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Reviews Categories | Antenna parts, accessories, incl. baluns, hardware, etc. | Van Gorden Engineering Help

Reviews Summary for Van Gorden Engineering
Van Gorden Engineering Reviews: 28 Average rating: 2.9/5 MSRP: $$14.99
Description: HI-Q Balun 1:1 and 4:1
Product is in production.
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WZ7U Rating: 3/5 Feb 7, 2017 00:30 Send this review to a friend
Satisfactory with limitations  Time owned: more than 12 months
I had my Hi-Q 1:1 up for almost a year continuous in the Oregon elements on an OCF @ 100w, after previously using it intermittently on field expeditions, when SWR shot way up; discovered like most of you the hardware isn't up to the task. Replaced the eyelets with stainless and put RTV on any possible hardware water intrusion points (I had no water ingress) and I was able to twist the cap off the body since this one had not much adhesive used at the 'factory'. I still have to test the coax to see if the 1.5:1 reading is the rg-213 feedline or the balun itself. Not the best, but for the price what do you expect? I think the next balun I will roll myself. Oh, instead of soldering to the provided wire lugs, I originally opted to use 1/4" wire ring lugs and stainless hardware to attach the ends of the antenna to the balun rings. When I went to repair this time the rust was on/from the VGE provided rings; the stainless hardware and 1/4 wire rings were rust free - imagine that.
W2OSR Rating: 1/5 Jan 21, 2016 17:14 Send this review to a friend
Cheap  Time owned: more than 12 months
A few days ago my amplifier gave me an ARC FAULT ERROR when trying to tune on 20 meters. I tried it with my dummy load and my other antennas. They worked well. Next I tested it with my MFJ analyzer and the SWR was OK. The antenna also seemed to work fine with 100 watts. Yesterday I tilted the tower over to look at the antenna. Well Van Gorden doesn't use stainless steel hardware. Everything was badly rusted. Next I dissected the balun. Inside I found a ring of rust that provide two paths that could short out terminals that went to the antenna plus some moisture. RUST + MOISTURE + ARC FAULT.

I have another antenna that uses a Van Gorden balun and I see it is starting to rust. It will be replaced as soon as the weather gets warmer

I'll never buy one of these again.
N4KWO Rating: 2/5 Oct 9, 2009 17:24 Send this review to a friend
Don't trust the markings on the outside!  Time owned: more than 12 months
My father gave me a 10 year old Van Gorden 1:1 balun that had not been used. Well it was marked as a 1:1 balun but got suspicious after putting up a 40 meter dipole and couldn't get the SWR near 2:1 no matter how much trimming I did to the dipole. I picked up a MFJ-259 analyzer recently and decided to test the balun as one of my first uses. After putting a 50 ohm load on it, I could not get the SWR below 2.5 at any frequency. Putting a 200 ohm load on it showed SWRs below 1.5 from 4 to 15 Mhz. Looks like a 4:1 that not very broad banded. SWR over 2 at 80 meters and around 3 at 10 meters. Something to keep in mind for those who still one of these baluns in your junk box.
K9FON Rating: 3/5 Nov 19, 2008 15:56 Send this review to a friend
A bear to solder  Time owned: more than 12 months
It works but man, what a beast to solder the wires to the lugs! I almost melted the PVC from trying to solder the lugs!
AD4C2006 Rating: 5/5 Apr 1, 2008 06:37 Send this review to a friend
Very good for just $15  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have been using this 4:1 balun after purchased it new 5 years ago and I built a homemade OCF dipole cut for 40M,swr is like this:
40M...........3 to 1
20M...........1.2 to 1
As you all know,high swr means heat inside the balun,but even using 1300W from a SB-220 for years,this OCF antenna never had any problem,tuned it with an ATR-30 and never saw the flat match changed at high power.The balun is well designed,it holds the power pretty good,only mod I did to it was a small hole underneath for drying out inside humidity.I will recomend anyone this balun,its low price and IT WORKS.
K9AUB Rating: 4/5 Mar 7, 2008 20:49 Send this review to a friend
A Decent Balun!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I bought a brand new Van Gordon 4:1 balun and put it in a home constructed Carolina Windom. From the light weight in my hand, I really wasn't expecting the balun to hold up for very long. However, I've had it up for about a year now, and it has performed very nicely. The Carolina Windom gives various SWR's on each band, creating the possibility of high voltages (and heat!) inside the balun, but so far, so good. I've run it at the 1 KW level CW and SSB, and 600 watts AM phone. No problems. I ran the pants off it in the ARRL DX Contests, both CW and SSB. It held up OK. I'd have to say it's never going to compete with the DX Engineering baluns, but it's good value for the money and gives good service. I would buy it again.
W8WTS Rating: 1/5 Oct 8, 2007 19:27 Send this review to a friend
Not a recommended product.  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had trouble using the VanGorden Hi-Q 1:1 balun with dipole antennas in two aspects.

(1) The calculated resonant wire length is significantly different from the length trimmed to minimum SWR, and

(2) The best impedance match possible by trimming, as indicated by minimum SWR, is unacceptably high compared to the calculated SWR caused by antenna feed point to coax impedance mismatch.

To investigate, I connected the coax end of the VGE balun to a lab 50 ohm termination and measured the impedance from the antenna end of the balun.

RL = 50
R0 = 50
SWR = 1
f (MHz) SWR Z (ohm) R (ohm) jX (ohm)
1.8 3.1 37 22.6 29.3
3.5 1.9 50 41.2 28.3
7.0 1.4 55 52.3 17.1
14.0 1.2 54 53.3 -8.8
21.0 1.3 48 46.4 -12.2
28.0 1.5 42 39.4 14.7

The measurements show that the VGE balun provides a poor impedance match on 1.8, 3.5 and 28 MHz. On 7 through 21 MHZ, the impedance match may be acceptable, but the VGE balun adds significant reactance. This explains observation (1), where the antenna must be trimmed off of resonance to present a reactance that cancels the reactance added to the circuit by the balun.

The same measurements were repeated using 25 ohm and 100 ohm terminations. The calculated SWR is 2:1 for both cases.

RL = 100
R0 = 50
SWR = 2
f (MHz) SWR Z (ohm) R (ohm) jX (ohm)
1.8 4.5 48 20.3 43.5
3.5 2.8 83 59.5 57.9
7.0 2.2 104 100.3 27.4
14.0 1.7 69 63.5 -27.1
21.0 1.7 38 34.5 -16.0
28.0 2.3 24 22.5 8.4

RL = 25
R0 = 50
SWR = 2
f (MHz) SWR Z (ohm) R (ohm) jX (ohm)
1.8 3 24 18.5 15.3
3.5 2.6 28 22.0 17.3
7.0 2.5 32 24.3 20.8
14.0 2.4 42 30.3 29.1
21.0 2.5 55 38.1 39.7
28.0 2.4 71 53.5 46.6

These measurements show that the VGE balun does not provide an accurate impedance match when the SWR is 2:1 in either the high or low impedance direction, in addition to adding significant reactance to the circuit. This result, combined with the 50 ohm data, explains why antennas trimmed to minimum SWR, where the antenna provides the reactance that cancels the balun reactance, present incorrect SWR. Even with the balun reactance cancelled by the antenna feed point reactance, the resistive match is not accurate, thus the minimum SWR is higher than expected.

I recommend the used of ferrite sleeve type choke baluns (the so-called W2DU style) instead of this product.
W8WLC Rating: 5/5 Feb 18, 2007 08:15 Send this review to a friend
Excellant product  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have been using the 4:1 balun for years. My last application of it was with a OCF dipole cut for 80 meters. I ran up to legal limit through it and never had a problem. For the price this is one of the best kept secrets in ham radio. Right now the balun is setting in my shack closet waiting for the arctic weather to break and be put back into service with the OCF. Van Gordon keep up the great work
KD7YMR Rating: 4/5 Feb 17, 2007 23:37 Send this review to a friend
You get what you pay for  Time owned: more than 12 months
Hi Folks,
I bought my Hi-Q 1.1 several years ago, and still have to see it fail. Living in Oregon, the weather is rather damp, and pretty mild most of the year, even though it some times gets over 100 during the summer, this little guy seems to hold the fort down. I've ran 20, 15 and 10 meter through it, up to the permissible limit with no issues.

I suppose I got one of the "Tuesday models"? =)

Anyway, reading through this list of people and seeing their gripes over one or two particular issues they've had with theirs, I offer a couple of suggestions:
1. When you go to solder the wires to this balun, tin the fitting and the wire first. This makes it so very much easier. Also, use a heavy duty soldering gun, not a torch. . . The case is plastic, OK? And if you use a torch or a small soldering iron, the torch will burn it and the small iron takes too long, allowing the heat to run into the insides and melt the plastic. You want quick heat, and you want it "Now! Right Here!", on the point of connection, no where else.

2. The other thing is, well folks, again it's "Plastic". It's not meant to support a great deal of weight, and in doing so, can cause the PVC to fail under extreme loads and weather conditions, heat, cold, high winds, falling trees, kids with slingshots. . . Its tough, but hey it's still, . . PLASTIC.

If you have a water problem and want to try and drill a hole in it, make sure the hole is at least 1/4 inch, otherwise it won't drain worth a darn. And if you do, cut a small piece off of a "No Pest Strip" and poke it up into the hole you drilled at the bottom of the Balun.. . `Keeps the bugs out forever. <- good thing to remember for out-doors applications.

You have to remember that you only get what you pay for, and that there's no free lunch. Being such, this Hi-Q Balun is still under $20, it's one heck of a good deal!
DD4DA Rating: 1/5 Jan 13, 2007 17:44 Send this review to a friend
Balun .repaired easy  Time owned: more than 12 months
I brought this kinda 1:1 Current balun a couple of years ago and used them at the lst few weeks in combination with my Inv.Vee. for 80m upto 20m Band with a about 1KW PA. Well, the balun has failed after a little bit water comes inside. The isulation (looks like PTFE) of the used wire for the trifilar coil is failed particular so sparks between the wires if the power is upper that 200 Watts, destroys the balun wire further.
My advantage is that the ALPIN100 PA goes offline or switched off if the antenna environment is to bad.
The BALUN is easy repaired because it's it build by just 3 wires (AGW14 or thicker) with 88cm length, wounded on a 26mm diameter and 65mm length PVC-pipe. This is all...
vy 73 de Gerd
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