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Reviews Categories | Antennas: VHF/UHF+ Directional (Yagi, quad, etc.) | Arrow Antenna 146-4S 4 Element 2 meter Permanent Mount Yagi Help


Reviews Summary for Arrow Antenna 146-4S 4 Element 2 meter Permanent Mount Yagi
Arrow Antenna 146-4S  4 Element 2 meter Permanent Mount Yagi Reviews: 19 Average rating: 4.9/5 MSRP: $80.
Description: Elements: 1/4" Solid Aluminum, Direct Feed In Line Gamma Match, SO-239 Connector, Stainless Steel Mounting Hardware. 9.68 dBi gain. Optional mounting bracket - end or center, vertical or horizontal.
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.arrowantennas.com
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AB0RE Rating: 5/5 May 6, 2008 22:34 Send this review to a friend
Arrow 146-4S vs M2 2M4  Time owned: more than 12 months
When I bought my first 4-element beam I was torn between the Arrow 146-4S and the M2 2M4. I purchased the Arrow 146-4S a few years ago (direct from Arrow) and the M2 2M4 a couple months ago (from AES). Having owned them both now I think it'd be fair to compare their similarities and differences. They both offer identical gain but have some differences in design that may make one more fitting for your particular situation than the other.


Boom / Elements:

The Arrow has a square aluminum boom which ensures you you have the antenna mounted exactly horizontal or vertical. The elements are 1/4" solid aluminum. The slip through the boom and are held in place with a screw that goes through the boom into a pre-tapped hole on each element - no measuring required! This design makes it easy to break down the antenna and re-assemble... great for portable work, camping, go-kits, etc.

The M2 has a round boom, so a little attention to detail is required to ensure the antenna ends up perfectly vertical or horizontal. The boom is a little lighter in construction. It has a secondary tube that slides inside the main boom to ensure the main boom is not crushed when the mast clamp is tightenened. The elements are 3/16" aluminum and are a bit easier to bend. (After putting my 2M4 together I discovered the rear element was bent. I called M2 and they immediately sent a complimentary replacement out via Priority Shipping. Kudos for great service there!!) The M2's elements are held in place with "keepers". Basically, the boom of the M2 has a hole drilled for each element. The elements are then passed through the boom through plastic insulating bushings on each side of the boom. The "keepers" (which resemble star washers) are then slid on each side of the element after the element is perfectly centered (by taking side-to-side measurements), thus "locking" the elements into place. M2 thoughtfully included a couple extra keepers because if they are pushed too far on the element they are nearly impossible to remove without damage. (This also does not make the 2M4 a good antenna to break-down and re-assemble.) Many reviewers make it sound like the keepers are a terrible burden, but don't let them scare you away. If you take your time assembling the 2M4 you'll be just fine.



Mast Clamps:

The Arrow has a mast saddle clamps cut from aluminum stock. They've got lots of "teeth" to ensure good mechanical attachment to your mounting mast. The Arrow antenna gives you the option of end-mounting the antenna or having it mounted mid-way along the boom. (If running vertical polarization with a metal mast you'd want to end mount to ensure no interaction between the mast and the vertical elements.) I have a couple complaints about the Arrow mast clamp. First, it has a lot of pieces. It's got the two mast clamps, two saddle clamps and four sets of nuts/bolts/lock washers. That's a lot of hardware to keep track of and it's quite cumbersome to get the Arrow antenna mounted to a mast up on a roof or the top of a tower. Second, the Arrow mast clamp is rated for masts 1.5" in diameter or less. It seems many of us run 2" masts if we have a tower or lots of antennas on the mast. For masts wider than 1.5", the mast clamps can be positioned "sideways" from what they are supposed to be for the desired polarization, one can bore out the mast clamp holes and replace the saddle clamps with a pair of muffler clamps that are positioned "long path" (from one mast clamp to the other). I believe I used a 7/16" drill bit to bore out the holes and a pair of 2.25" muffler clamps to facilitate mounting the Arrow 146-4s on a 1 7/8" mast.

The M2 has a glorified muffler clamp for its mast clamp. It only has two nuts and doesn't require a pair of wrenches to tighten it on the mast. It really works much better than the Arrow when installing it to a mast. The mast clamp of the M2 also has holes drilled out in case the user wants to replace the existing "muffler clamp" with a smaller one for a 1.5" mast. The representative I spoke to at M2 was adamant the antenna had to be mounted on *exactly* a 2" mast, or else it must be shimmed. I found it cinches up fine on my 1 7/8" mast. The 2M4 is a very lightweight antenna so I'm not at all worried about it falling off the mast the first time a strong wind comes along.



Tuning Network:

The Arrow antenna uses a gamma match. Per Arrows instructions, both the position of the metal tube and the position of the shorting bar affect both SWR and resonant frequency, but one affects SWR more and the other the resonant frequency more. I had great difficulty the first time I tuned a 146-4S. The final settings were nowhere near the recommended settings from Arrow. (The tube was pressed all the way in and touching the grommet.) I was able to get the entire band squeezed in under a 1.5:1 SWR, but it was a couple hours of tinkering that got me to that point. I'm not a huge fan of gamma matches as they are somewhat a mystery. I searched online and did not find fool-proof instructions for tuning. I basically tried *every* possible combination until I found one that worked. I wouldn't care to repeat that exercise. Coincidentally, the second 146-4S I put together appeared to be pretty much spot on with the suggested settings. Really, I'm at a loss for what may have gone wrong with the first tuning process. The connector on the 146-4S is a SO-239 but the antenna can also be purchased with an N connector.

The M2 using a tee-match (I think that's what they are called). They have a sealed balun that does the dirty work. The only adjustment is the position of the two shorting bars. I found the factory recommended settings were dead on and I was surprised to see I had the entire band well under 1.5:1 with no further adjustments. The balun was of amazing quality. The balun cable uses F-connectors and comes with gasketed nuts that are backed up tight against the F-connectors to ensure the assembly is weather proof. Honestly, I think a substantial portion of the 2M4's price can be attributed to the balun assembly. (M2 now offers "starter" antennas with gamma matches for substantially reduced prices.) If going with a tee-match instead of a gamma match saves as much headache as it did in my case, I'd almost say the tee-match is worth all the extra money spent. The 2M4 comes only with an N-connector. Two piece N-connectors can be had from AES, or one can go with the traditional N-connector if desired - assembly directions for the traditional N-connector can be found in April 2008's QST.



Overall Design / Value:

I'd have to say the Arrow 146-4S is built like a brick outhouse. That thing can take some serious abuse with no ill effects. It can easily be broken down and the elements stored inside the boom. It's almost criminal that one can get that antenna from Al at Arrow for a mere $59. If one is okay spending a little more time tuning and is okay with the 1.5" mast limitation (w/o modification), the Arrow is the perfect choice. The 146-4S would do well in very harsh environments or as an antenna that needs to be moved from location to location a lot. Al at Arrow is great at responding to questions via email.

The M2 2M4 would make a great starter antenna as well, especially considering the wide bandwidth and easy tuning. If the directions are followed carefully and one takes his time assembling the antenna, it appears to be nearly impossible to screw it up. At ~$129 it's not nearly a good of a deal as the Arrow but again, I'd suspect a lot of that cost has to do with the quality tee-match. M2's support is great and they have an extensive product line. (Sadly, Arrow does not produce anything larger than a 4-element VHF beam... Like me, I'm sure once you own one M2 antenna you'll appreciate the quality and attention to detail and want to upgrade to something even larger in the future.)

Both these antennas blow the pants off my Diamond X-50NA vertical antenna (rated at 4.5dBi of gain vs ~7.5dBD of gain on the beams). Please don't think you're making a terrible mistake going with a 4-element beam over a small to medium vertical antenna. With the beam properly positioned, signals seem to be several S-units stronger on the beam antennas. As an added plus, they can be turned with a cheap TV rotor (~$50 at Menards or other hardware stores) that can be controlled with cheap 3-wire control wire.

Thanks & 73,
Dan / ab0re
 
KC9BLT Rating: 5/5 Feb 15, 2008 09:23 Send this review to a friend
Excellent, well built  Time owned: more than 12 months
Great Price and works super, low SWR across the band and very efficient! These things are about the best made beam I have ever looked at.
 
N6NKN Rating: 5/5 May 4, 2007 20:09 Send this review to a friend
Quality Thru and Thru  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Well designed with quality materials. Goes together with no problems, as long as you follow the well written instructions. Thought I was missing the plastic sleeve needed inside the gamma match, but I found it "hiding" inside the aluminum tube. Performance sure beats the 5/8 wave mobile whip I had been using as a base antenna. And finally the price is better then the "Big Guys".

Ordered and arrived in only four days.
 
W4AIJ Rating: 5/5 Oct 22, 2006 00:49 Send this review to a friend
Discontinued????  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Yes I hear this sweet little antenna ( which can still be found new for $40) has been discontinued. I had a hard time getting this one ( and the UHF 5 elem version matched) Until I made this mistake of pushing the grommet thru with the tuning stub into the square section( but still not touching it. Whallah 1:1 across the entire band - on both antennas..The tuning instructions on these antennas seems to be incorrect. I Slit a piece of RG8X insulation to keep the stub from touching the boom once it went inside (about 1/2 inch, almost to the connector) Great results...Too bad it's discontinued
 
KI4KVS Rating: 5/5 Oct 5, 2006 06:45 Send this review to a friend
Tough; works great  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
While installing the antenna, the rope used to hoist it into the air slipped, and the antenna made a 40 ft (not counting the guy wire that it hit) drop to the ground. No damage, not even a "tweak".

I oriented it vertical since the antenna (mine, anyway) is resonant at 146.200mhz, and the SWR was a bit high at the low end of the band. I used the "end mount" feature, and I'm glad I did. Working a local station that gives an easy "+40" on 5 watts, the "backside" completely nulls him out. My guess is that the mast works as a "super reflector". Tuned according to the assembly instructions, SWR was 1.3:1 at 146 mhz, but a little tuning brought it down to 1:1 at 146, and 1.7:1 @ 144.000 mhz, and 1.6:1 @ 148.000 mhz

The mount is a bit hard to handle in the air (four bolts, four lock washers, four nuts, and two saddles to keep under control), but once tamed is very solid. Do yourself a favor, and use electrical tape to hold the bolts against the mounting plate.

This is a fine antenna, and the published gain figures appear accurate.
 
KB1GMX Rating: 4/5 Apr 14, 2006 15:12 Send this review to a friend
tough as nails  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have on in my kit as a 2m portable/field ops antenna for SSB (low end) or FM (high end) utility
beam. I've used it for sats as well though it's
not light.

The features that I like is rugged, and small. I can toss it in the back of the truck knowing it will survive banging around.

Only limitation I've encountered is 1.5" limit on the mast clamp.

I give it a 4 overall as it's stround and works well but the clamp and weight (for it's size) are
my minor nits. However, I do recommend it as there is no smoke or mirrors here and for it's price it's excellent value.

Allison
Kb1GMX
 
KC0SDV Rating: 5/5 Dec 29, 2005 10:04 Send this review to a friend
GREAT ANTENNA  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Based on these reviews and recommendations of other hams, I purchased one and am thrilled with it. Repeaters that I could not even hear on a vertical come in loud and clear with this antenna and I have great signal reports from them. I am thinking of ordering another one for the attic to be used during storms to monitor and report skywarn.

73

Cliff
 
VE7REN Rating: 5/5 Apr 24, 2005 20:07 Send this review to a friend
its true,simply the best!!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
very tight tolerances and cratmanship is excellent.good materials used,and very well designed. i would not hesitate to buy another arrow product.i end mounted mine with a homemade bracket from aluminum angle and stainless bolts, but the factory bracket would do fine.all in all its a winner.
 
K6MTT Rating: 5/5 Apr 1, 2005 13:42 Send this review to a friend
Simply the best  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
"Simply the best" is how Arrow Antenna describes its products. It's absolutely true. Read any of the reviews for their antennas and you will see that people agree. This one is no exception. The stacked (2 antennas) version is reviewed on the site here too; this is the single antenna version. The quality of Arrow Antennas is phenomenal. The design is excellent too, they are superb performers. (I have others besides this one)

It's easy to assemble and the design is thoughtful as well. For instance, the SO-239 connector has the copper wire portion of the gamma match already attached - it's inside the boom. When you assemble it, you remove the SO-239, turn it 90 degrees and put the copper wire through the rubber grommet and reattach the SO-239 - now the copper wire is ready for the rest of the matching device assembly. Everything fits perfectly with tight clearances - but no bending or drilling things out, etc. is required.

The optional mounting bracket is a necessity, it's as good as the antenna itself - precision and built well. The antenna is lightweight and easily end-mounts; the bracket can also center mount it, and the antenna can be vertical or horizontal. It's another superb engineering and manufacturing job.

The performance is, of course, excellent.

You just can't go wrong with Arrow's antennas. Check out the web site to see how they are manufactured. Shipping direct from Arrow is really fast too. I just can't say enough good things about them - they are simply the best!
 
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