Icom AT-180 and whip vrs. "screw driver"

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Michael B. Noland:
I just purchased an Icom 706mk2G for my first moble HF installation. It seems that the AT-180 auto tuner would be the simplest to install, and operate. Will this choice be a great sacrifice in performance compaired to the "screw driver" type antenna system. Or is there something else entirely that I should consider.

Thanks,
Mike KC6PYU

Bob Lewis:
The AT-180 is designed for a near resonant antenna. It has a limited matching range. The Icom AH-4 or one of the SGC tuners located at the feed point would be much better suited to feeding a whip on all bands. The AH-4 works down to 40M with a mobile whip while the SG-237 will tune 80M thru 6M. There is info on the SGC web page on how to interface the SG-237 to the IC706 in order to use its tune function.

The various screw driver antennas will likely give you better performance on 80M and 40M then the whip. They are a much larger antenna to mount however, and they are much slower to tune than either the AH-4 or SG-237. Unless you purchase an accessory controller, the tuning is manual.

Michael B. Noland:
Thanks for the input. After reading your reply, and some further reserch I'm leaning toward the Hi-Q antennas. Would apreciate any Information about these antennas. My wife says I can't spend more than $450.00for my antenna installed. What's the most bang for the buck in your opinion?

Alan Applegate:
The AH-4 costs about $250 street price, and although it is designed to use a 9 foot whip to tune 40 thru 10, it will tune it on 75 meters, and of course all the way to 6 meters.

A CB whip and mount from Radio Shack is about $25 so you're still under your limit.

While a Hi-Q is one of the better of the screwdrivers, if you had an opportunity to use both, you'd opt for the AH-4. There has to be something said about near-instant (2 or 3 seconds) band QSY while in motion, and without taking your eyes off the road.

Alan, KØBG

Bob Lewis:
Hi-Q vs tuner/whip depends on what bands and features are most important to you personally. If fast QSY and a lower profile antenna is most important then the tuner/whip is the way to go. If performance on 80M is most important then go for the screwdriver.

I'm the process of installing an SGC with a whip. I looked at all the screw drivers and mounting was a big negative with me in addition to the fact of needing something easily removable for trips throught the bank drive thru and occassional parking garages. Mounting a screw driver on my pick up (and still being able to drop the tail gate) was going to require someone to custom weld a mount to the frame. Then I end up with the big antenna protruding out from rear or side of the truck body. A 102-inch whip on the other hand can be mounted on top of a stake-pocket and folded over and clipped to the cab gutter for garage and drive thru trips. With a quick disconnect I can remove the whip entirely and put it in the bed.

The bottom line for me is that there is more to consider in a mobile antenna than just the best efficiency on the lower bands. Otherwise we'd all be using Texas Bugcatchers I suppose.

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