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Reviews Categories | Antennas: HF: Verticals; Wire; Loop | True Ladder Line 125ft Doublet. Help

Reviews Summary for True Ladder Line 125ft Doublet.
Reviews: 12 Average rating: 4.7/5 MSRP: $124.00
Description: 80m Open Fed Doublet Antenna with 150ft of lead in.
Product is in production.
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NX0E Rating: 5/5 Jun 16, 2018 12:26 Send this review to a friend
Still working well  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Up one year, this antenna has survived a Wyoming summer and winter. Wind, snow and ice did not bring it down. It is supported per my earlier review. About 35' of the TLL feedline slope down to a roof eave, held in place with small kevlar cord for strong support but allowing it to flex with wind. A Leviton ceramic DPDT knife switch shorts and grounds both conductors when not the antenna is not in use. An ICE (now Array Solutions) balanced arrestor discharges static - which is important when there is blowing snow. It is fed through a wooden wall with a short twin 75 ohm coax, then a homemade 1:1 balun. It's tuned with a SGC 231 auto tuner. It tunes on every HF band.
N5ATM Rating: 5/5 Feb 21, 2018 16:31 Send this review to a friend
Great antenna  Time owned: more than 12 months
Installation: I purchased the 160m version almost two years ago. Strung it up between a home brew 30' support mast and the power company's telephone pole. After about 8 months, the power company saw it and cut my rope and said don't use the pole. lol I then cut the antenna down for 80m use and attached the one end to a pole mounted on the chimney.

Matching: I initially had a problem tuning all bands using my LDG 1000pro tuner. I called and spoke with Brian at and he said that the LDG's commonly have issues with this and other similar antennas. He suggested trying a different tuner so I purchased an old Dentron MT-3000A. Sure enough, my tuning issues disappeared.

RFI: The Dentron has a built-in balun so at first I ran the ladder line directly to the tuner. However I had a lot of RF-in-the-shack issues doing it this way. After a bit of research and experimentation I ended up with the following setup.

Feed line into...

1) Array Solutions AS-309H lightning arrestor
2) Balun designs 4114T 4:1 balun
3) Balun designs 1115du 1:1 choke balun.
4) Dentron MT-3000A tuner.

This setup solved all my RFI issues and the antenna tunes up just fine on all bands using about 150' of feed line, much of it running parralell to the antenna.

Performance: This antenna has worked VERY well considering it's low height. I also have a SteppIR BigIR vertical with a 64 65' radials in a perfect circle. In A/B comparisons, the dipole usually matches or surpasses the vertical for most state side contacts except where I imagine the nulls are. It also does surprisingly well for DX but as expected the vertical usually wins in that match up. I live out in the country and luckily I have a very low noise level. It's very easy to see the noise floor difference on the dipole and the Vertical using my Flex 6500. As expected, the dipole is much quieter than the vertical and generally the Signal-to-Noise ratio is better on the dipole.

Summary: I have been extremely happy with the quality of materials, construction, and performance of the antenna. It has performed better than any other wire antenna I have used and I've had a few. The product support from Brian in answering questions and discussing such things as feed line length and tuner issues was nothing short of exemplary. I'm a very happy customer and am sold on the 600ohm doublet type antenna. I suggest them any time I hear the question, what antenna should I use? Purchase one of these and you can't go wrong.
NX0E Rating: 5/5 Nov 21, 2017 10:19 Send this review to a friend
So far - excellent  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I've had the 125' doublet up since June. It has passed the "summer in Wyoming" test - hot and windy. The winter test is coming.

I have it up about 18' in the center and about 10' at each end. Most of the use is on 80m close-in (NVIS) nets at 50W. It has worked well.

The insulators are hollow plastic tubing. This makes the antenna and feed line east to hang, using nonconducting cord passed through the tube.
KZ4B Rating: 5/5 Aug 3, 2016 17:02 Send this review to a friend
True ladder line for your own home brew dipole.  Time owned: more than 12 months
You can purchase true ladder (feed) line by itself for use with your own home-brew balanced or off-center-fed dipole. Advertisements for the pre-fabricated feed-line can be found in Electric Radio and elsewhere.

I installed my own home-brew two hundred foot overall length G5RV (cut for 160 meters and up) over six years ago. It has required ZERO maintenance in all that time. The #16 AWG feeders provided use Type "MTW" Insulation which appears to have had NO deterioration (of that Insulation) in all this time. One modification that was made (by the writer) to the true ladder line was to add a Thomas & Betts (T & B) Ty-wrap looped through the inside of each plastic spacer in order to keep the feeders locked into the end notches under even the worst high-wind/icing conditions. Note that these premium black 50 pound ninimum tension T & B ty-wraps are 14 inches long, UV stabalized and feature a tiny stainless steel "gripper" to lock the wraps into their final diameter. The plastic "grippers" used in other brand ty-wraps deteriorate rapidly in sunlight. The T & B wraps are very expensive approaching $1.00 a piece-but well worth the cost.

A major test for open-wire feeders is whether the SWR changes under varying (rain, ice & snow) weather conditions. Absolutely NO SWR changes have been observed regardless of weather conditions. The more common "window line" (especially after it's insulation cracks in a year or two) will drive you crazy with re-tuning under varying weather conditions. Also, "window line" almost always uses "copperweld" (copper-clad carbon steel) wire which rusts easily (especially in coastal areas) and is 20 to 30% of the conductivity of the pure copper wire used in True Ladder Line.
N4SJW Rating: 5/5 Aug 2, 2016 18:15 Send this review to a friend
Nice upgrade from old dipole  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I replaced a home brew 40M doublet with 300 ohm twin lead. The new 80M doublet with 600 ohm ladder line is performing a bit better, a little quieter than my Hustler 6BTV vertical, and compared to the 40M dipole seems to be less affected by weather.

I noticed that the antenna is cut a bit short on 80 and 40, no more than 3:1 VSWR to band edges with resonance at the high end of the band. It tunes up on 160 (LDG 1000 ProII) through 10M. Very happy with the choice of this antenna. I was worried about the ladder line showing up (HOA), but it blends in well with a tall pine I used for inverted V configuration and lays flat on the roof so basically invisible from the street. Using a DX Engineering 4:1 balun with no problems.
KB2FCV Rating: 4/5 Feb 10, 2016 21:21 Send this review to a friend
Very good antenna  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had my True Ladder Line doublet up for 5+ years. It is up 50-60 feet. It is connected to a Johnson KW Matchbox. As expected, it works quite well on 80-20m. Its performance is OK as you get higher up. 8BDXCC and 300+ entities worked with it so far.

The 16 gauge wire was a little weak for my taste. A few good wind storms stretched and damaged / cut the wire. I wound up replacing it with 14 gauge and have not had a problem since (ok, I did need to repair one side when a hurricane blew a tree onto it as it fell over!).

Overall I am very satisfied with this antenna. I usually lower it and inspect it once a year and the pvc parts seem to be holding up. I really like the one continual wire aspect of it. I would recommend this antenna to anyone.
KD8IIC Rating: 5/5 May 1, 2013 03:04 Send this review to a friend
Still up after 17mos  Time owned: more than 12 months
The True Ladder Line 80m Doublet I reveiwed in November 2011 is still up. It endured the heavy windstorm of late June last year and very heavy snow build up in February.Maybe the fact that I have it erected using a fiberglass telescopic mast that may gives it more flex and survivability.
I have not had ANY breaking or stretching.Tunes FB even 6m with a BT1500A Palstar Tuner.I'm done using coax forever here..73, lane Columbus, Ohio.
K9CDX Rating: 2/5 Apr 30, 2013 16:02 Send this review to a friend
Wasn't strong for me  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I set up the antenna at about 60ft between two trees with a pulleys and a weight of 8lbs with 18ft of travel in both up and down directions on the end ropes.I used rope in the tree so no branches or limbs came in contact with the wire. I must say the receive and performance was great. After 2 days I had a wind storm of 30mph and the 16ga wire in the antenna portion stretched 8" on one leg and broke. I re-erected it with a linemans splice and it broke again in 2 more weeks, at a different location. I was dismayed with the use of Pex tubing for the spacers on the 150ft of feed and another 8" piece of Pex on each end for the insulators. It looked cheap and I question reports on its abilty to stay up many years.Diassappointed.
WA8EBM Rating: 5/5 Apr 25, 2013 16:56 Send this review to a friend
Great packaging of classic antenna  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have had this antenna up for a couple weeks. Prior to it I used a G5RV, 102 foot doublet with window line feeders and an Alpha Delta DX-LB. There is no great new secret design. I first saw it in my Become a Radio Amateur study guide in the 1950's. It is simply #16 stranded, insulated electrical wire with the feeders spaced 4 inches apart with pieces of 1/2" ADS Polyflex plastic water supply tubing. What makes it unique is the precise notching of the spreaders making them very captive around the wires without slippage and the continuous length of wire from the ladder line through the end of the antenna elements. The tubing has a 3/4" OD which I slipped into some 1/2" PVC plumbing T's that I had to ream out, slightly, to 3/4" with a spade bit. Using this method you can fabricate all kinds of standoff devices. My setup has the center hung from an arm at 40 feet from my tubular tower. One end goes the full 62.5 feet to a tree and the other end goes 50 feet and then bends down 12 feet to the trunk of another tree. Both ends are at 25 feet above ground. I ran 60 feet of the feedline to a Balun Designs 5KW 4:1 balun and then 6 feet of RG8 to the tuner in the basement. Using a AT5K tuner I get 1:1 on 160 thru 30 meters. I am not able to get a decent SWR on bands above that. I surmise there is just too much stray inductance in the Tuner to allow matching above 30 meters. My Heath 2060A tuner tunes it 1:1 from 160 thru 10 and the internal tuner in the KX3 tunes it 3:1 on 160 and then 1:1 all the way thru 6 meters. I tried 9:1 baluns and 1:1 baluns and still could not get the Palstar to tune above 30 meters. My first contact running a KW was on 75 SSB to Hungary, at midnight, with a 10 over 9 report. I have made numerous European contacts on 40 SSB with several S9 PLUS signal reports. I tried it on 160, where it really should not work very well, and no arcing or any problems and S9 reports all around the Midwest. You can build it for less but for under 100 bucks he does all the tedious work and it is ready to string up. If it stays up for any length of time I sure got my moneys worth. I suppose if I toyed around with feeder length or fed the tuner directly with the ladder line I could get the AT5K working on the higher bands but why mess with a good thing.
W3BJ Rating: 5/5 Mar 13, 2013 11:59 Send this review to a friend
Good antenna  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Just put my doublet up last week. Locally it does no better than any dipole, but it is great on dx. It must have a low angle of radiation, because the noise is less and dx stations are louder. It is a very well built antenna and coupled with a 5 KW balun from Balun Designs, makes a very nice and dependable setup
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