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Reviews For: Iron Horse mobile HF antennas IHF-20,17,15

Category: Antennas: HF Mobile & Accessories

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Review Summary For : Iron Horse mobile HF antennas IHF-20,17,15
Reviews: 32MSRP: 17.95 (average eBay)
Iron Horse mobile HF whip antenna
Product is in production
More Info:
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
KF6IIU Rating: 2023-05-25
Hamstcks are better Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have a 20m Iron Horse and Hamsticks for 40/17/15/10. After 5 years, the hardware on the Iron Horse is starting to rust a little and one of the setscrews is stripped out. Because the whip screws in to a separate 3/8 mount, instead of the antenna body, it can come loose and fall off. Also, the Iron Horse antennas are heavier than the Hamsticks. I think the extra $5 for a Hamstick is worth it.

Earlier 4-star review posted by KF6IIU on 2004-02-22

I bought a IHF20 because the IHF20 was physically about 6" longer than the 20m Hamstick and $5 cheaper. (My 10 and 15m antennas are Hamsticks.) Good quality construction, the antenna is more flexible than a Hamstick, especially the whip section. About the same weight as the Hamsticks, a tad heavier not as heavy as the Comet line. The whip is silver (stainless steel) and not anodized black like the Hamsticks.

The other main construction difference is the whip attaches to a separate 3/8-thread fitting which screws into the top of the lower section. (Fully extended, the whip alone tuned up on 6m. But to tune on 20 the whip had to extend through the bottom of the fitting, which makes it unusable as a standalone antenna.) An allen key is provided to the set screws.

If I continue down the mono-band stick antenna path, I'll probably buy more of these instead of Hamsticks since they are $5 cheaper, especially if the bands I need are physically longer than the competition.
KC2LZD Rating: 2005-09-27
17M Rotary dipole Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I bought(2)17 meter antennas and a dipole adaptor mount to build a rotary dipole. Attached the mount and antennas to a non-conductive mast.
The results are excellent ! 59+ from Italy yesterday running barefoot. Similiar results in other countries and in the US.
Works much better than I expected.
WB6TKK Rating: 2005-05-24
5.0 Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I have the entire set of Iron Horse Hamsticks.They are mounted on the rear bumper of my Ford F150 company truck. They are small and unobtrusive in design. I am astounded by the effectivness of these antennas. If I can hear them, I can work them That is the truth. I have 50 feet of coax from my 34' RV out to my bumper so I can use it in the RV. I have an excellent ground with the truck which is very important. I just purchased a Buddipole antenna. I have it up at 17'. The Iron Horse hamsticks outperform this dipole by 2-3 s units both on transmit and receive. I am amazed at how well these antennas get out. I will return the buddipole and keep using the whips. I hear stations from europe with s2-s3 that have big beams and more power, yet they hear me just fine. Can't say enough about the Iron Horse product. Simple and VERY Efficient

N1LF Rating: 2004-12-02
Great value! Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
As many have noted, all mobile antennas
are compromises. "Hamstick" type antennas
are another step down in performance
compared to larger screwdriver and bug-catcher
type arrays...but I wanted something that
would be lower profile.

Many have mentioned that the set screws tend
to rust. I solved this problem easily by
replacing all of them with stainless steel
"Cap screw sockets" from Home Depot.

These are #6 32 X 1/4" SKU #30699707485. Cost
is .42 cents for a pair. I've had them
on the truck through months of rain, and
one Hurricane. No problems at all.

I use the Hamsticks HF mobile with a Yaesu
FT-857D, and have a set for most bands. I
also have one that I modified for MARS
work just above the 75M phone band.

All work well. On the 20 and 10 meter band, they
perform very well indeed. As most have mentioned,
if I can hear them, I can work them.

I'm going to also try a set of the "Mini" HF
sticks soon too.


Les Rayburn, N1LF
AH7H Rating: 2004-10-27
Good Mobile Stick Antenna Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Purchased the 5-pack to try after issues with an ATAS-120 connected to my FT-857 in a Toyota Tacoma Pickup. Because I had the so-239 connector already mounted and was in a hurry, I just mounted the Iron Horse 20m antenna using a coupler (will make a 3/8x24 mount when parts arrive). My first contact around 7pm local time from Hawaii while sitting in my driveway was an RA3 station in Moscow, Russia, who was calling CQ. Had him S-9 and he reported 5/6 for me. After the contact, I put the ATAS-120 back on, and after tuning, had S-7 with some variability. Back to the IH stick, and S-9 solid again. This antenna was definitely worth the price! OK, so I have to get out of the truck and swap antennas to change bands, and pick my operating portion of the band (especially on 40 and 75M) but for the difference in price (and better performance on 20M at least) you can't go wrong. I'll be working the other bands as I have time, will report on them once I have an idea of how they work. First feeling about these antennas puts them in the good to great category.
W4MMP Rating: 2004-10-24
Pleasantly surprised Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I recently installed the IHF-20 antenna on my truck. The antenna is mounted on one end of a piece of 1/8" aluminum 5" long and the other end of the aluminum bolted down through one of the rear bed fender stake pockets. Good grounding is the key to good performance with mobile antennas. Don't do it and even this antenna will not function properly. A lenght of 1" wide silvered braid was used to provide a very good ground. I was suprised to find the SWR was 1.1 across the entire 20M band. I have made solid contacts across the US with my FT-817 (5 Watts). Mechanically and electrically this is a very good antenna with one exception. Other reviews have noted that the set screws rust. I will probably replace them with stainless steel screws and avoid that problem. For the price, this is a great antenna.
N0AXK Rating: 2004-04-06
Iron Horse HF= good value Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I recently purchased the Iron Horse IHF40,20,and 17 meter antennas along with the Iron Horse Heavy duty magnet mount. After installation,tuning,and grounding I ended up with a top performing mobile station. I chose the Iron Horse series based on price and simplicity. One comment on the grounding,no additional ground connection was needed at the antenna,I had to ground the radio's case with a 1" copper braid to a chassis bolt under the dashboard. The IHF 40,20,and 17 meter antennas performed quite well on my recent road trip. On 20 meters, I worked a station from Aruba while driving thru central Nebraska!
Each I.H. antenna's bandwidth was a bit greater than published, I achieved about 65Khz on 40, 175Khz on 20 and the entire 17 meter band. The heavy duty magnet mount(with 4-5" magnets) held firm to the roof of our minivan at speeds of more than 75mph.
Granted, I traded some convenience for price and performance since the IH series are monoband antennas, but changing antennas is fast and easy with two small adjustable wrenches. Since the antennas have detachable whips, stowing unused antennas is no problem.
Overall I'm quite pleased with the Iron Horse series of antennas. If you are looking for a simple,inexpensive,and effective mobile HF antenna,the Iron Horse series is a good answer.
Happy HF mobiling.
W1AJT Rating: 2004-01-27
Perfect Apt. Solution Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I would like to relate my experience with my “hamstick” antennas. I am unable to easily get to my normal “radio shack” in the winter so had to either give up operating or try a portable small antenna from my apartment railing in downtown Toronto where I am working right now. I needed to be able to easily mount and dismount it when not in use.

I bought a Hamstick from Lakefield Co. and tried it out with their u-bolt mount. Well, I ended up buying a couple more from both Lakefield and Iron Horse. The following are the results from November 28th to January 17th operating only limitedly on weekends for a total of 10 days and not counting the CQWW – CW contest. I work barefoot with 100 watts and a combination of “40, 20, 15, & 10 meter hamsticks” on 10m thru 40m inclusive:

66 DXCC Countries – 42 on CW and 47 on SSB
42 States – 36 on CW and 34 on SSB

I am only open from about 25 degrees to 75 degrees and from 345 degrees to 0 degrees otherwise, blocked by buildings. The only positive thing is that I am up about 100 meters. I have tried counterpoises to no benefit and the antennas are only tuned through my built in rig antenna tuner. I have worked some exotic locations on 40m (Asiatic Russia, Galapagos Is. etc.) as well as on the normal DX bands. I have gotten unsolicited exceptional signal reports from Africa and Europe without them knowing my rig and antenna. To say I am really pleased with the quality and the results of these fine products is an understatement and all 4 for less than $100 including mount and cable.
KO6LG Rating: 2003-12-19
10 meters FB Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
Running a little RatShack HTX10 on 10m SSB @ 25watts, if I can hear 'em, I can work 'em.

Nuff Said!
N6ILS Rating: 2003-11-03
20 and 17 Work Great Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I use these antennas screwed into the foof of my van. I get very favorable signal and audio reports. I am going to buy a 40M and a 75M next, to work the night shift of ham radio.

Get's you on the air cheap without slamming your performance.