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Reviews For: Chameleon Antenna Tactical Delta Loop

Category: Antennas: HF Portable (not mobile)

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Review Summary For : Chameleon Antenna Tactical Delta Loop
Reviews: 7MSRP: $355.00
The Tactical Delta Loop antenna (CHA TDL), is a portable High Frequency (HF) antenna specially designed for transportability, quick setup, and a small footprint. This antenna is ideal for camping or temporary installation in a townhome or other houses with a small yard or antenna restrictions. It can operate on all amateur radio bands from 3.5 to 54.0 MHz (80-6M), but is most effective on the bands from 10.1 to 54.0 MHz (30-6M). The Tactical Delta Loop will also provide acceptable shorter range Near-Vertical Incidence Skywave (NVIS) propagation on the 3.5 to 7.0 MHz bands (80 - 40M) making it a useful backup EMCOMM antenna preparedness. The Tactical Delta Loop can easily be configured as a horizontally polarized inverted Delta Loop or as a ground mounted vertical antenna. Some of the advantages of a Delta Loop antenna over a vertical are increased efficiency, reduced noise, and some broadside directionality. An antenna tuner or coupler is required for operation on the amateur radio bands from 3.5 to 7.0 MHz (80-40M). Setup can typically be accomplished by one operator in 5 minutes. The Tactical Delta Loop antenna is comprised of two 17-foot telescoping whip antennas, a matching transformer, a 25-foot loop wire, a ground spike mount, a “V” coupling, and 50 feet of coaxial cable. Antennas built by Chameleon Antenna are versatile, dependable, stealthy, and built to last. Please read this operator’s manual so you may obtain the maximum utility from your Tactical Delta Loop antenna. Specifications: Frequency: 6M - 80M Power: 100 SSB or 50W CW. Mounting Configuration: 3/8-24 Thread The antenna system consists of: 1 X CHA HYBRID-MICRO 1 X 25' WIRE 2 X SS17 (17' long collapsible stainless steel whip) 1 X CHA SPIKE 1 X CHA 50’ Coax with RFI Choke (OPTIONAL) 1 X CHA TDL HUB Adapter Stainless Steel Hardware
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# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
VA6RWR Rating: 2023-09-24
Great piece of kit Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I’ve used this antenna multiple times and have not been disappointed. It’s easy and fast to set up.
What impressed me most were the amount of contacts I made on multiple bands in such a short period of time, not to mention the build and material quality of the product. Considering what’s out in the market I would consider this the best bang for the buck.
K5LOL Rating: 2023-09-18
Not for SSB Voice Contesters Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I am a fairly regular portable contester and I own several different portable antennas (including two other Chameleon antennas) but I do not own any type of loop antenna. The TDL was recommended to me by one of my friends as a "Great" loop antenna. So I purchased the TDL with the UNUN that is supposedly rated for 100 watts and although I've only owned this antenna for about 3 months, I've already deployed it a half dozen times and gotten some good experience with it. As a portable antenna system, I think it deserves 5 stars for ease of set up and take down. It is very simple to put together and I would say that for general conversations on the air where the voice duty cycle is under 25%, the antenna is excellent. As a SSB voice contester, I found that when your duty cycle exceeds about 50%, the unun becomes very heated and changes the SWR. This is despite the fact that the unun is rated and advertised as 100 watts. In an email exchange with the head of R&D at Chameleon, I was told that for high duty cycles for SSB voice, like at 50% or more, I should not be running more than 20-25 watts which, of course, makes the antenna a non-starter if you want to participate in contests and run the full 100 watts that most radios produce. So for SSB Voice contesting with the 100 watt UNUN, I would rate the antenna as a "1" and not recommend it to any serious contesters or POTA activators who want to run 100 watts of SSB voice at a high duty cycle. The UNUN is simply not designed for that much activity. And, unfortunately, Chameleon does not particularly state that anywhere in their advertising or specifications for voice operations. They do talk about running lower power for digital and cw modes but they don't really translate that to recommended duty cycle use on SSB voice. So my overall rating is a "3". I would suggest that it might be worthwhile to invest in the 500 watt UNUN if you want to buy the TDL package. It is currently only $25 more for the higher wattage UNUN which may allow you to run the full 100 watts with no issues. Finally, Chameleon greatly disappointed me when they wouldn't work with me to exchange the 100 watt UNUN for the 500 watt UNUN. I own two other of their antennas and generally have been a big supporter but apparently they don't care if you are happy or not with their products.
K4YOL Rating: 2023-08-04
You'll either like it or love it... Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I'm a portable antenna fan and own several of them. The CHA TDL caught my eye in March 2023 so I thought I'd order one and try it out. Mine came with the 500W Hybrid option. After I got it home, I disconnected my main antenna and tried out the TDL as a ground deployment (with the included spike) in the back yard. It was fed with a 50FT DXE 213U and tried for a few days in both the Delta Loop configuration and as a vertical. In vertical mode, I only used the included clamping cable as a single radial. One item observed immediately was the very fast setup. Start to finish for the loop on the very first attempt was around 5 minutes. I will note that this antenna removed a few dB off my noise floor (as a loop) compared to my [more permanent] EFHW. Driving with about 400W, the Rx/Tx results were pretty good (many US contacts and a few long stretch DX on 14MHz and higher). Not a game changer compared to a portable sloper or dipole but I thought a definite advantage was the ease of setup and takedown. Fast forward to July...I decided to take the TDL with us on a state park/camper trip. I used one of those hand screw pole/table clamps and locked the TDL down on top of the camper's a loop. The feed line was now elevated at 11.5 FT. A 50 FT RG8X was used to connect to a Yaesu 991-A running 90W barefoot. When I first powered up (on a general ticket, I usually start there) I thought something was wrong with the feeder because I was wearing headphones and couldn't hear anything...nothing...silence. I fiddled around for a few seconds then someone keyed up and just about blew me off of the bench. It was working. Holy cow this antenna is super quiet. I was left wondering if it was the elevation change...or maybe my camper's roof made some kind of ground plane? We were on the beach so it "should" have been less noisy...then again, not far from Pensacola so maybe not so much? It may have been band conditions but used it for 4 evenings with similar results. Many contacts all over N/C/S America and also deep into Eastern Europe. I had two different contacts in Serbia (with 5-8/5-9) signal reports one night...running with 90W. The TDL is a keeper and is now my goto setup for camper trips. I may try to set up some kind of elevated mount at home and try that out. Final thoughts...this one works "generally" well but works remarkably well for purpose driven applications, IMO. Cheers and 73
K7OED Rating: 2023-03-06
Works For Me! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Deployed as delta loop in my back yard for NVIS on 75M. As the manual states - it needs a tuner for this band, but even without the tuner I copied my NCS about an S-3 from roughly 250 miles away. Not bad for such a small portable antenna that takes only a few minutes to set up! The NCS could tell I was there, but wasn't able to copy me (but I was without a tuner and pushing a whole 2.5 watts out of my FT-817).
Subsequently deployed just one of the whips as a vertical with two radials during Winter Field Day - it takes no time at all to set up in this configuration. I worked a guy 950 miles away on 20M - again with only 2.5 watts on phone so no complaints at all! I have now modified a camera tripod bag to mount on the side of my ALICE pack and carry it for hiking/camping trips.
Yes - it is a bit pricey, but I was lucky and got it on sale as part of the Chameleon holiday/end of year sale. Quite agree with what N0NZ said - YGWYPF.
KV4AN Rating: 2022-08-13
Great POTA Antenna Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I finally had time to do POTA with my Yaesu FT-817. I tried to do an activation with a minimalist manpack configuration of 8 foot vertical whip and was not successful. I'm brand new to POTA, but I decided I didn't bring enough antenna, so next activation I brought the Chameleon Tactical Delta Loop (TDL). This antenna is a real barn-burner in the loop configuration on 20-10 meters. Very strong received signals on those bands, but signals were much weaker on 40 and 30. I suspect taking the top wire off to make it a dipole would work better for those bands. It sets up and tears down super quick, doesn't take up too much room near the picnic table, and in less than two hours I had 11 good FT8 QSOs from the park - while running from 5 - 2.5 Watts. Had a park attendant stop by and wonder what the antenna was, but he was OK with it after an explanation. This is a great POTA antenna.
VE3BXG Rating: 2021-09-27
Can't handle 50 watts CW Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I do a lot of Parks on the Air (POTA) activations, so am always on the lookout for interesting portable antennas. I have a portable vertical dipole that works well, but have never used a delta loop so was interested in this antenna. The first time I used it I ran 50w CW (rated capacity), operating at about 25 WPM. After about an hour the coil overheated and the antenna stopped working. I returned it to DX Engineering for a refund. Also wrote to Chameleon to inform them of the problem. Here is their response:

"Well, you were operating right at the upper power limit for CW. Add to that the fact that ham grade meters are generally rated at 10% +- for accuracy, and the native impedance of the antenna can vary due to soil composition, the particular configuration, and the band in use. You may have been running a bit more power than you expected. Running the antenna at full tilt and with the unknown variables, I'm not too surprised the antenna had reached its limit. Backing off a few watts would have zero effect on your signal and would have most likely allowed you to continue to operate."

I didn't think this was a good response. My understanding of power ratings is that they are usually conservative -- allowing a fudge factor for just the sorts of issues mentioned, such as meter inaccuracies, soil characteristics, etc. I think it's reasonable to expect that if an antenna is rated at 50W CW then it will work at 50W CW (more or less, allowing for variations the user might be expected to encounter in normal use).

N0NZ Rating: 2021-07-31
Great QRP Antenna, Glad I got one Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I was looking for a portable, packable antenna for my IC-705. I came across many good comments about Chameleon Antennas on YouTube and articles on the web. After checking out their product line, and getting past the sticker shock (more on that later), I was attracted to the MPAS Lite, because of its small footprint, portability, and ease of set up with no helpers. Then I noticed the tactical delta loop (CHA-TDL). While the MPAS Lite uses one collapsible whip antenna (17" - 17') the TDL has two. Thus for the additional $15 you lose 63" of wire, but gain an extra whip, and a 25' wire that is used as counterpoise or the third leg of the delta. So for the extra flexibility, I opted for the TDL giving me three antennas (vertical, delta, and dipole). I also opted an extra cost upgrade to substitute the hybrid mini for the hybrid micro. That allows me to run a full 100W SSB XCVR as well as the 10W from the 705. It comes with a ground stake which goes in easily and mounts the antenna low to the ground. I am in the middle of the country, and the first time I set it up in the back yard to test, it literally took 5 minutes to deploy from pieces to a functional delta loop. I was pleasantly surprised. I tuned the radio to about 14.200 and there were all sorts of stations booming in S7-+20. Why not they were mostly running 500W or more most with Yagi's. I put out a CQ. My first contact was in Philadelphia PA who gave me 5-7 and amazed I was running 10W. I then dropped another couple hundred Kc and listened to a bunch reporting 500W and big antennas, and heard a CQ call, and answered it. This time I was in the weeds, but after two repeats of the call I made the contact to Vancouver, BC. The was some amazement on the air that I was running 10W. On field day 2021 it was rainy and windy, and the bands were not good. A friend of mine was trying out the antenna on 20m CW. The Delta wasn't receiving very well, so we went to the vertical. Within minutes he picked up a New England contact with a 59, and 5W output. I have tested the SWR across the bands from 80-6 both on the vertical and the delta and the worst it was was 3.4 and the best was 1.2 just on my analyzer. Bringing it down to 1.5:1 or better is not a very hard strain for any tuner. This is important to me because to get a good match the tuner has to absorb some power. The worse the SWR the more the tuner has to insert C & L into the circuit thus absorbing more power. When you only have 10W at most, it matters.

So far I have only used the antennas on the ground stake. However, it is possible to elevate them. The Delta seems to me a little fragile 20' in the air, so I will cautiously experiment with deploying when it is windy. Also I can set up a 34' Dipole and see what I get with it about 20' in the air. Not optimum, but I don't have to mess with getting stuff up in tress either, and I can deploy and recover in 5 minutes each way.

In conclusion the whips are heavy duty and not flimsy, the materials are all first class. It's a case of YGWYPF. I wouldn't hesitate to buy again now knowing what I know.