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Reviews Categories | Antennas: HF Verticals and Wire | Hy-Gain AV-18HT HyTower-Jr Help


Reviews Summary for Hy-Gain AV-18HT HyTower-Jr
Hy-Gain AV-18HT HyTower-Jr Reviews: 8 Average rating: 3.9/5 MSRP: $350
Description: 'Poor Mans' version of the famous 53 foot HyTower vertical
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.hy-gain.com
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WB8NQW Rating: 1/5 Oct 20, 2013 14:29 Send this review to a friend
I am very disappointed with MFJ  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had this antenna for over 2 years. It took over 2 months to get all the correct parts listed in the manual. Then there was the insulator that was on the diagrams but not in the instructions. It works fine on 40M, OK on 20M and 15M but 10M and 75M are an absolute disaster in my opinion. The movable jumper for 75M will move the SWR dip but nowhere can I get the SWR below 2.2:1. 10M resonates somewhere below 28MHZ and steadily rises to 3:1 at 29.6MHZ.
I have 36 - 40' radials buried around the antenna - not all are that long due to trees and solid objects. I have tried many of the suggestions from other hams as to lowering the top section but I never found an acceptable solution. I am beginning to suspect some unknown error in the manual but cannot prove it. In rarely us the antenna except about 3 times on 40M. HyGain used to be an excellent company to deal with but MFJ has been no help at all. I talked to them at Dayton and the only suggestion was to disconnect the radials which is a little difficult since they are already buried.

73
Bob
 
KC4MOP Rating: 2/5 Dec 13, 2011 17:25 Send this review to a friend
Not For The Faint Hearted  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Hello All
I hope I do not get boring or you read obscene language here. Definitely a project to test your patience. MFJ/HyGain whomever they are, are not really up to speed to give any help or correct shortages in hardware, or wrong hardware. The 'manual' leaves a lot to be desired. The illustrations are not very clear at all. They will lead you to doom and suffering trying to figure out why 15M won't work or why 80M jumps all over the band.
A big pitfall many have fallen into is that 15M has an insulator at the top which screws to the insulator at the top cross arm. Many people are omitting that EXTRA insulator and are connecting part of the 80M loading system (cage wire, and the wire running between the TOP cross arms ) to the 15M wire and that makes a mess. MFJ/HY GAIN tech admitted that many fall into that pit. Well why don't they correct the unclear manual and illustrations!!!!????? Geesh.
I finally got control over my Jr. by the Grace of God and very nice knowledgeable fellow Ham ops.
MY ground radial system is a little different than most folks.
7 ea vinyl covered, WELDED, steel fencing. 3 feet wide and 50 feet long. The fencing is spread around base of the tower and I BONDED all fences together with silver solder and 1 inch wide copper strap and connected to the shield of the coax and ground rod. May be why my Jr. became such a PITA!! BUT verticals need radials....
Problem.....80M never get below 2:1.....I was shooting for 3750, so I shortened the TOP rod. Only 11 inches extended...so I lose the freeebie 17M. Thanks to Dale WB6BYU and another antenna guru. He suggested adding/ shunting a 1.??, 1.6UH coil across the feed point. I had a variable inductor in the Junque box. When I connected it across the feed point (center conductor and shield) the magic happened and I have 1.5:1 SWR. The coil upsets 40M a little, but my SS Kenwood puts out 100W, no fold back on all of the bands.
I REMOVED the SUPPORT WIRE for 10M and used some Dacron rope. That made SWR a little better on 15 and 20M. All of my SWR is mostly 1.7:1. Which is what a vertical should be over a good radial system. Resistance 36 ohms and X in the low 20's on a MFJ269.
I will update later to give on the air reports using barefoot or legal limit.
It should be a very hot antenna. No traps or loading coils, or tricks. I guess back in the 60's when this was designed and in production, they did not worry about SWR beyond 2:1. Check your hardware and then run to the your local home improvement store and buy what you need. A lot quicker than waiting several weeks for MFJ/HyGain to react. Hardware is cheap! my patience is not!!
Thanks for reading.
 
K5MVP Rating: 5/5 Sep 15, 2011 16:36 Send this review to a friend
Great antenna & Modification to fix problems  Time owned: more than 12 months
This antenna is a sleeper. I have been licensed since 1957 as K5MVP and I have had many antennas since that time. When I retired we moved to south Mississippi from New Orleans to a second QTH that our family has had since 1951. It is in a forest of pines greater than 100 feet tall. So what sort of antenna to put up? Being in my late sixties and with wire antennas difficult to install in deep woods I decided on a vertical. But, what sort of vertical? After looking at the current line up of commercial verticals I decided to purchase the Hy-Gain High Tower Jr. for the following reasons.

1. Ease of installation.
2. Operating on 80, 40, 20, 15 and 10 meters.
3. No traps or loading coils.
4. Presenting a 52 ohm impedance on all bands.
5. Can take legal limit power.
6. SWR less than 2:1 on entire 40, 20 and 15 bands
7. 200 Khz bandwidth on 80 and 400 Khz on 10.

I remember seeing this vertical as a Novice in 1957 advertised in QST along with the Hy-Tower Sr. I think for some reason the Hy-Tower Jr. was discontinued for some reason but MFJ brought the antenna back to life when they bought Hy-Gain. I was first looking at the Hy Tower Sr. but, as someone who enjoys operating DX I discovered that the Hy Tower Sr. was on 20 meters a three quarter wave length antenna. This makes the take off angle too high for long haul DX. However, the Hy-Tower Jr. is a quarter wave length on 40 through 10 and on 80 meters the 40 foot tall antenna is “cage loaded”. This is an old technique used in the early days of radio to broad band antennas. The Hy Tower Jr. provides 200 Khz of less than 2:1 VSWR on 80 meters. This is much more operating bandwidth than most commercial verticals and also is a 52 ohm impedance.

Assembly of the antenna is not complicated but does require attention to detail of where wires go.

ANTENNA FIXES

I am fortunate to own a TimeWave Antenna Smith which displays a complete picture of where the antenna is resonating from 80 through 10 meters in one picture display. As they say a picture is worth a thousand words. The Antenna Smith showed me that the 15 meter wire is not the correct length at 122.5 inches. For the middle of the band using f/234 it should be 132.25 inches. If not corrected the antenna will resonate around 22 Mhz.

80 meter ANTENNA TUNING

Hy Gain is not too helpful in giving information on tuning the antenna for 80 meters. If you do not shorten the antenna and leave it at maximum length, which is close to 40 feet, you will find that if you place the jumper wire on crossarm 2, which is the setting for the lower part of the band, the antenna will resonate at 3.490 Mhz. At crossarm 3 it will resonate at 3.600 Mhz and at crossarm 4, which is the upper part of the band it will resonate at 3.950 Mhz. These settings are not useful. The solution to this problem is to lower the mast so that the total height of the mast is 33 feet. Now the three selection points will be moved to more useable areas of the band. I choose the middle part of the band which is crossarm 3 where the jumper is placed and makes the antenna resonate at 3.750 Mhz with usable space of 100 Khz either side of 3.750 Mhz. Hy Gain will tell you that by shortening the mast this affects 40 meters too. The Antenna Smith showed no difference on 40 meters between the 33 foot and 40 foot height.

MODIFICATIONS

Understanding how the 10 meter wire works is still puzzling me. The antenna is not resonant on 17 meters and I enjoy operating on this band. So I replaced the 10 meter wire and mast clamp with a 17 meter wire cut using the formula f/234 to 155 inches. You have not lost 10 meters since the 20 meter wire is now operating as a half wave length antenna on 10 and according to the Antenna Smith is resonant at less than 2:1 between 28.3 and 28.7. None of these modifications have affected 80, 40 and 20 meters. I will at a later date experiment with installing a full quarter wave wire for 10 meters to broadband 10 meters more.

HOW DOES IT WORK

To sum it up in one word GREAT! Running 1200 watts input I can work the world and even be competitive in pileups on any band. I have bought the brand new MFJ 998RT Legal Limit remote tuner and installed it at the antenna base. I can now work 60 and 30 meters without a problem at 1:1 VSWR. All other bands are also 1:1.

At this QTH this antenna does not have a radial system. The ground conductivity here is excellent. I have four 8 foot ground rods around the base of the antenna. Of course your situation depending on your QTH is always different and a radial system may be needed.
 
AC0DV Rating: 5/5 Mar 1, 2011 09:47 Send this review to a friend
Addendum to earlier review  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've been contacted half a dozen times about this antenna since my initial review. I still use it as my primary antenna and I LOVE IT. It is GREAT with lots of radials.

But my review website changed. See antenna review at the homepage listed in my profile. (I've not updated it lately... but I have updated the link.)

NOTE: If I was going to do it again... Because I am so impressed with this "Junior" I would save more money and splurge and buy the FULL SIZE HyTower. I think the full size would work a little better on 40M and it also has a 160M "L" option.
 
WZ7I Rating: 5/5 Oct 4, 2009 17:19 Send this review to a friend
Very good solution for my needs  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I do not understand why there are not many reviews of this antenna. It seems to me to be an excellent solution to the average ham’s multi-band vertical antenna requirements.

Of course, it does require radials and it is not exactly unobtrusive, but if you can put up with those issues, it is difficult to understand how you could get markedly better performance from a multi-band vertical.

It has full size ¼ wavelength elements on 10, 15, 20 and 40 meters with “cage loading” on the 80 meter wire. The elements are stub-decoupled. The 10 meter element is elevated. Consequently there are no traps or compromised electrical components to reduce efficiency or limit transmit power. The performance characteristics of ¼ wavelength verticals are well understood and hard to surpass in the HF environment. The only variable in its performance is the quality of the radial field and the conductivity of your soil.

Surely, there are physical design compromises that I could “nit-pick” and HyGain could improve the photographs and the instructions but it was fun to put together. Since the design is easy to understand, it is not difficult to figure out how to tune it or to diagnose and repair problems if they should occur. It is strong enough that I am satisfied it won’t be damaged by weather unless the conditions are very extreme.

I am happy with the product and the value it represents. I have four of the larger HyTower antennas in a 4-square array but this antenna is similar electrically and certainly easier to install. A contractor did the 4-square installation but I easily installed this smaller antenna with some help from my wife.
 
NC7M Rating: 3/5 Jan 28, 2009 13:14 Send this review to a friend
Antenna OK  Time owned: more than 12 months
Let me first say this antenna works well on 40 meters.
Install was not good. Most of the 10-32 hardware was not in the box and the wrong shorting clamp was sent with the unit. The instructions are poor with faded illistrations to follow as the instructions tell you to do. Looks like the copier was running out of ink. Hy-gain was not very helpful with assembly. They did send another set of instructions but like the first set they were a bit different than the antenna I have. The mounting plate did not match either drawing and looks like it came from a different antenna. I bought the antenna from AES, the box had been opened so maybe that is where the hardware packages went. There is no tune data for SWR patterns in either manual. I was able to figure it out and make it work after many put up and take downs. Guying is a must but survived 75 MPH winds here near the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon. It isn't a pileup breaker but is good for domestic communication and covers all bands as advertised. As stated in previous reviews 40 meters is as good as you will find next to a monoband verticle. Cheers Marc NC7M
 
WA8WAA Rating: 5/5 Dec 10, 2008 11:37 Send this review to a friend
Very Good Antenna for the price.  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned the Hy-Gain 18HT HyTower-Jr. for little over a year and I find that on 80 and 40 mtrs, it is hard to beat. It covers about 150 khz on 75 mtrs and flat across the entire 40 and 15 mtr bands. It covers 10 and 20 mtrs very well also. It is a full 1/4-wave antenna on all 5 bands. No lossy traps required. A bonus is that the antenna will load up on 17 mtrs with an SWR of less than 2 to 1. This may vary per installation.

Radials are important! I started out with 10, fifty-foot radials and every month added 10 more. After 60 radials, I didn't notice much in the way of improvement except the SWR increased as the impedance reached about 40 ohms with 90 radials. I stapled the radials to the lawn with Lawn Staples from Home Depot. Very fast and easy. After several months the grass grew over the radials and I can mow a 2" cut with my riding lawn mower with no problems. You must use a DX Engineering Radial plate to save time and make a great insulation. Spend some time studying the instulation manual. It will save you time in the long run.

The main drawback to this antenna is the very low angle of radiation. Located in southern Michigan, it is many times easier for me to work Europe than the U.S. west coast on 100 watts. The performance on 10 through 20 mtrs is about what could be expected from any good quarter wavelength vertical. Over 30 years ago I worked well over 300 countries, so I’m not that interested in chasing DX any longer. Therefore, this antenna fits the bill very well. I don’t need to switch antennas when switching bands and I don’t need to fool around with rotators. I can set back and enjoy a QSO. The antenna has survived 60 mph winds with no problems. Considering the price and the performance, I have to rate this antenna as a 5 (very good).

Tom, WA8WAA
 
KD7HVL Rating: 5/5 Sep 17, 2007 19:55 Send this review to a friend
Good Antenna better than most  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Very good antenna once you have a GOOD RADIAL FIELD under it. Plan on at lesast 100 plus radials for good preformance. Tunning is tricky due to vintage, even though this is a new antenna the design dates back to I think the earily 60S'. the design is basically a vertical wire for 10,15 and 20. 40 meters uses the whole antenna with the cage and is very very broad bandwidth. 80 is also the whole antenna but with 3 tap points for the low, mid, or high end of the band. Very nice construction. Do not even consider this antenna unless you have room for a good radial system or your gound conductivity and dielectric properties of your soil are really great. Manual leaves something to be desired but usable. On the air preformance is better than butternut, gap titian, hustler, any of the typical 25-28 foot garden varity of verticales as this one is 39 foot high and I have tried all mentioned over the years. I would get another one if something happened to this one. Price is not to bad either as I feel your getting your moneys' worth a lot of tubing. Hope this helps someone with there decisions.
 


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