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Reviews Categories | Antennas: HF: Vertical, Wire, Loop | GAP Challenger Help

Reviews Summary for GAP Challenger
GAP Challenger Reviews: 77 Average rating: 4.4/5 MSRP: $259.00
Description: Multi-Band HF Vertical
Product is in production.
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AI4HO Rating: 5/5 Oct 16, 2012 22:22 Send this review to a friend
Challenger DX..still one of my favorite antennas  Time owned: more than 12 months
Greetings and salutations, my, my how time flies when you're having fun..on the bands that is. I am long over due on a follow up revies of my GAP Challenger DX antenna. Having had this up well over 3 years now, and it has had quite a bit of use, with pretty much little to no maintainence given to it. This antenna is still knocking them dead, i use it a lot, almost every morning on the Treasure Coasters Net on 7.153MHz, I switch between my Challenger and my 40 meter loop, depending upon band conditions. I usually switch back and forth frequently as band conditions on 40 vary frequently. One day while on the net, I had switched between the two antennas, and had finally settled on one antenna cause it gave me the best signal to noise ratio, I could hear every body, every body could hear me. Which is important when you are the net control station, well, went ahead finished the net and we were at the very end when I actually looked thinking I was on the loop when through out the net I had been using my GAP Challenger DX vertical. No wonder I kept getting, wow..sure are sounding here in..might have been Michigan, or New Brunswick, maybe Texas. I'm a believer in Rich's product.

As I have stated before, these antennas don't go together by themselves. I know, we guys aren't supposed to have to read a manual..any manual, however..I strongly urge you to this one time. If you are going to assemble this antenna correctly..ya gotta read, sometimes reread the manual, hell, have it right beside ya when yer puttin the antenna together, you can use it as reference. Take the time, do it right the first time, then there wont be any bitching or moaning, this antenna ain't worth a flyin flip..Well..did ya read the manual..probably not, or else you wouldn't be saying what a piece of crap the antenna is.
I have known Rich and Chris for..Oh my..10 years now. Rich strives for and usually meets, but mostly exceeds excellence on his antennas. Attention to detail, thats what GAP antennas are made with, attention to detail on each and every part, Rich sees to that. If you ever have a problem, give Rich or Chris a call, they will bend over backwards to make sure you are satisfied that they have solved your problem.

Get one, just do it, get one, you'll see what I mean. GAP Challenger DX antenna, perhaps the last antenna you'll ever get..unless its another of GAP's other great models to choose from.

73 de Mark
K5EMI Rating: 5/5 Sep 25, 2012 17:36 Send this review to a friend
Fine Antenna  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had a Challenger in the back yard for 19 years. It is my only antenna. I have had very good results with the antenna. It has SWR better than 2:1 as advertised (at least in the CW portion of the bands where I operate - I haven't really checked the upper portion of the bands. The location of the antenna is not too favorable, surrounded by trees and houses, yet it gets out well. The antenna has been trouble free all this while, with maintenance consisting of the occasional cleaning and re-tightening of screws. I am running about 1 KW into the antenna on all bands except 80, where it is limited to 500 watts. I am able to bust pile-ups in a short time. I would definitely recommend this antenna if you have limited space. It will serve you well.
VK1GG Rating: 5/5 Sep 12, 2012 02:47 Send this review to a friend
SUPERB  Time owned: more than 12 months
My Challenger arrived home
>afternoon and myself and my good mate Steve put it back up in
the front
>of my 1.5 acre property away from my tower and 30' top loaded
>for 75m. I checked the tuning and it was great as I will show
you in a
>moment. I heard a ZL calling cq on 15m so I went back to him
and got 5/9
>and I was only running 50w. I then got 20/9 to a vk4 on 40m
again with
>50w. Last night I was getting around vk with 400w on 80m and
the 75m
>vertical was one to one and a half s units better and at other
times not
>much difference which was amazing as it is sitting on 60
radials in the
>ground. I was working around Europe also on 20m yesterday
afternoon with
>50w and getting 5/9 most of the time which was only 12db down
from my 2
>ele monobander at 50' as my tower is wound down at the moment.
As usual
>the CHallenger has impressed me when compared to beams and
>Marconi verticals so if I was to move back into the suburbs the
>challenger would be the only antenna I would need to dx on the
40m band
>and the higher bands and would be fine for ragchewing around
vk/zl on
>80m at night with 400w. This antenna is a load of fun to use
and looks
>great amongst the trees in my front yard! With my 17m coat
hanger mod
>installed on the short lower tube here are the swr's measured
with an
>mfj 259 at the feed point;
>10m-27-29MHZ 1.5 to 1
>12m- 2 to 1 across the band
>15m-1.3 to 1 across the band
>17m-1.3 to 1 across the band
>20m-1.6to 1 across the band
>40m-1.1 o 1.2to 1 from 7.00 -7.250( COUNTERPOISE WIRES WERE
>80m- under 2 to 1 from 3770-3840
>1 to 1 SWR at 52MHZ
>1 TO 1 SWR AT 150 MHZ
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.......
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