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Reviews Categories | Antennas: HF: Verticals; Wire; Loop | GAP Challenger Help

Reviews Summary for GAP Challenger
GAP Challenger Reviews: 90 Average rating: 4.5/5 MSRP: $259.00
Description: Multi-Band HF Vertical
Product is in production.
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NG2Q Rating: 5/5 Feb 9, 2019 20:38 Send this review to a friend
GREAT antenna  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I have built and used a great many antennas, OCF Dipoles, regular dipoles, verticals like the Butternut HF9V 6V, regular verticals, and this antenna outperforms them all, WITHOUT a radial system or ground plane. My only complaint, it transmits about 3-4db better then it receives. (Depending on the band) I have worked it 80-10 in horribly poor conditions barefoot and over the last month, worked the world on FT8 with over 1K confirmed QSO's. Get one and pay attention to the instructions (or have a friend help) Also a good idea to use guy rope at least to the mid-section. Also, use GOOD coax not junk, if you ever plan on using it for 6m. I used it 1 time on 2m and worked great, but not my thing. I also use 100 feet of LMR-600. If I ever get a second antenna, it will be a GAP Voyager for 160m! I also use it on 17m with a tuner. Also to be 100% honest, I use it with a Versa tuner II to get it to perfect 1:1 on 10-6m, since my focus in on the lower part of every band.
WB3IOA Rating: 5/5 Feb 9, 2019 18:42 Send this review to a friend
Good Multiband Vertical  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had this antenna up as my primary antenna for over two years. Love it! Works very good for me here on one acre in south central PA. Recently also put up a fan dipole. Probably about 75% of the time signals are stronger on the GAP. I work mainly 40, 20 and 10 meters (local 10m net). Maybe some day 15 will open up again and I can get a feel for how it works on that band.

It depends on time of day and band conditions, but overall the GAP is much quieter at my location than the dipole (that surprised me) and signal strength usually comparable or somewhat stronger on the GAP vertical. Very pleased with it.

Well built antenna. Made no adjustments after assembly. SWR under 2:1 except near band edges on 80m phone portion and top edge of 40m (didn't bother trying to tune it - close enough for me). My Kenwood TS-440 and Drake L4B linear seem very happy with it. Have it guyed with one set of guys.
K4FLH Rating: 5/5 Nov 4, 2018 15:32 Send this review to a friend
Great antenna and fantastic customer support  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I am not one for writing reviews for products I own, either complimentary or derogatory, but this case is worthy of note.
The antenna is all the advertisements claim to be. I built and erected it myself and I am not in the best physical shape, being 71 with lots of steel in my back and other joints. The actual build should be a snap for everyone!
I did have a small problem with the counterpoise and had to call Richard for advise. Richard spent at least an hour with me over a couple days helping me and not once did he rush me or made me feel like I was dumb or he had more important things to do. So because of the slight problem with the counterpoise so the build gets 4.8 stars. And because of Richards excellent help, the support gets a 5++++
After I finished erecting it I checked the SWRs and nowhere were the readings higher than a 1.7:1!
Next thing I did was turn on my FTdx3000 tuned around on 40 and heard a QSO ending so I called the foreign station and made contact with EW8CM in Belarus. 59 with only 100 watts!!!!!!
Since then I've made 20 more contacts on most of the bands and have received great reports..
I highly recommend this antenna and also the GAP Titan DX, which I at one time owned, but because of space constraints I had to take down and sell.
Richard cares about his customers and will actually help you and not just read from a script like so many help lines do these days.
Hope to hear you on the bands so you can hear my GAP!
While writing this I made contact with Theo OT4A in Belgium on 20!
73 de
N4FN Rating: 5/5 Oct 25, 2018 13:03 Send this review to a friend
Outstanding Performer  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I had a problem with limited space and that is not unusual for many of us today. To the rescue was GAP Antennas. My prime interest was in low band DXing and I had several discussions with Richard at GAP both at Dayton and on the phone. Richard went beyond what anyone could expect in accommodating a customer and many companies could take lessons on how to provide the excellent customer/technical support that GAP provides. I am extremely pleased with the quality and ease of assembly of the Challenger. Using three 25-foot counterpoise wires that I made using the shield of some old RG8X coax was a snap. Richard even shared a great mounting method for the supplied ground socket. GAP being a classy company even provides a socket driver for the stainless-steel self-tapping screws they use. After some experimentation with the capacitor for 80 meters all was spot on. I wanted the resonant point on 80 to be about 3.600 and that was achieved with a band width of 125 Kc. On the shake down my first contact was Gary ZL2IFB something I had never been able to do before (he has since become a great email pal).
Am I sold on the GAP products and their great service, what do you think? No lossy traps and zillions of radials. The Challenger just does the job! Neil Foster N4FN
N7WR Rating: 5/5 Aug 16, 2018 01:12 Send this review to a friend
Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Way back in 1996 when moving to a new QTH I knew it would be awhile before I could erect a tower and yagi so I bought, built and erected a GAP Titan. It got me on the air and let me work some DX until the tower/yagi were up. I eventually sold the Titan to another ham.
Fast forward to 2018 and again we are in a new QTH and a tower, if there is to be one, is a ways off. So I bought a GAP Challenger wanting some coverage from 80-6 meters.
I laid out where the antenna would go, pre cut and stapled down into the ground the 3 25 ft radials called for and pre-strung 3 paracord guy lines even though the Challenger was to be ground mounted. Not familiar with local weather but to be on the safe side wanted to guy it.
The instruction manual was straightforward and there were no parts missing---in fact there were some extra screws/washers included. Spent about 2 hours carefully constructing the antenna, got it into the ground mount with some help, connected the coax, radials and guy wire and came into the shack to do some SWR checks.
Long story short, without any adjustments, the antenna has a 2:1 or better SWR 6-40 meters. On 10 meters the best SWR is below 28.6 to the bottom of the band. On 80 (75) meters the antenna's 2:1 bandwidth is as promised (150KhZ) In my case it is between 3740 and 3890 which is perfect given where in the band I usually operate.
Very satisfied with the antenna...but if you have never put a GAP vertical together before read and re-read the instruction manual before you try to build it.
G8UBJ Rating: 5/5 Aug 28, 2017 01:12 Send this review to a friend
Goes well on 40M and up!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
A bit of a dummy load on 80m but I have an inverted L for that band.

I mounted mine on a bracket on the garage and ending up fixing it with two sets of guys.

N.B. I think one set of guys are a must for this antenna, two if you're in an exposed location.

I get a reasonable SWR on all bands and it has performed well in RTTY contests (Nothing melted or burned out!)
W0FEN Rating: 5/5 Jun 16, 2017 14:09 Send this review to a friend
Good Antenna Great support  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I just assembled this antenna and am very pleased with the performance. The BSWR was alittle high on 40 M and I received an immediate reply about my 'problem.' All other bands were well within specs for VSWR. My first contact was Costa Rica from Kansas CIty.
AB6ME Rating: 4/5 Mar 5, 2017 11:21 Send this review to a friend
Not a good 80m antenna  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
This is a review of the GAP Challenger DX vertical dipole. I installed this antenna in September of 2016 and have been using it almost daily since. There are several reviews stating this antenna does not hold up well to wind and weather. I have not found that to be true. I live in the mountains at 7,000 ft elevation. We get significant winter storms with wind driven snow and ice. I installed precisely according to the manual. This antenna MUST be guyed and it must be guyed ABOVE the center point of the antenna. Mine is guyed about 18" above the center point and has withstood severe winter storms with wind gusts in excess of 60 mph. The antenna barely moves in the strongest gusts. We just had a record January for snow fall and wind and the GAP survived it without a single problem.

Now, regarding the antennas performance. I have a 40m dipole at 60 feet fed with ladder line. I also use the dipole on 20m with the use of a tuner. The dipole consistently out performs the GAP on 40m, but not by much. Maybe 1 or 2 s units difference. The dipole is oriented with nulls to the north and south. The GAP consistently outperforms the dipole when operating in the direction of the nulls. I would rate this as a very good 40 meter vertical antenna as it will give you performance almost as good as a dipole at 60 ft.

20 meter performance of the GAP is consistently better than the dipole. It is almost routine to operate into Japan and Asiatic Russia with the GAP. Nearly impossible with the dipole (probably due to the orientation and radiation pattern). The GAP has become my "go to" 20 meter antenna. Keep in mind, I am comparing the performance of the GAP on 20m to a 40m dipole being used on 20m.

Now the bad news. On 80m the GAP is marginal at best. I recently installed a 75m dipole at 70ft and there is no comparison between it and the GAP. I operate 3905 Century Club nets and on 75m the GAP is useless. On the GAP I am barely heard on the east coast whilst on the dipole I am routinely 20 to 30 over s9. The bandwidth of the GAP on 80/75m is also fairly narrow. I get about 120KHz of usable bandwidth although I can stretch that a bit with a tuner. I believe the GAP would be an OK antenna if your 75m activity is within 1500 miles, but anything more distant than that and the antenna becomes useless. At least that has been my experience. It is the lack of 80/75m performance that forces me to give this antenna a 4 rating rather than a 5.

Overall a very good multi-band vertical antenna if you don't want the hassle of installing a radial field. The GAP does require the 3 25' radial wires, but I did not find that to be a big deal. If you are looking for a top performer on 80/75m I would not recommend this antenna.
EI2HH Rating: 4/5 Aug 5, 2016 14:22 Send this review to a friend
Nice! With some fettling...  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
[update] After a lot of reading about various verticals, and with the urge to try a vertical to compliment or replace my existing OCF dipole, I decided on a Gap Challenger DX VIII.

At 31 feet I thought that's about as tall as I would get away with!

When it arrived it was a nice day, no wind, so I decided to assemble it immediately. I'd read the manual first, and has also read reviews that said the manual wasn't too good, but I didn't think so.

Reading it logically and thinking about every step meant it was easy to assemble, it took about an hour.

I used a little blob of copper grease on each sheet metal screw to prevent the oxidisation which will surely occur between the stainless steel screws and the aluminium tube.

I also decided to solder the supplied crimp terminals on the jumpers; this will prevent any increase in resistance if the connections oxidise - in an antenna with tens of ohms impedance every half an ohm counts!

My plan is to mount it on my garage roof eventually, but I decided to ground mount it temporarily so I could mess about with it and get comfortable with it before putting it up somewhere hard to get to.

So I manufactured a ground mount similar to the one available to buy.
Mine used a length of steel tube as the pivot, which fitted snugly inside the pvc ground tube that Gap supply. I determined how far down that pic the Challenger's lower tube went, and using a hose clip I ensured that my steel tube was separated from the aluminium by about 4 inches.

In the pictures you can see a prototype where I was using a length of nylon rod, but when raising the antenna I found the nylon was just too flexible.

I attached four lengths of paracord to use as guys, and pre-set up the guy points - two on the garage wall and two in the ground.

Then I walked the Challenger up. Boy, that was hairy the first time, it sure bends a lot!

But once it was up, a fat cable tie held it there in my mount while I tensioned the guys; without them the antenna does bend alarmingly!

I hate the PL259 plugs with the reducer supplied, so I used a better one, which uses a top hat ferrule for the screen connection - much better.

I connected the recommended three 25' radials, because my mount meant the connection point was about 3' off the ground, I ran the radials first straight down the mount, then out along the ground.

Then I connected it to the tx, and the analyser, and tried it out.

Well, the resonances were all over the place. None of the ham bands resonated correctly. 80m was too low, 40m about 200kHz too high, 20m 400kHz high, 15m too low, 10m too low.

I had a few calls with the guys at Gap, where they suggested various things.

It seems that when pushing a steel tube up the pvc mount, there can be interaction. So I redesigned the mount to make it much lower, and now only about 2" goes up inside the pvc tube. This helped a lot, to my surprise!

I also decided to try running the radials away perpendicular to the antenna, so I used three electric fence posts to do this, so the radials now head out about 5' then slope down to the ground.

This also helped a lot! The final fettle was to wind the feed coax into a choke just as it exits the lower tube.

Now, I have good resonances on all bands. 80m is still a little low, a 1.1:1 vswr at 3.6MHz (when I'd prefer it at 3.7), 40m tuning is really broad, 1:1 at 7.2MHz but very low down to 6.8MHz.

20m is still a little wrong, the best match is 1.1:1 at 14.5MHz, but it's below 2:1 down to 14.0MHz.

15m is really low and broad, 12m is very good and 10m is a little low but broad enough.

One thing I noticed when I tried it on the air, even before my final adjustments, is that my background noise is way lower than my OCF dipole, and on receive the sigs were at least 10dB better, which is great!

Now I have it nearly right, contacts I've made on 40 and 20 are really nice. Much better than the dipole. On 80m its only better within its 100kHz window, which is a little low for me.

I've not finished adjusting and experimenting yet, but for now I'm really pleased with the antenna, its construction, its performance and the support from Gap.

Pics here:
KD6QCT Rating: 5/5 Jan 22, 2016 21:01 Send this review to a friend
Very good antenna but needs proper guying  Time owned: more than 12 months
Guy the antenna better than factory recommendation as follows:
Guy in center as Gap recommends. Guy about half way down just below mid point stand offs. Guy about 8 ft from top above top stand offs. I used 4 guys at each location 90 apart. Since that time antenna has stayed up with no damage. I have rebuilt it about 4 times due to wind damage and the last time damaged was in 2011. I tried different guy systems until the last 3 locations with 4 guys. Good antenna with good performance. I would buy another if I replaced. Cause of wind damage was metal fatigue from great gust of wind 40 to 85 MPH (actual clocked gusts).
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