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Reviews Categories | Antennas: HF: Vertical, Wire, Loop | Bilal Isotron Help


Reviews Summary for Bilal Isotron
Bilal Isotron Reviews: 80 Average rating: 3.9/5 MSRP: $59.95 to 179.95
Description: HF Antennas for SMALL Spaces
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.k1cra.com
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N2DEP Rating: 5/5 Apr 6, 2017 12:52 Send this review to a friend
very nice, and stealth  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I figure I should toss my hat into the ring, I have been semi active on HF for about 10 years, had a bunch of different antenna's form an 80 meter delta loop ,g5rv dipole and most recently a home made 31 foot vertical, it worked great but having a 15 month old grand daughter running around my back yard dodging 60 plus radials was dangerous , so I decided to give the Bilal Isotrons a shot. very easy to assemble , tuning is a bit tricky but once you get it its done, and I use a ldg at 200 pro ch up the swr, I d a few questions and called Ralph at Isotron, I explained some rf problems and what was common to look for in his product, this is customer service at its best, before doing anything Ralph wanted to know exactly what I was running in my shack and what coax I use, after explaining it to him he spent almost 45 minutes on the phone walking me through my installation and made suggestions that actually worked with out spending a boat load f money on to correct. the end result is I can pretty much talk to whomever I can hear, very nice product , outstanding customer service , right now I am using the 80/40/20 combination, I'm sure eventually I'll be getting something in the 17,10 and 12 meter antenna, bottom line for me bravo Isotron and ralph great desigh that actually works
 
WC0L Rating: 5/5 Nov 25, 2016 22:23 Send this review to a friend
Works As Advertised  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought the 80-40 combo back in 2003. I quickly put the antennas together and tried to make them work. I could not get them to tune correctly, so I threw them back in the box, thinking I had wasted my money. I retired in May of this year and my wife and I have since been enjoying our travel trailer. In getting ready for a recent trip to Arizona, I decided to dig out the Isotrons and try to get them working with my portable ham rig. I mounted the Isotrons at the top of a 20 foot telescoping mast made from steel conduit sections, supported with a 3 foot tripod held to the ground with steel tent pegs. With this setup, the Isotrons still would not tune. After studying the manual carefully, I decided to drive a 4 foot ground rod into the ground next to the telescoping mast, and connect the ground rod to the mast with a stainless steel hose clamp. The Isotrons then hit resonance with an SWR less than 2 to 1. I then adjusted the resonance points in accordance with the manual. On 40 meters, I set the resonant point for 7.170, with provides a 2.5 to 1 window of 7.100 to 7.225. My Icom AT-500 easily brings the SWR down to 1 to 1. I use my Icom IC-2KL to put 500 watts PEP into the Isotrons. With this setup, I am able to keep in touch with my friends in various parts of the US with regularity. In fact, I believe the Isotrons work just about as well as my home antenna, which is a G5RV variant in an inverted V configuration with the apex at 35 feet. So now I am a believer in Isotrons, but studying and following the manual is a must. I need to pick up a 20 meter version in the near future.
73,
Mike, WC0L
 
KG4ODX Rating: 4/5 Sep 13, 2016 14:29 Send this review to a friend
Works as advertised   Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought the Isotron 20 and the Isotron 160. The 20m took less than 20 minutes to assemble, mount and set the SWR. I use it everyday and works as well as my butternut vertical maybe a bit better.
The Isotron 160 was much more difficult, the assembly was straight forward and everything lined up perfectly. When it came to setting the SWR well that took a bit of effort and a couple of calls to Ralph at Bilal antennas. We had to shorten the antenna by about 3ft (removing one of center rods) to get it to load at the very top end of the 160 band, we also had raise the matching rod all the way up. The antenna is flat at 2.043.0 but with a aux tuner it loads fine at 1990.0. Ralph said by adding a bit wire to the top capacity hat we could bring it flat at 1990.0 and I will try this but it's working great the way it is with the help of the tuner. This antenna is not a 1/2 wave dipole but it does work. The 20 meter Isotron is great !! So if you need stealthy small footprint antennas this would be a great way to go.
READ the directions this is most important !!!

Painted in camouflage colors these antennas would be hard to see in front of or in a wooded area.
Both of my Isotrons are 20ft high, more height might be better but for now they are doing the job for me.
I plan on purchasing the 6m and 17 Isotrons in the near future :)
 
W4BN Rating: 5/5 May 12, 2015 11:55 Send this review to a friend
W4BN  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The isotron 20 is a small but effective antenna. It consists of an inductor wound for 20 m and a capacitor which consists of a top fixed metal plate and a movable lower plate which allows you to tune the antenna. The antenna was well packaged and it only took me a few minutes to assemble it. My antenna is mounted on the top of two 10 foot telescoping sections of conduit. The smaller diameter section was driven 5 feet into the ground. The larger diameter section was slipped over it and clamped so that the antenna would be 11 feet above the ground and just over the edge of the roof. The antenna is fed with a 25 foot piece of RG8X coax. A friend of mine, David WB8VQU help me install and tune the antenna. I connected a MFJ 259B swr analyzer to the end of the coax and adjusted it for the middle of the 20 m band which allowed me to operate phone and CW. David used a wooden pole to push the movable lower Rod up until the swr was 1 to1. I checked each end of the band and the SWR was 2 to 1 at each end. Although band conditions have been bad during the past month and a half, I have worked stations in Europe, South America, Central America and the US with good reports. The antenna is rated at 1 KW PEP and on phone I have used up to 800 W input. I have an attic dipole which I used to compare the two antennas. At times the dipole would give me one or two S unit's more than the isotron, but reception on the isotron was quieter because there was less QRN. I am 89 years old and I have been licensed since I was 16 and during those many years I have had many antennas, but this was the easiest and simplest to install. I highly recommend it.
 
AA7LX Rating: 1/5 May 10, 2015 00:45 Send this review to a friend
20/40 Combo Didn't Work Disappointed  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Excellent Customer service- Telephone and E-mail. A wonderful receiving antenna- No performance otherwise, tested Antenna for one Month. SWR at 2.5; with a Tuner- 1.5 or better. If, you have a balcony, inside house, or basement-- don't purchase the Isotron Antenna(s). Isotron must be above the roof line -or- in your yard. Recommend instead, Wire, Yagi, Dipole, Horizontal, Vertical Antenna(s). I Can't and won't recommend Isotron Antenna(s)to any person. With a 20% Restocking fee($37.99); loss and, of paying the shipping cost both ways($31.10 total), My Total Loss was $69.09 !! The Isotron Antenna: NOT Recommended!
 
K1DUN Rating: 5/5 Feb 10, 2015 21:47 Send this review to a friend
20m Performer!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I did a comparison of my G5RV Jr., my 18-foot multi-band vertical, and the Isotron 20 meter antenna. The G5RV and Isotron surpassed the vertical in signal capture. Then, to my surprise, the Isotron exceeded the performance of the G5RV in both noise level and audio quality. The Isotron at 15 feet high was roughly 20% quieter than the G5RV at 20 feet high. And the audio of the signal through the Isotron was more pronounced in the vocal range of the sound spectrum - making speech much more discernible. I didn't expect these result. I'm impressed! Mine deserves a 5.
 
KC7UBS Rating: 5/5 Mar 10, 2014 23:30 Send this review to a friend
Isotron 160C works  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
For a 9 foot antenna on a 30 foot mast on 160m, it is great. It works as well as my ugly homebrew reduced super sloper did. On other bands I use whatever I can in the space I have, i.e. length. The laws of physics ALSO apply to the environment you have to work with including height, earth type and buildings/objects, not just the antenna physics. Read the instructions you will make mistakes if your an impatient jack of all trades like me. Read all the reviews you can. I use it on 1838kHz JT65 with 15-20w and I have worked Canada, Mexico, and about 25 states so far. So I can see the results live on psk reporter and hamspots. Software signal reports are not biased...

Mast: 3 sections of 10 foot conduit different sizes so the telescope together, slipped together and I use steel hose clamps for a stop so they slide n'fit inside each other about a foot and a half - not perfect but who cares, guyed, and muffler clamped onto a 12' 2x4, bungie corded to my deck so feedpoint is 30' up. I have used this type of mast setup for dozens of projects over years and the bungie cord flexibility survives 80 mph winds and 30 below temps here in WY. Anyway the antennas ground strap connects to mast, and on the bottom of mast I have a 14ga wire that runs just a couple feet to an 8' ground rod in hard sandstone. Incidentally, my Butternut HF2V is mounted 10' away on the other corner of the deck and it has no effect on the 160C whether it was up or down.

Feedline: I used 100' of RG58. I did install with coax choke 15 turns of coax taped up tight below feedpoint. There is more coax behind my desk coiled up on a chair, so I have doubts about all this coax is radiating stuff. Most of it drops right down into the basement. I find it incredible that the "coax is radiating" a qrp JT65 signal all the way to Maine...BS. What IS critical is metal mast, ground strap, whether or not the mast is connected to ground rod, and the tuning rod position. I finally settled on ground strap connected, mast grounded to ground rod, and tuning rod almost all the way up. SWR is 2.8:1 at 1850kHz, tiny bandwidth. My LDG YT100 and MFJ949E tunes to 1838. **When I disconnect the ground wire at bottom of mast I get 1:1 at 1910kHz with about 35kHz bandwidth, BUT the tuner won't get me to 1838.** Again, that's with the rod all the way up...so that's currently where I'm at. I need to get it in the lower end of band, but cannot find anything on the web about adding L to coil or replacing tuning rod with a longer piece such as a steel whip. I was fascinated with this antenna. I am going to homebrew some for other bands just for kicks. Have fun its ham radio!
 
KA6DIV Rating: 5/5 Jan 13, 2014 22:24 Send this review to a friend
Highly Recomended  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
It is small and very well built. Very easy to assemble. The VSWR adjustment is very touchy. If you get within 12 inches of the antenna it goes crazy. An antenna analyzer is a must to make adjustments quickly. After getting the SWR down to 2:1 I stopped there and installed it on a 15 foot flag pole. I found leaving off the supplied ground strap worked best for the lowest SWR reading. I instantly made contacts within 500 miles using 90 watts CW in the late afternoon with signal reports ranging from 579 to 599 Plus 10 over! 5 good long QSO's within 1 hours time! I am very pleased with its performance and small size. I do not have restricted space as I live on 4 Acres. I enjoy using antennas that get the job done well in a small package. I am very glad I took the chance and bought one of these. What a terrific little small wonder it is! I highly recommend this antenna!
 
KA5SNG Rating: 5/5 Aug 8, 2013 23:51 Send this review to a friend
Isotron 40/20  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have used the Isotron 40/20 for about three years. The unit is mounted on 20 ft steel 2in pole and a 8 foot copper ground rod under the pole. The antenna has not required any futher maintance after assembly. I do not work DX. This antenna works great running about 100 watts while working stations in the USA, Mexico, South America and Canada. The foot print is small and easy to assemble. MFJ tunner is used with a flat SWR on the 40/20 bands. One coax connects both 40/20 to the tuner. After 30+ years with many different antennas and problems, the Isotron 40/20 combo is a pleasure.
 
ND3Q Rating: 0/5 Apr 29, 2013 10:06 Send this review to a friend
Isotron 20&40  Time owned: more than 12 months
The worst antenna I have ever used. Works about 3 stars indoors on a plastic mast attached to my stair railing. Very narrow bandwidth. Moved outdoors to metal mast followed all instructions with 8ft. ground rod and coax wrapped to mast. The SWR was all over the place and I was using a Rigexpert AA-54. The slightest change of anything on the antenna would shift the SWR. Could never get it tuned for 40 or 20. Fed up I bought a Ultramaxx-100. Strung it up and it work right away. The Ultramaxx 100 is good for row homes that have concrete for a back yard. Forget the Isotron about $350 and go Ultramaxx for 80-6 mtrs. for only $70. I ran it as a sloper from the roof works great all bands 80 to 6 meters. Isotron you can take a Isohike! Isotron equals overpriced Isocrap!
 
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