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Reviews Categories | Antennas: HF Portable (not mobile) | TransWorld Antennas TW2010L Backpacker Portable HF Antenna Help

Reviews Summary for TransWorld Antennas TW2010L Backpacker Portable HF Antenna
TransWorld Antennas TW2010L Backpacker Portable HF Antenna Reviews: 15 Average rating: 4.6/5 MSRP: $399.95
Description: The TransWorld TW2010L Backpacker 5 band antenna is the little brother of the famous Transworld TW2010 Adventurer. It is especially suited for the amateur operator who loves backpacking, cycling, camping, or otherwise being on the go with his station.

The Backpacker features manual switching for 10, 12, 15, 17, and 20 meters directly on the switching array box without the need for a controller or power source. Bands are changed by moving two banana style plugs into pre-set holes that activate the the appropriate band / frequency.

The sturdy, lightweight quadra-stand provides quick and easy mounting place for the Backpacker. It comes with its own heavily padded carrying bag designed especially for TransWorld antennas.

Product is in production.
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K9JCS Rating: 5/5 Jul 19, 2010 09:33 Send this review to a friend
Quality!!!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I recently decided to buy a TW2010L to use on vacations. I drive to vacation spots, so size and weight isn't a big consideration. After reading many of the reviews here and studying the TransWorld web page I thought the TW2010L would be a good antenna to pair with my SGC 2020. Since there were a few weeks when I did not plan to be home, I was very concerned about having an expensive antenna just sitting on my front porch for days with no one home. I called TransWorld and explained my situation and talked to a very responsive guy who understood. They were out of stock at the time and he said he would call back when one was available. Well, he did exactly as he said he would and left a message on my answering machine. I was on vacation at the time, and when I called when I got home I found that they had sold the one he had called about. That was Ok because they had another in stock and he said he would get it out that very day. It arrived 3 business days later. Thanks, to the good guy at TW. Sorry, I don't have your name...I wrote it down and misplaced the sheet of notepaper. Great job of customer service.

When I excitedly opened the box the contents were screaming, "QUALITY, QUALITY, QUALITY." The carry bag is made from a material that looks like heavy duty ballistic nylon. There are carrying handles that allow you to carry it like a suit case or like a golf bag. The exterior of the bag has four attached velcro straps to lash on additional equipment if you need to. There are 6 D rings mounted with reinforced leather, stitching and rivets to assist in mounting your additional gear to the case. There is a zippered case on the outside perfect for holding golf balls or maybe your recommended 65 foot run of coax. The case is padded at the top and bottom to prevent damage to the antenna sections stored inside. The case is zippered around the top to allow access and removal of the stored antenna elements. There is also a zippered storage case on the inside of the top of the case to store smaller bits of radio kit. This is where I will keep the instructions, the coil jumpers, and coax adapters.

The antenna is very well made. The base consists of 4 very substantial fiberglass tubes with machined aluminum ends which mount to the vertical post. It's hard to describe but very obvious when you see the pieces. Also, there is a right way and a wrong way to install the base legs. I labeled the top sides "TOP" with a label maker to help me out.

The vertical post starts with a piece of thick wall, 4 sided, square aluminum channel, used for mounting the base legs, and transitions to thick wall aluminum tube for strength. A very solid, 1 inch fiberglass rod comes about 6 inches out of the tube to provide insulation from ground. About 2 inches from the top of the rod are two 2 inch thumbscrews/wingnuts for tightening against the antenna bottom section when it is installed.

The antenna bottom and top as well as the other metal pieces are powder coated with a nice black finish. Substantial hardware is used every where and a lot of thought appears to be given to the intended portable use of the antenna. There are no sharp edges anywhere. The antenna even has plastic covers on the bolt heads and exposed threads everywhere a bolt must be used to join pieces together or attach the coil assembly on the center section. The antenna arms move smoothly and become immovable when you tighten the double thumbscrews/wingnuts after adjusting or deploying them. Nylon spacer posts are used to prevent compression of the tubes where they pivot and nylon washers are used to allow easy movement of the arms.

The center section houses the coil(s) which determine band operation. The manual wants you to adjust them to make sure they are right for you. I went through the adjustment procedure, but found out that they were spot on, having been adjusted before the antenna was shipped. On 20 meters the antenna favored the lower end of the band, with the phone portion still within the 1.5:1 advertised swr. To move it up to the phone portion you can simply spread the 20 meter coils. Taking a tip from one of the other reviewers in this thread, I found that I could also achieve 1.1:1 on the phone portion of the band simply by raising the lower antenna arms by about 15 to 20 degrees above the horizontal. No need to open the box and spread the coils.

You change frequencies by moving two jumpers to the appropriate well marked jumper jacks. I guess calling them jumpers is technically correct, but to me they are little bits of electronic artistry. They are based on banana plug technology, but there is no flimsy wiggly wire involved. They are perfectly formed stainless steel U's formed with banana plug terminations. They are very substantial and it is for this reason that the manufacturer tells you to take them out before you store the center section. They are so substantial the manufacturer wants to make sure that they don't get caught on something and break the circuit board to which they are attached. Speaking of the circuit board...another work of art. Uncluttered, clean, well labeled, great solder joints and an attractive green that complements my wife's eyes! (Hey, we all use some dodge to get a new piece of ham gear in the door)

After checking the coil adjustments I packed it up and decided to give myself a little test. I wanted to see how long it would take to set up. Mind you, this was only the second time I had put it together. From the moment I opened the carry case, it took less than five minutes to assemble the antenna, connect the coax to the antenna and SGC SG2020, connect the battery to the radio and turn on the power.

I haven't been this ecstatic over a purchase of anything since I bought my first new car. After having to open up the gear of a large tuner, antenna, interface, and other assorted gadgets company, I have been very impressed to see that this company understands what quality means. This antenna will last. It won't break when somebody knocks it over. If Chrysler made cars of this quality it would be Mercedes Benz who is in trouble.

N4KC Rating: 4/5 Jul 7, 2010 14:38 Send this review to a friend
I felt guilty, but...  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I've been using a dipole for my go-station but wanted something more sturdy and that did not necessarily require supports...that may or may not be available. I looked at the Buddipole and this antenna. Could I really pay that much money for a portable antenna? I build my own when I can...proudly and because I enjoy it.

First, I know I could not build anything as substantial as the Buddipole or the TW2010. They do offer multiband capability in something I would not be afraid to deploy on a beach or in a campground, allowing me to leave my auto-tuner at home. I could even use it in the backyard if I wanted to operate from the deck for an afternoon. Both seemed to be easily transported, won't get tangled up (like my wire dipole), a breeze to deploy, and were not really all that exotic in how they worked. Neither manufacturer makes wild and crazy claims. I chose the TW2010 after talking with a couple of friends who had them and who I trust not to exaggerate. I chose the Backpacker because I am not so lazy I can't go move a couple of jumpers to change bands, and the remote unit on the deluxe (and more expensive) model seems like just one more thing to go haywire.

Now, on the negative side: since I had a beach trip planned in June, I called before ordering and asked about delivery dates, as suggested on the web site. The nice gentleman told me "4 to 5 weeks." OK, the trip was still 8 weeks away so I went ahead and ordered online. PayPal hit my credit card immediately. Ouch!

In the sixth week, with no word from the company, I called back and left several messages. No return calls. Finally, I emailed them and got a reply a couple of days later. They said they had not received their order of parts yet and would still have to send them out for powder coating then. Delivery in time for my trip was now shaky. I waited another week and called back, getting a live person this time. Nope, not a chance, he told me. It could be several more weeks yet.

This was five days before the trip so I built a new 20M dipole and left for the beach on Saturday. I had to drape it along the balcony and out to a palm tree, but it worked okay. I made a few contacts, and listened some, but line noise from all the nearby condos was a nuisance. I kept eyeing that nice patch of grass about 50 feet away where my Backpacker would have stood tall and in the open.

On the Monday after we arrived at the beach, I got an email from TransWorld that the antenna had shipped. It arrived on the Tuesday after we left for the beach on Saturday. UPS left it outside and it got soaked in a rainstorm. To their credit, TW had packed it well, everything inside wrapped securely in plastic, so the canvas bag (very nice!) and antenna were not even wet, but the cardboard box was pretty much a total loss.

Technically, the antenna seems to work fine and as expected. It compares to my vertical and G5RV on 20 and 10, the only two bands on which I have so far gotten serious signal comparisons. SWR was within specs from the factory except for 20, where it is centered at the far high end of the band. I'm a CW guy, too, and will play with it when I have time to bring it below 2:1 at 14.001. It is a tad more noisy than the G5RV and, of course, not even close to the hexbeam at 50 feet, but for what it is, it seems to perform very well.

It is sturdy when deployed as directed, very well built, and remarkably easy to transport and erect. It even looks kind of sexy. I don't know if this is the answer to folks who need a stealth antenna, but it sure appears to be an option.

I look forward to many long years using this guy, just so I won't feel so guilty about paying so much for a factory-built antenna. Please don't tell my antenna-homebrewin' buddies!
KJ1D Rating: 5/5 Dec 6, 2009 17:53 Send this review to a friend
Great Portable Antenna  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have had this antenna now for a couple of months and it is great. I have worked stations all over the U.S. and several foreign stations. If you are looking for a portable...consider this one.
WY3X Rating: 5/5 Sep 4, 2009 17:06 Send this review to a friend
Thumbs up!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I've always shied away from compact antennas, but Transworld has proven my fears were misdirected! I bought it from them off eBay for substantially less than the retail price (it seems that they discount the antenna there). It is a pricey antenna, but when you see how well it's constructed, you'll know why. I'll venture speculation that it would meet mil-spec requirements. It arrived packed in a very nice and useful carrying bag that was easily worth half the price of the antenna! There was a very minor QC issue which I corrected myself, a mis-drilled hole. It wasn't a problem that kept the antenna from working, it just looked funny, as the tuning box did not properly align with the mast. The "quadropod" mount I received was materially different from the photos on their website which showed that the legs fold out. I suppose the one I received is a "new design", and consists of four separate legs and a little latch piece. If you're careless, you might lose the latch piece because it's pretty small, but because of the overall design, it's loss won't keep you off the air. I used the antenna indoors (high ceilings) to listen a few evenings and was quite satisfied with the results, but did not transmit because the antenna was too close to my operating position. Today, I took it outdoors at a temporary location, and set it up on the back deck with my Elecraft K-2/100, and on 20M, immediately made contact from Fort Mill, South Carolina to Lake Havasu, AZ. Band conditions were lousy, but the station I worked was still able to copy me quite well. Instructions recommend 65 feet of coax, but I only had a 20 foot piece. I ran it off the antenna at the recommended 45 degree angle, and SWR was only 1.5:1, so no issue. I hooked up a 100 watt rated Z100 autotuner as an extra (but unnecessary) protective measure. About halfway through the contact, mosquitoes began to attack, so I bid the Arizona station 73, and packed everything back in the house in less than 5 minutes, and that included antenna disassembly time. Only 5 minutes to put away the antenna, radio, power supply, and all connecting cables, and this includes packing everything back into it's respective container! I've been hamming since 1991. If there's any compact portable antenna that is as easy to deploy and pick back up, and performs better than this, I'd be quite surprised!
WB2SSB Rating: 5/5 Jan 17, 2009 09:14 Send this review to a friend
Very Pleased!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I just received the Backpacker Portable antenna, and after only a few days of usage, am quite pleased. I am using the antenna inside of a wood framed home, basically only 10 feet away from my Transceiver (using > 65 ft coax, as required by antenna design). Compared to my hamstick, I have found the noise level to be about 2-2.5 S-Units lower, and am hearing (and seeing on the PSK-31 waterfall) stations that are just not there with the Hamstick. I haven't really tried it extensively on any other bands yet (using my antenna tuner, it DOES tune up adequately on 30 meters, even though it is designed for only 10m through 20m) as they are pretty dead, as far as I can determine. I am here for the weekend in Montauk NY, way out at the tip of Long Island, and my first QSO was with the Caltech Ham Radio station in Pasadena CA (PSK-31) running 40 watts. I can't remember the last time I heard CA from out here with the Hamstick.

Dennis / N4ECW, whom I presume to be the principal of the company, is responsive and extremely knowledgable. Based on this, I suspect that support will be excellent, although I confess that I haven't had any significant problems needing any.

I am indeed pleased and looking forward to purchasing additional antennas from Trans World ... rumor has it that an 80m through 30m version is imminent. Hope so!
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