I have owned the Alpha ProMaster Antenna since October of 2012. Many people confuse what looks like radials, but these are actually radiating elements. I’ve learned to appreciate the fact that the matching network (Alpha Match) is placed electrically at the top of the antenna. I also noticed that last month their DX was reviewed in the February isssue of Radcom Magazine, the magazine for the Radio Society of Great Britain. So anyways; “can I build this?” Maybe, probably, but…read on…
Now that I've seen the ProMaster, I understand that I would have spent a lot of time and money making mistakes on the road to build something like it. I completely understand why the price is between $299 and $349. Although I think they would sell a lot more of these at $299, as a small business man myself, I also understand that they do have to pay at least 30% in taxes to the feds on the profit made from each sale as well pay for rent, utilities, salaries, insurance, and all the other expenses that goes along with running a legitimate business. I’d also like to mention that the owner of Alpha Antenna personally returns phone calls if there is any problem, and there’s a toll free number (1.888.482.3249) that you can call to talk directly to the company that manufacturers the antenna. Kudos for having the guts to open an American Company, in America!
So, what could be an alternative that a person might be able to build or assemble?:
10-20 Meters (Maybe 20 meters):
102 inch whip for $30 from Radio Shack and put it on your tripod and attach it to a $80 MFJ tuner
Cons-Isn't a very portable solution.
-Not much good on 20 meters and lower bands
Hamstick for $30 each and put it on your tripod
Pros-Smaller than the first solution, around 36-40 inches
Cons-Have to carry and purchase a hamstick for different bands (when compared to price of the 10 band ProMaster that'll run you $300)
-A hamstick is only good for about 2/5th of any particular band you want to operate on, you would retune it if you wanted to even though that's a pain.
Build a fan dipole (I have used this antenna in the past), around $200 depending on number of bands
Pros-Works good on all bands and you won’t have the expense of a tuner
Cons-When used for portable, it’s a real pain cause the wires get tied in knots
-Price of copper wire is high
-You have to have a lot of space to put one of these antennas up
-If it ever comes down, you’ve got a mess on your hand
-And my wife’s complaint, it’s just simply embarrassing to look at
So I bought a ProMaster on sale last October of 2012 for a pretty good price, and have noticed that it does go on sale everyone now and again at the http://www.AmateurRadioStore.com
, so you might want to watch their web site or sign up to receive the Coupons that they send out each month.
Personally, I had a few criteria when I started using the Alpha Antenna line:
-I didn't want something that appeared as though I was carrying a rifle in a bag
-That would deploy to as large a foot print as possible
-An antenna system that I could use on all amateur bands
-Something I wouldn't have to retune or change a clip on every time the wind decided to change directions
-A systems that I could repair in the field if something broke
The Alpha ProMaster Antenna has quality written all over it and is built in the USA. I haven't done an eHam review on it yet, but when I do, the Alpha ProMaster Antenna will get high marks.