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Reviews Categories | Antennas: HF Portable (not mobile) | Silver Bullet Take It Along Help

Reviews Summary for Silver Bullet Take It Along
Reviews: 1 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $$115
Description: Portable vertical antenna system.
Product is in production.
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You can write your own review of the Silver Bullet Take It Along.

WB7DND Rating: 5/5 Mar 4, 2018 19:24 Send this review to a friend
KISS  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The Wolf River Coils Silver Bullet Take It Along (TIA) antenna package could be called the KISS vertical. No tools required for the very simple assembly. No soldering iron, not even a screwdriver.

The TIA Mini ($115 plus shipping) consists of a tuning coil, a 102 inch telescoping whip, an aluminum tripod, and three 33 foot radial wires. I opted for the mini coil, which tunes 40-10 meters. The mini is shorter and lighter than the silver bullet coil, which tunes 80-10 meters. I prefer the mini's lower center of gravity. The center piece of the tripod has an SO 239 coax socket facing the ground. The coil attaches to the upper part of the center piece. The whip attaches to the coil. They screw on and off. The tripod legs are a foot long and the assembled tripod is 6 inches high. The legs screw in to the center piece. 3/8 inch circular connectors fit on to the legs, each of which comes with a locknut for snugging up the circular connectors to the center piece.

The relatively wide tripod base, along with the short but stout coil and the thin but strong whip, seem very stable. The provided three 33 foot radials come with circular connectors attached. I chose a more permanent installation in my side yard and installed 19 radials over a 180 degree arc. Because the radials attach to the tripod legs, they help anchor it. The system is modular, however. You can buy a second tripod ($40) and use the coil and whip in the field with the second tripod and the three supplied radial wires.

Regarding field work, a magnetic loop, such as the Alex Walkham, is much easier to set up and needs much less room; it requires no radials and assembles in about two minutes. Unless you have a generator, you will probably be working QRP so the 10 watt cw max of the loop will not be a disadvantage. Home is a different story, however. Both antennas are very inefficient on 40 meters. However, the TIA can handle a few hundred watts output. 5-10% of 100 watts is more than 5-10% of 10 watts. In the few weeks I have had this antenna, results have been solid but not spectacular. I regularly work stations a thousand miles from my Portland QTH on 40 and 30 meters and get reverse beacon hits into the midwest and east.

Traipsing outdoors to change bands, especially in bad weather, can be a pain. However, you can mark the coil positions for the various bands with a sharpie, which minimizes the outdoor slogs. Just aim for a mark, double check with an antenna analyzer, make an adjustment if needed, and get on the air. No problem getting a 2:1 or less SWR for the cw portions of the covered bands.

This is a high quality, very solidly built unit. The coil is stainless steel, designed to be attached to a pickup truck. It can withstand and operate in inclement weather. The coil core and tuning sleeve appear to be robust. I believe the hardware is stainless steel. As I write this, we are having a snowfall. The TIA is out in the snow, doing fine. I just completed a 1600 mile 40 meter QSO with a station in Oklahoma.

Oh, and the two hams who operate Wolf River Coils are a pleasure to deal with.

Easily a 5 star item, especially at the modest price of $115.

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