

Try the ARRL Antenna Handbook for more information on Series Section Transformers.

If you need any more info let me know.

Kind regards,



Posts: 36

« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2007, 07:37:03 AM »

Thanks Sean.  I will look into it.  Currently I can tune in all bands except 160 below a VSWR of 1.2:1.  I can tune is 160 meters with a shunt coil with 16 turns.  I think I am going to build a Unun because I have not built one before.  I am also looking into getting the most out of the antenna.  I will look at your information as well.


Posts: 15

« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2007, 01:56:22 AM »

Hi there,

I have a Hi-Q 5-160 RT installed on my 2006 Toyota Tacoma truck. I have used two different approaches to tune this antenna.

Initally, tried using a homebrewed remote controlled L-network I had laying around from an old homebrew 160 meter mobile project. I found that there were just too many degrees of freedom to make tuning the antenna to resonance an easy job.

I elected to use a commercial UNUN product from CWS Bytemark, using a design based on the work of W2FMI. The unit I chose has two different impedance taps available on the output side. I actually have two physically identical UNUNs available here. The one I use exclusively now has either 32 or 18 ohm outputs from the transformer to the antenna. I ordered the UNUN from CWS with N connectors instead of the standard PL259s. The N connectors are infinitely more watertight than PL259s. In addition, I had the transformer potted at the factory. This serves to make the UNUN waterproof and shockproof.

After designing a cantilever beam bracket to hold the antenna, I designed a vacuum latching relay system based on a Kilovac K43R SPDT to remotely switch taps. The relay assembly was placed in a cast aluminum box with N connectors. The vacuum relay assembly was potted under vacuum with GE RTV 11 silicone potting resin. This makes the relay assembly waterproof and shockproof as well. The relay attaches to the outputs of the transformer with two N barrel connectors.

The UNUN-Relay assembly is mounted on a aluminum plate secured to the antenna mount right at the base of the Giant quick disconnect. A short unshielded jumper runs from the relay output to the antenna feedpoint.

The control system for the vacuum latching relay uses a couple of LEDs to indicate high or low impedance selection. This is accomplished by using a micro DPDT latching relay slaved to the (On)OFF(ON) DPDT micro toggle switch at the operator control point. This means the control head "remembers" the impedance setting at the vacuum relay, even after power cycling the system. I also had to build a 12 to 24 volt DC/DC converter to provide the proper voltage pulse to the Kilovac K43R.

Before the RG-213 coax reaches the UNUN, it turns into an air core choke of about 6" diameter and about 20? turns long on a plastic sewer pipe form. This choke is tucked up above the tow bar assembly beneath the bed. Previous experience has taught me that choking the coax can make a BIG difference for a number of factors of system performance.

My version of the 5-160 RT from Hi-Q has a custom lengthened lower mast section. It used to be 6 feet to the coil base, but I shortened it to 5 feet when I moved the antenna from my old Tahoe to the Tacoma. This allows the dismounted antenna to just fit inside the camper shell covered short bed of the Tacoma.

I mention the length of the Hi-Q antenna here because I want you to keep my experience in perspective. With the setup I have, I get a perfect match on 160, 80, 40 and 15 meters using only the proper transformer tap and careful positioning of the antenna coil contactor. 20 meters is a little off at about a 1.4 best match. I have found that the 18 Ohm tap on the transformer is only needed for 160 meter operation. Everthing else works fine on the 32 ohm tap, although sometimes, 80 meters likes the low tap. Environmental factors can strongly affect resonance of the antenna, particularly on the low bands. Nearby metal structures (ie gas station pump roofs and passing semi trucks or freeway overpasses) will cause rapid VSWR excursions on 160 meters.  

I use various size hats available from Hi-Q above the 5" coil for differnet bands.  For 160 meters, I use Charley's largest cap hat and a four foot whip above the hat (the hat itself is two feet above the coil).  This puts me legal and safe under any overpass in WA state, but the occasional tree limb does snag me now and then!

I use the Ameritron SDC-100 digital controller for coil position telemetry. I found the stock design of the SDC-100 control head to be susceptable to RFI induced dropout of the microprocessor. This device was re-engineered into a double-shielded enclosure with massive filtering of the I/O lines with mutiple stages of ceramic capacitors and ferrite chokes. In addition, a PWM circuit was added to the Ameritron design to allow for a "Slow" setting for the coil contactor.

It was found during system testing that the internal magnetic reed switch installed at the Hi-Q factory inside the 5-160 RT antenna was not the proper choice of reed switch for this design. Charley used a 1/4" diameter end triggered reed switch as delivered in my antenna. It did not perform (trigger) properly in the rotating magnetic field provided in the coupling bushing by two neodynium magnets between the motor and the contactor all-thread rod. I replaced the factory reed switch with a proper side-actuated magnetic reed switch. Even with the proper magnetic reed switch installed, you must be careful to index the reed switch properly for it to work reliably. I also found upon disassembly of the Hi-Q antenna that one of the set screws that holds the DC motor in place had contacted and damaged the wire bus to the motor. Charley was sent a picture of the problem and also a note about the sensor problem. I believe he has updated the manufacturing to reflect my findings.

Now, when I run the contactor up and down inside the 5" coil, I get perfect postional data EVERYTIME with no system dropout due to RFI scrambling of the Ameritron SDC-100 microprocessor, even when running 600 watts output power. This makes for very quick, easy, and reliable tuning of this system. For what it is worth, I placed first in the 2006 WA State Salmon Run as SO Mobile HP Mixed class with this design.

Making a vacuum latching relay system to interface with the UNUN transformers from CWS Bytemark is not hard, and is a good project for those who like to roll their own RF equipment. I highly recomend the UNUN approach with Charley's wonderful Hi-Q antennas.

Pictures of my installation are available to some degree on K0BG's mobile radio web site in the gallery linked to his "Other Installations" subpage.


Paul WN7T

Posts: 36

« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2007, 05:35:16 AM »

Paul, thanks for the information.  I may do a little more work for a summer project.  Currently the shunt coil is working fine for all bands except 160.  For 160 I can either add a long whip as a stinger and work stationary or change out the shunt coil.  The vacuum relay sound interesting.  A taped coil with a switch would be nice.  I am currently using the turbo tuner to the relays are not a problem.

Jimmy N5VSB
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