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Reviews Categories | Antennas: HF Portable (not mobile) | CHAMELEON V1 HF Multiband Antenna Help

Reviews Summary for CHAMELEON V1 HF Multiband Antenna
CHAMELEON V1 HF Multiband Antenna Reviews: 72 Average rating: 4.6/5 MSRP: $299
Description: The CHAMELEON V1 HF Multiband Antenna™ is a revolutionary antenna that stands at a mere 8.5 feet tall and contains a unique trap coil design. This antenna is ideally designed for mobile, portable or base station purposes were limited space is a concern. This antenna is a lightweight antenna system with 11 BANDS of capability including: 6m, 10m, 11m (Citizens Band), 12m, 15m, 17m, 20m, 30m, 40m, 60m & 80m. The CHAMELEON V1 HF Multiband Antenna™ can also operate on the 70cm, 1.25m & 2m BANDS (144Mhz to 500Mhz) but is primarily a HF antenna. Unlike other multiband antennas, the CHAMELEON V1 HF Multiband Antenna™ requires no changing of switches, jumpers, coils, etc. Our simple screw together two-part system makes the CHAMELEON V1 HF Multiband Antenna™ easy to manage and store. The CHAMELEON V1 HF Multiband Antenna™ is a Super-Flexible Whip. This advantage allows the antenna to withstand extreme shock from obstructions without breakage or failing. To function properly this antenna REQUIRES A TUNER (RECOMMENDED) OR A 9:1 BALUN.
Product is in production.
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YL2GB Rating: 0/5 Nov 19, 2012 16:57 Send this review to a friend
high radiation resistor  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Sorry English second language for me. Me get antenna from cousin who get in refuse bin. Me now understand it need stay there. It lossy high radiation resistor! Me compare to what you say me think is 102 inch whip and 102 inch whip work 3-6db more better with tuner. So sorry bye bye Chameleon hi hi 102 inch whip use shunt wire coil. Must use viable counterpoise or metal roof like me. Ciao 73 Valery
KC9SXB Rating: 1/5 Nov 5, 2012 07:40 Send this review to a friend
Fake out or real thing?  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Not to say you can't have a QSO with a V1 antenna when band conditions are open, but consider this: I took off the 9:1 UNUN that comes with the V1 to see what SWR the V1 antenna has as it's most usable and resonant Frequency. Guess what? The UNUN is the antennas savior, as the antenna has no natural resonant frequency for amateur radio operators. After a couple of phone calls and emails, I found out why nobody makes 9:1 UNUN's. It's because they are so 'lossy'. The manual and guy who makes the Chameleon Antennas say that the 9:1 UNUN has to be put at the antenna, which I have learned is because the UNUN itself is part of the radiating system (i.e. lossy). All industry standards say that if you need a 9:1 UNUN then your impedance is too high and you should work to improve the antenna itself, at least till a 4:1 UNUN can be used. FYI - 4:1 UNUNs are a product that several manufacturers make. Now you know the reason nobody makes a 9:1 UNUN or why anyone has previously dared to make an antenna that requires a 9:1 UNUN. As for the V1 itself, I quickly found out that the wide band nature of the V1 & UNUN lowers the Q (Quality) of the antenna, which BTW the antenna must be grounded very well because the grounding is about all you have going for you on this antenna. This is not only because of the issues with using a 9:1 UNUN but also because the wire on the V1 is wrapped too closely to provide enough spacing for HF frequencies! So, was I able to make contacts? Yes, which is why I have given the antenna a 1 and not a 0. For signal comparison, I hooked up a $20 108 inch whip from Radio Shack on another mount on my car at the same time with a $30 4:1 UNUN and received much better signal reports than the V1 was giving me. So for $50 vs. $250, the stainless steel whip is a much better value and will last much longer. I only say that the stainless steel whip will last much longer because I've seen too many V1's at hamfests that have lost the support of the epoxy and bend/break over in the center, just as mine did after 5 months. Now I understand why coax lengths are so critical with all of the chameleon antenna models. From the manufacturers web site on the Zepp I see "WARNING: For maximum performance plug the 1' jumper cable directly into the external tuner and keep the coax cable as short as possible. Longer coax cable might create some attenuation and reduce RX and TX performances." What? Guess I'll just have to use LMR400 which has very low losses. Man, that'll get expensive. Are we supposed to throw out over a hundred years of knowledge and ignore what is really being said in that statement, or should we really be asking why the option of using 50 ohm coax (no matter what the length), which is built for HF really not an option?
VE7GNR Rating: 5/5 Nov 1, 2012 11:04 Send this review to a friend
Easy to use multiband vertical for portable/HOA setup!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Garnet Ryder, VE7GNR

Icom 703 Plus (HF+6M 10W QRP transceiver)
Chameleon V1L base + MIL Whip + Hybrid base + 2 counterpoises/radials mounted on top of a 5ft aluminum pole.

Anyone looking for a simple, easy to use antenna system should consider the V1L + MIL whip + Hybrid base!

I live in a condo on the top floor (4th floor) with a rooftop deck. HOA rules prevent me from putting up a permanent antenna. I have the coax, mount & antenna on a 5ft painter's pole. When I want to use the antenna I simply connect the V1L base & MIL whip to the pole mount and clip into brackets on my deck for the evening/afternoon.

My Chameleon antenna operates as an elevated vertical. Radials are hanging over slanted roof & over the edge to hang. I'd like to have more radials, but can't because I don't have rooftop access or permission.

Weekend of 20-21 Oct 2012 on 10M SSB with 10W.
Spoke from Vancouver, BC, Canada to Chicago OH, St. Louis MO, Kansas City KS & Paris TX.
Signals were 59, loud & clear.

The best feature is that I don't have to do anything at the antenna when switching bands. I simply change bands on my radio & adjust the antenna tuner for the band.

I also love how portable this antenna is because it allows me to take to park in the summer, or hiking/camping, or setup at a friend's house during a contest.
KJ4ULB Rating: 0/5 Sep 14, 2012 11:45 Send this review to a friend
Very poor perfomance at any price!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I bought the antenna used but in good shape. The guy I bought it from originally made a mistake in the shipping cost estimate, but he was more than happy to eat the cost so long as he gets rid of the antenna. THAT WAS A MAJOR RED FLAG AND I SHOULD HAVE BACKED OUT WHEN I HAD A CHANCE!

I tried the V1 many times in different configurations (on the lawn, on concrete, with/without UNUN, more radials, less radials, etc, etc) with an AT100 tuner and an IC-7000 radio, but I just could not make any contacts. I would hear very well though. The only contact that I made said I was very weak and they receive strong calls from my location on their net regularly. I even raised it to the highest point of my roof, grounded it and installed the three radials and extended it to the ground (with much pain) but had similar results. I would switch to my G5RV and the performance was great, I would switch back to V1 and could not hardly make ANY contacts!

I contacted Carl and twisted his arm to replace the V1 because the quality control on the antenna and the UNUN was very poor (lower antenna connector would turn in place (a known problem) and the UNUN was as though a kid epoxied/built it). He tried to sell me another antenna but after many conversations he replaced the UNUN & antenna, but the performance did not change. I installed additional radials, even took it to a ball field and installed it on the chain link fence where the closest house was several hundred yards away but the performance did not change and I could not hardly make any contacts.
I have read technical reviews of the the V1 after the antennas poor field performance where he (electronics engineer) compare its performance to a ham stick (do a thorough Google search and you will find it). I am an electrical engineer and a business man with many years experience but I personally/formally did not test it in the lab. However I have no reason to not believe the independent technical test results I read, specially since my field tests confirm the results.

The techie in me says that I need to let people know and the business man in me says he's got a good scam. I have already sold my V1 so I have nothing to gain or loose and I am doing my best to provide an accurate experience and analysis.

How do I explain the many positive feedback: Chameleon has many biased dealers and a sexy but poor performing product (I only have experience with V1). He sells it at a very high price (for performance) and provides decent customer service. When you go to him with complaints he tries to sell you another antenna (and since most of his buyers are novices I imagine he is reasonably successful). In the end most of the accurate performance feedback do not end up on this forum because buyers blame themselves for their lack of experience rather than the antenna.

There is no magic antenna and physics does not lie! I knew that but I have now confirmed it.
K4DPS Rating: 5/5 Apr 16, 2012 10:37 Send this review to a friend
The Best!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I set up the V1 on a 6 foot high chain-link fence in my backyard. One of my first contacts was a station (KC9MOS) from Chicago using a internet connection where his transmitter was sitting at Zurich, Switzerland, 4882 miles away from my station in Florida. The QSO was on 20 Meters-14.285 at around 9:00 PM Central Standard Time. He was 5-5 and so was I. Unbelievable performance!

Very low noise level than any antenna I have owned. I can hear stations that I could never hear before. Very well built and well worth the money!

Carl gives great customer service and is willing to answer any questions. You have a new customer that supports your antennas and will back them 100%!
VA7DH Rating: 5/5 Mar 31, 2012 16:49 Send this review to a friend
Amazing portable antenna  Time owned: more than 12 months
I purchased the Chameleon V1 as a portable antenna to go with my FT-897 and FT-847 and a AGM battery for power. My church was holding an emergency preparedness conference and I took my antenna, radio, small LDG autotuner, and power along with me. I set the radio up in a small room and ran the coax outside into an area for HVAC surrounded by a galvanized guard fence. I set my Chameleon V1 up on a speaker tripod and used cheap jumper cables to connect the base to the galvanized fence. I went back inside and turned on the radio, tuned to 20m and roamed around until I heard a solid connection. It was some young guy in Japan working a competition. As soon as I could I gave him a call and he got back to me like we were standing next to each other. After that I tuned around and heard a young Russian but he had an even thicker accent and was talking like an excited teenager so I decided to not give him a call. I doubt I would have understood half of what he said. The point is that the antenna was working amazingly well. The galvanized fence did not hurt either, it made a great counterpoise. I see the Chameleon V3 has included a few useful things in the go kit but no tripod. I highly recommend a cheap aluminum speaker tripod and pipe extension to raise the antenna up about 6 feet.
KC7ZWG Rating: 5/5 Feb 23, 2012 13:08 Send this review to a friend
Excellent  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
What a great antenna, and the customer service is stellar!

The Chameleon V1, used by itself is a really good antenna, much better than screwy-drivers and others I have used in the past.

But the real news is the new HYBRID Base made by Chameleon.... I use the HYBRID, the lower unit of the V1, and the collapsable MIL whip together and can easily work 6-160m, WITHOUT TUNER!

Excellent companion to any HF-ALE system.
WD0FIA Rating: 5/5 Feb 7, 2012 14:32 Send this review to a friend
Works better than a Screwdriver!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I had heard about the Chameleon V-1, but dismissed it as a possibility, figuring nothing could beat my Little Tarheel II's for a mobile. But after replacing three Tarheels in three years, I decided to give the Chameleon V-1 a try. I have been amazed by how well the V-1 functions!

Using the quick disconnect on my Hank Bredlove mount I was able to switch between the Screwdriver and the V-1 quickly, and discovered the V-1 would get me "loud and clear" signal reports when transmitting, compared to "weak but readable" with the Scrwdriver. I also discovered I could hear stations with the V-1 that were in the noise before. Changing between bands with a LDG tuner instead of the SDC-103 controller is great as there is no waiting for it to tune.

I found Carl Lavoie KI6TRA at Chameleon Antenna was easy to reach, and happy to help with questions. I was so impressed I have ordered the V2L, V22L dipole, and the Hybrid! I can't wait to test them out!

Carl's commitment to customer service, and the outstanding performance has earned the V-1 a 5!
VE6LL Rating: 5/5 Jan 14, 2012 17:14 Send this review to a friend
Very Happy with this antenna...  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have only had my V! for a short while, but am very impressed with it's capabilities. I have purchased several other Chameleon products as well...The V1 will be part of my portable kit for ARES and for taking to the cabin. I am getting good signal reports on it and it tunes up with no difficulties. I have tried it on my mobile as well, and it seems to outperform my hamstick easily. On the base, it performs as well as or better than my G5RV.

K0FTC Rating: 5/5 Dec 29, 2011 17:16 Send this review to a friend
CQ World Wide DX Contest, CW  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I posted the following on the Chameleon forum. "I took my recently arrived V1 and headed out to the Pawnee National Grasslands here in Colorado for a test run in the CQ World Wide DX Contest, CW on Nov 27th. I hunt and pounced from about 11 AM to 1 PM MST, (1700-1900 UTC). When I actively looked for stations I was averaging about 1 every 5 minutes. I was using a TS-480AT, with a KT-100 LDG tuner. I worked 12 countries, (26 DX QSOs and one US QSO from MA). DX entities worked were South Africa, Italy, Canary Islands, Aruba, Bahamas, Spain, Sierra Leone, Brazil, Portugal, Liberia, France, Alaska. I worked 15 and 10 meters and started with 75 watts and ended up using 50 most of the time. I tried the regular V1 set up and then put the mil spec whip on the bottom section of the V1. The regular V1 is quieter then with the mil spec whip, but bands were so busy and prop so good, I could not tell if I was missing anything with the quieter antenna set up." I thought the results were impressive for the short 2 hours I used this antenna in a portable configuration. I now have the Hybrid base and wrote a review for that, which only improved the V1 antenna when they are used together. Like I said in the Hybrid review - 5 for quality, 5 for service and responsiveness, and 5 for exceeding expectations for a shortened vertical deployed at a temporary portable site. 73, John
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