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Reviews Categories | Antennas: HF Mobile & Accessories | Original W6AAQ Screwdriver Antenna Help

Reviews Summary for Original W6AAQ Screwdriver Antenna
Original W6AAQ Screwdriver Antenna Reviews: 18 Average rating: 4.9/5 MSRP: $150.00 + $12 S/H
Description: Continuously Tuneable High Performance HF Mobile Antenna
Product is in production.
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KD5VX Rating: 5/5 Mar 7, 2003 16:03 Send this review to a friend
Great Antenna  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
After doing my homework I decided to order the DK3 antenna from Doug at Starfire Tec. If you need great service and advise I will recommend Doug to you. He is a Great vender and goes well beyond what is necessary to please his customers. Starfire Tec gets a 10+++.......Regarding the DK3; This antenna has well exceded my exspectations. It performs as advertised and then some. When I installed the DK3 I overlooked an important item in my hast to fit the installation into my schedule which caused it not to resonate on any frequency. After contacting Don W6AAQ I realized my folly and all mystery when away. Don is the type of person that is passionate about HF mobile and spent quite a while on the phone discussing the antenna and installation. Once I isolated the top mast support on my van by wrapping a rubber sleeve around the antenna and elimanating the metal U-Bolt the antenna played right and has not skipped a beat. After being a knowledgable ham for 23 years there is nothing like being cut down to size by a simple lack of attention to detail! I am sure Don will get a kick out of this one and probably make a point to inform others of my oversite.......I DESERVE IT.........I cannot give Don enough thanks for his integrity and input. He is a very knowledgable and gracious person and deserves more appreciation and respect from his peers.......One can spend 2 or 3 times what is charged for the DK3 and not improve one bit on the performance end, not to mention the open door of Don Johnson. In closing, buy the DK3, support the inventor of this great answer to problems associated with HF Mobiling, and shun the bootleggars........Feel Free to email me for info at from KD5VX
AE6GS Rating: 5/5 Aug 28, 2002 09:43 Send this review to a friend
Quite a miracle...  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I purchased a DK3 from Don at the Livermore swap meet a few months back, mounted it in the back of my pickup, and started working. I tune it "by sound;" just get into the "neighborhood" of where I'm going and bounce up and down until the signal is loudest - no meters to watch, etc. Signal reports are just as good as I get at home with a multi-band dipole, both locally and DX.

I occasionally get jealous of friends who have "multi-band" antennas like the Comet UHV-6, because they can simply change bands and go, whereas it takes me 30 seconds to 1 minute to "tune up" for a different band (or different area of 80 meters...). However, I can just say, "let's go to 17 meters" without having to wonder where my 17 meter coil is.

So, as with all things, it's a tradeoff. It's also not a "slap it on and go" solution - fully extended, it's about 11' high, so one needs to consider carefully how one mounts it. If you mount it more than 3' off the ground, you may get to know your local overpass in a little more intimate way than you'd like.

However, to amplify another review, one of the best things one gets with the antenna is the wit and wisdom of Don Johnson. He knows more about mobile HF operation than most of us ever will, and is more than happy to share that knowledge. Just the instruction manual for the DK3 will teach you a lot (like how to build a field strength meter out of spare parts...)

With proper care, the W6AAQ-built screwdrivers seem to last forever (I have several friends and relatives who use them), and they definitely help make mobile HF fun. The "clones" may well be better-finished, easier to mount, etc., but, for my money, the original is the one to get.
DA1WRI Rating: 5/5 Jun 16, 2002 10:48 Send this review to a friend
Great kit Antenna!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
The DK-3 antenna is, according to it's designer (Don Johnson W6AAQ), more like a Heathkit than a plug-n-play product. With this antenna and his book in hand I was able to setup a great working, and looking, mobile hf setup and have fun doing it.

Highly recommend the DK-3, and his Book, to any ham who enjoys tinkering and really wants to learn/understand how things work.
KB7ULT Rating: 5/5 Jul 21, 2001 03:24 Send this review to a friend
Outstanding  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Real nice design and for the money a great investment. From the time I installed the DK3, I have been working the world. If you want to see my installation on my ford puckup go to .....

73s Dusty KB7ULT
KA3VVV Rating: 5/5 Feb 23, 2001 20:12 Send this review to a friend
Best antenna  Time owned: more than 12 months
This the new web page or url for Don Johnson Antenna. This Antenna is the best .
K6LO Rating: 5/5 Jan 27, 2001 12:21 Send this review to a friend
Outstanding Support!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Don Johnson, W6AAQ, is a legend in amateur HF mobile circles. It is no wonder that he invented and marketed the first, and in my opinion the best, screwdriver-style HF antenna. High Sierra and others have copied the idea, but not, from my experience, the soundness of the original design. For example - a no base insulator required mounting system. My AAQ has survived freezing cold, to extreme desert temperatures, and continues to look and operate like new with only minimal and expected yearly attention. The best possible thing one purchases with the original AAQ screwdriver is Don Johnson's ear. I have had the pleasure of meeting Don on several occassions. He is a kind and generous encyclopedia of HF mobile antenna knowledge, and is forever appreciative to his customers. This, in contrast to one screwdriver "clone" builder, who, well, surely was not. The performance of the antenna is simply outstanding. I am a professional engineer and, have practiced HF mobile operations for some twenty-two years - particularly on 75/40 meters. The AAQ screwdriver is quite superior to anything I have used or seen in the past - including - blush - one of my own designs. Don's friendly and wise antenna counsel played no small part in effecting the best possible performance from my AAQ antenna installation. Business and Amateur Radio fellowship practiced the way it used to be. I am humbled and impressed by both the man and his fine product.
N0SP Rating: 5/5 May 27, 2000 18:39 Send this review to a friend
GREAT performer at a bargain price..  Time owned: more than 12 months
My search for the screwdriver-style began a few years ago. After looking at several I settled on Don Johnson's, W6AAQ, version. I'm sure glad I did. It is simple, easy to use, and works just as advertised... and at less than half the price of the copy-cats. He now sells the latest design that allows the base of the antenna to be grounded eliminating the need for a base insulator. The toroid matching coil has been eliminated and the new version has the coil machined in to the mast and can be adjusted by inserting shorting screws into pre-drilled holes.. brilliant! (this design was quickly copied by the expensive competitors) When I was in California a few years ago I called W6AAQ and asked to come over to take a look at the antennas to contemplate buying one. W6AAQ said "Come on over." I did.. He built one as I watched, gave me 2 hours of tutorials, lots of suggestions for mounting, showed me many experimental iterations of the antenna, gave me a handful of spare hardware, some memorable anecdotes, and I was on my way. It was a visit I'll long remember.
The antenna performs great.. I'm able to work anyone I can hear almost without exception using the 100 watts. I'm frequently complimented on how strong the signal is for a mobile. The ability to drive and tune IS great. I also have the big 6" diameter Texas Bugcatcher, but when I want something not so huge or want to change bands frequently I prefer Don's Screwdriver. It's performance runs a close second to the Bugcatcher.
KF7TY Rating: 5/5 Mar 23, 2000 02:23 Send this review to a friend
Excellent antenna, does what claimed!!!!  Time owned: unknown months
So many antennas to choose from for my mobile installation so I chose the original screwdriver built by Don Johnson himself. I am totally amazed at how well it works. Five minutes after getting everything finished with the installation I was working stations from the East Coast to Alaska with 59+ signal reports, and a 1:1 SWR keeping my 735 happily transmitting at full power on all the HF bands. Installation of course is important and I made sure I followed the directions to a tee, especially on the point of proper grounding of the antenna and transceiver. After all the work was done though, it was well worth it.
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