- Amateur Radio (Ham Radio) Community

Call Search

New to Ham Radio?
My Profile

Friends Remembered
Survey Question

DX Cluster Spots

Ham Exams
Ham Links
List Archives
News Articles
Product Reviews
QSL Managers

Site Info
eHam Help (FAQ)
Support the site
The eHam Team
Advertising Info
Vision Statement

Reviews Categories | Antennas: HF Mobile & Accessories | Texas Bug Catcher Help

Reviews Summary for Texas Bug Catcher
Texas Bug Catcher Reviews: 27 Average rating: 4.9/5 MSRP: $160 - 199
Description: GLA Systems Texas Bugcatcher
Product is in production.
More info:
Email Subscription
You are not subscribed to this review.

My Subscriptions
Subscriptions Help

You can write your own review of the Texas Bug Catcher.

Page 1 of 3 —>

W1ADE Rating: 5/5 May 18, 2018 15:55 Send this review to a friend
BACK in Production!   Time owned: more than 12 months
I've been dragging my BugCatcher parts pieces around for years, and am about to set up a new mobile installation. My prior installation was centered over the bed of a pickup and I do recall working 75 and 160. The biggest problem I had on working 160 is that no one wanted to believe I was running mobile. This was late 90's not long after I upgraded to Advanced.

I used the original style taps with star washers, and the FT-900 internal tuner. I used an analyzer to set tap positions. The setup does draw a LOT of attention in populated areas.

Last time I checked, I didn't find the new distribution situation. I'm quite happy about that, and will be getting a new tap kit for sure. I have the 6160 and 680 coils, a 20" cap hat and will vary my masts/stingers to fit the Crown Victoria application that will be it's new primary installation.

I've learned a lot over the years and should be able to better optimize my installation this time, and look forward to having another blast explaining that YES, _indeed_ I am mobile @ 100w.

And since it will TAKE it, I plan to add some wattage later. Thanks to all the hams who have dropped the coin to keep this wonderful monstrosity available. And Henry! Roll TYD!

If ever my coils break, I'll upgrade to the newer ones without hesitation. I'll update this review when I get it going again. I'll post some pics at my QRZ listing as it happens.

Everything in this world involves a compromise, and here we compromise stealth and obscurity, never performance. If you don't want attention, avoid this setup. Helps if you're single! 73
KB7BS Rating: 5/5 Aug 14, 2012 16:57 Send this review to a friend
New Bug Catcher  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This is a recently new purchase to replace a much smaller coil. Quality is excellent. This proves US manufacturing is still the best when manufactures want to be. I have it mounted with a Breedlove (reviewed elsewhere) stake pocket mount attached to a 2001 GMC 2500 HD with a Duramax diesel. Not only is it high quality, it is an exceptional performer. I ordered the 480XL coil. AS the web site and documentation states you must be patient when tuning. I used my MFJ-259B and had no issues getting it to resonance. I wound my own matching shunt coil and it dropped the SWR down to 1:1. I do not recommend the matching coil they sell as it is designed to go around the base of the mast. This can only detune the coil. I use in mainly on 75m in the morning going to work. All the guys notice a significant difference. If this is the kind of antenna your looking for, there is none better.
W5LZ Rating: 5/5 Jun 24, 2011 09:27 Send this review to a friend
Very good performance.  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've used a TexasBugCatcher for quite a few years. If you are looking for the best performance on the 'lower' HF bands, that's where you'll end up. I've also 'aged' a bit and now use a screwdriver type antenna. It doesn't have -quite- the performance at the bugcatcher, but it's not 'lacking' all that much. It's also MUCH easier to use, flip a switch instead of changing taps (as in I'm lazier than I used to be?). I've still got my TexasBugCatcher so am not in the market for a newer one. What's being offered would certainly be one of the sources I'd check if I was looking for anew one!
- Paul
AE5J Rating: 5/5 Jun 24, 2011 07:18 Send this review to a friend
Back in production!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Just a word to those who want the best antenna of its kind on earth. According to Henry, W5TYD, (and the Texas Bug Catcher is BACK IN PRODUCTION. Sales are being handled by Main Trading Company. Here is their web site:

Scroll down on the left side of the page for the antenna. I know Henry and Tina's many friends and customers will appreciate their contribution to the ham community.

73 - Pete
K0TBP Rating: 5/5 Feb 6, 2011 03:25 Send this review to a friend
To bad these are not made anymore!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have been using a Henry Allen Texas Bug Catcher for nearly 20 years and it is without a doubt the best built, best performing mobile HF antenna I have ever owned. As many other hams who have been playing ham radio for any length of time, I have also tried many of the other types too including screwdriver, home brew, wound on a stick i.e. ham stick, and enclosed coil types such as Huster and Master Mobile. At the end of the day for big performance on 40-160 meters I have always gone back to my GLA Texas Bug Catcher. Henry was a friend and just before he quit making antennas I called him and ordered 2 of the 680 coils and one of the last 160 meter coils he made. I figured these will last me until the key grows silent but until then I will be low band mobile hamming in style.
KC0LL Rating: 5/5 Jul 24, 2009 17:01 Send this review to a friend
Great antenna  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have used the GLA Texas Bug Catcher coils for many years, and the new ones are even better. They are now even stronger and they have a tap kit that makes changing bands very easy. I know of no other coil made that compares. I am a commercial 2-way tech at Action Communications here in Tucson. Another tech that works here (N7DQP) has a Husler on his car. We have tested my Bug Catcher #680 coil against his high and low power Husler 80 meter coils. We found the ERP to be more than 10 dB stronger with the BC coil every time, in both ERP and real world contacts. One guy asked why I was “S6” and Stan was not even moving his meter (we were driving together down the same road both running 100watts). I told him I had an antenna and Stan, on the other hand, was using a Husler. (after than Stan bought a Bug catcher).
At one time I used a Screwdriver antenna and while it was nice on long trips, easy to change bands, etc., it never gave me the performance the Bug Catcher gave me. Another reason I junked the Screwdriver was because of my ALS500 amp. The intermittent operation of the Screwdriver on rough roads tripped the amp off line all the time. In desperation I adjusting the ALS to not trip as easily. Then, I blew up a set of PA’s. After spending $80 and a wasted Saturday installing them, the screwdriver was removed from my truck.
Now, I have made great loading coils myself, but they never “looked” good. The BC are (and look) so good I quit trying. I use a 102” whip on a #680 for 80 & 40, and a #640 for 40-17, all on top a 3 foot mast. I also had an old #440 I bought used and loved it, until it broke off 5 years later. The old style coils [could] sometimes break off when they got ~20 years old, but the new style coils have a thicker center Delrin support that should not break.
I also had him wind a custom length coil for me (will anyone else do that?) Henry really is a great guy to deal with.
Another good tip is to get a STRONG quick disconnect from “Hank Breedlove Machine Shop”. These are out standing.

David F. Branson
Senior Technician
Action Communications, Inc.
Tucson, AZ
KW6LA Rating: 5/5 May 23, 2009 01:19 Send this review to a friend
Big as Texas !  Time owned: 6 to 12 months

The Texas Bug Catcher has been around for years and is a good example of a no nonsense
Antenna. Simple by design, but one must learn to mach it up for the lower bands. You will
need a shunt coil , transformer or transmatch to get the 50 ohms load on 20 thru 160m. The
higher bands will load just fine without anything. I have had many of the commercial plug and
Play antennas over the years, but nothing compares to the BC on the lower bands. It doesn’t
take much to put a signal on the higher bands ( 10 thru 17m ) but this baby comes to life on
40 75 and if you dare 160m . I have the GLA 640 coil and a homemade copy at 5 inches that
works very well also. If you want the best in signal performance this antenna is great , but don’t
Wimp out on the length of the mast / whip / cap hat . Performance will suffer some if you have
A 2ft. mast and a 3ft. whip on lower bands. Be realistic and you will see like the rest, how great
the BC works. The screwdrivers work well and tune the whole band on the fly, but the High Q
large coils on the 6XX series will give you better results. If you are handy you may want to buy
only the coil from GLA and make the rest to save some money. A screwdriver can cost you about
$ 600.00 all said and done. Do your self a favor , build it and save big Bucks $ $ $ and see why
The other give the GLA Bug Catcher a High Five
N5UV Rating: 5/5 May 26, 2008 15:09 Send this review to a friend antenna...EVER  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I've been a Hustler user for 3 years now, but I can definitely say that the TX Bugcatcher is the best mobile antenna on the's a shame that everyone seems to prefer Tarheels and motorized coil antennas, because I just can't see how they are going to last compared the simplistic/durable design of Henry's bugcatcher.

For comparison purposes, I bought:
3 1/2 foot mast
480 coil (for 10-80m)
1 foot mast extension above the coil
16 inch diameter capacitance hat.
59 inch heavy duty whip
inducti-match coil for the base
fold-over mast mount that allows you lean the ant. back

Although easy to put together, it took nearly a month to get it set up properly to work on the bands. I put it up exactly as I was suppose to, but whenever I used the inducti-match coil at the base, it kept shorting out the ant. Thought it was a grounding issue, added ground braid straps, but it didn't help. Then it seemed like the coax was shorting out (kept happening when I would screw on the PL-259 connector), so I cut off the connectors and soldered new ones on...I even went to Henry's in Caddo Mills to trouble-shoot the problem. When we kept getting RF burns as we touched the coax or the wattmeter, Henry suggested that I scrape off of the powder-coating and paint from the fold-down mount that he also makes for use with his antenna.

Instead of doing that, I just added a thin piece of metal (one of those flat brackets they use to hold joists together, already had pre-drilled holes, cost is only 59 cents), and I just ran a big 1-inch wide ground braid strap directly from that to the bumper/chassis of the truck. Then I screwed that down with the PL-259 coax connector that connects to base of the antenna. THEN, I ran my inducti-match jumper from that same piece of metal to the taps on the coil and voila! After another 2 hours of playing around, I finally had a PROPER ground that allowed the full high-Q potential of the antenna to come out.

Be advised, this antenna is ONLY has good as the operator that sets it up on their vehicle. You need to do a lot of experimentation with the taps to get on the freq. you need. Also, you may have to make mods to the plexiglass support for the fold-over base (had to add 2 holes to get the antenna perfectly straight). The hole for said plexiglass plate is big, and the ant. will move around inside it a I just bought some plastic hose line, cut off a 1-inch piece, sliced it open length-wise, then wrapped it around the ant. and crammed that piece into that hole to make the ant. fairly snug.

Only complaint I would say is that the antenna is so optimized for 40/80 that you can barely use it on 20m, and it's way too long for 15/10. In fact, I have to take the 1 ft. mast extension, the cap hat, and the 59 inch whip off, replacing all of that with a 30 inch whip only...then I can the ant. on 20m.

FYI, here are the bandwidths I have using this high-Q coil ant. system, with less than 1.2 to 1 SWR:

80m - 10 kHz max
40m - 40 kHz max
20m - 100 kHz max

So, other than not being able to get the ant. on 15/10, this is an awesome ant. For those other bands, you can pretty much get away with a Hustler ant. or a Hamstick. The 40m coils may work on these bands, but I haven't gotten one of those yet.

The only on-air test I can give at this point is that I worked a Turks and Caicos Is. DX station on the 2nd. try, running barefoot. Normally, I'd have to call several times to bust thru a pile-up on the Hustler ant I currently have...but not on the TX Bugcatcher...

WA4JM Rating: 5/5 Apr 24, 2008 04:06 Send this review to a friend
Set It And Forget It!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Been running a Texas Bug Catcher now for nearly 5 years. Nothing broken and when you set the tap locations you're set. This is the best mobile HF antenna I have ever used. I was in a shoot-out with a friend running 300 watts PEP into a TarHeel with a professional installation. Both vehicles were side by side at a truck stop at SR 52 and I-75 in Pasco County, Florida. State-wide on 75 meters my 11AM, my 100 watt signal was hands-down the winner! If you're serious about HF mobile, this is the antenna for you.
K3ITG Rating: 5/5 Sep 21, 2007 05:36 Send this review to a friend
All I can say is EXCELLENT  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought the #480 coil used from another ham. All I have to say is EXCELLENT!!!! I use it on my tractor trailer (check it out under my call sign on QRZ). I have it set up on the front bumper. It is set up with a 54" hustler mast, a 4' whip with a 4 spoke 17" cap hat 6" above the coil, all mounted 3' above the ground. This makes the whole thing about 13' tall. With no tap it resonates at about 3906 and with the auto tuner it covers about 3815 to 3985. It is also tapped for 40M and 20M. Haven't really had a chance to use it on 20M. But on 75 I am amazed at how well it works. Before this I was using Hustlers which worked well on 40M but on 75M I couldn't get people to talk to me because I couldn't get over their noise level, now
I am making all kinds of contacts on 75M. The signal reports are very good, stations don't believe I'm running mobile. Kudos to Henry Allen.

73 de K3ITG

Page 1 of 3 —>

If you have any questions, problems, or suggestions about Reviews, please email your Reviews Manager.