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Author Topic: Tarheel - Scorpion - Hi-Q Comparisons  (Read 5924 times)
G4ZOW
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« on: March 07, 2012, 07:17:47 AM »

Have there been any independent A/B comparison tests of the above antennas published?

Thanks.

David G4ZOW
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M6GOM
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« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2012, 08:59:11 AM »

None worth a toss. There's a few antenna shootouts but they're all tested on the vehicles they were installed on so you have the performance of the installation to factor in and quite a few looked a bit grim to say the least.

Scorpion seem to have the best reputation but they don't have anything as small as a Little Tarheel II. I have the aforementioned LT2 and I've been very pleased with it and it is way better than a friends ATAS120.
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W2RI
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« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2012, 09:28:07 AM »

Scorpion seem to have the best reputation.
I'm not sure I'd agree with that. HiQ antennas have a great reputation, and are used by US special forces and NASA, as well as lowly hams like me.
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K0BG
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« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2012, 12:40:17 PM »

Whether some specific antenna is better than the other depends on what you're comparison criteria is. If it is small, easy to mount, and you don't care if the overall performance is substandard (compared to its 200A big brother), then the Lil Tarheel is your cup of tea.

If you operate mostly on the lower bands, then there is nothing wrong with a HiQ. If you operate the upper bands, especially with a large cap hat, then the HiQ takes a back seat. The reason is simply that those unshorted turns are sandwiched between a large aluminum plunger, and an even larger aluminum end cap. And don't be taken in by the advertising hype about who is or who isn't using one.

If you don't mind building your own heavy duty mount, and 18 pounds of antenna doesn't scare you, then the Scorpion is your best choice. Since its arrival in the marketplace 5 or so year ago, it has won every antenna shootout it has entered.

GOM mentioned the ATAS. It is, beyond comparison, the lossiest, remotely tuned, HF antenna on the market, bar none! Yet, until recently, it was the largest selling HF mobile antenna in the USA. It still is number one in the rest of the world, where the Lil Tarheel isn't (yet) widely marketed.

All of this recent palaver is yet another mine thing versus your thing scenario. Regardless of the size, length, girth, weight, etc., if you enjoy playing with it, then enjoy playing with it. But don't expect me to.
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G4ZOW
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« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2012, 05:28:18 AM »

Hi Gentlemen,

I appreciate your comments.

I'm intending getting back on-air on the lower bands with a max height antenna and cap hat.

I am inclined to go with the Hi-Q as I have only read favourable reports. I have in the past, make that distant past used a 160m Texas Bugcatcher and experimented with many hats all the way up to a 5 footer hollow alloy disc and copper cistern ball to tame the corona:-)

Alan,

I'm aware of those alloy end caps and was thinking I could machine up some non conductive replacements - what do you think?

When playing with hat sizes in the past I used a remotely located spectrum analyzer in the far field measuring input signal and just ran with what ended up being the largest diameter hat so as not to guillotine pedestrians and the least amount of Bugcatcher coil inductance.

BTW, I know you like your amplifiers.

I'm having a Metron MA1000B board remade with component changes to allow use of better devices than the originals all enclosed in a fan cooled chassis similar to the SPE Expert. which will cure the hot running temp during summer. Did I tell you I'll be combining two Metron PA boards  Shocked

David G4ZOW



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K0BG
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« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2012, 07:41:43 AM »

The end caps could be replaced, but you'd have to use a self-reenforcing acetyl plastic. Most of them, like Parmex®, are as strong as 6016T aluminum, and all have very good dielectric properties. The only issue is how to attached the coil ends to the mast, and whip. In the stock case, that's a compression fit. Even then, the shorting bar would still be aluminum.

I built about 25 different cap hat configurations, using mostly soldered together copper welding rod. Not sturdy by any means, but building was much easier. After all was said and done, the best configuration as a three loop design. This design offers almost the same capacitance as a four loop design, but has much lower wind loading. It is also superior to a wheel configuration without an outer rim—like DX engineering one.

Funny thing about all of the effort Ken Muggli, KØHL, and I went to, coming up with a good overall design, it is essentially identical to the ones several amateurs used in the first-ever antenna shootout (California Mobilecade and Field Trials), held in 1960!
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W2RI
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« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2012, 02:04:43 PM »

And don't be taken in by the advertising hype about who is or who isn't using one.
If NASA, or the US Navy, conduct an RFP process and select a mobile antenna then I don't consider that to be advertising hype.

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K0BG
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« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2012, 02:49:52 PM »

If is the question. Show me the PO, then I'll believe it.
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KC7YRA
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« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2012, 06:09:05 PM »

Having used all of these antennas EXCEPT for the scorpion, I feel like I have a fairly good take.

I currently use a HI-Q and you can read my review of it on the reviews here (under the 4-80 model).  I have had nothing but goot experiences with this antenna.  I live in the environmentally taxing state of Wyoming where the antennas sees some extreme weather and roads.  I like the fact that the HI-Q doesn't physically change length.  The coil is sealed and the plunger moves inside.  The downside to me was the customer service which is also outlined in my review. 

My boss/buddy runs a tarheel on his truck and I must say, I am less than impressed.  Mechanically, it is faulty.  The mounting system is weak.  It relies on friction where you really need nuts and bolts.  Everything is WAY too small to handle ice loading while driving 80mph down the interstate or rattling down hundreds of miles of rutted dirt roads.  It rattles like a paint can as well.  Me no likey.

I have never even physically seen a Scorpion, but the pics on their website are impressive.  I really appreciate solid machining and attention to detail.  I also respect the opinions of a few mobile folks and they unanimously love the Scorpion.


My opinion is that you cannot go wrong with either the HI-Q or the Scorpion.  I would avoid the Tarheel and High Sierra.  I know you didn't ask about the HS but I hold it lower than the Tarheel because of the mechanical design.

Brad
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M6GOM
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« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2012, 06:22:34 PM »


My boss/buddy runs a tarheel on his truck and I must say, I am less than impressed.  Mechanically, it is faulty.  The mounting system is weak.  It relies on friction where you really need nuts and bolts.  Everything is WAY too small to handle ice loading while driving 80mph down the interstate or rattling down hundreds of miles of rutted dirt roads.  It rattles like a paint can as well.  Me no likey.


I don't know about the big Tarheels but that certainly isn't my experience of the Lil Tarheel II.
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KW6LA
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« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2012, 06:38:37 PM »

Most of them, like Parmex®, are as strong as 6016T aluminum

That’s  6061 – T6 condition aluminum Alan……………. Just a little fun correcting the Master !    Hi Hi
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N5UD
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« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2012, 06:54:50 PM »

Have there been any independent A/B comparison tests of the above antennas published?

Thanks.

David G4ZOW

If you said in this thread, I missed it. What bands are of interest ? How heavy of an antenna do you care to mount on your vehicle ? If need be, can you run down the road with a cap hat ? RF performance versus mechanical integrity ?

During the past few years I have had Tarheels, HI-Q's, and Don Johnson knock offs.

Heck a whip and tuner will do well 17 - 10 meters. Might even be able to stretch performance to 20 meters.

73 Tony N5UD /M
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KC7YRA
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Posts: 256




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« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2012, 07:53:01 PM »


My boss/buddy runs a tarheel on his truck and I must say, I am less than impressed.  Mechanically, it is faulty.  The mounting system is weak.  It relies on friction where you really need nuts and bolts.  Everything is WAY too small to handle ice loading while driving 80mph down the interstate or rattling down hundreds of miles of rutted dirt roads.  It rattles like a paint can as well.  Me no likey.


I don't know about the big Tarheels but that certainly isn't my experience of the Lil Tarheel II.

Maybe the little ones can take it, but the bigger ones just don't seem to be able to.  3 or 4 inches of radial ice and mud while bouncing down the dirt roads just does a number. 

That said, I know a feller with an old one who has 100k+ miles on it and it works just fine.  Maybe they have changed the build process, I dunno. 

Brad
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WX7G
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« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2012, 09:17:32 AM »

The three antennas mentioned all have high coil Q. The place they will show different signal strength is 80 meters. Above 80 meters there should be essentially no difference.
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KC7YRA
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« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2012, 02:13:47 PM »

Crappy for my buddy, but he experienced a failure of his Tarheel just a few minutes ago..Driving along the dirt roads, you can see the top of the mount and the catostrophic failure.

Another chink in the Tarheel image to me.  I stand by my assessment, I just don't think they are built correctly.


Sorry, have to access via QRZ.
http://forums.qrz.com/showthread.php?337460-I-knew-I-didn-t-like-those-antennas&p=2490156#post2490156


Brad
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