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Reviews Categories | Antennas: HF: Vertical, Wire, Loop | Hy-Gain AV-18VS Help


Reviews Summary for Hy-Gain AV-18VS
Hy-Gain AV-18VS Reviews: 33 Average rating: 4.0/5 MSRP: $74.95
Description: 18 foot Base-Loaded 10/15/20/40/80 Meter HF Vertical Antenna
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.hy-gain.com/hy-gain/products.php?prodid=AV-18VS
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TF3JB Rating: 4/5 Dec 7, 2014 11:29 Send this review to a friend
A decent vertical for the price.  Time owned: more than 12 months
I had two of these antennas back in the 1980's. And again I bought the third one in 2009. The primary reason for buying these antennas was that they are relatively inexpensive (today they sell for $109.95 at Giga Parts). The secondary reason was that it is not complicated to become QRV on the 10, 15, 20, 40 and 80 meter bands.

As has been pointed out, the 18VS cannot be used without radials or some other metal counterpoise. In my case (with all three antennas) I used the metal plates of the roof of my house which worked fine.

The antenna works on 10, 15, 20, 40 and 80 meters. However, it needs to be realized that if you want to change bands, you will need to manually tap the loading coil at the base for each band. Consequently, it makes life easier if access to the antenna is not difficult.

I have never tried to resonate the antenna at the WARC bands (12, 17 and 30 meters), but I am sure that it is possible.

The 18VS is a good antenna and it works well as any other vertical on the higher bands; even works OK on 40 meters. However, do not expect DX contacts on 80 meters. It is nevertheless fine for local contacts on that band.

The antenna is not strongly built and the hardware that comes with it could be of better quality. That is the main reason why I give it 4 out of 5.
 
KC4YLV Rating: 3/5 Dec 6, 2014 22:01 Send this review to a friend
Simple, versatile. Terrible as intended.  Time owned: more than 12 months
Don't even mess with it for 80 and 40 in my opinion. Those bands are a gimmick.

Rip the coil off, put an L network or remote tuner at the base, and it'll tear up 20-10. If you want to get really crafty, an L network with a 1.5 uH inductor and a 10-250 pF variable cap will get you 17-10 with one moving part.

If you don't have a good ground plane, you're going to see terrible performance, especially on the lower bands.

Not bad for 80 bucks. You could build your own with an aluminum plate and four chunks of tube and two insulators, though.

Mine lives on after two years of apartment hopping and six years on a 20 foot mast in my backyard set as a 20M monobander. It's now bolted to the front of our 37 foot motorhome, and the full length chassis rails plus a coupe of fanned out radials keep it goin' all night long. Fed through an old Kenwood manual tuner and a 10 foot coax pigtail, no coil or matching at the base. Hope to hear you soon on it!
 
KC0W Rating: 3/5 Nov 26, 2014 04:55 Send this review to a friend
Decent For What It Is........160 Meters in a Pinch  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
First of all I can't believe how many people reviewing this antenna (& other verticals on eHam) who are NOT using ground radials. This makes absolutely zero sense. The efficiency of a vertical without radials is severely compromised.

I recently acquired this antenna from a total stranger who was not getting out of amateur radio. Meet him at a gas station in Montana after he noticed the screwdriver antenna on my vehicle. "You into ham radio"?......"Yep"......"I have an old antenna in my barn I can give you".

Brought the antenna home & cleaned it up a bit. The quality of the antenna is what you would expect for a "budget" HF vertical. This is no ZeroFive vertical in terms of ruggedness & being overbuilt but then again it's no wet noodle in the wind either. I would certainly not trust the base coil or it's clip lead over long term exposure out in the elements though. I added 30 ground radials at 35' each & used my antenna analyzer to find residence on all bands 80 - 10 meters. SWR was decent on these 8 bands. While this antennas efficiency can be debated on 80/40/30 meters I still was able to work North America just fine on the lower bands.

Next step was to give the antenna the "QRO challenge". According to it's manual it's rated for 1.5kW. OK, let's try that out. Made a dozen or so contacts with it while running 1,000 watts on CW & 1,500 watts on SSB. Held up just fine without any changes in SWR or the coil arcing. I then attached a length of 20 AWG wire a few feet down from the tip of the vertical. Using the analyzer I wanted to see if the antenna would be of any use on 160 meters. A poor mans 160 inverted L if you will. Although it was no barn burner I did manage to work a couple of the 160 meter Centennial W1AW/x stations in Texas & CA.

Bottom Line:

Good for what it is but I wouldn't recommend it for long term use due to it's el cheapo coil & wire lead. The coil was pretty badly oxidized when I received the antenna & had to clean it up to get a good RF/electrical contact. The coil would probably get worse in salt air environments. Worked all 9 HF bands 160 - 10 meters (160 as described above) with fair results. It's likely one could also work 60 meters with the aid of a tuner bringing this to a 10 band HF vertical........Not too bad for those who are budget conscious & space restricted.



Tom KC0W
 
WB3T Rating: 4/5 Jun 3, 2013 17:20 Send this review to a friend
Nice Basic Antenna  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Last week I received my AV-18VS and over the weekend I put it together. I had intended to wait until I'd had more time to see what it can do before posting my review, but after reading these again over dinner tonight, I have a few things I'd like to say before I forget.

First off, there are several reviews here from users who have been disappointed, but from what I have experienced so far and from what I have read, all but one of these negatives is due to one of two things. Either you've assembled the antenna wrong, or you're not using it correctly. Please bear with me, I am not criticizing, I am trying to be like nearly all other hams I have ever met - helpful in some way.

First off, it is important to remember that counterpoises, ground planes, and ground radials are very different things, and YES they are needed! One reviewer says he gets better SWR without the radials and you will, because you've turned your antenna into a resistive dummy load that dissipates most of its RF energy as heat in nearby ground instead of shooting radio signals into the air. Ground resistance is very broadband and easy to match! If you'd like to see the ultimate in perfect SWR performance, just use a dummy load. This is essentially what your antenna is now so of course the SWR is excellent, However, its ability to transmit is not.

There is a virtual ton of information on the Internet about radials. If you mount your vertical in the air, more than a foot or two above ground, you will need to use tuned counterpoises, at least one for each band you will be using. I prefer to ground mount my verticals and I've had great success with them, even using QRP power levels. The business of using resonant counterpoises applies here. Cut one or more counterpoises 1/4 wavelength long for each band, and mount them off the ground.

For a ground mounted vertical, all of this ground radial hoo-ha can be summarized simply and after much reading I can give you the short answer. Use 8 radials, 16 radials, 32 radials, whatever you like but if you want any performance at all make it at least 8. You can go with 4 if using your vertical for portable or temporary operating. Performance will not be great but you can certainly make contacts. After 16 radials, you're really squeezing every last dB out of the antenna. You can stop at 16 if you don't mind losing roughly one half to one S-unit as compared to the challenging job of installing 120 radials. That's right, after 16 radials there is little to gain. Remember, an S-Unit is 6 dB and 6 dB is 4X the power. So you'd have to DOUBLE your radiating efficiency to see a half an S-unit improvement in performance. 16 radials, even 8, is enough for me. I don't need my 569 signal report to be 579 and I don't need my S9 signal to be S9-plus (and not even +10) - if it means sweating out an extra hundred radials!

So how long should these radials be? Again, theory says make them as long as you can, but in reality, 1.1 times the height of the antenna is going to get most of your signal out. So - my practical portable field antenna is the AV-18VS mounted on 2 feet of steel pipe in a 30-pound patio umbrella stand with eight 27-foot radials. I could have made them 20 feet but I had the extra wire to make them 27. I soldered them in twos to solder lugs which I then attached to the four ground screws under the antenna. At the field I'll just plop down the base, loosen the hose clamps, extend the elements, and deploy the radials. In the case of "GROUND RADIALS," you DO want them directly on or in the ground, not in the air as you might do with counterpoise wires.

Also don't forget that it is always best to use the coil tap to match the antenna. Some have mentioned using the antenna with all coil turns, or with none (i.e. tapping at the bottom or top of the coil) and using an antenna tuner to mop up the SWR. This is OK for casual use. But what is actually happening is you've adjusted the output of your tuner to match the composite impedance of the antenna and coax, which may be way off of 50 Ohms... but you're using 50 Ohm coax. So although your transmitter is happy with the 50 Ohms presented by the tuner, you have tremendous feedline losses due to mismatch at the feedline and antenna, which is who-knows-what impedance. Go to the trouble of matching the antenna best you can USING THE BASE LOADING COIL for each band. Now you have 50 Ohms throughout the system and RF energy will pass easily and happily, like greased lightning, through your transmitter, tuner, and feedline and OUT the antenna to far-off lands. HINT: if you don't own an antenna analyzer, qrpkits.com has an inexpensive "Deluxe Tenna Dipper" just right for this task. You'll be able to find resonance for each band much faster and easier than shooting in the dark with only an SWR meter.

For the ham who said he can't get any better SWR than infinity on most bands - break out the ohmmeter, make sure the center conductor of your coax has continuity to the radiator, and none to the bracket/U-bolt assembly. Then make sure the outside shell of your coax connector does have continuity to the bracket/U-bolts, but none to the radiator. Also be sure to check that the signal path goes from the center conductor of the coax to the bottom of the coil AND the tap wire, and the top of the coil goes to the radiator above the top insulator. I suspect you have a very basic problem that hopefully you can find and correct so you can start making some nice DX contacts!

I enjoyed the build, coming up with an easy way to mount the antenna, putting together my ground radial system, and thinking about other ways to mount it. I have a 5-foot steel pipe pounded 3 feet into the garden next to my patio table, and I'm sure that at some point I'll mount it there for some "yard portable" operating. Or I can pound that pipe in the yard anywhere I like in about 10 minutes. I really like that I can collapse the whole deal down to 6 feet tall and sit it in the corner of my yard until I want it. I can tilt it over and carry it in one hand. It really helps me this way because I live in one of those $%!@& antenna restricted communities. With my portable setup, I can enjoy excellent performance anyway, with my antenna in the clear and not hidden in a tree or snug against the house. Working in the clear is best by far and now I can do that easily at home or out in the field.

I got my first grins with the new antenna yesterday (which was a Sunday) sitting in my yard with the radiator extended. My first contact with my AV-18VS was Brazil, second to Texas, and third, a new country for me - Surinam all on 20 meters in poor band conditions during a week of suppressed sunspot numbers. The South American Q's were using 12 Watts and the TX contact was using 5W. My apologies, but this antenna certainly deserves better than the 0 and 1 ratings some have given it. Get it built right, put your radials back on, tune it up properly, and have a blast with it! Message me through my web site if you need any help. Just Bing my call on the web and you'll find me easy enough.

See you on the bands.

73,
Bob

I have no affiliation with Hy-Gain or qrpkits.com.
 
AL7QL Rating: 5/5 Apr 30, 2013 09:11 Send this review to a friend
Even Better After Modifying The Coil  Time owned: more than 12 months
As the original tuning coil is a bit flimsy especially for outdoor use I replaced the original coil with a Wolf River variable tuning coil. The Wolf River coil is very sturdy and designed to be used outdoors. The wire coil is tightly wound around a grooved pvc coil form designed to securely hold the coil windings in place. The tuning clip is also much more secure than the original. Instead of a clip, a sliding tuning coupler is moved up and down the coil to tune the antenna. Once tuned the coil can be securely locked in place. This approximately $40.00 add on made a huge difference in SWR on 80 meters. SWR is now near perfect and does not drift. Signal reports using my FLEX 1500 and my Tokyo Hy-Power 45 watt amp are outstanding. Other operators find it hard to believe I am only transmitting with 45 watts. So, a little change has made a huge difference and that is why I now rate the antenna 5/5. My original rating was 4/5. Sometimes I need to remember that although a good radio is important, the best radio made is no better than the antenna being used. As I have three antennas up, I choose the appropriate one for the job. For 80 Meter MARS operation I usually use the AV-18VS vertical with outstanding results and have participated in MARS nets from California to Texas and have made amateur contacts throughout the US. I live in New Mexico.
 
KC9YZR Rating: 4/5 Nov 28, 2012 14:15 Send this review to a friend
Mixed Results But OK For The Money  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Purchased from an online-only store called Aero-Smith, received very quickly, reasonably-priced, assembly was fairly easy, except I did notice that the hole in Section M1 was a little too high to be able to slide Section M1 down far enough onto the base insulator to align the hole up with the hole in the base insulator, so I cut about a 1/4 inch off of the M1 section, and when I was tightening the nut on the top of the coil, it would keep pulling the coil into the threads, so I held the nut in place and turned the head of the bolt instead, otherwise no problems putting it together.

I see where people have stated that the wrong sizes of hose clamps were included, well I did notice that there were different sizes of hose clamps, and that they weren't very much different in size, but it was just enough difference, to where you needed to use the right hose clamp for the right antenna section, but the hose clamps that came with the antenna worked for me and I didn't need to buy or use other hose clamps.

Nothing in the instructions about how far to place each section into the next section, but assuming that you would want the most height, I only put them in as far as needed, figuring on putting them in at least past the slots that were cut into each section, to try and prevent water from getting into the antenna, plus to make for a good connection to the next section.

I tried mounting it 2 feet from the ground, then later tried mounting it on about 15 feet of mast, and it seemed to work just as well 2 feet from the ground as 15 feet above ground, maybe better on the ground, to get it above the roof of the trailer home by about 5 feet, mounted to an antenna mast that's mounted to the South end of the trailer home...but I think that it actually works better 2 feet above ground, and with ground wire connected to an 8-foot ground rod.

I tried radials, of different lengths, even though it is hard in the trailer court lot to even use radials, but the SWR was worse using radials, and was even harder to tune, so I removed the radials.

I tried the radials both on the base screws of the antenna, like the manual shows, and also tried them attached to the ground rod, like the manual also mentions, so I am not using radials.

The antenna is mounted 2 feet from the ground and am running two copper ground wires to the 8-foot Copper-clad steel ground rod, connecting them to a heavy duty ground clamp.

I can't try contacting too many people on it, unless I get my best friend, who's a Ham, to come over and try it, as I am not a Ham right now, as I gave Amateur Radio up in 2000, however, my best friend, who is a Ham, has been trying to get me back into the hobby, so I may be getting back into it, but did transmit a short signal to him, and had good results on 80 Meters, 75 Meters as we call it, and with wire antennas, the most I gave him was a S9, but with this antenna he says that I give him S9 +30Db, so a S-Meter reading of 30/9 is much better than the S9 I gave him on my other antennas, like the sloper, the dipole, the random wire, the long wire, the inverted V, every configuration that I could squeeze into this trailer court lot, and this antenna beats them.

However, no matter where I placed the clip, when I transmitted a test signal, the lowest SWR that I could get the antenna down to, was a 1:3.0:1, so was unable to get it to resonate anywhere, and could not get the SWR down to below a 3:1, maybe a 2.9 to 1.

However it works good, and I get it to tune very quickly, to get the antenna tuner to show a flat 1:1 match, fooling the Icom IC-718 into thinking that there's a match, by using the VS300A B & W antenna tuner, with the Inductance on "H," like usual for 75 Meters, and the Transmitter set to about 2 1/2, and the Antenna set to about 3 1/2, so not too far off of center, or straight up, but the best SWR, using the tuning clip on the inductor coil, was to attach the clip 21 1/2 turns down from the top of the inductance coil, instead of the 22 1/2 turns that the manual said to start from.

I have ordered, and paid for, an auto-tuner, to see how well that works, not sure whether to use the entire inductor coil, or bypassing the coil by connecting the clip to the top of the coil, or by removing the coil, or by using the entire coil, or how the antenna should be used when using the auto-tuner, but I will see when the auto-tuner arrives.

Not sure, but it does appear as though one or two of the sections aren't exactly straight, when looking up at the top of the antenna, so I turned each section around to make it look as straight as possible, plus I am not too sure on the wind survivability, as the manual says that it will survive in winds in excess of 80 MPH, but after putting it up we had a day where we had winds in the area of 25 MPH, with a few gusts that registered around 45 MPH, and the antenna bent somewhat to the East, so what I did was to turn M3, which I can reach from the ground, until it looked straight again.

Anyway not sure whether to give it a 3 or a 4, as I think it is OK for the price, but it is hard to tune, or rather, I was unable to get it to tune below a 3:1, but on the other hand, I got a good signal report from my best friend, plus the receive signal strengths are higher than I have ever seen, even from back when I was using a loop at the 35 foot level, and other antennas, living East of town, trying about 15 different antennas or antenna configurations, including inverted L's, and other antennas, back between 1986 to 2000, the years when I was a Ham.

Anyway, since Mom's health has gone bad, and since I am now taking care of her at home, and since my back has gotten bad, and since Ham Radio would be "something to do," I think that I will get back into Ham Radio.

What Callsign I will get I of course do not know.

Good price for what you get, could not get it to resonate anywhere, tried tuning on 40 Meters and 80 Meters so far, haven't tried the other bands yet.

I have put up a playlist of videos talking about my experiences of putting up the antenna, and trying it in two places, on YouTube under the user name of Bernielj58, in case you are interested in watching them.

Still not sure whether to give it a 3 or a 4 rating, so to use the saying, "give it the benefit of the doubt," I will change the 3 to a 4, and will see what results I get once the auto-tuner gets here.
 
KC8TRL Rating: 1/5 Oct 5, 2012 23:51 Send this review to a friend
waste of money  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I bought this antenna for the price and because it said it would cover 10,12,15,17,20,30,40,80,meter bands and it was small and easy to setup (I'm using RG-213 coax) well don't believe it. it's junk I can't get a decent match at all on 15m,20m,(2.9:1-4.0:1 +) it use to tune on 10m but now it doesn't match at all and I can't find any where on the coil to match it on 12m,17m,30m. 40m is the only band I can get a good match at 1.1:1 but no one can hear me or they say I am way down in the noise. and here is another thing about it? It say's you don't need radials well my back yard (where the ant is located) is 10ft.x8ft. so there is no room for radial but I was only able to squeeze about 8 to 12 radial in place but they very in length I am running full power of 100wtts into it,and another thing is I am stuck with this ant because I am disabled and spent all the money I had saved on this antenna. and tech support was not very helpful at all, so would I recommend this ant to anyone NOT NOW unless tech support is willing to go the extra mile and make it work for all customers and make them happy especially people like myself who don't have a lot of money to spend on there products I will change my opinion of this antenna if someone can make it work for me in my situation and conditions (A Resent antenna will always work better then a fooled one)
 
N5ZZM Rating: 2/5 Mar 27, 2012 09:27 Send this review to a friend
good antenna if you have a tuner  Time owned: more than 12 months
I called Hygain and they were no help. I have this antenna and the SWR readout on my radio without the tuner is..infinity!! no matter where I put the clip, swr never leaves full scale. I can tune all but 80 meters with just a tuner, but a resonant antenna is more efficient than one fooled by a tuner. I even bought a quick adjust coil, makes no difference. is an ok antenna for tuner users, but to resonate at a specific freq... forget it.
 
VE7REN Rating: 5/5 Dec 11, 2011 07:49 Send this review to a friend
3 yrs trouble free  Time owned: more than 12 months
ypdate to my apr 2008 review.
mounted to a 5 ft steel pipe concreted in the ground,and it talks dx,local,etc. i would still buy another,and always recomend to others looking for a cost effective verticle.
this antenna works flawlessly.
 
AB0KD Rating: 5/5 Sep 3, 2011 07:57 Send this review to a friend
Good, basic, easy to use antenna  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had the 18V since 1976. It has been installed for a total of 16 of the 35 years and used for field days when apartment bound or otherwise landlord constrained. The sheet metal screws were a problem initially when they loosened in the wind and oxidation between the segments created series metal oxide diodes generating mixer products up the spectrum. After going to hose clamps some years back, there have been no more problems with RFI. The insulators have been replaced twice on general principles and the coil standoff tended to not age gracefully. The coil has been clipped with lawn mower wheels a number of times and is still holding its own. It is nice that spare parts are still available. Tuning is easy, although an annoyance in snow.
 
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