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Reviews Categories | Antennas: HF: Yagi, Quad, Rotary dipole, LPDA | Lightning Bolt 5 Band 2 El Delta Loop Help


Reviews Summary for Lightning Bolt 5 Band 2 El Delta Loop
Lightning Bolt 5 Band 2 El Delta Loop Reviews: 4 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $259.00
Description: NOTE: I AM MIKE DUDDY FORMALLY LIGHTNING BOLT ANTENNAS. WE ARE NO LONGER IN BUSINESS. WE ARE OUT OF BUSINESS AND WE DO NOT WISH TO SELL THE BUSINESS OR THE NAME. WE HAVE REMOVED OUR WEB PAGE. THANK YOU.
Product is in production.
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You can write your own review of the Lightning Bolt 5 Band 2 El Delta Loop.

KI6LO Rating: 5/5 Aug 23, 2005 16:55 Send this review to a friend
Up over a year - EXCELLENT!!  Time owned: more than 12 months
The LB Delta Loop has been up over a year now and still a strong performer. Consistantly good signal reports and low noise. I like it so well that I am going back to Mike for my 6M, 2M and 70cm antennas. All quads of course. Way to go Mike and crew at Lightning Bolt Quads.
 
KC2MIB Rating: 5/5 Dec 10, 2004 05:24 Send this review to a friend
OUTSTANDING  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
ARGUABLY THE BEST MULTI-BAND ANTENNA OUT THERE FOR THE PRICE AND PERFORMANCE. ASSEMBLY OF THE ANTENNA WAS A BREEZE, BUT WATCH OUT FOR THE SPOOL OF WIRE IT CAN BE FEISTY. THE SWR SPECS WERE ON THE MONEY OR BETTER THAN LISTED. IF YOU ARE ON A TIGHT BUDGET AND LOOKING FOR AN ANTENNA TO DELIVER PERFORMANCE THIS IS 'NO BRAINER' WAY TO GO. THE PERSONALIZED CUSTOMER SERVICE RENDERED BY THE LIGHTNING BOLT STAFF IS SIMPLY TOP NOTCH.
 
KI6LO Rating: 5/5 Nov 30, 2004 10:20 Send this review to a friend
Almost 5 months and still going strong  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
The installation has been up for almost 5 months now and it is still flying high. Nothing has come loose or bent even through several high to severe wind days. We even had one day of forecasted 75mph gust although I don't know if we actually reached it or not. All in all I am well pleased with the antenna. It is performing better than I had expected.

You can go to my website (http://www.radioroom.org) and see more info with pictures on my installation.

73 Gene KI6LO
 
KI6LO Rating: 5/5 Jul 14, 2004 17:23 Send this review to a friend
Great antenna for the price  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Early summer of 2003, I heard some guys on 20M talking about one of group having a new Lightning Bolt antenna. They were impressed with it and since I was thinking about getting some sort of beam antenna for the high HF bands, I looked into them. I looked at several options prior to deciding on the quad I got. These were both a compact and standard yagi designs, a 5 band Hexbeam by Traffie Technology, and other quad designs.

In Nov 2003, I ordered the Model 32MCD/WB 5 band (20-17-15-12-10) 2 Element Delta Loop antenna from LIGHTNING BOLT ANTENNAS in Volant, PA. I wanted a directional gain antenna on 5 bands but was somewhat limited in the space available for installing and using a fixed budget. The reason for selecting the delta loop vs a standard square quad design boiled down to weight. LBA sells the same antenna in the standard square quad config-uration but the specs call out 0.5 sq ft more wind load and 10 lbs more weight. My target support was a homebrew (salvaged and rebuilt) lightweight military field-use tower that had been reconfigured for tiltover duty and I wanted to keep the weight to less than 40 lbs at the top so the lifting would not be excessive.

As life (and Murphy - he stays at my house most of the time) would have it, I started working on the assembly and install of the 32MCD/WB delta loop antenna system in Nov 2003 but due to other responsibilities, it never saw life until Field Day weekend 2004.

The antenna is really simple to build. The spreaders are quality wound fiberglas with a UV-resistant chemical in the mix (according to Mike at LBA). I added a coat or two of non-metallic grey paint on mine since I live in the upper Mojave Desert of Southern California and we have UV to spare most of the year. The hubs are welded heavy aluminum and color coded for aligning the pre-drilled holes for mounting hubs to boom. Hardware is stainless and heavy duty to last. Basic tools are such as screwdrivers, wrenches, wire cutters, 100' tape measure (a must to be
accurate on cutting element wires to length), etc. are needed.

Another point to make about the 32MCD/WB is its sheer size. After working with this antenna, let me just say that unless your limited like my install is in space and weight requirements, I would seriously consider the square quad design, Model 32MCQ/WB. Same specs, 10 pounds more, but should be a little easier to mange and install. The 32MCD/WB Delta Loop design is essentially a pair of triangles, 21 foot on each side, mounted on an 8' boom. The boom is centered 7 foot up from the bottom side of the triangles. Suffice to say, it is a LARGE array of wires and as such, a little unwieldy. But once in place, it is a sight to behold. I've always admired quads and the 32MCD/WB is no exception. Nice lines and solid design.

The assembly is easy up to the steps in cutting & installing the antenna wire elements. These I consider being the most time consuming and critical. I cannot emphasis enough the importance of having additional help to do this. Also use the rule of "Measure twice (or more) and cut once". Also DO NOT (repeat DO NOT) let the ends of the wire go once they have been cut lest you enjoy trying to unravel a SLINKY. The wire used is 1/16" aluminum alloy welding wire and it has quite an ATTITUDE when left to its own mind. As luck would have it, I had my elmer (WB5MFI Irving, TX) from eons ago visiting this spring when I got around to do the wires and we had a 'blast' working the elements into place. The wires are not clamped into place but rather 'float' inside a tube arrangement that is clamped to the fiberglas spreader. Very ingenious design.

So after everything was assembled and checked and rechecked (no climbing this tower for me), the tower was lifted into place early Sat morning (7-26-2004) with the 32MCD/WB atop a HD-73 rotor ready to work the world. Just for reference I had ran appx 80 foot of FSJ4-50 Andrew 1/2" hardline from the shack up to the top of the tower and used appx 25 foot of RG-213 from hardline to antenna feedpoint.

Initial SWR checks on the ground showed good SWR on all bands except 10M was high being at the top end of the band around 29.6Mhz or so. Here I would like to say that prior to raising the tower, the 20M SWR was almost flat. I was listening and heard a Hawaiian station calling CQ on 20M. I worked him and received a 55 signal report with 100W (TS440S/AT), even with the boom 14' off the ground and antenna pointing west.

Once in the air at appx 40' to the boom, SWR for all bands changed slightly but still OK except for 10M. Signals were a lot stronger than from the G5RV or MFJ-1798 vertical I had been using. I worked several station on Field Day weekend and received very good reports. Initial observations showed the antenna gain and F/B figures to be somewhat under to somewhat over the specified values (varied band to band). More testing will verify specs.

Well as luck would have it, Murphy (I told you he lives at my house) hates a working antenna system and my install was no different. After hoisting up the antenna and using it for a few days of great DXing, the lower rotor mount broke loose (bad design on my part and not a fault of the antenna - had used a pin where hindsight showed it should have been welded which it is now). I lowered the tower and fixed the rotor mount. While I had it down I made a call to Mike at LBA and found out that the 10M SWR problem might have been caused by the coax placement. He suggested a 'bead balun' be installed at the feedpoint, which by the way is a weather sealed balun with a SO-239 to balanced wire mounting arrangement.

I did some analysis and determined that a few well placed heavy duty split ferrite cores mounted just where the coax meets the transformer might work. I had rotated the antenna so the reflector would be lowest on the boom and closest to the ground when the tower was tilted over. I placed the cores on the coax, and taped them into place.

A quick check of the SWR on 10M using the MFJ analyzer showed a marked improvement over the original measurement although still not as low as I would have liked it. It was around a 1.7:1 on the lower part of the phone band. I decided that given the amount of 10M work I was doing right now, I could live with the difference and tweak with the tuner if needed.

Hoisted the tower back up on Saturday (7-10) morning early in time to work a bunch of new prefixes in the IARU HF Championship contest. Rotor mounting is solid and works good now and reports are excellent. SWR is still good on all bands and the 10M resonant point has dropped to 28.4, exactly where I wanted it to be. The SWR is still a bit high, being 1.6:1 but I can live with that. I didn't know what I was missing until I got a good beam antenna. It's like being a new ham all over again. I can already see that DXCC certificate on my shack wall.

If you want to know more, email me at ki6lo@mchsi.com.remove_this and I will answer your questions. I will be doing some more testing and I'm also modeling the 32MCD/WB delta loop in EZNEC 3.0 to see how it should be working. Once completed, I will provide the model files to interested hams.

To summarize, the 32MCD/WB is a LARGE wire array (ie quad) and somewhat unwieldy but is lightweight and I would think easily turned with low-end rotors like the CD44, HD-73 or such. Lightweight towers should easily support its windload and size providing you can safely get the antenna up on top. The signal levels I am hearing are tremendous (at least to me). I am hearing many DX signals (Europe, South Pacific, Africa) that I never heard before and at S7 or higher, some peaking at S9+30. This all when the propogation is ok but not spectacular. I can't wait until the next sunspot peak. Another aspect I had always heard and never experienced until now is how quiet the background is on a quad. The vertical always had a high noise floor (around an S4 or higher sometimes) but the delta loop is much quieter at around an S2 or S3. I've have worked a couple of European stations that were as clear as my telephone.

To be fair I must say the only negative thing I would say about the experience is the assembly instructions are a bit rough, being a copy of a typed text and hand drawn diagrams. These could use a bit of polish to ease clarity but after stating this, I can say it works so I must have understood enough, hihi.

Well 73 and be sure and check out Mike's designs at Lightning Bolt Antennas (http://www.lightningboltantennas.com/index.htm) if you are comparing yagis and quads. I don't think you'll be sorry. I know I not. See you on the air.

Now I know what is meant when they say "Ya gotta be able to hear'em to work'em"
 


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