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Reviews Categories | Antennas: HF: Verticals; Wire; Loop | GAP Challenger Help

Reviews Summary for GAP Challenger
GAP Challenger Reviews: 85 Average rating: 4.4/5 MSRP: $259.00
Description: Multi-Band HF Vertical
Product is in production.
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Page 1 of 9 —>

G8UBJ Rating: 5/5 Aug 28, 2017 01:12 Send this review to a friend
Goes well on 40M and up!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
A bit of a dummy load on 80m but I have an inverted L for that band.

I mounted mine on a bracket on the garage and ending up fixing it with two sets of guys.

N.B. I think one set of guys are a must for this antenna, two if you're in an exposed location.

I get a reasonable SWR on all bands and it has performed well in RTTY contests (Nothing melted or burned out!)
W0FEN Rating: 5/5 Jun 16, 2017 14:09 Send this review to a friend
Good Antenna Great support  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I just assembled this antenna and am very pleased with the performance. The BSWR was alittle high on 40 M and I received an immediate reply about my 'problem.' All other bands were well within specs for VSWR. My first contact was Costa Rica from Kansas CIty.
AB6ME Rating: 4/5 Mar 5, 2017 11:21 Send this review to a friend
Not a good 80m antenna  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
This is a review of the GAP Challenger DX vertical dipole. I installed this antenna in September of 2016 and have been using it almost daily since. There are several reviews stating this antenna does not hold up well to wind and weather. I have not found that to be true. I live in the mountains at 7,000 ft elevation. We get significant winter storms with wind driven snow and ice. I installed precisely according to the manual. This antenna MUST be guyed and it must be guyed ABOVE the center point of the antenna. Mine is guyed about 18" above the center point and has withstood severe winter storms with wind gusts in excess of 60 mph. The antenna barely moves in the strongest gusts. We just had a record January for snow fall and wind and the GAP survived it without a single problem.

Now, regarding the antennas performance. I have a 40m dipole at 60 feet fed with ladder line. I also use the dipole on 20m with the use of a tuner. The dipole consistently out performs the GAP on 40m, but not by much. Maybe 1 or 2 s units difference. The dipole is oriented with nulls to the north and south. The GAP consistently outperforms the dipole when operating in the direction of the nulls. I would rate this as a very good 40 meter vertical antenna as it will give you performance almost as good as a dipole at 60 ft.

20 meter performance of the GAP is consistently better than the dipole. It is almost routine to operate into Japan and Asiatic Russia with the GAP. Nearly impossible with the dipole (probably due to the orientation and radiation pattern). The GAP has become my "go to" 20 meter antenna. Keep in mind, I am comparing the performance of the GAP on 20m to a 40m dipole being used on 20m.

Now the bad news. On 80m the GAP is marginal at best. I recently installed a 75m dipole at 70ft and there is no comparison between it and the GAP. I operate 3905 Century Club nets and on 75m the GAP is useless. On the GAP I am barely heard on the east coast whilst on the dipole I am routinely 20 to 30 over s9. The bandwidth of the GAP on 80/75m is also fairly narrow. I get about 120KHz of usable bandwidth although I can stretch that a bit with a tuner. I believe the GAP would be an OK antenna if your 75m activity is within 1500 miles, but anything more distant than that and the antenna becomes useless. At least that has been my experience. It is the lack of 80/75m performance that forces me to give this antenna a 4 rating rather than a 5.

Overall a very good multi-band vertical antenna if you don't want the hassle of installing a radial field. The GAP does require the 3 25' radial wires, but I did not find that to be a big deal. If you are looking for a top performer on 80/75m I would not recommend this antenna.
EI2HH Rating: 4/5 Aug 5, 2016 14:22 Send this review to a friend
Nice! With some fettling...  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
[update] After a lot of reading about various verticals, and with the urge to try a vertical to compliment or replace my existing OCF dipole, I decided on a Gap Challenger DX VIII.

At 31 feet I thought that's about as tall as I would get away with!

When it arrived it was a nice day, no wind, so I decided to assemble it immediately. I'd read the manual first, and has also read reviews that said the manual wasn't too good, but I didn't think so.

Reading it logically and thinking about every step meant it was easy to assemble, it took about an hour.

I used a little blob of copper grease on each sheet metal screw to prevent the oxidisation which will surely occur between the stainless steel screws and the aluminium tube.

I also decided to solder the supplied crimp terminals on the jumpers; this will prevent any increase in resistance if the connections oxidise - in an antenna with tens of ohms impedance every half an ohm counts!

My plan is to mount it on my garage roof eventually, but I decided to ground mount it temporarily so I could mess about with it and get comfortable with it before putting it up somewhere hard to get to.

So I manufactured a ground mount similar to the one available to buy.
Mine used a length of steel tube as the pivot, which fitted snugly inside the pvc ground tube that Gap supply. I determined how far down that pic the Challenger's lower tube went, and using a hose clip I ensured that my steel tube was separated from the aluminium by about 4 inches.

In the pictures you can see a prototype where I was using a length of nylon rod, but when raising the antenna I found the nylon was just too flexible.

I attached four lengths of paracord to use as guys, and pre-set up the guy points - two on the garage wall and two in the ground.

Then I walked the Challenger up. Boy, that was hairy the first time, it sure bends a lot!

But once it was up, a fat cable tie held it there in my mount while I tensioned the guys; without them the antenna does bend alarmingly!

I hate the PL259 plugs with the reducer supplied, so I used a better one, which uses a top hat ferrule for the screen connection - much better.

I connected the recommended three 25' radials, because my mount meant the connection point was about 3' off the ground, I ran the radials first straight down the mount, then out along the ground.

Then I connected it to the tx, and the analyser, and tried it out.

Well, the resonances were all over the place. None of the ham bands resonated correctly. 80m was too low, 40m about 200kHz too high, 20m 400kHz high, 15m too low, 10m too low.

I had a few calls with the guys at Gap, where they suggested various things.

It seems that when pushing a steel tube up the pvc mount, there can be interaction. So I redesigned the mount to make it much lower, and now only about 2" goes up inside the pvc tube. This helped a lot, to my surprise!

I also decided to try running the radials away perpendicular to the antenna, so I used three electric fence posts to do this, so the radials now head out about 5' then slope down to the ground.

This also helped a lot! The final fettle was to wind the feed coax into a choke just as it exits the lower tube.

Now, I have good resonances on all bands. 80m is still a little low, a 1.1:1 vswr at 3.6MHz (when I'd prefer it at 3.7), 40m tuning is really broad, 1:1 at 7.2MHz but very low down to 6.8MHz.

20m is still a little wrong, the best match is 1.1:1 at 14.5MHz, but it's below 2:1 down to 14.0MHz.

15m is really low and broad, 12m is very good and 10m is a little low but broad enough.

One thing I noticed when I tried it on the air, even before my final adjustments, is that my background noise is way lower than my OCF dipole, and on receive the sigs were at least 10dB better, which is great!

Now I have it nearly right, contacts I've made on 40 and 20 are really nice. Much better than the dipole. On 80m its only better within its 100kHz window, which is a little low for me.

I've not finished adjusting and experimenting yet, but for now I'm really pleased with the antenna, its construction, its performance and the support from Gap.

Pics here:
KD6QCT Rating: 5/5 Jan 22, 2016 21:01 Send this review to a friend
Very good antenna but needs proper guying  Time owned: more than 12 months
Guy the antenna better than factory recommendation as follows:
Guy in center as Gap recommends. Guy about half way down just below mid point stand offs. Guy about 8 ft from top above top stand offs. I used 4 guys at each location 90 apart. Since that time antenna has stayed up with no damage. I have rebuilt it about 4 times due to wind damage and the last time damaged was in 2011. I tried different guy systems until the last 3 locations with 4 guys. Good antenna with good performance. I would buy another if I replaced. Cause of wind damage was metal fatigue from great gust of wind 40 to 85 MPH (actual clocked gusts).
KC7WRH Rating: 5/5 Nov 20, 2015 11:36 Send this review to a friend
Fantastic  Time owned: more than 12 months
I first purchased my Gap Challenger DX back in 2000 and used it for 2 & 6 meters.
For the first several years it was not supported and the Wyoming winds would bend it so much in the winter blizzards I thought it would snap, 15 years later and moved to a new QTH it is still going strong with zero maintenance.
I still get great signal reports with it.
The receive like any other vertical antenna is a bit noisy abut not to bad.
It only has 3 counterpoise laid on the ground to help on 40 meters.
It works on 17 meters with a short wire clipped to one of the rods so now I have a vertical that works from 80 to 2 meters and 70 cm with out the use of a tuner.
Try one they are easy to put up, takes up a very small space including the counterpoise and gets great signal reports on DX even working 1 watt QRP.
Try one you will not be disappointed.
BTW, the people at GAP are friendly and will answer any questions you have, I may just buy another soon.
N7VFW Rating: 5/5 May 6, 2015 07:11 Send this review to a friend
erBuilt in Ameria by Americans to last  Time owned: more than 12 months
I own my Gap challenger for 2 years now. It's great antenna that gets great contacts on 20/40. Living in the country I mounted this antenna op top of my septic leach field. Which seems to help allot considering the soil always moist.On 80 meters I only notice a difference of 1s unit from inverted V at 43 feet and hear lots DX. last year I had tornado land near the back of my home my Gap Challenger antenna survived 95+mph wind gust guyed.After the the storm was over I noticed my Challenger was still standing just bent at perfect 90 deg angel. I wish i could post photos here. I took the antenna apart and pounded the aluminum tubing straightening it out and now its back on the air working great.
KD5NTL Rating: 5/5 Jan 27, 2015 09:57 Send this review to a friend
NEW UPDATE  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I put this antenna up at the end of August. and now 1/27/2015 the results of the ARRL centennial contest is over the results speak for themselves. I didn't participate in this contest prior to owning this antenna and here are my results. total points 16127 QSO 577. with a score like this and only half hardily trying it is impressive, I work N3KN 4 times on 4 different bands, with the president of the ARRL worth 300 points everyone wanted to work Kay,My set up is a Icom 7000, LDG antenna tuner and the GAP Challenter DX. and only running 100 watts. I also have 43 LoTW confirmed countries. With a antenna tumer tuner this antenna will tune up on 10 thru 80 metres
KO7AA Rating: 5/5 Dec 10, 2014 20:12 Send this review to a friend
Impressive!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
My new QTH is a rocky mountaintop. A yagi would be too big for my situation and a quarter wave vertical with less than 120 radials would be worthless due to ground loss. Elevated radials probably would have caused issues with the HOA!

I spent a lot of time considering wire antennas in the trees, but with CQWWCW coming up quick, I put up this antenna for 40M use. It is NOT a vertical with no radials, it is a vertical dipole.

40 Meters: 172 QSO's 32 Zones 90 Countries

in just 5 hours on Saturday evening. My QTH has great take off angles, so YMMV, but I am impressed...

WB9HZX Rating: 5/5 Oct 16, 2014 08:31 Send this review to a friend
Don't follow the negative reviews.  Time owned: more than 12 months
I am on my 2nd Gap Challenger DX. The first one was installed in 1996-7. It lasted, un-guyed until the spring of 2014! Here in Indiana we get weather, ice, snow, rain and lots of wind! The first antenna even went thru a very near miss tornado. Our power was out for over a week. 60' from the base of the antenna, all the wires, transformer... everything was ripped off the utility pole. The antenna survived for several more years. What failed... the double section at the very base finally gave it up due to metal fatigue. I put it away for spare parts and ordered a exact replacement. I have worked lots and lots of DX both with the SB220 and without alike! If it did 18mhz it would be a perfect antenna. So.... give these a second thought and the people at Gap are super if you need help!
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