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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: 30 Average rating: 4.1/5 MSRP: $74.95
Description: 18 foot Base-Loaded 10/15/20/40/80 Meter HF Vertical Antenna
Product is in production.
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WB0FDJ Rating: 4/5 Apr 6, 2006 12:52 Send this review to a friend
Simple, basic, good enough  Time owned: more than 12 months
The year was 1971 and the ink wasn't dry on my new novice license when I got one of these to use at my home QTH, lent to me by a friend. It sat on a metal stake, driven into the ground, next to our house. No radials (which, yes, I know, is a huge mistake!). When the wind blew, it banged against the metal gutter which was about 6" away. Set it up with marks for 40 and 15 meters. And....wonder or wonders, actually worked a lot of stations, including my first dx. Considering that I was running an old Halllicrafters HT-40 and a Heathkit HR-10B (with a front end wide enough to drive a truck through) its a wonder I worked anyone. But it is simple. Put it together (what instructions?), stick it on a mount and USE RADIALS. Nothing fancy, but adequate.
NE0P Rating: 4/5 Jan 16, 2006 20:36 Send this review to a friend
Good as a monobander or dualbander  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought one of these verticals in 1997, which I believe is before the Hy-Gain company was moved to MS. Construction was pretty simple, and it went up without many problems. I ground mounted it with no radials, which I know isn't the most efficient way to use a vertical, but it did get out. SInce you have to change taps on the coil to change bands, this would probably be best as a single band vertical. For the price it isn't a bad way to get on 80, as it will blow a dipole away on that band unless you can get the dipole up 100 feet or so-most of us can't.
KC5NWS Rating: 4/5 Jan 16, 2006 16:18 Send this review to a friend
a good vertical  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I mounted the vertical in the middle of the yard and put down 20 radials of random length(out to the property line).The radial pattern is very uneven due to a brick patio that takes up one quadrant.using a swr analizer I found he 40m point of the coil and ran the coax to an automatic tuner and it tunes all bands except 30m without having to move the coil tap.I dont try to work 80m with it.i think its a very neat vertical and it was fun putting it together . It does just what I wanted it to do , that is let me get on 40m with the gang and work a little 20m cw once in a while . I am very satisfied with it.I used a radial plate, put down an additional 8 ft copper ground rod and terminal rings were used on all radials and the coil pigtails. The coil is mounted in a vertical position.Its grounted mounted and here at the new qth I doubt if the neighbors even notice it.
Larry k5jyd
2W0AXI Rating: 4/5 Aug 31, 2005 14:17 Send this review to a friend
Needs some TLC  Time owned: more than 12 months
Before giving my views on the AV-18VS, please bear in mind that my QTH gives me some problems when it comes to antennas. I'm 1300ft above sea level but I live on the side of a 30 degree mountain slope. This rises to the north and east of me to about 300ft above rooftop height. The houses on these sides rise above mine. A mile to the east is a main TV transponder mast so there are some drop out spots in reception on certain bands. To make matters worse, the area we laughingly call 'the garden' is an 'L' shaped strip on two sides of the property. At its widest the yard is about 4 meters from the wall of the house and at its narrowest its just 1.5 meters. So antenna type, placement and height are all in trouble before we start.

So as to the Hy-Gain, I paid around 60 GBP (about 100 bucks US) from a mail order outlet. The antenna was well packaged and seemed well manufactured. The aluminium tube sections fit together well without the usual play found in cheaper telescoping verticals. Some of the sections are swaged for a better fit. Having gone to the trouble to do this it seems odd that the hose clips supplied are the wrong sizes. A trip to the local hardware supplier and I had some clips of the correct sizes. I'd agree with some of the reviewers that the instructions could be clearer, but I had the thing assembled without too much trouble.
The base loading/tuning coil is an 'open to the elements' type fitted to a strip of nylon bar at the base of the antenna. On assembling the tuning coil my first thought was 'that looks a bit flimsy', but it all fitted together OK.
The instructions call for the antenna to be mounted on a ground mounted pole at a height of 24 inches if no radials are used. It also calls for the antenna to be mounted 'clear of nearby obsticles' or in free space. Non starter as far as I am concerned as I don't have free space. I fitted mine to a vertical pole bracketed on a 4 foot wall so the first 2 feet of the antenna were only 5 inches from the wall and the back fence was only 3 feet away.
Tuning up each band means removing a small clip on the tuning coil and replacing it at another position. Once I had tuned all the bands, like others here I marked the coil with enamel. Changing bands is then fairly simple.
On testing with my TS-830S reception was very good on 20M with US stations coming in clean and crisp. I managed to work my first east coast qsos with only 25 watts on voice. All of North Africa, Eastern Europe and Russia were no problem and reports were very good. this is quite amazing when you consider that the tip of the antenna does not reach rooftop height, and the restrictions that my location puts on it.

Now for the down side.

My shack is on the first floor, band changes in the rain become a real pain, and with the mild corrosion that occurs on the coil, constant cleaning of the coil becomes obligatory. After 6 months, the entire antenna had to come down, be completely cleaned, re-assembled and new self amalgamating tape applied. Water getting into the joints can be a problem, but once cleaned up the antenna worked as good as new. However, during cold evenings, I have to say that I ended up using it as a mono-bander rather than go and change the coil position.

So my final thoughts were that with some TLC the performance / price made it a '4'. I would only add that I have a Versa Tuner ATU, the ground screw had come loose so I took the case off to tighten it up. Low and behold the coil in the ATU is identical to the coil on the Hy-Gain. So I went and bought a Thunderpole Silver Rod CB base antenna (5/8th wave) for 18 GBP (23 bucks?). Tuned it for 10 meters and then stuck the Versa Tuner on it and tried 20M. I couldn't tell the difference between the Thunderpole and the Hy-Gain mounted in the same position. Whats more neither could my qso's!
If you have access to a decent ATU or can get a second hand one for 40.00 or less then it maybe worth an experiment. Otherwise the Hy-Gain is a reasonable investment.

AL7QL Rating: 4/5 Jun 27, 2005 14:44 Send this review to a friend
A Good Deal for the Money  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I read the other reviews on this site before deciding to buy the antenna and am glad I made the purchase. True, this is not the king or queen of antennas but it does what I need it to do. Assembly is fairly simple, took about a hour, and if one reads the instructions a couple of times before assembly, putting the antenna together is a snap. I did purchase a couple of items from a hardware store but that's expected (radial wire, ground wire, new ground rods and ground clamps).

At risk of developing an antenna farm, this is my second antenna, I ground mounted the vertical in my yard, The base of the antenna is elevated 7 feet on a 1 1/4 inch diameter pipe and I reduced the upper two feet of pipe to 1 inch diameter as this is what fit the antenna's mounting brackets. My first antenna is a 72 foot long, 10 - 160 meter dipole. The hy-gain has almost twice the gain as the dipole. I used my ears and S Meter on my primary rig to determine this while switching back and forth between antennas. Stations are much stronger using the hy-gain AV-18VS. I am also using an external antenna tuner (MFJ 901B).

This far I am pleased with the antenna's performance. For the first time I heard the Canary Islands and Portugal on 20 meters. The same night I heard Illinois, Florida, Germany, Hawaii, British Columbia, and Russia all on 20 meters from my home in Alaska.

Tech. support is good too. I had a question on vertical element spacing which was quickly resolved. It seems that spacing is not critical because of the antenna's loading coil.

All in all, the antenna is well built, of simple construction and worth the 90.00 paid for it.
HZ1FD Rating: 0/5 May 6, 2005 14:34 Send this review to a friend
worst antenna from the worst manufactrurer  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
this antenna has recieved the award of biggest achievement for doing nothing.

one of the alum elements is bended from factory , what a quality.?

the installation manual is the easiest way for a customer to find out who fool was he when he bought it .

the company customer service is as the ad says (no matter what) , i would rather add "a customer might think ".

SM0YKS Rating: 5/5 Mar 13, 2005 14:32 Send this review to a friend
Good value for money  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Living in apartment I had a need for a good ant for HF - that took no horizontal space. Also couldnt go too high - so 18 feet was a good compromise. Purchased ant after reading other reviews on this site.
In summary, very good value for money.
Construction took about 90 mins. Instructions could be improved - but as others have noted you can work out the shortcomings in the instructions. I found the mounting mechanics for the loading coil to be rather ordinary - and a lack of lugs or other suitable hardware left me scracthing my head - but a glass of wine and trip to hardware soon sorted that out. Overall, I would have expected better instructions and better mounting for loading coil and a few extra nuts, bolts, lugs etc etc. but, hey, it wouldnt have been as much fun if I didnt have to drink the wine and think of some improvements!!
Mounting to balcony no problem with supplied hardware - 18 feet looks high on a small balcony - but its up and mechanically sound.
Now to operation... as others have noted, tuning is a bit of a pain, but once you get it tuned its fine. I have it loaded up on 40mtrs and am waiting for an MFJ Analyzer to help with the other bands - in the meantime I cheat and use an ATU for 30 and 20mtrs. Performance seems ok so far - have worked around Europe and UK on 40mtrs. No serious DX yet. Will udpate with further comments as I get the ant tuned up for other bands. Overall, great value for money - at under US$90 I am not sure you could do better. And the extra effort to get it constructed and operational was fun! I was going to give it a 4, but decided on a 5 - its got me back on air and making contacts - and thats what its all about!
KG4EKQ Rating: 4/5 Jun 11, 2004 15:56 Send this review to a friend
Performed as expected  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This was my first commercially-made antenna for HF as I've only been licensed for five years now. I've previously used homemade single band dipoles of questionable build quality. Overall, I am pleased with this antenna's performance. It delivered a 2.5 SWR on 40 meters "raw" - without fine adjustment of the loading clip and a crude radial setup. A more avid user would probably be more critical of this antenna, but, as a college student restricted to HF operating when I'm home on break, something like this, under a hundred bucks that slaps together pretty easily, is more than adequate.

No radial set supplied nor adequate instructions on radial assembly/arrangement. I am no electronics whiz, and I found myself consulting the ARRL "Antenna Companion" to learn how to do this. In short, I have the antenna mounted on the top of a section of TV mast. The base of the antenna is about 12 feet off the ground. I ran four radials from the base straight to the ground in an elongate (skinny) X pattern because of proximity to the neighbor's yard. Because the TV mast was at a corner of the house, I had to run one radial wire along the roof in order to keep an X pattern if looking at it from an aerial view straight down to the arrangement. I don't know if this is ideal, but it seemed to work okay.

No indication in the instructions on how far in each telescoping element should be fit into the one below it. I had to call to get this information, but customer service was very helpful and specific.

Finally, the illustrations in the instructions did not always match the parts in hand. For instance, the loading coil is much shorter than in the illustration and is impossible to mount vertically. Also, the manual described certain holes and cuts in the elements which weren't there. Ultimately, these did not really hinder the construction of the antenna; they just required a little careful thought.

These are my three main gripes. I feel that for 90 dollars - a fortune for a college student, mind you - these should not have been an issue. Unfortunately, I've come to expect some of these oversights. But the performance was really not bad. The instructions were otherwise right on target, and the whole package was mostly what I thought I was getting. I'll continue to use this antenna as it is very versatile, storable (telescoping) and mostly inconspicuous mounted at the the rear of the house.

Thanks for reading!
WB2DEX Rating: 5/5 Jun 15, 2003 08:51 Send this review to a friend
Good As Gold  Time owned: more than 12 months
Had one of these for 1 1/2 years. Ground mtd out back it's worked its fair share of DX and then some. Gold won't corrode, but antenna parts do, and after a 1 1/2 the base coil was really grungy. So much for the heat & humidity of Fl. Called Hy-Gain who said send it back with a copy of the receipt. In less then 1 week I had a new one. Many thanks to Tom for the fast service over there.
WA4JM Rating: 4/5 Jun 1, 2003 09:05 Send this review to a friend
Not Bad!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I purchased this antenna for FD 2003. The construction quality is is quite good, however, I did have to go to the hardware store to get the right sized hose clamps to finish the assembly. I added a homemade ground plane made from light guage stranded wire 18 feet in length. (a total of 24 radials) HyGain says the wires need to be a 1/4 wave for the frequency ur running on. Not So! The radials need only be as long as the radiating element. In this case, 18 feet. Good Job HyGain on a nice portable antenna that collapses down to 5 feet.
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