|Yes it lives up to the hype
||Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
|I needed something easy, efficient, and inexpensive to get on the air at my new QTH in Illinois so I decided on the DX Commander Classic w/ 80m. Antenna arrived well packaged from England in 4 days. I agree with others that the instructions could have been better. I had to look at multiple videos on youtube to get an understanding of how to put this together. It's not as easy as Calum claims. It took me a day and a half to get everything assembled and the antenna up. Maybe I'm just not that autistic but either way it was worth the effort.|
Performance exceeded my expectations. Noise floor is next to nothing and if I can hear them I can work them on 100 watts. I have 32 radials down of various lengths from 10 to 30 ft. long 360 degrees around the antenna. Used all the wire provided but used some extra wire I had on hand to get a few more radials down. I just laid them down wherever it made sense and didn't overthink it. Pinned them to the grass with some cheap biostakes from Lowes. Ran the 80m element sloping down to a bush in the yard. The 80m element does pull on the pole a little bit (even with no tension) so it leans slightly in that direction. The pole is extremely light weight so it does bend and sway with little force.
Excellent swr across all bands except 10m. I just used the tuner in the rig and was still able to work DX on 10. The pole is over 30 ft long so make sure you have enough space to lay it across some chairs to assemble it. All that holds the antenna up are three guy ropes with any random tent stakes. I've had it up for a month and it's still up there after several storms.
Not sure why this antenna gets so much hate from old timers. I often hear that the DX Commander has a "cult following". Hmm if your product has a cult following then you're doing something right. I'm 35 but have been a ham for over 20 years. This antenna blows away every other vertical I've used over the years and I've used dozens. I'm working Europe, Russia and the Middle East with ease on 100 watts. Low noise floor is where the DX Commander really shines but that could also be my QTH.
Get this antenna if you're like me and can't afford or aren't allowed a massive antenna system. Set a couple of days aside, take your time, lay down some radials (radials are the easiest part btw and that seems to be the thing that scares people away from this antenna), don't overthink it and enjoy.
||Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
|i took a long hard look at what was available before i bought the Signature 9 from DX Commander which truly is a wonderful aerial system. I also have a Diamond W8010 fan di pole in a north/south configuration which has given me great service and i still use it for 80 m on the rare occasions that I open that band, but it was always a compromise and as a FT8 user, i could see from my signal reports that my ability to transmit and receive had limits. I don't use a lot of power, i have an ICOM 7300 and usually run 60 watts or thereabouts and might consider a linear amp later but the aerial system was always my first consideration .|
i had no interest in guy ropes to support an aerial of any sort either which is why i never went for any the guyed versions of the DX commander or any other vertical but when i heard that an un-guyed version was on its way known as a Signature 9, i became very interested. Calum from DX Commander has a plethora of YouTube videos and I followed his advice on radials and laid 40 radials in a circle, each were 3 meters long or 120 meters in total giving me a field that ranged from 3 wavelengths at 40 meters to 10 wavelengths at 10 meters. This gave me confidence that my aerial should perform well. i followed the element cut chart to the millimeter and apart from 15/40 m element, i had minimal adjusting to do.
installation took a few days, firstly I dug a hole to put the ground post in and sank it in concrete, the next day I cut the lawn lower than i normally would and installed the radial field using the ground pegs as Calum suggested. The radials disappeared from view in about 2 weeks and the aerial has performed excellently ever since. My FT8 results increased dramatically which was my first indication of the difference between the di pole and the Signature 9 , i now have reports as high as +21 whereas my previous reports were -15 to -24. This is from locations as far afield as Japan and Argentina and South Africa, so as someone living in Northern Ireland here in western Europe, i have been more than impressed with this aerial system.
I found that voice contacts via SSB which was previously very limited through my Di Pole has now completely changed and opened up into a new world and 59++ is a common report i have received from around Europe, Azores, and beyond. i had the pleasure of a quick QSO with Calum from DX Commander on 40 meters and had a 59 report from him as well. All in all this is a great aerial. it is a multiband system so it is not for the feint hearted but this is amateur radio, exploring and experimenting and expanding our knowledge is part of it. I am also an engineer albeit retired but i enjoyed the process of researching and building it as much as using it.
The DX Commander Signature 9 definitely lives up to what is promised, performs extremely well and I am more than satisfied with it and i can highly recommend it.
Happy DX'ing to you all, best 73's De GI0OUZ
|Awesome Performance for the Money
||Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
|I previously have not had any good luck at all making any DX contacts using the ZS6BKW hung in the tree-line at the edge of my property. |
The ZS6BKW works fine for local and regional communications, but is just not high enough for long distance communication.
I decided on a Vertical to supplement the existing antenna, and the "antenna farm obsession began"
Ordered a DX Commander Classic Vertical antenna kit.
Purchase decision based on:
Numerous great online reviews,
Fairly low profile appearance in the yard to appease "She Who Must Be Obeyed".
Yes, I know that I could have cobbled together/built something similar myself.
However this is very reasonably priced
"all in one box" kit.
Take your time building it, and be sure to follow the standard "Measure Twice, Cut Once" rule.
I added additional ground radials (currently have 60 total) because extra wire and ring connectors are cheap at the "Big Box Store".
I noticed that (in my environment) the antenna began to quiet down a good bit when I got over 30 radials on the ground.
The DX Commander is still a little noisier than the ZS6BKW I have in an inverted V on the tree-line at the back of my yard, but not by very much.
I have them both on a A/B Switch for easy comparisons.
I'm running an older ICOM IC-7200, running just the base radio, with 100 watts max power.
Without even trying hard, I've been able to make multiple international contacts from the North Alabama area.
Just in the past 4 days, I've been getting 5-9 and 5-8 signal reports
Italy, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Mexico...
I am also getting out much further within USA.
In my opinion, the DX Commander works absolutely fantastic, and is an incredible value for the money.
If this thing got destroyed by lightning, tornado, meteor crashing in the back yard, etc... I would immediately buy another.
Callum, the owner of DX Commander, has done a great job, and does answer his emails if you have questions.
|Light, efficient, effective and very cost effective
||Time Owned: more than 12 months.
|The DX Commander Vertical Antenna continues to demonstrate exceptional resilience in extreme weather conditions. It withstood winds at a notable speed of 70 mph or 112 kilometers per hour with no apparent complications or malfunctions, illustrating its robust and sturdy design.|
Turning our attention to performance, the DX Commander asserts its dominance in the vertical antenna market with unparalleled efficiency. When comparing the performance of various vertical antennas, the DX Commander is second to none.
What sets the DX Commander apart is its fan dipole configuration, erected vertically. This unique design, devoid of any traps or unconventional impedance matches, allows each wire to be dedicated to each band, thus maximizing performance. The straightforwardness of this setup renders it incomparable in its category.
In the sphere of vertical antennas, there simply is no match for the DX Commander in terms of resilience and efficiency.
DE NN2X Tom
Update June 3, 2022
I saw some reviews on this antenna, and I have to weigh in..
This is a vertical..
The huge difference when comparing to other verticals, is the fact it uses a fan dipole (Vertically) which eliminates traps, and complicated impedance matching...Each wire (Driven element) supports a band.
By default this will be far better than any other vertical...Period...
If you use EZnec, software it does well, in DX...(No kidding Vertical does well DX)!
You can't compare this antenna with a Yagi, you can with another vertical or dipole...
But as far as a vertical, there is no other vertical that can have higher performance than a single driven element for each band. And that is the design of the DX Commander
About instructions, yes there are zillions of videos on how to build the antenna..30 minute videos in detail, you can't miss
About using an Amplifier, I found 800 Watts was the best balance between TX and RX...
It is super light, 33ft...(Weighs about 2Lbs)...Easy to take down and put back up..
About amplifiers, running about 800 watts, was in my experience a good balance..
I did use 32 radials, about 10 ft to 20 ft
Below are my older reviews..
I had winds here in Dallas area, up to 65Miles an hour...
No issues, what so ever...It is light, and bends, but does not break...
However, if I thought there would be an issue, I would simply tilt over, it only weighs 2 to 3Lbps...(At 33FT), 10-40
Performance, is the best you will get out of a vertical, Each band has its own element (40 Meter and 15 Share, 15 at 5/8, and 40 at 1/4).
No traps, no compromise.
Try any other vertical it will be heavier, complicated, and compromised
Great antenna, and here is why
1). Light as a feather! (2lbs) @ 33ft / supporting 7 bands
2). 7 Band (10, 12, 15, 17, 20, 30 and 40) / No tuner, no traps, no contraptions, no moving parts / No matching BS. Straight 50 Ohms
3). Efficient - You can't get any more efficient than this antenna, each band has an element
4). Simple to put together, (If you don't like to read, watch many Ham Youtubers show step by step..It is truly simple design)
About Performance, it works very well! Far better than what I expected..
And why not?
When you consider no traps, no loading coils, no contraptions, no mechanical moving parts, no compromises of any sorts, you will have great results...
I don’t know how another Ham would purchase any other vertical system
And if this wasn't enough, watch Callum McCormick / M0MCX videos, he does all the software analysis to illustrate how the antenna works...If for anything, one can learn a ton!
What I can't understand, why no other manufacturer did not come up with this design earlier...! Simple Fan Dipole (Vertical) / Simple, elegant design, and weighing only 2LBS. (But the mechanical design on how to support these 7 bands without interaction is the key (And this is again all simply solved by the light weight mechanical design)
Support, Callum (CEO) answers 24/7 any questions...He never sleeps...
C U on the bands
|Poor fibreglass pole
||Time Owned: more than 12 months.
| Built to a price, 4 s points down on a 3 element yagi. Fibreglass pole wall is very thin have broken two poles snapped clean in half calum claiming misuse but will snap if any thing above 40mph. Has a big cult following DO NOT BELEAVE HYPE if it had a better pole this would be a ok antenna , but as is very poor|
|Possible Safety Hazard!
||Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
|UPDATE: A few months ago I replaced the carabiner hooks with straight line insulators on the 20M, 17M, 12M, and 10M bands. I performed the same FT-8 tests and experienced failure on each band between 350 to 400W. The corona around the top of each element was capable of burning the bungie cord. I repalced it with my 6BTV, Use at your own risk if using a amp on digital modes.|
First, I’m 76 years old, been a ham since 1959, and have a degree in Electronics Technology, so I‘m not the new kid on the block. I have 323 DXCC entities and want to work a few more before I go SK. I figured a better vertical might be the best way to go with cycle 25 considering my HOA restrictions. I had researched, the DX Commander Classic and had an opportunity to pick one up from a friend. I put it up a couple of weeks ago as a semi-permanent vertical. I replaced my 12-year-old Hustler 6BTV with it. I originally set it up for 80M through 6M, but I changed it to 40M to 6M. The antenna works quite well, but I discovered some significant flaws and issues during the build, tuning and testing.
The antenna mast is a little flimsy, and I question how long it will last. I feel it is more of a portable antenna and not really meant as a permanent installation. I think Callum is working on beefing it up a bit for a more permanent configuration (Nebula 10M pole?), so, stay tuned. Mine is guyed in two places to help prevent damage.
Building it was easy and quite enjoyable. Everything you need and a little extra is in the kit. When I first put it up, most of the bands were not resonant where I expected them to be. I had carefully measured all the elements according to Callum’s instructions, but everything was a bit long when I first put it up. I installed it where my 6BTV was, and there are over sixty 25-foot radials. I thought maybe I had done something wrong during the build and was not sure how tuning one band would affect the other bands, so I contacted Callum for some advice on the best way to tune the antenna. Callum was a bit put off that I sent him an email requesting support and he sent back an email telling me he was quite busy, and I should post my questions on the Discord User’s Group for the DX Commander. I decided to tune the elements just like a fan dipole. I started by trimming the lower band first and then going the next higher band to see how they interacted. I decided to remove the 80M band and replace it with a 30M element because it was putting a lot of strain on the fiberglass pole. This had little to no effect on the remaining bands. They were still too long, except 10M which was too short. I got each element tuned to where I wanted it in the band, and then tested the antenna for performance. My initial reaction is that it receives better than the 6BTV, and I easily made several contacts on multiple bands using low power on CW. I received excellent signal reports and was very impressed. Then I tested the antenna on 17 and 20M FT8 running low power, and then between 300W to 1KW working mostly EU stations. While operating at around 350W, I noted the SWR slowly began to change on 17M, so I increased the power to see what effect it would have. Then the amplifier suddenly tripped off on high SWR. I went out and checked it and discovered the 17M element had come lose from the supporting bungie cord carabiner. I tested it the same way on 20M and had identical results. I took the antenna down and investigated further. The wire elements had melted the glue-based heat shrink at the small loops and had come apart under the tension that the bungie cords put on them. The insulation on the DX10 antenna wire at each loop had showed evidence of melting at the carabiner also. This is evidently due to “Dielectric Heating” at the small loops.
I replaced the supplied element DX10 wires for 10, 12, 17, and 20M with some 14AWG Wireman Flexweave and reapplied the glued heat shrink. I also used small wire ties to cinch down more at the loops. I put the antenna back up and tested it again on the 17 and 20M bands at around 1KW on FT8. I noticed the SWR change again, and experience failure after about 15 minutes of FT8 operation on one band. The 20M element showed evidence of heating and melting, and the 17M element glue-based heat shrink melted and came apart from the heat again. I then used some regular heat shrink at the end of each element, made a loop, used the suppled glue heat shrink and sturdier wire ties to secure the loops. I tested the 10M and 12M elements in a similar fashion and experienced the same failures. The heat at the small loops will melt the heat shrink, wire ties, carabiners, and wire insulation. The small loops and carabiners will heat up at QRO operation and come apart if I operate more than 30 minutes at between 500W to 1KW on FT8. According to Callum they could burst into flame.
I don’t think that the heating will be an issue on CW or SSB, but it can be a big issue for digital modes. This antenna is advertised as being capable of 1500 watts “key down” (Callum tested it for 65 seconds at 1500 watts), but it is failing at a much lower power level during FT8 operation in about 30 minutes. I would say this antenna is rated at 1500W PEP and around 400W digital. I contacted Callum via Discord and he basically said that the loop heating is just the laws of physics and I should not operate that way. He has been able to replicate the failures and recommends that I operate FT8 at lower power levels or use solid uninsulated wire and ceramic insulators if I want to operate at higher power levels. Based on my experience, this antenna is prone to failure at moderate power levels in the digital modes. The antenna is outstanding if your only running low power (less than 400W??) on digital modes, but I feel if you advertise a product as being capable of 1.5KW “key down”, then it should hold up as advertised. At the very least Callum should advise his customers that the DX Commander antenna has power limitations on digital modes (FT8. RTTY, PSK, JT65, MCK144, etc). According to Callum it could be a safety issue (fire hazard). Callum did offer to let me return the product and he would refund me. I will keep the antenna, but it needs work to achieve the advertised ratings, or the ratings need to be changed. I feel the small loops should be eliminated by using straight line insulators on the 10, 12, 17 and 20 meter bands. I have not had any issues on 40 or 15M because there is no small loop. Callum seems more concerned about lecturing me about my FT-8 operations than he does about addressing the physical power limits this antenna has. Next time I take it down I plan on replacing the small loops with DX Engineering Wire Antenna End Insulators (or something similar) and test it again. I give it only one star due to the potential safety issue and the advertised power rating.
• Easy to build
• Light weight
• Quality parts
• Good instructions and videos
• Performs better than most verticals once tuned
• Good band width on each band
• No tuner needed once tuned (40M to 10M)
• Very reasonably priced
• 1500 watts PEP (CW and SSB)
• Mast material is very thin
• Requires tuning after initial construction – recommend cutting it long
• Power Limited in digital modes – major detail
• Elements will physically fail at less than one half of rated power of 1500 watts “Key Down” Could be a fire hazard!
• Support was less than expected for me – your milage may very
||Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
|I bought a DX Commander Classic, this antenna is really exceptional. I used it in portable activity, outdoors in the Normandy region. The assembly is very simple, you must not forget to fix the telescopic elements well with adhesive tape. Everything is of very good quality and Callum is super nice if you have any doubts. The DX Commander allowed me to make several new DX with 100 w in a few days and it resists very well to the wind which in Normandy can be quite strong! For this I added rope to better windfall. Do not hesitate to buy it, it is perfect for outdoor radio activity and for your garden! You will have lots of fun! 73, Alex F4ISS|
|First time antenna build made simple!
||Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
|Just finished building the DX Commander Classic and now have all 7 bands resonant.|
As a totally new amateur radio user (passed end of March 23) I was a bit aprehensive about installing my first antenna let alone building one from kit form.
Can honestly say the design of the Classic has made this process an absolute pleasure. Callum has covered everything to make erecting the DX Commander as painless as possible even for a complete newcomer like me.
From cutting the elements and radials to erecting the antenna itself everything is fully explained and easy to understand.
I am classed as disabled and have a serious heart condition but even on my own I was able to build the DX Commander Classic over the course of a few days.
Tuning was easy using the online calculator on the DX Commander website and I even learned a few new knots to boot all courtesy of Callum and this antenna.
My version of the Classic came with the dark graphite coloured spreaders which I much prefer to the white ones!
Could not recommend any more highly. A fantastic product, with fantastic service and back up to boot which is uncommon nowadays
|DX Commander Classic for the win
||Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
|I have owned this antenna now for a couple of months and I am very satisfied both with the building process and the performance. The building took the better part of a sunny afternoon and now I have a perfectly resonant 7-band DX antenna.|
I am simply amazed by the simplicity of this kit which at the same time leads to a fantastically effective antenna system.
Just one example: I was able to break 3B7M's SSB pileup on the fourth attempt with only 100W on 12m from Berlin City.
I plan to use it semi-permanently with a second radial kit for portable use (20x5m long radials) and based on my handling experience with this antenna I can now disassemble it in about 15 minutes and get it up and running in about 20 minutes no problem.
Note: It does help having a second person help with initial building and I would recommend soldering all connectors for better electrical and mechanical performance.
|My "Go To" Antenna
||Time Owned: more than 12 months.
|Thanks to a very gracious neighbor, I have been able to site this antenna well away from my house in the back of her yard with a nice radial field. While I also have a 71' end-fed wire, 80m doublet and 10m dipole, the DX Commander is absolutely my “go to” antenna. It's much less "fiddly" that the others and I'm pushing 800-1,000 watts through it. It's a fantastic product and incredible value for money!|