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


Reviews Summary for Challenger DX by GAP
Reviews: 9 Average rating: 4.4/5 MSRP: $380
Description: 8 band vertical HF antenna.
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.gapantenna.com
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You can write your own review of the Challenger DX by GAP.

AI4HO Rating: 5/5 Feb 23, 2014 10:44 Send this review to a friend
Just a GREAT HF antenna  Time owned: more than 12 months
It has been.....11 years since I bought my first Challenger DX from GAP antennas. Used it for 3 or 4 years, decided I wanted an antenna that covered 17 meters, sold my Challenger to a friend a few miles away. Went and bought a GAP Titan, had that up for about 4 years, would probably still have it, but finally got my tower up, and the Titan was just too close, and I had no where else to put it, wound up selling it to a gentleman in Coco,Fl.

Went through a couple other verticals from other manufactures, and they worked, but just didn't have the versatility of the GAP Challenger DX. So, in July 2010, went and bought another Challenger DX, had it close to the house as that is where I decided it neede to be. That lasted for about a year, I had all kinds of issues, high noise, higher than normal noise levels that is. Had one time where the damn thing wouldn't tune up on 40 meters...what? Don't tell me I can't use my second favorite band with this antenna...anything but 40 meters. Well, after talking with Rich Henf, owner of GAP antennas and a personal friend, I decided a move was in order. So with the help of a friend I moved my GAP Challenger about 15'-20' west of where it was. What a difference 20' makes! The change was instant, going from a 20-30 over S-9 noise level, and not tuning on 40 to, WOW.. no noise. I added my 3 15' radials and my 12/17 meter mod and life is good once again.

I don't know why, but when you have the opportunity to talk to the makers of GAP antennas when you have a problem with it...why don't you? Instead, you say the antenna is a piece of crap, it doesn't work the way YOU said it would! Well...did you follow the instructions..precisely? When you had difficulty with the antenna, did you call or email Rich, or Chris at GAP Antenna Products? No...then you only have yourself to blame. Rich Henf, this man is brilliant, he knows more about antennas and antenna theory than any other man I know, a wealth of knowledge, and his knowledge he is wiling to share..no charge!

My current Challenger has been up not quite 4 years, I've had it down twice for general maintenance, and cleanup,living in Florida not a dozen miles from the ocean the salt air does a number on these and any antenna you have that is in the air any distance. That said, its about time I get a buddy or two, bring it down, go over my Challenger, clean any oxidation build up, make sure everything is right and tight and put we back up. This time, I think when I take it down, its time to get a tilt over mount for it, makes it a hell of a lot easier to take down and put back up

I find operation from 75/80 meters on up through 2 meters with the GAP Challenger DX is with the exception of 17 meters is overall good. No issues to speak of other than those that I covered earlier, oh..just as an FYI, when erecting your GAP or any vertical for that matter, do not get too close to the metal gutters on your house, if you use metal gutters, or if you use gutters at all. I found that while it may not detune your antenna, you may have a host of other related problems..just sayin is all.

I found that with my first Challenger, my Titan, and now my current Challenger, 3 radials is all you really need. I had heard the more the better with the radials when it comes to vertical antennas. I started with 3 on my first Challenger, went to 6, then a dozen, then 21...didn't make a bit of difference, not with GAP antennas any ways. So...from then on, 3 radials, I have had them any where from 20' all the way down to 12'. Somewhere between 15'-17' I found gives you the best overall length when it comes to the Challenger at least.

At the end of it all, 40 meters by far is my second favorite band next to 15 meters. I am usually on a HF net most week day mornings, I have a full wave loop for 40, and my trusted GAP Challenger, some mornings, switching between the 2 antennas I cannot tell the difference which antenna has the better signal. Then there are the days when one favors over the other, heck..I ran the net one morning thinking I was on the loop, it wasn't until after the net I looked and found that I had done the net entirely using the Challenger, no one knew the difference..now that is an antenna, this is just a great HF antenna.

I have used this antenna on 2 meter FM, having no rigs with 2 meter SSB capabilities, I can't say. When I had my IC-746Pro a few years ago, the Challenger did work on 2 meter SSB, it was just too bad that there wasn't more participation in the area, for me to see how well this antenna does work on 2 meter SSB. Now then, 2 meter FM does quite well, SWR isn't high, well below 2:1, if memory serves it was somewhere around 1.5:1 or 1.6:1, maybe even as high as 1.7:1, but no higher, that I am sure of. I have on a couple occasions, several years ago now, when we had a UHF repeater in town, tried the GAP Challenger on UHF, as long as the repeater was close, and no more than about 50 watts was used it worked, but just. Not something I would recommend, only in an emergency case. So, if you are having a problem with your GAP antenna and can't get it fixed on your own...CALL RICH! That's what he and Chris are there for. Remember, this is just a hobby, we are here to have fun, if its becoming work, then something is wrong..fix it, then have fun.

73 de Mark
AI4HO
 
K7NSW Rating: 5/5 Feb 21, 2014 22:01 Send this review to a friend
I Guyed Mine  Time owned: more than 12 months
In Boise, Idaho our wind gusts usually do not go real high. I built mine and took a good look at it as installed. Not a cheap price so why not guy it? Used white plastic clothes line at mid-point with a few insulators to be sure. Worked great for several years and the wind gusts we get bounced right off of it every time. Got interested in 160 meters CW so I replaced it with a GAP Voyager. WOW! But that is another story.
 
KD6QCT Rating: 4/5 Feb 21, 2014 14:40 Send this review to a friend
Works good.  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had it come down about four times due to wind gusts. Have rebuilt all times and repaired or replaced damaged parts. Failures were due to fatigue at joints from high wind gusts causing antenna to oscillate back and forth. To correct this problem guy, guy, guy. Instructions in assembly manual only specify one location for guys.
This is a must for safe antenna installation of this antenna at this location. Guy in three locations with 4 guys at each location. No problem since doing that. Performance is good except on vhf. Have not tried any tuning as yet. Have had antenna about 4 years. Wind gusts as high as 82mph recorded at this location. Last damage to antenna which broke wind gauge 72mph. Have friend that has a Gap Titan and it is still down from wind damage. Both antenna performed about the same. We both lost them in 2012 That was the last time for me since rebuild. I would recommend this antenna. Ron
 
KE6K Rating: 5/5 Apr 17, 2013 09:47 Send this review to a friend
Great antenna,,my second one  Time owned: more than 12 months
This is my second Gap Challenger. I bought one in 1990 when I lived in the wind tunnel in SoCal. It was up for 2 years without guys wires until a windstorm (gusts of 100 mph) snapped the center insulator. Worked great. Was evelated to 20 feet to clear buildings. Moved to a MUCH smaller property and needed an all band antenna with a small footprint. Bought my second Gap. Installation was no problem. Used the ground mount included. We do not get the winds here we did in SoCal but I guyed this one a 2 feet above the center insulator anyway. Had a bit of a problem soldering the PL-259 on (intermittant short). I would recommend using a silver plated PL-259 rather than the one supplied with the antenna. Solders very nicely ($2.59 at HRO). Worked 20 states and 12 countries on SSB with 3 watts in 4 days! Very happy indeed.
 
KI6KJS Rating: 5/5 Aug 19, 2011 20:42 Send this review to a friend
Gap Challenger  Time owned: more than 12 months
I live in a high wind area in southern California. The strait line winds here can easily reach 80 miles and hour and have overterned railroad cars and large trucks at times. I have lost many antennas to the wind a try beam and three wire antennas. The winds will break a steel wire antenna easily. I currently have and 80 meter full wave top loaded loop antenna up at 45 feet that I use for 75/80 and 40 meters. The loop needs put back together about every six months with a wire nut due to the wind. My gap is elevated 17 feet to get it over the top of metal horse barns and corrals, because of tis I had to extend the counterpoise about 3 feet to retune. I also had to extend the 20 meter resonator 6 inches to get 20 meters tuned. I've had this antenna up for 4 years now and am very pleased with it. I works well on 40 and 20 where I use it the most. Had to take it down this year and replace the wires that broke at the center insulator due to the flexing from the wind. After replacing the wires I moved the support wires from 1 foot above center to 2 foot to reduce wind flexing. The gap has been up and working now for 6 months and I expect several more years use from this one. I would recommend this antenna to anyone that does not expect to through it up and have it work. It requires tuning after instillation and You cannot use a antenna tuner due to the fact that it takes some power approximately 5 watts to make it resonate.
 
VE6BRZ Rating: 5/5 Apr 13, 2009 11:04 Send this review to a friend
Great Product and customer service  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Purchased this product from HRO about 2 weeks ago and had it installed within a day. Manual is a little on the brief side but adequate if followed closely. 80 meters gave me the expected 130 kc bandwidth but 40 and 20 meters would not give the expected match. A call to Richard at Gap was very helpful and to the point. His suggestion to reduce the length of the each counterpoise wires by 3 feet gave immediate results and the antenna now performs as expected. A very good product for those who need/desire a multi band vertical antenna with friendly helpful support from the manufacturer.

73
Bruce
 
KK8ZZ Rating: 1/5 Aug 28, 2008 16:39 Send this review to a friend
not as promised  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
If you really think this thing will give you a great match on 2m and 6m, think again. Then there's the "match" on the HF bands. Despite its "no radials" promise, I guess I'd suggest it -- though it's supposed to basically be a "vertical dipole"?? Given the length, I've decided that it's really not that efficient. Folks, realize that almost anything WILL radiate and get you a contact SOMEWHERE.... I took this down after a while and replaced it with a Zero-Five vertical, which REALLY WORKS.
 
N4FN Rating: 5/5 Aug 15, 2008 11:40 Send this review to a friend
Great customer service  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I obtained from a local friend a used GAP Challenger that he had for a few years, and installed it per the manual. It seemed to be working OK except the SWR was very high on several bands. I called GAP and spoke with Richard and he had me run some tests while it was standing upright. All seem OK, He then had me cut about 8" off the PVC mount so the base of the antenna was closer to the ground. Ran the test again, no change. With the help of a buddy we took the GAP down. Much to my surprise the upper transition wire had been pulled out, and the screw hole stripped. It required using a larger sheet metal screw to re-attach the wires. Before doing that I removed all the transition wires, cleaned the fittings and mast with emery cloth till they were shiny. My friend and I put the antenna back up. Eureka!, all SWR on all bands was very low after checking it with an MFJ antenna analyzer. The GAP works like a champ. Richard at GAP was great, extremely helpful during 4 or 5 phone calls. The problem was solved due to their great customer service. I heartily recommend the GAP. The damage apparently occurred during a severe thunder storm. It looked like a piece off a flying broken limb struck the wire transition and ripped it out. The wires stayed intact, the screw was gone, attesting to the strength of the GAP. A great antenna, and outstanding customer service.
 
KI4TGO Rating: 5/5 Dec 26, 2007 19:16 Send this review to a friend
Superior antenna  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
W1MLK (former call KI4TGO) writes: The GAP Challenger DX antenna surpassed my expectations by a long shot. First, the instructions are easy and well worded so anyone with a pint of common sense can figure it out. Second, the antenna is constructed better than one might be expecting. Especially if you have made the mistake like me and bought other HF brand antennas claiming a lot only to find out they can only do a little. The GAP folks build an antenna the way they should be! Third, out of the box...REPEAT out of the box my first contact was C50C in Gambia on 10 meters! This antenna is by far the best and when the GAP people state "no tuner needed" thats exactly what they mean...and trust me, the thing works without one on all the bands EXACTLY like GAP claims. Do yourself a favor and just go to their website and buy one, save yourself the headaches & cussing your going to do by buying a Cushcraft or any other brand for that matter. Heck, my Mosley isn't as sensitive as the Challenger DX!!!
 


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