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Reviews Categories | Antenna Analyzers | Hendricks Deluxe Tenna Dipper Help

Reviews Summary for Hendricks Deluxe Tenna Dipper
Hendricks Deluxe Tenna Dipper Reviews: 9 Average rating: 3.7/5 MSRP: $75.00
Description: The Deluxe Tenna Dipper provides a simple means of determining the 50 ohm resonant frequency of an HF antenna or ATU (Antenna Tuning Unit). The small size and battery operation makes the unit ideal for use in the field. It's perfect for antenna experimenters that don't want to tie a bunch of money up in the higher priced analyzers. It's even priced lower than most swr bridges, and this tells you "where" you are resonant, not just that it's matched, or not matched, like a simple swr bridge.
Product is in production.
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K7TP Rating: 1/5 May 22, 2014 14:54 Send this review to a friend
Frustrating - poor communication  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This should have been a great kit. The design is great. It's a small board and it went together quickly, but I am experienced. It didn't work however and after some lengthy serious troubleshooting I discovered that some the kitted parts were not correct. It took several tries to reach Doug, including regular mail (in which I sent the parts back), email (went unanswered), and a couple of phone calls (left messages).
When I eventually reached him he claimed that his supplier said that the parts were mis-marked. He also said that he had sent the replacements (although they never arrived). A week later the new resistors arrived and were installed.
The kit now (almost) worked. There is still a performance issue and I asked Doug to send replacement transistors since apparently the troubleshooting may have affected one of them. Not only that but the transistors are no longer in production (and BTW mislabeled on the schematic).
There has been no reply to my phone call.
This is the second time I have had difficulty with the parts in a Hendricks kit. The common problem is that communicating with Doug is difficult.
This has certainly been a good kit for some people and, if it had worked, it would have been exactly what I needed. Sadly I can't recommend it.
N6WBL Rating: 5/5 Mar 11, 2013 16:37 Send this review to a friend
Great kit and vertical tuner  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This was my first real kit, and the Deluxe Tenna Dipper went together nicely and worked great on the first try. I bought the wrong clear lacquer (gloss instead of matt), but it came out fine. Only recommendation would be to trim around the labels a little nicer as where they are still kind of shows after a four coats of clear. Might want to smooth the bottom corners of the cover a little as they're a little sharp when put together.

The Deluxe Tenna Dipper works great for giving you resonant frequency and match for your rig. I needed something smaller than my MFJ-259B for SOTA/hiking and using a new HB-1B QRP rig without an SWR meter. The Deluxe Tenna Dipper fits the bill perfectly. Great for tuning up my Mini-Buddipole vertical which I usually use portable. Even with SWR meter equipped rig this will make tuning easier enough to include in the pack.

Conclusion, fun kit to build and very useful for tuning antennas out portable filling a real need. The only negative thing is kit building is addictive and I'm looking for the next one, :).
KC0GLA Rating: 4/5 Oct 12, 2012 20:08 Send this review to a friend
Advanced kit but fun  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
The kit arrived in a bubble wrap soft package. All the board and components were inside the metal case. The case did have a small dent in the top but a quick bend put it back in shape. The bill of materials list was complete except for the brass pot shaft to knob adapter which must of been a change not reflected in the instructions (not used, just installed the knob with the set screw, do not over tighten). A important part was also left out of the kit a 6 inch piece of RG-174 coax would be nice. I happened to have some lying around so not a problem for me, but could for some kit builders.
The electronics went together with only a few problems the builder created (clipped a capacitor lead accidentally after putting the transformer in wrong, oops). The most challenging part was the case since I had to paint this outdoors and the weather needed to be nice. The decals were a bit tricky to install but did turn out nice after coating with clear. The paint job did not turn out bad but not great (to much clear plus bugs, dirt, ect). I would of preferred a powder coated silk screened case even if the kit would of been more expensive. This project took me almost 6 months from start to finish due to the weather and other delays (mostly the case paint job). Final assembly went without any problems.
This is defiantly a advanced builders kit with all the steps and lack of detailed build instructions. Also the case must be prepped by sanding (used scotch brite pad). Painted, recommend even if optional (only light colors though since the decals are black lettered). Decals applied and clear coated over.
I do like the finished product, the use of a Wheatstone bridge, and the simplicity. It will not replace a commercial built antenna analyzer but it will tell you where a antenna is 50 ohms. Overall, a good build.
P.S. I wish there was a way to post a photo.
WW6M Rating: 1/5 Sep 19, 2012 14:35 Send this review to a friend
Disappointing Experience  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Pros: Arrived quickly, well packaged, All parts were included, good assembly instructions and photos, enjoyable to build.

Cons: No support if you have a problem or need to reorder a faulty component, aluminum case was rough cut metal and pretty scuffed up on backside, "Display Shift" which is supposed to take you to a more precise frequency range was useless. The clear plastic decals for the front panel controls make the final product look cheesy.

Discussion: Years ago, I spent a summer during college assembling sonar transceiver boards for a defense contractor. Not only did they have to function perfectly, but they also needed to pass a visual inspection by the U.S. Navy. Needless to say, I learned to be very neat and careful. I meticulously assembled this little board in the same fashion.

It's very tiny, only 6 square inches. I needed the assistance of a high quality magnifier to read some of the components and lighter colored resister bands, and to closely examine my soldering on the backside. Winding the tiny toroid was a tedious needle-and-thread exercise, taking me almost an hour to get it neatly wound, tinned, mounted, and tested.

When it came time to test the finished board, it was erratic. It would tune from 31 to 20 MHz on the higher frequency band (about half the range of the potentiometer) and then the digital display and SWR LED would both drop out. There was no display reading whatsoever when switching to the lower band.

The assembly instructions offered no help in troubleshooting if the board didn't pass all the initial tests, so I wrote Doug Hendricks a detailed E-mail describing my symptoms and asking for a suggestion. I never received a reply.

Conclusion: From the way it operated in the 20-31 MHz range, it looked like it would only provide a ballpark idea of resonant frequency. The "Display Shift" switch, which appeared to function perfectly in toggling between the rough and fine scales, was useless, in that the fine scale was nothing more than unreadable dancing digits.

Rating my overall experience, I would initially give the Tenna Dipper an "O.K" rating based upon it's unique concept, layout, assembly instructions and other reviewers experiences--which were better than mine.

However, being completely disregarded when asking for some help with a malfunctioning unit is totally unacceptable and causes me to drop the rating 2 additional points. For this final reason, I cannot recommend this product and will not be purchasing any other Hendrick's kits.

LNXAUTHOR Rating: 5/5 Sep 3, 2012 13:05 Send this review to a friend
Easy to Build, Essential Kit!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
the Deluxe Tenna Dipper is the deluxe version of the original 'Tenna Dipper,' which featured morse readout of the 50 ohm resonant frequency of an attached antenna

this 'deluxe' version features a large, 4-digit display that can toggle the decimal of the resultant resonant frequency

i started the build after an early 11 a.m. lunch, and less than 4 hours later had a working board and display - not a great feat for some builders, but considering my poor eyesight and that i did it standing up at my kitchen counter after a 5-mile walk workout earlier in the day, i feel pretty good

it takes longer for the paint to dry on the included alumnium case than to build the analyzer!

my only mistake was the final step before testing: i switched the battery leads to the six-AA compartment - duh! after properly attaching the leads, the board fired right up, passing the smoke test and display, oscillator range, display shift switch, and SWR bridge test.

change the range by toggling a switch to the right of the display

toggle the display decimal by pressing the button to the left of the display

to operate, attach an antenna, turn the unit on, 'tune' the freq adjust button to extinguish the LED and voila! your resonant freq is shown

this is going to be handy for my ft-817 and mp-1 - my QRP 'go bag' just got smaller and lighter!

fabulous, easy to build kit - my hat is off to KD1JV and KI6DS - a valuable contribution to QRPrs and kit builders!
VE5RB Rating: 5/5 Mar 14, 2012 14:42 Send this review to a friend
Nice kit  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I just finished building the kit. It went together easy with one minor mistake by me. I forgot to solder a terminal on the LED display causing an intermittant fault. It took me an hour to find the fault and correct it. This little device works great.
IZ4KBS Rating: 4/5 Oct 10, 2011 08:00 Send this review to a friend
Very useful, but a few glitches  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This is exactly the type of antenna tuning aid I was looking for, so I'm glad I bought it. That's why I gave it a four, but didn't it prove that useful it should really have been a 3, because:

* A 1mH inductor was supplied for L1, instead of a 1uH one. Luckily I've got several spare molded inductors in my junk here so that wasn't a problem, but other builders may get a bit upset.

* According to the instructions, the LED diode should be spaced 1/2 inch from PCB, while that should actually read much less, say 1/4 inch. This isn't a major problem, but getting it right in the docs will save some de-soldering.

* The manual says that the unit performs a 2-second self-test at power on. With mine the self test takes less than half a second, yet everything seems to work fine so I think that's acceptable and it may be useful to point out this possibility in the docs.

* Now what I believe to be an actual design issue: under high VSWR conditions the digital frequency readout gets confused and begins showing twice the value of the actual oscillator frequency, so say 14 MHz instead of 7 MHz. By shifting the frequency towards a lower VSWR region then the counter shows the correct frequency again. I concluded that the reflected voltage, possibly out-of-phase with respect to the forward one, was causing the counter to detect a doubled frequency. To fix the issue I added an 1N4148 diode just before L1, with the diode cathode oriented towards the inductor. In this way the square wave produced by the oscillator can travel towards the absorptive SWR bridge through L1, but the reflected voltage coming from the bridge cannot travel back into either the counter or the oscillator. I suggest that this simple mod be added to future versions of the kit. Another beneficial side-effect of the diode is that it protects the circuit from relatively high voltages that can possibly occur under high VSWR conditions. This may not be an issue, but having some level of protection between the antenna and the circuit will not hurt either.
WB7OND Rating: 3/5 Sep 23, 2011 18:11 Send this review to a friend
Hard to resolve levels of LED bright.  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Went together without a hitch, worked first time. In actual use, could not see led in bright daylight, oscillator tuned too fast, could not see marginal dips in swr, difficult to resolve levels of "dim". Sold the unit and went back to my Autek RF-1 which is only marginally better. The downfall of both units is the narrow range of SWR as its hard to see the "approach" to the lowest swr before you pass the frequency and the swr comes off the "peg"..
KD0MEQ Rating: 5/5 Jun 11, 2011 21:14 Send this review to a friend
Useful kit that is easy to build  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Just finished my Deluxe Tenna Dipper. It only took an hour or so to build, and worked first time.

Consider this a "poor hams analyzer". All it really does is find the 50ohm match presented by your antenna. I build a lot of antennas and am constantly looking to adjust them, and this unit gives me a quick and accurate readout.

Operation is simple...just select the correct frequency range, and turn the knob until the SWR light goes out. The display will then show the frequency where you have the 50ohm match.

I have used the Deluxe Tenna Dipper to check an end fed halfwave, and also a CB antenna on my car that I needed to trim for 10m operation.

Recommended for any new ham that is starting to experiment with antennas or anyone else that needs a small, simple, and inexpensive way to check their antennas.

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