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Reviews For: Wolf River Coils TIA

Category: Antennas: HF Portable (not mobile)

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Review Summary For : Wolf River Coils TIA
Reviews: 18MSRP: 130.00
Description:
Wolf River Coils Take It Anywhere (TIA) is a portable HF
vertical with tripod and collapsible 11.5' whip. Comes with
3 33' radials.
Product is in production
More Info: http://www.wolfrivercoils.com/TIA.html
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
00184.3
K0INN Rating: 2019-09-24
I really like the antenna. Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
Purchased the TIA about 6 months ago. I really like the antenna. Big bang for the buck. I've had other portable antennas (some qrp) and these are the advantages of the TIA:

1. Handles 100 watts.
2. Quick to deploy. You don't need trees. Avoids hassles with park rangers over stringing wires in the trees.
3. It seems to just work very well. Quick to tune but you need an analyzer (at least the first time).
4. Deploys in a relatively small space.
5. It's relatively heavy duty. Not easy to break.
6. Easy to transport. I have mine in an inexpensive camera tripod bag (~$10).

What are the downsides? Not as efficient as a wire antenna. You have to manually move a collar to change bands - although a dual band collar is available for $20 to switch quickly between two bands.

I'm most happy because the antenna does 80 meters. This was a band previously unavailable to me at my QTH because of the small space in my backyard. I'm considering putting in some permanent radials (more than 3) in my backyard and connecting them to a powerpole connector. I could then set up the antenna in less than 1 minute in the evening.
W1QZE Rating: 2019-07-22
Very Good Compromise Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Great customer service from WRC as it was here pronto. Went together easily and is in my backyard on a semi permanent basis. Due to water from rain and the sprinklers getting into the telescoping whip I replaced it and put it aside for portable use. I bought an MFJ-1600T and placed it on top and I am very happy with the results. 40 Meter band is covered at less than 2:1 SWR for the band. It works very well with just the three counterpoise wires that came with it. I also added a four foot grounding rod to the mix and have the base grounded to the rod. If I want to work 12, 10 or 6 meters, I go back to the whip since the MFJ-1600T seems to work great with the coil on the first click and the stinger all the way out. Would buy it again without hesitation. Great value.
N7GHL Rating: 2019-06-29
Great for a rookie! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
This is a well-crafted antenna (with one small exception), and for the money, I don't think it can be beat for portability and simplicity. The coil itself is superbly designed and constructed, the rings and connectors are all solidly made. The stand is sturdy. It goes together quickly and is very stable on flat or slightly uneven surfaces.

Having said that, I have a couple caveats: 1) the weakest construction part of the design to me is the way they drill the hole in the sliding ring for the nylon set screw. I have both the original ring that came with my TIA, and the optional paired rings that allow you to set up for two different tuned regions on the coil and then flip the connector cable between them. So, I have three examples of how they drill and tap the hole for the nylon set screw. My conclusion is that they must simply "eyeball it" when they drill these things as they do not have a consistent location on the rings.

All three have holes that are not drilled in line with the screw holding the metal contact finger on the other side. My original is the most out of line. (If the contact screw is at 0 degrees, the set screw is at about 172 degrees. On the pair, one is about 175 degrees away and the other is about 178 degrees - measured roughly with a protractor)

I would like to see Wolf River develop some kind of indexing system on their drill press that allows them to accurately position the two holes directly opposite from each other on the rings. The reason for this is that the nylon screw provides a firm pull on the opposite side to bring the contact solidly against the coil. When it's drilled off-center, it skews the pull slightly and changes the repeatability of the setting.

Most would recognize that this is a very minor complaint, but it proved to be an issue when I was setting it up the first time.

2) Another tip to potential buyers: I strongly recommend using an analyzer to set up this antenna, at least the first time. As one of their third-party videos (on their site) demonstrates, it's a good idea to mark the position of each band's tuning on the coil itself so that you can get an idea of where to slide the ring(s) when you're getting set up thereafter.

If you don't have an analyzer, it will take you a lot of time to nail down the best places on the coil to work with for each band, especially if you're new to these kind of antennas (as I am). That video I mentioned is a good place to start, as he shows you his measurements along the coil for the various bands the antenna works with. Sliding the ring (vertically) is essentially the gross tuning adjustment and rotating it, say, up to 180 degrees in either direction (horizontally) is the fine tuning adjustment. So far, my coil positions have SWR readings for 80m, 40m, 30m, 20m, and 15m that were better than 1.3 in most cases, and even down to 1.1 on 80m. (I tuned to the center of the SSB portions of each band. I used 3 ground radials, too.) When I got on the air, my FTdx1200 did everything I was hoping for as you have full tuning across each band.

The double-ring kit is really a useful addition to purchase. Watch their video about this because in it they point out that it requires a little more effort when determining the locations on the coil with two on board, as they interact with each other a little. Again, an analyzer simplifies this setup process. The simplicity of quickly changing to another band on the fly, though, is vastly improved with the dual rings and worth the extra trouble. [Side note: mine came with a banana plug connector to connect between the two rings, which is fine, but their site video shows a powerpole connector instead. Just an FYI.]

Summary: solid construction, good performance, worth putting into a portable setup; great bang for the buck. Package doesn't include a storage bag (I don't think they offer one), but it's very compact when disassembled, with the antenna whip being the longest piece at a fraction over 19". Several versions of the antenna on their site. Quick shipping.
KT4ZE Rating: 2019-04-27
Perfect for portable ops! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Just camped for the first time (in Wisconsin) with the Wolf Coil TIA and my trusty old Icom 706. Set up the antenna within 10 minutes and within an hour or so contacts were made with France, Spain, and Italy! Also checked into a couple of nets with one net controller in California. I was getting into and hearing Saskatchewan too. This thing just works! Tunes easily so no need to haul a tuner around.
NA1SA Rating: 2019-04-15
Excellent Antenna Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I stumbled upon the Wolf River Coils antenna while watching a Parks On The Air video. I stopped the video in mid-stream to go to their site and order the WRC TIA Mini. Shipping was fast, as I had the antenna within three days. Initial set up was in the back yard just to get familiar with tuning and thought I might as well get the radio and give it a try. Tuning was a breeze and I had a 1:1 SWR in no time. My first contact was a 59 report from a station in Belgium on 20m. That weekend, we took the WRC TIA Mini to a state park to try our first attempt at POTA. Not only did we get ten contacts to officially activate the park, we made 40 contacts overall. The only modification I made to the antenna was to replace the three 18 gauge radials, that come with the antenna, with six 33 foot radials made from 14AWG. The antenna is a superb performer, and my friend who went along on my first POTA attempt, returned home and purchased one for his go kit. Thanks Wolf River Coils for a great product!
KC1TV Rating: 2018-10-01
Great Value Works Great Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Finally a Portable antenna designed by hams for a great price. The design is surprisingly robust for the cost and the entire antenna works really well. Shipping was extremely fast and results so far have been fantastic! It's really refreshing to find a good portable vertical that is easy to set up and has a simple design. The key here is the design, it's simple with few moving parts and the parts are well made and should last a long time. Having only a few parts makes set up a breeze and less chance of failure. Didn't take very long for me to become a big fan after setting up and using the antenna a few times. Did I mention how inexpensive this antenna is? Don't let the low price fool you, just be happy they're not charging for performance! If your looking for a portable vertical do yourself a favor and put Wolf River Coils on your list, you won't be disappointed
WY7CDL Rating: 2018-09-23
Great Portable Antenna Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Had the Wolf River Coils - TIA for a few months now… Have not gotten to use it a lot but what I have been able to use it it has performed FLAWLESS.

The one downside is you really need an analyzer to set this antenna up quickly. I use my Rig Expert AA-54 and tuning is very quick.

The coil is robust and built well, the Tripod is excellent. Plan on adding the Dual Tuning option as well as some more radials. But even with the 3 provided every setup I have been able to tune 1.4 swr or BETTER. Bandwidth can be a touch narrow on the 80m band but I totally expected that.

This little gem is priced amazingly well and it WORKS. I have since sold the buiddipole that I had. Too much fiddling about with that thing.

Plan on adding a second one to my setup for a backup and use at ARES/Races events and so on.
N6DZK Rating: 2018-04-13
My new go-to for Portable HF Operation Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Our local group started messing with portable antennas and we have done a few "shoot-outs" with various systems, the WRC, Budipole, Transworld, dipoles, Chameleon, and Alpha. While some of the more expensive solutions have performed well, nothing has been the biggest bang for the buck than the Wolf River Coils TIA.

The TIA is the WRC Silver Bullet coil with a compact tripod, 11.5' collapsible whip, and 3 33' radials. The antenna does require some sort of analyzer to allow you to tune the coil for the band on which you wish to operate. I use a KVE-60C (which I am pretty sure became the MFJ-223), with color screen, to very quickly get the coil dialed in on the band I want to use. With the 3 radials provided I was able to get about 1.7:1 or less across the entire portion of the band I wanted to operate on (phone or RTTY). Adding 3 more radials gets you down to 1.3-1.5:1.

You click the coil up or down to get into the band, and then twist up or down to get it dialed in to exactly where you want it. Once you have done it a couple of times, as long as you are familiar with how your analyzer works, it only takes a couple of minutes. They also offer a dual collar accessory that allows you to dial in 2 bands at the same time, and then use a jumper to switch between them. This way you could tune 20/40 or 40/80 and quickly jump between bands. It is a little trickier to tune, but again, with a little practice, it is pretty easy to do.

I like to operate portable. My FT-991 is always in a go-box. I take it camping regularly and operate from battery/solar. I don't even take an AC power supply. Current propagation conditions are less than ideal, and in the last few weeks (I have only had the WRC TIA for about a month), from California, I have made contacts across the US, to Asiatic Russia, Japan, and even Poland. My first contacts to all three of those DX locations were first contacts for me even though I have a fan dipole on my home about 25' in the air. Yet with the WRC TIA I was able to make those contacts in the field on battery power.

Customer service has been great. I have had contact with Gary at least a couple of times and he answered all my questions and they have responded to emails quickly.

At $130 (About $150 out the door) I don't see how you could find a better value in a portable vertical.

A few of things to consider:
1. It is an exposed coil, not sealed like a Chameleon, or Alpha. So using in wet conditions could impact tuning.
2. The power handling is fine but... If you try to run 100 watts on FT-8 you will burn up the coil (We know this because it has already happened to one of our group here). There is a review for the Silver Bullet elsewhere on eham that gives the coil a 0/5 because the reviewer ran a 600 watt amplifier through the coil. The site clearly states the rating of 300 watts on SSB, 150 watts CW, but we clearly missed the part about 80 watts for digital (oops).
3. Some of our group has added the MFJ-1979 16.5' stainless steel collapsible whip. This makes the system resonant on 20M out of the box and adds about 5' of vertical radiator. Anything below 20M you will probably need to collapse the whip (15, 12, 10).
4. Keeping 33' radials untangled sucks. We use kite string winders from that *longestriver*.com website.
5. There is a great review of the WRC TIA in the July 2017 QST from the ham that won the National Parks On The Air contest.

I have previously used a Transworld 2010. It works really well on 20M. But I am often busy with scouts during the day on my outings so I really wanted something to get onto 40M/80M in the evenings. The Transworld was good because it does not need radials which can be problematic in a camp site. But so far I have managed to make the WRC with the 33' radials work where I have been.

I highly recommend the Wolf River Coils TIA (Take It Anywhere).