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Show all reviews of the GAP Challenger
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of the GAP Challenger.
Feb 4, 2013 17:08
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Time owned: more than 12 months
I have the pleasure of owning a Gap Challenger for going on 13 years now. I should mention that I bought mine second-hand at a garage sale in the Tampa area for only five dollars. My antenna is one of the first 100 ever made, as it uses tyraps and not the metal automotive hose clamps. The folks at Gap consider it one of their prototype antennas.
So, what do I think of the Antenna? Well. . . If you are looking for an antenna that bolts together, requires no tuning, provides low swr's on all the Bands it is advertised to work, has no coils or traps to collect moisture, has a very narrow visual footprint, can be HOA friendly hidden between trees,and is about the Biggest Bang for the Buck, search no further, you have found your antenna. I give the Challenger 5 Stars for operation, durability, and fantastic multiband performance.
As I mentioned, my antenna is old, possibly 20 years or more. Mine came with the grey coax and it was finally starting to corrode along the shield. The antenna was performing intermittently, so I treated it to a new coax harness and capacitor, and it is now performing like new again. I moved the antenna from Tampa to Phoenix, so I am in a much drier area, I expect this coax harness may easily last 15 to 20 years. It cost $105.00 to replace the harness and capacitor.
I can work everything between 10 through 80 except for 30 meters, which I honestly have never tried. I only need to use the auto tuner on the Icom 746 to work 17 meters, a band the antenna is not advertised to work. You also may try adding a wire to the 12 meter rod, about a foot or two in length, and you may see a very acceptable match on 17, of course your match on 12 will suffer, but it may be a good trade off for you.
I have my antenna in a poor location, only three feet away from a six foot cinder block wall with rebar inside, and directly across from my neighbors metal utility shed. The antenna is also sandwiched between two ficus trees about 25 feet tall, and I mean sandwiched. Only about the top 6 or 7 feet of the antenna can be seen. The antenna does not seem to couple to the block wall or the trees. I should mention that I only run 100 watts, and at 500 or 600 watts, the antenna may couple to that metal shed. I am in a HOA community and have had the antenna set up for over a year, so far, no complaints.
So. . . what have I worked. From Tampa I have worked the South Pole, most of Europe. From Phoenix, I have worked New Zealand, Japan several times, Eastern Eroupe, again all on 100 watts.
On 80 meters, I get at least 100 KC's of bandwidth, I think in my case it is more like 150 kc's. Excepting 17 meters, my highest swr is 1.5, most bands are 1.2. I should also mention that I'm a SSB operator, so I cannot vouch for the CW portion of each band, but suspect the SWR's are good there too.
One thing I would change if assembling a new or used Challenger, I would purchase stainless nuts and bolts to assemble the tubes at the "Gap Joint" I would ditch the use of the sheet metal screws as they eventually loosen. I would do the same for all the tuner rood connections too.
I VERY HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS ANTENNA FOR MULTIBAND HOA COMMUNITY OPERATIONS. ALSO, THE TECH SUPPORT FROM GAP IS UNBEATABLE! THESE GUYS REFUSED TO TAKE MONEY FROM ME TO MAIL OUT A MANUAL TO ME. This was back when the were not available online. Also, if you want a shorter antenna, you can choose the Titan, and you DON'T HAVE TO USE THE ELEVATED COUNTERPOISE. YOU CAN USE TWO RADIAL WIRES APPROXIMATELY ONE AROUND TEN FEET, AND THE OTHER AROUND 42, THIS IS FROM MEMORY, SO CALL GAP FOR EXACT LENGTH, AND OF COURSE, THIS COMES FROM GAP TECHNICAL SUPPORT.
I hope you will find this review helpful. 73,
King Mike 2 You
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