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Reviews Categories | Antennas: HF: Yagi, Quad, Rotary dipole, LPDA | TGM Communications Hybrid Quad Help

Reviews Summary for TGM Communications Hybrid Quad
TGM Communications Hybrid Quad Reviews: 47 Average rating: 4.7/5 MSRP: $280.00
Description: Mini HF Beam 4-band/6-band
Product is in production.
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VE3TWM Rating: 5/5 Jan 28, 2009 17:52 Send this review to a friend
A Solid Compact Antenna Choice  Time owned: more than 12 months
About 4 years ago I moved into the house I now live in. At my previous residence I had used first a Cushcraft R5 at 30 feet, then an Antennas and More G5RV installed as an inverted V with apex at 30 feet and the ends at 8 feet and 12 feet respectively. I made contacts with both antennas, but I wanted something more effective for the new place. The idea of having a directional HF antenna also appealed to me.

After reading many reviews on the various models available, I purchased the TGM MQ-24SR in the fall of 2004. While expensive, it had a small footprint which made it ideal for my mounting location (my tower is only 5 feet away from my property line). I stretched my budget to get the MQ-24SR; in retrospect I regret I was not able to spend the extra and get the model which also covers 17m and 12m.

The antenna took me about twelve hours to assemble, working a couple of hours a night after work for 6 nights. I know others have built theirs more quickly, but I intentionally took my time. The manual does need a serious overhaul. I found some of illustrations difficult to read.

To tune the antenna, I mounted the assembled antenna on a 5 foot mast inserted into a cast iron umbrella stand. Knowing that I would be using an automatic antenna tuner, I didnít tune it too carefully. I was able to bring the resonant points inside the three bands without much effort.

Once tuned, I put it on top on a 30í Delhi TV tower with a heavy duty Channel Master TV rotator. I used a DX Engineering DXE-BAL050-H05-P Balun. Once installed, the SWR did not change from my measurements on the ground

4 years later, the antenna is still up and intact. It has seen some fierce wind and ice, but as near as I can tell, has suffered no damage at all. The SWR remains very close to where it was the day the Mini-Quad was erected. Iím not surprised as there was no question when I built it that the materials were solid.

I will note here and now I am neither a contester nor a DXer. I am perhaps amongst the most casual of Hams. 99% of my time with the radio is spent listening to other operators when the bands are open. I will occasionally sit down for a few hours during a contest to log contacts via search and pounce. I use lower end radio gear; most of the contacts made with the TGM were made with an Icom IC-706 Mk IIG through an LDG Autotuner (at first an AT-11MP and more recently an AT-100Pro). The antenna is connected through approximately 50 feet of RG-8U cable. I do not use a station ground (based upon the opinions of 3 different tower installers that I have used over the years Ė all were of the opinion that a grounded system would be more likely to attract lightning than deter it).

Given the fact we have been at the low end of the solar cycle since the antenna went up, my only real observations are with regard to performance on the 20m band. I just have not been on the air often enough to spend significant time on the 15m and 10m bands while they have been open.

It is my impression that the TGM is a quieter antenna than either the R5 or the G5RV; while at the same time delivering higher signal strengths on receive. I have found the difference to be noticeable rather than dramatic. When I respond to CQs, I routinely have the other operator come back to me and it usually does not take very long to get through a pileup. Of course, there are times when I canít get through the pile up or be heard by the other station. This antenna does allow me to make more contacts but it is not a magic bullet that works everything.

Initially my biggest disappointment with the Mini-Quad was its lack of directivity on 20m. I have also done testing on signals on both 15m and 10m and observed the same results. I can spin the antenna 360 degrees and the received signal strength may go up or down 2 or 3 S-Units as the direction changes but that's it. Last year I had another 10 foot section added to the tower to see if the directivity would be improved but to no avail. Yes, the antenna is up in the clear with no nearby obstructions. At this point I have actually disconnected the rotator control box and am using the antenna as an omni. I will add that I have come to terms with this and I am in no way unhappy with the antennaís performance otherwise. I actually prefer not having to worry about whether I am missing something should the antenna be pointed in the wrong direction.

The last piece of information I will impart is an A-B receiving test I did with the TGM and a Par End-Fedz EF-20 last summer. The Par antenna was installed with the fed end at about 35 feet on the tower, sloping down to a 20 foot Jackite pole in the backyard. On two consecutive evenings I monitored more than 20 stations in both the US and Europe and found the signals were (in the vast majority of cases) within 1 or 2 S-Units of each other. In some instances signals received with the Par had the better signal strength and sometimes the TGM had the edge. It should be noted that the Par is designed for 20m and in the case of the TGM, 20m is expected to be its weakest band due to the antennaís physical size. If your primary interest is in the 20m band, the Par may be a better (and much more cost effective) choice. Until the sunspots come back, I just wonít know about 15m and 10m.

I have written this in the hope that I can add to the knowledge base gathered on the TGM MQ-24SR. I am satisfied with its performance, its durability and its small size. I like having an antenna that can accommodate three bands with a single feedline that is resonant across most of the bands that it covers. In my case, it fits my needs.
VE2YMM Rating: 5/5 Nov 29, 2008 17:07 Send this review to a friend
Easy to mount and great performances  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Fantastic dipole ! I'm using the MQ-24SR model and didn't have big experience with this kind of antenna. I can say the performances are really impressive. I'm using it most of the time in 20m., and do DX nearly every day with Europe! I live in town (Montreal, Canada), so space is a little bit limited. Antenna is around 15m. (50 foot) from the ground, using a rotor.

Cons. Price is a little bit high and SWR a bit high in 6m.
N2QQF Rating: 3/5 Apr 28, 2008 13:13 Send this review to a friend
Just OK (at best)  Time owned: more than 12 months
I reviewed this antenna previously and decided to write an honest review again after giving it some considerable thought and lessons learned. I had this antenna (MQ-36) up about 30-40 feet in the air and I had my G5RV and other wire dipoles located about 60+ feet in the air smoked which I may add smoked this antenna hands down. My G5RV and other dipoles was about a good (3-5) S-units better on every signal on everyband except for 10 & 6 meters where the MQ-36 performed at its best.

This is very much a compromise antenna and will not give you the performace normally found with a full sized beam. This antenna has alot of quirks with it such as required height as well as a few other issues but overall you are not going to get the perforomace of a full sized beam or half wave wire. Put two wires in the sky and have one in North / South direction and the other in a East / West fasion and it would be certainly alot cheaper than this price and i can assure you the wire at 50' will perform better. I would hate to have soemone else buy this beam and expect a miracle that isn't going to happen and spend alot of their hard earned money doing it. The antenna quality was very good and durable that is for sure.

A full sized beam isnt that much bigger but it is also alot less noticable than this antenna which sticks out quite a bit. The rear element is quite big and cumbersum. All I can say is take your time and spend your money wisely and remember a full size tribander will work great and isn't that much bigger. So before you throw alot of money into the beam take the time and think unless you have no choice in space. If this is the case you might want to try the MA5B by cushcraft. Again, I have no issues with the company as they seem responsive to questions but the prices they charge are a bit astronomical for what you are getting.

I am not the stereo typical cheap ham that doesnt spend money. I have spent lots of money on gear, most great and a few not so good items. I would hope you take my advise with some consideration in order to do your research. No one likes to admit they have garbage or bought something that isn't good so notice I am writing my review after it is gone.
WB8ISG Rating: 5/5 Jun 21, 2007 23:42 Send this review to a friend
Excellent antenna!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Since my "restricted covenant" is the XYL, I needed a small profile antenna. Since this one (MQ-26) looks like a TV antenna on steroids, it was acceptable--a full size beam, tower etc. was NOT.
The antenna arrived in a narrow long box--partially assembled and just a matter of repositioning items to get the majority together. The instructions are very sraightforward. The antenna is mounted on a fiberglas mast @40' via a chimney mount; an inverted "V" dipole is mounted lower on the same mast. The rotator is a heavy duty TV type and is very adequate for this antenna (and inexpensive on EBay). Performance is better than I expected--I'm quite critical, and having taught Physics and Astronomy at the local university, I tend to be very objective about wild performance claims. Since I run a lot of digital modes (PSK31, SSTV,etc.), you can actually see the difference in quality (less noise in SSTV images, very strong "waterfalls")with and without the beam, as well as very good directionality. There is no question I can pick up stations and work them better than with my dipole--New Zealand on 17M, most of Europe on 20m, etc. Where the signal may be unintelligble using the dipole, this beam will lift the signal enough to make an "impossible" station almost routine. Just yesterday while sending an SSTV pic to a US ham, an eastern Russian station broke in to tell me my signal was "5 and 8"! Unsolicited and the first time that has ever happened to me!
Remember, this is not a full size beam, but a great compromise. I'm very happy with this purchase, and Tom McKay (owner/manufacturer)is a pleasure to deal with (always cheerful and AVAILABLE). Don't hesitate to email me for more info--and I'd be glad to send you a few pics of my installation.
MW0JZE Rating: 5/5 Nov 29, 2006 08:39 Send this review to a friend
Dont delay get yours TODAY!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Hi all,

Just been looking for some reviews on the Acom 1000 amp and thought I would also post my comments on my MQ 26 SR antenna. I have now had the beam up for 2 years and have 210 DXCC worked in this time (not enough time on radio due to starting my own business and moving house) from 20M up to 6M. Ok I have had a bit of help from my ranger 811H amp which helps a bit, but you still have to hear who you are talking to. The beam is up at 40 foot on a free standing tennamast over clear space with good take off all around, this also helps. I am so pleased I have just ordered the extra element to convert it to a MQ 36 SR to improve the ears on receive.

Have done quite a few tests with some local amateurs testing the directivity. At first I was disappointed but it was only 35 foot high to start but I found it was better at 40 foot, the swr was also improved by increasing the height. My tip to you if you are thinking about getting one of these is this, get it 36 to 40 foot above ground and in the clear, a few friends of mine have one of these on a lean to mast against the house and swr is altered when beaming over the house, this is also effecting the performance of the antenna. These friends are also that impressed that this doesnít bother them but I am a bit of a fussy bugger!

Most of my contacts are on 20m, 17m, and 15m I have plenty of contacts on 12m, 10m and 6m but letís not forget we are at the bottom of the cycle. In my log I have JA, VK, ZL, ZK1, K7C, 3Y0, CY9 and CY0 OK some are more exotic than other but you get the picture.

My final word is yes it is a compromise but a very good compromise, do not compare with a monobander or you will be disappointed, compare to any other multiband minibeam antenna and you will be impressed. Have a Carolina Windom 80 special up at 35 feet and it is deaf in comparison to the MG 26 SR! Have read lots of reviews on this antenna but not many people tell you how high it is set up etc, my advice again is 36 to 40 feet high and in the clear! This should also be applied to ALL antenna installations to get the best results, or a review is compromised.
MM0NDX Rating: 5/5 Aug 20, 2006 09:35 Send this review to a friend
Excellent  Time owned: more than 12 months
Owned the MQ1 for approx 18 months. Was bought second hand for £100(pounds) and is probably the best 100 pounds i've spent!

I use a 5BTV vertical too and without doubt, the MQ1 outperforms the vertical on 14,21 and 28Mhz.

Examples of recent DX worked using the MQ1 (when the 5BTV couldn't even hear the stations!) were VP9 on 20m and 3B9FR on 10m.

During this period of minimal solar activity, i really am wondering just how good the antenna will perform when the sunspots are at max. Especially on 10m.

In truth i have nothing but good to say about the MQ1.

Here's a pic of the MQ1 at my QTH, just 30ft in the air:
KG6AMW Rating: 5/5 May 21, 2006 13:24 Send this review to a friend
Good Antenna  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I was looking for a 5 band minibeam and selected the TGM antenna. Why did I buy this antenna as a opposed to the Cushcraft MA5B or the Hexbeam? Well, two reasons. As compared to the Cushcraft, the TGM offers gain on the WARC bands while the Cushcraft doesnít. The Hexbeam is a very good antenna and may be a better performer (side rejection and maybe forward gain) than its two rivals but it costs almost twice as much as the TGM. Was the performance worth the additional $500, I donít know, but for me it didn't seem to warrant the additional investment. So with this piece of logic, I purchased the TGM. Now onto the review of the TGM. It was well boxed and each individual part was wrapped and labeled. The quality of the parts are good. The instructions are limited but not bad -- most of the major parts are already together thus eliminating a lot of tedious assembly. Tuning the antenna requires a little effort -- you need to adjust the spokes. Although resonance is generally low in the band, you select what part of the band, cw or ssb but not both in the case of 20 meters. I placed my antenna on tv telescoping mast (40 feet) and put it up at about 35 feet. The top section telescoping mast remained collapsed and I used a separate mast and thrust bearing. The telescoping mast is anchored to a post and the other sections are guided four ways at two points. The physical specs for this antenna is as follows -- it weighs about 17 pounds and the longest element is just shy of 12 feet which makes it a fairly small antenna. Wind load is light about 1.6 square feet. I can only compare it to one other antenna which is dipole up 31 feet. Performance wise, its fairly good given the fact that you can put your signal where you want it. Compared to the dipole, performance can range from break-even to as much as 4 S units with 1.5 S units being a common difference in performance. Most times, I couldnít even hear the station or just barely hear it and the beam brings the station right up out of the noise which is an interesting experience someone used to fixed dipoles and verticals. The TGM is a good minibeam.
AB5CC Rating: 5/5 Jan 20, 2006 19:18 Send this review to a friend
All I need on the higher HF bands!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned the MQ-26 6 band version for almost 2 years. It is simply fantastic on 17m. I really don't like to operate on 20m and haven't tried 15m or 12m, but I am sure it works well there. I turn it with a TV rotor, no problem. I use it with the IC-746 on 6m with great results. The only negative that I have noticed is that it really seems to have no front to back ratio. In other words, I can work as well off the back as I can off the front. That is a plus sometimes on 6 meters if the band is really open. Also, the SWR is about 3:1 on 6m at best, but it is supposed to have over 6db gain on 6m, so if you use some 9914 or lmr-400 coax, the gain will overcome the loss from high SWR. I just use the internal tuner on the rig to flatten it out.

I have seen some who say the 6m performance is dismal, I would like to add that you should be sure you get a balun that is good thru 50 mHz. I had a balun on the TGM that was good thru 30 mHz and performance suffered. I thought about it one day and got the proper balun and now, there is no problem with the performance on 6m. In fact, I worked 14 stations in about an hour on 12/22/05 with 50w on SSB and FM.

All in all, I would say that it is much better than a dipole, easy to put up, easy to turn and has withstood 70 mph winds no problem. If you don't have a built-in tuner, or if you run an amp, you will definately need a good tuner because the 2:1 SWR limits are very narrow on all the bands except 12m and 17m. Well, they are narrow on 12m and 17m, but the bands are so small that you can cover it within the 2:1 range easily.

WB4PAP Rating: 2/5 May 9, 2005 21:35 Send this review to a friend
Not Impressed  Time owned: months
I bought this antenna largely due to the possitive write ups on this web site. I was on a quest for a good performing small beam antenna knowing that there will be trade offs due to size. Based on the ratings it would seem this antenna would defy the laws of physics and deliver the best possible performance and compare with some of the smaller major tri banders. Not so in my case. I don't specifically want to be negative but here are the results of my tests with this antenna.

I currently have an antenna farm consisting of a Gap Titan DX, a full size G5RV at 40' the TGM M-26 SR at 35 feet and it's replacement antenna a Traffie Hex Beam. The Mini Quad came well wrapped and I was impressed with the build quality. It is well made as it should be. It is not an inexpensive antenna. I added the Array Solutions current Balun and installed it on top of the chimney on a mount that would place it at 35'. Anxious to finally have a directional antenna I fired it up and my immediate reaction was, It's noisy! I switched to the Gap Titan, dead quiet, G5RV, Quiet. Back to the Mini Quad, noise level about S-3 or more depending on conditions. There are no elctrical lines near by, everything is underground. No other extreme structures or metal near by. A call to TGM in Canada was expensive but not productive. Several other calls just yeilded the same result. Tom McKay is a real nice guy but I don't really believe I got the technical support I was looking for. No troubleshooting suggestions or electrical measurement data to verify proper operation. Again, calls averaging $20.00 each to Canada. I got some sympathy but no real help or offer to return the antenna. I've got over $700.00 invested at this point in the antenna, Balun, shipping and phone calls.

OK, real world. This antenna is directional and transmits well. About 2 S units better than the Gap Titan and G5RV from receiving stations I did comparisons with on average. On recieve, I almost always got a better signal on the Titan and G5RV. I usually had to switch off the Mini Quad to get Q-5 copy during marginal band conditions. The Titan and G5RV were about 1 or 2 S units down on receive but much easier to copy almost all of the time. The mini quad was mostly noise on receive unless the band conditions were very good. I lived with this antenna for over three months, giving it a fair shake and operating with it in various conditions. Most of my operating was transmitting on the mini quad then switching to the Titan or G5RV for receive.

I finally decided this was not going to work out so I purchased a Traffie Hex Beam. I also heard good things about this antenna but I was skeptical and didn't want to make another investment that would be a chance situation again. After talking to Mike Traffie, I was convinced that it was worth trying. That coupled with a 30 day money back refund less shipping if you're not satisfied. The antenna arrived and was assembled quickly. Sitting on a 4' pipe in the front yard SWR was flat accross all bands except for the high end of 10 meters. Far better than the mini quad and no adjustments are required. I was reluctant to transmit from the front yard on the Hex Beam due to RF concerns but when night fell I fired up the equipment on 17 meters. The Hex beam outperformed the mini quad hands down! Reading off S units on an uncalibrated receiver won't really prove anything but suffice to say that at 4' the Hex Beam heard better and was quiet compared to the mini quad. I made a few contacts including US and Europe and at 4' I was convinced the mini quad was coming down as the Hex Beam was better. A week later the Hex Beam went up on my new tower at 37' The mini quad is still in place so some testing followed. Results? Totally unbelievable! The Hex Beam out performed the mini quad by a HUGE margin. Receive is quiet. Signals not heard on the mini quad, Titan and G5RV are Q-5 on the Hex Beam. Transmit is +10db better at least. This one is a keeper and the mini quad is going on Ebay. This is my experience, others have had good luck with the mini quad but I urge you to consider the alternatives as it's a costly antenna and there is no return policy. Buying outside the US gives you little recourse and is expensive if you need support.

K1ECW Rating: 5/5 Mar 5, 2005 05:56 Send this review to a friend
Buy One Today!!!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've owned both the Cushcraft MA5B and the MQ-26. It's the MQ-26 hands down!!! The MQ-26 covers more bands, has a wider bandwidth, has more gain - especially on the WARC bands, and is stronger and better designed and built.

I've worked stations that the locals on their G5RVs can't hear. You don't need an amp with the db gain on this one. I've worked most of North America, South America, Europe, and even Antartica running only 100 watts.

The initial element tuning takes some time and is best performed with an antenna analyzer. The SWR is 1.5-2.0:1 across the tuned portion of the 10, 12, 15, 17, and 20 meter bands without using an electronic tuner; but, I can work both the CW and general class phone segments of all bands with a tuner.

The 6 meter function on this antenna isn't that great with a 3:0:1 SWR without a tuner. I doubt it's useable without employing tuner on 6 meters.

I wouldn't swap mine for anything else on the market. Buy one -- you won't be disappointed!
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