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Reviews Categories | Antennas: HF: Yagi, Quad, Rotary dipole, LPDA | Lightning Bolt HF 5 Band 4 Element Quad Help

Reviews Summary for Lightning Bolt HF 5 Band 4 Element Quad
Lightning Bolt HF 5 Band 4 Element Quad Reviews: 13 Average rating: 4.3/5 MSRP: $725.00
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You can write your own review of the Lightning Bolt HF 5 Band 4 Element Quad.

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EI4CF Rating: 4/5 Dec 30, 2006 01:31 Send this review to a friend
Poles breaking  Time owned: more than 12 months
There are five l.b quads in Eire now, to my knowledge.
In the past month we have had gales for days on end, some of them reaching severe storm levels. Three of the quads have suffered a broken fibre-glass pole in these storms. All of the breaks have occured where the pole goes over the aluminium holder. This may be a weak point and may need extra support for the pole to prevent damage in high winds.
Otherwise, the antennae have being excellent for all the users.(EI3FFB, EI9HX,EI3HA, EI2HW, and EI4CF). Paddy, EI9HX, did not use the transformer at all. Instead he put in a coax switch and coax baluns. This has given him greater bandwidth on all bands.
N9TGR Rating: 3/5 Oct 31, 2006 20:09 Send this review to a friend
Needs Improvement  Time owned: months
I have been using the 4el on a 24ft boom for about seven years and after many improvements on my part it is almost ready....but with aquad you are never finished improving.I originally purchased it as 4el 5band 10-20m with 6el on 6mtrs all on the same boom.No it does not work as there is too much interaction with the 6m.10m and 12m wires.Another problem was the supplied transformer which supposedly gave you 5bands with one feed line and a 1.1.1 swr,dont waste your time with the single feed line,put a coax gamma on each diven element made from some old RG8 and feed each band seperately and you will see a 10 fold increase in its performance.Before you think of buying any quad pick up a copy of" MORE ABOUT CUBICAL QUADS" by George McCarthy W6SUN.Its written in easy to understand terms without all the technical jargon.One last point about the LB quad ...get rid if the aluminum wire and replace it with hard drawn copper.Im still working on the quad but it has grown to a 32ft boom and blows every yagi out of the water.
KJ9I Rating: 5/5 May 20, 2006 02:41 Send this review to a friend
excellent HF antenna  Time owned: more than 12 months
A very well-constructed rugged, durable, and high-performance antenna. After initial high VSWR, I installed a home-brew 6-turn RF choke (of RG-213 coax) just behind balun/feedpoint and all VSWR issues were fixed without any adjustments required to element lengths (which were fine as initially designed and communicated in the manual).

In use in high-wind, ice, etc. for 10+ years

73 de KJ9I
N7WX Rating: 5/5 Feb 23, 2006 13:49 Send this review to a friend
Great service for over 12 years  Time owned: more than 12 months


Thanks for the outstanding service from you and the XYL...Great job...Had the 5 el 5 band quad up almost 12 years and very few problems,always
had the big signal from up here in Washington State..Again the best bang for the buck for many years. Thanks again Mike...73's best to you and the wife..
K4WS Rating: 4/5 Oct 20, 2005 06:22 Send this review to a friend
Close  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have pruned, procrastinated, and felt like
taking the tomahawk to this antenna, but.....
I feel that I have it about as far along as I
can get it considering the previously mentioned
out of alignment elements FROM BIRTH.

I pruned the 4 element after upgrading per LB's
instructions. This made the resonant freq go high
in the band. I called and was told to use the
formula to add the amount of wire I needed back.
Guess what? That was almost how much I pruned off.

The wire holders probably are as many say a good
point in this design. However, they are of a cheap grade as far as stripping out-the radiator
clamp part. I saw that early and I "x" taped them
after getting them to their rightful place on the
spreaders. This brings up a point. I think "great" improvement in where these clamps
need to be located should be placed in the manual. I realize that there is adjustment to them. Cubex uses the predrilled holes so you can't go wrong with where the wire goes there.

The manual needs to be more typewritten with
still using Mike's pictorials. It seems to be
thrown together for someone to figure out what
is in between the lines. Not good for beginning
quad people. I helped put a Cubex together many
years ago, the 4 element 30 ft'er, and it was very easily understood.

The elements MUST be revisited in the design of
the plane. As I said before, on the 4 element,
there are either 2 elements in plane, the outside
ones or the inner ones, but not all four. Ubolt
clamps like the inner ones need to be used on the
outter ones, too, although the end of the boom would have to have reinforcement inserts to keep
from collapsing when tighting the u bolts.

The boom should be drilled for ALL antennas the
same such as when I had to get a replacement for
a damaged piece, it made it very difficult to
align the elements. I have had to redrill the ends a couple of times. You can't reach a 4 element quad on a foldover tower or freestanding
tower to correct this problem.

I tried several formulas to get the resonant point in line on all bands. I finally went to w6sai's online calculator but it made it too long, but definitely better than the manual.
I finally took Mike's formula-resonant freq x
length of wire on de/new resonant freq, and added
that much wire but as I laid the Cubex, W6SAI,
and the new formula calculations side by side, I kept seeing I was close to Cubex measurements in most cases. I then decided to go with Cubex or split the difference when close.

I kept my w6sai calculation on the front director.Neither Cubex or LB make the directors
different lengths. They both said that they noticed little difference in gain, etc. I didn't
like not being able to pinpoint easily stations
and kept the tapered look.

I also bought the 3/4 wave jumpers from Cubex and
a 5 position Ameritron wired remote switch and am
now feeding each band seperately taking the skewed look out of the driven element which does
affect f/s, and possibly gain and f/b.

I am happier with it now that I have ever been,
but I can never give it a 5 until all the elements are in plane. The 2 elements Cubex and LB are in plane. Cubex is in plane on their 4
element. I don't have preferences but I know that an antenna is designed to be in plane. Critics might say that the loops are so big they
can't see the 3 inch higher or lower offset of the LB inner elements but I don't buy that.

Both Cubex and LB are super to work with. They are very helpful and courteous. If I were going
to buy again and get the 2 element, I would choose either, but if I wanted the 4 element the
correct way, I would probably choose Cubex.

My swr points still are not perfectly where I want them but they are livable. I am tired of
playing with that aspect. I am going to enjoy
now until I get tired of quads and then go back
to my love-yagis! They are so uncomplicated, durable, and work in spite of what you read. I have over 350 countries with yagis, so I don't
feel neglected.

Thanks for this forum area, and I hope that everyone will give careful consideration before
buying such demanding antennas. Age and hard to
get to are two of the bigger factors.
73 k4ws
K4WS Rating: 3/5 May 29, 2005 21:23 Send this review to a friend
Not there yet!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I am still trying to make this antenna a "5".
I have installed 3/4 wave premade jumpers of 50
ohm coax for 20 and 17 meters ,and 75 ohm for the
other 3 bands. I am using the 5 pos. wired Ameritron remote switch and direct feeding now.

I did use Bill Orr's formula and it helped the
directivity with the direct feed. This was an
improvement. Only problem is that I figured the
cuts for too low in the band on 20, 15, and 10
meters to cover the whole bands under 2:1. A
little tweeking will solve that. 17/12 are great on swr without tweeking.

The only thing that can possibly ever keep this from getting a "5" rating is the design. I have the 6 element 6 meters on this 4 element 5 band also. There are either 5 interior elements, hf/vhf combos and singles, or 2 end elements out
of plane with the other elements. THIS SHOULD NOT
BE! Any antenna needs to lie in the same plane,
and we are taught that from day one. Cubex does
that. I am considering ordering 2 more interior
spider 3 inch ubolt L bracket hf clamps and use them for the reflector and front director. That
would be the cheapest way to put all elements in

I am not against LB or quads, but overrating seems to be the order of the day. Either the 2
element 5 band LB or Cubex would be easy 5's since both elements on both quads are in plane.

You gentlemen that hear stations with the quad that you didn't with the yagis, surely jest. I
have competed for over 30 years with a 4 element
30 ft Cubex-a very good quad-and never failed to
hear the same stations my friend heard or never
failed to work them if he did.

I have spent too much money experimenting but I am trying to make this quad what it is supposed
to be, and will be glad to share my results with
anyone interested. I think the direct feeding is
a must that relieves a significant compromise and
making the directors has helped in now not just
turning the quad between N and E to work Europe.
I have more of a directive pattern.

If I order the 2 clamps to put all elements in plane, one would have to look at the excessive
expense when they could have bought the Cubex
already in plane. (compare your LB to the Cubex
pictures online. He uses slide on spider "hubs"
for the interior elements. Mikes interior elements are at least 1 1/2 inches above or below
the center of the boom, while the end elements are dead center.

I have swr curves plotted with my current w6sai
and direct feed for anyone who would care to see
them that has the LB or considering it.

Thanks for the opportunity to share information
as I have with at least one other LB owner.
73 k4ws
K4WS Rating: 2/5 Apr 24, 2005 14:32 Send this review to a friend
To Be Determined  Time owned: months
First of all, Mike and family are the greatest
people to work with. They give exceptional help.
However, after owning the 2 element 5 band and
the 2 element 5 band plus 6 (which worked excellent right out of the box), considerable
consideration is needed on why one would have to
cut the wire lengths after upgrading to the 4 element.

I found out what I am sure all of you did and that was the swr on 15 mtrs was resonating about
21.680mhz. The swr also rose swiftly and my rig
cut back and I had to use the internal tuner as
I approached 10, 15, and 20 meter cw. I know that
I am not the only one who has noticed this. I
have been working with Norm at Cubex for his
measurements and guess what his 4 element measurements are about what my original 2 element
LB measurements were and that I need to add back.

I am going with the Bill Orr calculator for a 4
element quad which would make the 2 directors
different lengths as they should be if one is
picky. I also am switching to the 3/4 wavelength
matching jumpers for each band and seperately feeding each band with the 5 pos. Ameritron tuner. I may be doing something drastic but it can't be worse than now on 15 and the cw bands
on the other two, and I can assure you that my
measurements were as nearly perfect as humanly
possible. I have talked to Mike and he says add
back. I see Norm's finished 4 element is already
"added" back. I am going to model mine on the Bill Orr formula that N6MRX has so nicely put together on his website. This eventually, I hope
will be back to the 5 plus rating that the 2 element version was, but if you hit the jackpot
with those measurements on the LB 4 element, then
count yourself lucky. For the old yagi men,like
myself, don't kid yourself about a 24 ft yagi
being inferior to this antenna. I am going to try
to make it superior to my old 24 ft yagi but it is not quite there yet. Thanks and I will let you
know how things turn out(especially when referring to which direction to turn it! hi)
W7AV Rating: 5/5 Sep 8, 2004 23:55 Send this review to a friend
The Best Antenna You Can Buy  Time owned: more than 12 months
A 4 element 5 band quad on either the 24 ft boom or 30 foot boom is the single best antenna you can possibly buy if you want it all for 20 to 10m--- Lightning Bolt makes a very rugged quad. It will take the winds, ice buildup, snow, whatever. I owned mine for 3 years and never had any problems. You'll work DX that others in your area can't hear, and run less power doing it. This antenna really only needs to be up 40' or so to play very well, I had mine at 55'. Someone show me a better bang for the buck-- it's not made, nothing comes close.

Now you will need a good rotor, at least a HAM IV (minimum), better yet a TailTwister, with a delay switch to prevent this monster from taking the top of your tower off-- not a good idea to just slam the brake on when it's still turning.

Your tower should handle at least 12sq ft.

Take your time putting it together. Maybe 2 people working on it for the weekend might get it done.

I found 15m the only band that had to be worked with to get a good SWR. If you can tune it at a low level (20'), because when you need to adjust the, say 15m section, it will have to be done to ALL four elements in most cases.

These quads are a lot more work on the ground but it's all worth it. Lightning Bolt makes the best.
N3HKN Rating: 5/5 Jan 31, 2003 07:36 Send this review to a friend
Wire Attachment BEST  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Mechanical items are the core of a quad. Here, as stated in the previous review, they seem to be excellent based upon time on the market and results of users. One added comment, the method of attaching wires to the spreaders is unique. He uses what appears to be flexible tubing intended for automobile brake lines to connect the wires to the spreaders. The tubing connects to the spreader and the wire freely passes through it. The result is a free floating wire structure that flexes with the movement of the spreaders evenly distributing loads. Given the five sets of wires this makes an exceptionally strong but dynamically balanced structure.
Dick N3HKN
Sadly I had to sell mine whne I moved to a townhouse.
KU7I Rating: 5/5 Jan 31, 2003 06:28 Send this review to a friend
OUTSTANDING  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The absolute most bang for the buck. Very time consuming to assemble but worth every minute of it. The wire is not that hard to deal with as long as you have a helper. NEVER KINK THE WIRE OR IT WILL BECOME WEAK AND BREAK!! If it is not kinked the aluminum welding wire he uses is very very strong and will not even stretch. I had to mount my spiders in a diamond shape because of how close the tower was to my shack. Turning it with a Yaesu G-1000 rotor. The one coax feed line is a rapid qsy dream. 17, 12 and 10 meters are absolutely flat swr, withe 20 and 15 being slightly higher. Typical cubical quad F/B (1-2 s units max) but fwd gain is around 10dB. This is a lifetime investment. Everything abt this ant is heavy duty. The fiberglass arms especially are incredibly rugged. The best 5 band beam you will find commercially anywhere, regardless of price.
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