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Reviews Categories | Antennas: HF Verticals and Wire | GAP Challenger Help

Reviews Summary for GAP Challenger
GAP Challenger Reviews: 74 Average rating: 4.4/5 MSRP: $259.00
Description: Multi-Band HF Vertical
Product is in production.
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WA4RG Rating: 5/5 Sep 6, 2012 08:30 Send this review to a friend
Outstanding  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I just put up the Challenger yesterday and I am very impressed thus far.

I have several wire antennas that are up pretty high but the Challenger hears better than the wires. Over the years I have had a few verticals and the one thing that always bothered me about verticals was the noise level. The GAP has lower noise than my dipoles and windom. While tuning around I found I was able to hear DX like VK and 5N that I could not hear at all with the wire antennas.

Not having to use a tuner since the antenna has a flat SWR across most of its bands is a real plus for those of us that like to experiment with Automatic Link Establishment (ALE).

One of these days I'll put up another beam but in the mean time, the Challenger looks like it will be an asset.
K4GHR Rating: 5/5 Mar 12, 2012 17:39 Send this review to a friend
Excellent product that works very well  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've now had my Challenger DX for over a year. I'm still as pleased as I can be with it. I've worked the world with it and my barefoot FT-450. It's flat SWR is a great feature that makes operation so easy. No tuner needed.

I've seen a few negative reviews on eHam. Hard to explain. The product is sound. Follow the directions carefully, take your time, and in 3 or 4 hours of work you can have a great antenna. And yes, use ONLY 3 radials. Look at the number of 5's this product gets. That says something.
W6PUG Rating: 5/5 Mar 11, 2012 08:31 Send this review to a friend
Challenger HD awesome  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Follow up review: have made about 50 contacts with the ruggedized Challenger and it has done a really great job. My QTH horrible for European DX but already have France and all over US, etc... Challenger works great when footprint is challenged; the HD version does not need guying, so that makes it even better because we have strong canyon winds. One of best investments I have ever made; cutting down my horizontal loop today - it has been a workhorse but it is now not needed with the GAP Challenger. Good job designing it.
N3LZG Rating: 5/5 Jun 21, 2011 10:47 Send this review to a friend
No fuss DX for the space challenged  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I received my GAP Challenger from another ham who got it from the son of a SK. It was improperly taken down and the internal harness got mangled. A quick call to GAP and the replacement coax was on its way, along with a new ground mount. Had it set up on Thanksgiving 2010 with the help of two other hams and since then have made hundreds of DX contacts.

I recently experimented with using it with an FT-817 and made two 20m PSK contacts into Germany one night, with a 559 and a 599 RST. All with 5 watts.

I give it 4 stars for overall performance and a fifth for the combination of service/support from GAP and the price I paid (antenna was free, only had to pay for the replacement parts.)
W9QQ Rating: 4/5 Dec 14, 2010 14:39 Send this review to a friend
Good Enough!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I've had this antenna up for eight months. It's a pretty good compromise antenna. I put mine in a corner of my yard, between my house and shed, and I've been able to work the world. I have no doubt that a directional antenna or a standard vertical over a decent radial field would work better, but I've been happy with this purchase. It got me on the air with little effort, and it doesn't consume my yard.
N8RAT Rating: 4/5 Nov 26, 2010 21:11 Send this review to a friend
Decent Performer on Most Bands  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned the GAP Challenger DX-VIII since the-mid Ď90s. Overall, the antenna is a respectable performer on several bands. However, it really shines on 40 meters comparing favorably to my inverted V at 45í. During the day, the inverted V usually outperforms the GAP while working stations out to 500 miles or so. However at night when the band opens up, the GAP usually produces better results for stations over 500-600 miles out. Averaging on the order of 2 S-units better. On 75 meters, itís adequate but noticeably degraded when compared to my 75 meter inverted V up at 40í day or night. Usually around 2-3 S-units weaker than the inverted V. But still decent considering itís shortened height. On 20 meters it works quite well. The omni-directional characteristics compliment my A4S at 50í. Stations that are slightly above the noise on the A4S are not heard on the GAP. If the beam is pointed in the direction of the target station, the A4S is around 2-3 S-units stronger than the DX-VIII. Iíd say itís comparable to a dipole with a lower angle of radiation. On 15 meters and higher, itís not as impressive as the lower frequencies. While constructed of fairly common materials, the antenna is fairly robust. Mine is guyed just above the center insulator and has survived wind gusts of 70 mph.
WB0FDJ Rating: 5/5 Nov 5, 2010 16:20 Send this review to a friend
Bulletproof. Effective. Small footprint.  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've been asked about 80 mtr performance in conversations with others. If you read the ARRL review they note that on 80 mtrs this antenna is down about 2 S units from a 31 foot vertical loaded against radials. I'd say thats about right. I don't run 80 much but according to the logbook from N. Iowa/S. MN in very casual operating I've put IN OH TN KY IL FL VT NH KS and RI (among others) in the log. Max power 50 W CW and several of those were made at 5 W (midwest contacts) with a few at 10W running JT65a, I don't have 130 ft for a dipole, which would clearly be a better choice. Also don't have the room for a proper set of radials such as you'd use with a Hustler. 80 M is clearly a compromise, no question, but is adequate for casual operating if you have no room.

Second update. Thursday 6/17/10 several tornadoes ripped through my county causing extensive damage, the next door neighbor found her ash tree on top of the garage. A few doors down another large tree was uprooted and the street looked like a war zone with debris, mostly from trees and vegetation, everywhere. My GAP challenger, anchored with three kevlar lines, is in pristine condition, not a wire out of place. Between this kind of reliability and it's effectiveness (in making milliwatt contacts for example) I believe this is the last antenna I'll ever buy commercially.

Update: Using the Challenger to run QRPp. Just finished a QSO with an op in California, giving me 549 while I'm running 700 MILLIWATTS. First contact with my Rockless on 40, same power, was Edmonton Alberta (1080 miles) second one was California. Yeah, I know, it's not the only antenna that can do that, but it's not deaf either! Earlier review follows:

I live on a small lot with only a few square feet of useful space (surrounded on three sides by power lines, small lot, small trees in the way, etc). I've formerly used the Challenger in another location with great success. Still I spent quite some time researching my options before getting this one. For those considering purchase of this antenna a very complete and well written set of instructions for assembly are available at the GAP website. I just used the written ones that came with it which are completely adequate. If you passed the exam for your license, you will figure this out.

Took about 2 hours of not hurrying to get it together. All parts were there, went together without drama or surprises. Everything fit as expected: this was my experience back in '92 when I got my first one. Set the base in concrete. Guyed the thing with "antenna rope". Works just fine, tunes up as expected. I don't really need a tuner at all but my old MFJ manual tuner gives me a little more width on 80 and I have tuned 30 and made some Q's. I'm hard core QRP and have filled up a lot of logbook pages running from 2-5 watts.

I won't claim this is "better" than some other antenna and no one will mistake it for a beam, but the average ham who needs multiple bands in one stick and doesn't have a lot of room for radials that the base loaded antennas require will find this is a reasonable option. Its MUCH quieter than my end fed wire-which gave me S3-4 noise levels from surrounding electrical noise and for the first time since I moved I can listen to all bands with no more than S1 noise levels. It does work on 6 meters, on par with your basic dipole and I found I can access several 2 meter repeaters about 25 miles away with 5 watts input. If you have questions check out "HF Vertical Performance Test Methods and Result" by Silver and Morris. They review, among other, the GAP Titan: not the same antenna but uses the same design with less aluminum. My experience with the challenger mirrors their objective findings with the titan. Also check out the reviews available online.

Just one hams opinion.......
KG4CBJ Rating: 5/5 Sep 10, 2010 09:34 Send this review to a friend
Great limited space antenna  Time owned: more than 12 months
New call W8GAB. I have used the Challenger for approximately nine years on and off. First QTH antenna was located as indicated in the owners manual. SWR was was adaquate, 80m, forget, good receive overall, however, agree with others about transmit. Trimmed radials and to no avail. Great on PSK31 etc, SSB ok on xmit, deaf in some instances on rec, especially on 20m (as compared to my beam). Moved from West coast of FL to East to new QTH and did not think of using because property was so much smaller. Put up the driven element of Mosley TA-33 great triband rec & xmit (20-10m).
Recently purchased K3 and wanted to work 40 or perhaps 80. Not much room for a wire. I was going to put down radials with staples made from 6" 12AWG, because of lawn care issues (previously radials were burried)elected to just drape radials on ground with coax.
Wow, it worked great (no greater than -1-2 S units as compared to the dipole) 40m came alive both xmit and rec.59 in Ohio QSO party with 75 watts. The jury is still out on 80m. Because I take up the radials and coax and reset once a week I came up with a system others may want to try to see if it solves some of the radial issues.
I took and cut the radials 12AWG stranded to the 25' length as requested. placed all three stripped ends into a piece of copper tubing and soldered together. Purchased a 2" ground clamp which has a separate large hole with a tension screw and two large screws to tighten. The clamp has a break-away for easy clamping. It just fits snugly on the main mast.
Placed the tube (radials attached) into the sctew hole and clamped the fixture just above the coax. The radials were streched out in a fan covering perhaps no more than 200 degrees. Let the radials curl and place one of the radials parallel to the coax. You can adjust the position of the radials by changing the position of the clamp.
Now, I just unclamp the fixture radials attached and wind them around a large plastic water bottle. Nice and clean and ready for the next deployment. It is interesting to note that my Gap is next to two trees and a fence and now works better than it did in a free space. It also could be said that the setup is uniqe to my QTH?
My official rating is a 4.3 overall because of past performance and the problems on 80m. Overall this is a good antenna and in the right instances can perform better than expected. I especially like it for digital modes.
AA0N Rating: 1/5 Aug 20, 2010 00:42 Send this review to a friend
80 meter poor performance  Time owned: more than 12 months
Swr as advertized on all bands.
Seemed to work great on 40 meters.. ok on 20 and above. Was like a dummy load on 80 meters. I could hear sigs just fine but could only contact the strongest stations.. If they were s9 here, i was barely copyable to them. After a frustrateing arrl rtty contest with it, i took it down, put the butternut back up and i was able to work just about anything i heard, on 80 meters, again.
Think the antenna has issues.. especially on 80 meters.. Over many years of operation, i rarely run into anyone useing one on 80 meters and when I do hear them, they are usually running high power and still not that strong.
KD0LAV Rating: 5/5 Jul 22, 2010 19:55 Send this review to a friend
Works like a Champ!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I looked back at my previous writeup on this antenna and feel the additional time I have had with this antenna warrants additional comments. Its been a little over 5 weeks since the antenna has been operational. Running 100 watts I have had contacts with Cuba, Bogota Columbia, The Ukraine, Greenland, Japan, and Estonia to name just a few. Stateside contacts have been coast to coast on mostly 20m but 6m as well. Everyone seems surprised and impressed it does so well. There has only been twice that I have heard DX stations and not been able to talk to them. When you consider this antenna is up next to a house and a 6ft tall privacy fence it is even more impressive.
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