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Reviews Categories | Antennas: VHF/UHF+ Directional (Yagi, quad, etc.) | Gulf Alpha Dual Band Easy Satellite Antenna Help


Reviews Summary for Gulf Alpha Dual Band Easy Satellite Antenna
Gulf Alpha Dual Band Easy Satellite Antenna Reviews: 1 Average rating: 4.0/5 MSRP: $239 plus shipping
Description: Single-boom, dual-band antenna tuned for Amateur Satellite us
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.gulfalphaantennas.com/
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You can write your own review of the Gulf Alpha Dual Band Easy Satellite Antenna.

KQ6EA Rating: 4/5 Jun 29, 2009 12:36 Send this review to a friend
Works Quite Well  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
After deciding not to bring my long Yagis out to Field Day several years ago, and struggling with omni antennas ever since, I decided to get one of these. Gain antennas are always a good thing with satellites.
Yes, Pete can be slow to ship, but you *will* get the antenna!
Assembly was hampered by the lack of instructions, but having built numerous VHF/UHF antennas from other manufacturers, I pretty much knew what to do, and proceeded accordingly, using the pictures on the Gulf Alpha website to 'fill in the blanks'.
The parts are nicely finished, with no burrs or sharp edges, and the only real snag I hit was with the blocks that hold the elements to the boom. The hole spacing for the two screws that hold the block to the boom, and the screw that locks the element into the block, are *very* close, and the Phillips head screws to mount the block will slightly overlap the threaded hole the element locking screw goes into, making it impossible to get the hex screw started. Fortunately there's enough play in the mounting holes, and I found that once I loosened some of the through screws I was able to get the hex head element locking screw started straight. If you don't loosen the through screws, be careful you don't cross-thread the hex screws! Once that was done, it was a snap to install the elements and get them positioned properly so they were equal length side-to-side. This is a MUCH better way to mount them than M2 uses, as you don't have to fight the spring 'keepers' all the way down the element while worrying that you won't get the element lengths correct. It took about two hours or so the get all the mounting blocks and driven element/T-Match boxes installed, and then mount the UHF elements and install the T-Match shorting bars. I waited until I had a bigger work area to install the VHF elements, which took another 45 minutes or so.
The boom-to-mast mounting plate is pretty clever, as it mounts the antenna to the mast at a 15* angle so you don't need an elevation rotor to get good coverage of the satellites. I rotated the boom 45* before I tightened down the mounting hardware, as this put the elements into an "X" configuration relative to the metallic mast I was using, and significantly reduces any pattern distortion caused by having a metallic mast parallel to the elements. The antenna was about 12' above the ground at the Field Day site, mounted with my Glen Martin 4' tower and 8' of mast. I used my Yaesu G-5500 Az/El rotor, and had a piece of TV mast mounted to the cross-boom with a DX Engineering plate and U-Bolts to hold the Gulf Alapha.
So how did it work?
GREAT!
Not having to worry about manually controlling TWO rotors was nice, and between my SSB USA preamps and the antenna itself, all the FM satellites were S7~S9 on my FT-847, and the analog birds were just as strong. Every satellite we could hear, we could also hear our uplink coming back.
The only thing I'm thinking of doing is to cut down the U-Bolts that hold the mast-to-boom plate to the mast, as they stick out pretty far on the threaded side, and I was constantly snagging things with them.
If you're looking for a gain antenna to work satellites with that's small, light, and easy to point, I highly recommend on of these. I can't wait to get it mounted at my house and see how well it works.
 


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