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Reviews Categories | Antennas: HF Directional: Yagi, quad, rotary dipole, LPD, etc | Force 12 C3SS Help


Reviews Summary for Force 12 C3SS
Force 12 C3SS Reviews: 44 Average rating: 4.7/5 MSRP: $1229
Description: 6 Element Tribander on 12' Boom
Product is in production.
More info: http://force12inc.com
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You can write your own review of the Force 12 C3SS.

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W9DJ Rating: 5/5 Feb 10, 2014 09:02 Send this review to a friend
15 Years and Still Going  Time owned: more than 12 months
I reviewed this antenna back in about 2003 when it had been up about 4 years. I've had it at 40 feet on a house bracketed Rohn 25 tower since the summer of 1999. The rotor is a Yaesu G800, and I've done no maintenance (I hope Murphy is not listening) on any of the system. It's a great performer for its size on 20, 15, and 10, though it has not much gain and is poorly matched requiring a tuner on 12 and 17. It has survived many icing events and lots of high winds. When it gets a lot of ice on it the elements sag and the SWR goes through the roof, but when it thaws things go back to normal.
 
G0JKZ Rating: 5/5 Oct 10, 2011 10:25 Send this review to a friend
Great Antenna  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Ok, my review.

Had this for about 3 months. Bought it second hand from a guy who bought it secondhand from another guy who bought it secondhand... This bit of metal has had a few owners!

So, I brought it home in 7 peices on the roof of my car. All I did when I got it home was to attach the elements to the boom, fit the coax and put it on the tower.

It works well, consistently giving better results than my doublet, my 10m vertical and my previous beam, a TET. Generally it seems incredibly sturdy, and it survived the journey on the roof of my carat nearly triple figure speeds (honest officer, it was only 70mph..)

About 2 months in I had a problem, the vswr on all bands went up through the roof and I looked out of the window to the top of the tower. There was a bright orange glow in the darkness right at the feedpoint. I shut down for the night and brought the tower down in the morning. The supplied balun had actually caught fire inside and had completely melted internally. I read through the manual and it stes that it can be fed directly with coax and a choke instead of the ready built w2du balun... so thats what I did. Everything back to normal and performance is back up to where it was, with even a slight improvement.

To sum it up, buy one... Here in the UK the price is triple what other antennae cost so if you can get one used then do it. The build quality of the boom and elements is first class and you won't have any problems with a used one... as long as you check the balun out thoroughly or just feed it directly.
 
N1DZ Rating: 5/5 Jul 6, 2011 20:14 Send this review to a friend
Great low profile HF beam  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Replaced a Cushcraft MA5B with this antenna. The antenna is placed about 10 feet above the roof of my house. Total height is about 40 feet above ground. The C3SS covers the full 20, 15 and 10 m bands and DX signals seems to be significantly stronger on this antenna than on my MA5B. (Comparing MA5B vs. dipole and C3SS vs. dipole. Not a real scientific test.)
It also performs well with a tuner on 17 and 12m. Anything I can hear I can work now. Surprisingly it works also on 6m. No real gain on this band and any true 6m antenna will perform much better.
Mechanically the C3SS is very well constructed and it hold up very well during the last New England snowy/icy winter. However the linear loading wires could be constructed more elegantly. Their construction is very simple but they kind of warp up or down as the holes for the standoffs are not evenly drilled. Electrically or mechanically this is not an issue but it just does not look that nice. For the price I was expecting more. For example M2 antennas are mechanically nicer designed.
The C3SS has a very small visual profile which works really well in my neighborhood. Its profile blends away against the trees. The antenna is very easy to install due to its light weight. Unfortunately the price for this antenna is high and it is hard to understand why this antenna is costing now over $1000.00. Despite its high price I can recommend this antenna to anyone who is looking for a small low profile HF beam that will last many years.
 
KG2V Rating: 5/5 May 17, 2011 08:24 Send this review to a friend
Seems well made  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
OK, How well can most of use really review an antenna? We don't have the proper testing ranges

That said, it went together easily, but the manual DOES require reading a couple of times.

Signal wise, it blows away the low wires I used to have, but that is to be expected

Comparing the construction to a MA-33Jr (which is a TA-33Jr with full power traps), that I recently took down for another ham, the C3SS mechanically blows the TA-33 away
 
M0CEL Rating: 1/5 Mar 1, 2011 11:40 Send this review to a friend
Disssapointed in components used  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had the antenna up since 2003 and for the most part it's been ok. I recently discovered that the swr was extremely high and lowered the antenna for, what I thought, would be routine maintenance and cleaning. In the process of cleaning some of the corroded connections I discovered that nearly all of the loading stand-offs were cracked and therefore unusable. None of the bolts were overtightened (I've been a licenced aircraft engineer in the pastk and know how to torgue a bolt properly). I am disappointed because I feel that inferior inadequate parts were used in critical parts of the antenna and I've decided to replace it.
 
GW0HUS Rating: 5/5 May 18, 2010 12:44 Send this review to a friend
darn good antenna works well in windy locations  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had my C3SS for some 12 years now, I have not had any problems except with the stand-off nuts and bolts on the 20 meter elements failing after 9 years ,(steel bolts in aluminium stand-offs ..) I sourced some s/steel replacements from A local engineering shop for less than 4 reassembled the beam no more trouble .works great on 20 15 and ten meters great on 12 meters ok on 17 meters but joy of joy last Saturday put the 60ft (crank up tilt over )tower back up after its 2 weeks maintenance holiday ran the antenna analyser over the antennas, had it set on the wrong setting ! swept across 6 meters wow flat as a pancake another free band don't need another beam ... GREAT
this morning had a 3 hour opening on 6 meters all over europe from F6 to IZ1 to EA6 9A3 5-9 to 5-9+++
QTH is very exposed Just a few feet under 1000 ft ASL and clear take off 360 deg (the wind goes through you rather than round you ..) if antenna continues to perform I will by a new one in 2040 if I need to or not !!
 
K2DC Rating: 5/5 May 12, 2010 11:05 Send this review to a friend
A 5 All the Way!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had my C3SS for nearly 12 years now, and still no complaints. I bought a 40' medium duty crank-up tower before I had an antenna. When I went to look for an antenna I knew that the tower wouldn't take a lot of wind load. So I looked at all of the mid-sized tribanders without regard to price. My selection criteria was the maximum ratio of forward gain to wind load. The C3SS won hands down, so I bought it and put it up.

The manual could be improved, but it's not all that bad. I spent 1 1/2 hours the first night studying the manual and putting the first element together. Then the next night I finished tha antenna in a bit over an hour.

The difference between the C3SS and the wires and GAP vertical I'd had was like a whole new world, just unbelievable. Just 5 weeks after I put it up we had a storm line pass through with 110 mph winds. The C3SS was the only functioning antenna I had left when the storm was over, and it's still up today.

I've since moved to a new QTH and put it on a 60' tower with a Hazer. It still performs extremely well. I can now support almost three times the wind load, but I just can't justify replacing the C3SS. About two years ago the B-1 Balun failed open, so I just took it out. The center of match changed a little on 20M, but it works just fine. No change on 15M or 10M.

I can't dispute the comment in an earlier post that the advertized performance on 17M and 12M may be a little overstated. I also think the advertized front-to-back may be overstated, but I don't care. I typically turn through 120 degrees from WNW to ENE and work everything.

About a year and a half after putting up the C3SS I started chasing paper for the first time. I now have Honor Roll in less than 9 years, with nearly all the new ones on this antenna. That's performance that's hard to argue with.

A friend of mine recently performed comparison testing against a Cushcraft A-3, both on the same tower at the same location under the same conditions. His evaluation is that the C3SS is the winner in everything but front-to-back ratio.

Yes, it's pricey. I bought mine for about $550 in 1998. It's currently about $1050. But spread that cost over 12 years with the chance for Honor Roll on your wall and see what you think.

73,

Don, K2DC
 
MM0DVZ Rating: 5/5 Nov 8, 2009 12:12 Send this review to a friend
Very happy!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Hi, I've had this antenna for about 1 year and i must say i'm very happy. The performance is very good, although i must say i did replace the balun with a home made coax balun which did improve the performance a lot. Its a light, well made antenna and has been up in some of the Highlands worst weather without a problem. Works very well on 10m,15m and 20m but does do well on 17m for me, i've worked everything i've heard! I have had some other good beams including the KLM KT34a which was good but i would say i like Force 12 and it'll be here for a while. One other thing is the support from Force 12 is great!!!.
 
W1RME Rating: 5/5 Sep 12, 2009 23:53 Send this review to a friend
Extremely Happy Camper  Time owned: more than 12 months
I put the C3SS up in 2002 on a 2 story house with a Glenn Martin 8 foot tripod and 9 foot mast. I have a superb ground system and am 1/2 mile from the Atlantic Ocean in Maine. First thing I did was get the best rivet gun I could afford and the antenna went together flawlessly and no problems with snow and ice. The assembly manual did leave something to be desired, but that has been updated and is far better with good illustrations and explanations with a professional presentation. The new price is twice what is mentioned in other reviews and I'm glad I got it at the lower price. As a tribander it works everything I can hear and it's really something to drop your call in once or twice and get a reply from pileups for 4X4's, VK's and Zl's. One thing I haven't seen in the reviews is the easy hang feature where you attach a plate to the mast and then just hang the antenna and the secure it with no effort. 17 Meters is a bit of a joke, but the 6 meter capability makes up for it. Most importantly, the new ownership is fantastic with very quick and accurate response giving a very secure feeling. I would recommend that if you have this product- call them and ask for a new manual and brochure. You Will be impressed.
 
W0EWM Rating: 5/5 Jul 30, 2009 16:55 Send this review to a friend
Great Antenna  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've been using the C3SS for about 4 years. I have it on a 9' Glen Martin roof tower on a 2 story house in the Mid-West. I needed an antenna with a smaller turning radius - due to trees. The antenna has performed flawlessly. I haven't been on the roof since the antenna was put up. The SWR is very low on 10M, 15M and 20M. The performance on 17M is OK and it is very good on 12M - with a tuner. I have compared its performance with other antennas in the area and it always does very well. I focus on working DX and the C3SS just doesn't let me down. I know there are better antennas and having it at 100 ft - in the clear - would improve performance, but I always work the ones others in this area work - maybe a little later. I would not hesitate to by another Force 12 antenna - even with the new manufacturer.
 
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