|Outstanding portable antenna
||Time Owned: more than 12 months.
|I have the Tak-Tenna 40 Meter, and have used it in portable operations since 2008. When I first used it, I was attached to the Texas State Guard. My function was to provide field communications while on drill or assigned operations. I used my own equipment (since the guard had none at that time). My first contact was from Wylie Texas, in the parking lot of the National Guard Armory. I worked W4JD (special call for the first annual BBQ cook off at Jack Daniels in Tennessee. My RS report was 59 (10/S9) on SSB. I have since continued the antenna and have migrated to digital modes with a great deal of success. Using an MFJ-969 tuner, I am able to achieve an SWR of 1.5:1 or better on all band 10 through 40 meters. In comparison, I also have a GAP Titan DX multi-band vertical and while working digital, have seen very little difference between the two antennas.|
Any one who does not have the space for any type of standard antenna, or who would like to operate portable HF, this is the way to go.
|Good For What It Is
||Time Owned: more than 12 months.
|I've been using the TAK-tenna 40 for about a year as a portable antenna. Construction was about as expected based on the instructions and comments on the TAK-tenna website. It took a bit of time to get the SWR down, but once I had it, I had it. I have since discovered that using a relatively inexpensive antenna analyzer from Autek Research makes it a lot easier to get the TAK right, as well as other portable antennas such as the Buddipole.|
I first tried the TAK as a horizontal dipole about 10ft off the ground on a tripod in my backyard. I could hear a lot but couldn't work them -- not surprising since a 40 meter horizontal dipole 10ft off the ground is mainly going to warm the clouds.
I then switched the TAK-tenna to vertical orientation (a vertical dipole) mounted on the tripod and have had success getting into the West Coast, South America, and Europe from various sites in the Northeast (as well as into the Southeast and Midwest). The highlight so far has been taking it to the Marconi site at the Cape Cod National Seashore on Cape Cod. It was a slow day so the park rangers let me set it up on one of the concrete slabs that once anchored Marconi's massive antenna. I got solid 59s from Scotland, England, and Eastern Europe (Serbia, Croatia, Greece, and the Ukraine) on 25 watts.
I have also had good results with the TAK-tenna from the tops of tall buildings (10-15 stories) in a horizontal orientation -- again, not surprising when the dipole is 120-180 ft above ground.
To be fair, I've had equally good results using a Buddipole configured as a vertical dipole. And equally poor results using the Buddipole as a horizontal dipole.
Taken for what it is, it's a good antenna. You do need to understand propogation characteristics of horizontal and vertical antennas when operated at low heights above ground and you should know how to best match single-band antennas when they're used for multi-band purposes.
|anything can be made into an antenna
||Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
|I was given a TAK 40 from a friend in PHX he could not get it to work very well. the SWR he could get down, but just could not get out with it, poor signal both recieve and transmit, thus in fustration he gave it to me. I played with it a few months and I to could get the SWR down and get it to take power, but I to could not get it to work very well, when compared to just about any other antenna I had up, verticle, dipole, Vee , I gave it away to yet another ham in the north part of the state of Arizona. My conclusion is a 100 watt lite bulb can be used as a pretty effective antenna, if you get it up high enough, and this antenna is better than that, but not by much. Sorry Tak-tenna but I really have to call it like I see it. Maybe its the desert heat that makes this antenna a non preformer.|
I was able to make a few contacts with this antenna to other stations that presented strong signals. Weaker signals where a no joy.
I did check this antennas' feed line for RF current once I had it up, and I detected no current in the feed line using the field strength meter method and a florescent tube (small lite bullb) method. I feel the antenna was getting the brunt of the power.
|Its just OK
||Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
|Alright... I have decided to finally write my review of Tak-Tenna 40m after owning one for a couple months.|
First off I have not used it with a Tuner. I believe Tak is going to perform better on all bands... even the one its resonant on when it has a tuner.
The following is just my experience:
I followed the directions to a "T". I red through them three times to make sure I had a good game plan and idea of how this construction was going to go. I spent a total of 1.5 hours building it because as I was building it I read, and re-read each step 2 or three times to make sure I was on par with the instructions.
I then resonated the antenna using an MFJ antenna analyzer. I even called Steve at Tak-Tenna to have him walk me through it and make sure I was doing it correctly. Steve is an arrogant jerk... and he knows it. He will tell you that and call you incompetent. (He did to me).
I finally got it resonated to 1.2:1 I hoisted it up on my chimney mast at 24'. I cabled it up and turned on the rig. First and foremost it does not receive well at all. It has such loud static on the 40m band, and almost all stations are buried in the static so bad it makes the antenna on 40m almost useless. On the other bands the receive is better where there is no static noise, but it does not pick up all the stations it should compared to a hustler vertical or Stepir beams when I took the set up to my friends house. On transmits I was not getting full power. The SWR on my rig showed 1.5 at the most but would "spike" every 6 seconds or so to a high swr making me believe the antenna is not very good without a tuner to make the radio believe its got a low swr.
Even if I had the tuner on it, I would not be very pleased with the receive if Tak. I have heard many people call it a compromise antenna and it is definitely that. I am putting up a windom antenna instead and will continue to mess around with Tak to see if I can make it worth the $120 I spent on it. A lot of others complain about the noise on the receive of this antenna and I can definitely attest to that.
The construction of it is very good. It has withstood very high winds already. Winds that were in the 60mph range and never wavered in any storm.
If you can do a wire dipole or a wire window go that route. They are cheaper, and will perform much better than Tak. If you simply do not have the room for a wire antenna, or vertical, then Tak is probably your only answer. Just be prepared to make a lot of sacrafices.
|It is good for what it is - caveat emptor
||Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
|I can bear witness to a statement that the last reviewer made... that he could not in good conscience sell his antenna. He did not... he gave it to me!|
I am in the middle of changing up my station and between antennas. I mounted the TAK in the horizontal position on a PVC pole up about 6-7 feet in my back yard. Assuming it might utilize the coax shield to radiate some signal, I wrapped about ten turns of coax in a 6" diameter coil about 33 feet from the feedpoint. I found the antenna fairly straightforward and easy to tune up using my MFJ analyzer. I got a perfect match of 1:1 at the desired frequency... took about 15 minutes.
I tried the antenna with both my 30 watt rig on CW and my newer 100 watt rig on SSB both on 40 meters. I was able to work a European station on each and a stateside station on each. On CW with 30 watts I had a daytime ragchew with a station a few states away for about 45 minutes and he said I was as loud as anything on the band. I also had several instances of stations I could hear well not answering me or saying I was too weak to copy. But you know what? Had all of the same happen with my Hustler 6BTV that I am getting rid of. I don't think the soil here is as good as the last place I used a 6BTV and I do not want to run a lot of radials.
Some say, it is band conditions... Yes that is true. On Field Day, I loaded up an FM receiving dipole mounted on the side of my house and made 5 CW contacts on 10 meters with 30 watts. When conditions are good you can work the world with a set of bedsprings. And when conditions are bad, even good antennas don't cut the mustard.
It is my understanding that the TAKtenna is primarily being marketed as a "restricted space" antenna. Well, I have a 3/4 acre lot, but not a tree on it and the house is not conducive for mounting wire antennas. So if I had restrictive covenants and I wanted to talk on ham radio, this would be a VERY good antenna for that purpose, assuming the limitations that go along with such an antenna. I was frankly, quite shocked at well it DID DO! Based on that marketing alone, I would give it a 5. - So what about enhancing it a little more as some have done.
Well, I tried putting the TAK on top of 20 feet of mast and mounting that up against the side of the house, placing it about 6 feet above the roof. What I found is that the tuning went all out of whack. And it wasn't because of the roof, it was the difference in height. I am NOT faulting the antenna itself for that, it needs to be tuned 'in situ' for best results. I could have spent the time to unsolder the connections, reattach the alligator clips and then repeatedly raised and lowered the antenna to find the 1:1 resonance I had before when it was on the ground. But since my wife was my "helper" and I had no intentions of this being my permanent antenna, I did not do that. So as a result, I would call this an incomplete review of the antenna.
I also did not try the antenna in a vertical position... again, an incomplete review. The antenna is ripe with experimentation possibilities. If I wanted to spend the time I am sure I could find a sweet spot at some height, some orientation. So this antenna has some great possibilities... but it is also not a miracle compared to any full size conventional antenna. The right operator can make it dance on it's head and work far flung DX, but that is not a good measure of day to day operations... In the day-to-day category I think it falls back into the "restricted space antenna" category... probably TOP of that heap, (or near it as I have not sampled them all myself) but in that category none the less.
But looking at the overall, would I BUY this antenna? No, not under present circumstances. The price is too high for my tastes when the information is out there on the web and I could construct it myself for a fraction of the price. I might have bought the kit back at it's former price when it was less than half of what it is now. Yes, I know it is expensive to run a ham business, I am not objecting to that... I think the fact that the business owner patented the design (despite the theory being public domain before he did) has a lot to do with the price, but that's merely opinion. I posed the question would I buy it... I answer no under present conditions. But I am a capable ham with 30 plus years of experience. If I was unable or unwilling to do the "homebrew" construction required to "roll my own", did not understand the theory nor had access to that understanding and was limited in my antenna options making such an antenna viable, then yes, I might buy it. Just a lot of "if's" that I am not faced with at the monent.
To boil it down... it is a GOOD if not GREAT restricted space antenna. But some of the marketing would also lead the less informed to the idea that this antenna is designed to be primarily a directional antenna (first picture on website is the TAK mounted on a rotator). Some people have come right out and said, "I thought it was a beam." Even this review was place in the HF directional category. But as far as I can tell, this antenna is no more directional that a simple dipole. I do find fault with that. There is also some question as to whether the coax shield becomes 'part of the antenna' or not. I made no test to prove one way or the other, but others have. Myself, if it IS true, would prefer to be told "this antenna AND your coax make a great radiator" or some such. But since I didn't prove that, I leave that out of my final consideration. Then there is the fact that it is implied that the antenna can be "made" to do so much more with experimentation and the marketer is willing to 'work with you' to do so. Yes, but most antenna companies include all that is required to have a successful installation in the supplied instructions. The burden is not placed on the end user to repeatedly contact the company for detailed help.
Which leads me to comment that I found the documentation that came with the antenna lacking... It needs a good critique and re-write. Things like, "wrap clockwise", or the detailed explanation of which way to move the feedpoint under what circumstances... Again, it uses the directions of clockwise and counter clockwise but fails to mention looking at it from which direction. I am not saying the documentation is bad... I am saying it could be better. I am further saying if you market it as "great" compared to full size antennas, and detailed experimentation is required to make it "great", an explanation of how to do that should be included for the price. My benchmark is the W9INN antenna... W9INN (now a silent key) provided a great antenna at a good price. Some said I was crazy to pay that much for a wire antenna I could build myself. Well, for starters, I could not build it myself without having the thing sitting in front of me to copy and even then I wonder... And two, the documentation that came with the antenna, was in my opinion, almost worth the price alone.
The bottom line... if marketed as ONLY a restricted space antenna, I would give it a 5. If it were priced at it's former price point, I would give it a 5. But for the 'other implications' in the marketing, yet lack of ACCOMPANYING, WRITTEN documentation I have to knock a point off.
Should you buy this antenna? If it suits your needs where other antennas will not, the price is worth it to YOU given your ability and willingness to construct from scratch AND you go into the adventure understanding the limitations and the experimentation possibly required to live up to some of the claims... absolutely, by all means. Personally, I LIKE this antenna. But I take it for what it IS.
One final comment to hopefully avoid an unwelcome situation. I DO NOT APPROVE of a company sending someone an unsolicited e-mail criticizing them for a bad review of that company's product. That is bad business and just plain stupid from a marketing standpoint: Never acknowledge your critics.
|Sorry, but I can't find the good in it.
||Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
|I have tried to like this antenna but it just isn't going to happen.|
The build was easy and it is resonant at 40m and there it ends. It will receive some but an ocf dipole strung across my roof is a good two s units stronger.
I completely agree with K8UV except that I can't in all conscience sell it to anyone.
Buy some wire, build a dipole, and you will be well ahead of the game.
|It's a Good Antenna !!
||Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
|I decided that my previous statement about the Tak antenna was not very informative nor fair to Steve and crew at Tak tenna. So let me add some details i left out on my original thoughts and be more fair in my opinion. First off the antenna is only approximately 15 ft high compared to my Dipole at 32ft.I plan on when the weather finally cools down to move it to a better spot up at least 20ft.It was for me a very simple and easy assembly that i doubt took more than a hour and maybe 15 minutes to set up and resonate. I had noticed some directiveness with the antenna and in a few cases actually heard some stations that my dipole was missing. I might add i also have a 32ft vertical that the Tak seems to hear better than the vertical as it is very noisy. I did talk to Steve at Tak and he pointed out a couple of areas i missed in my understanding such as the cold end is the directive end.So for now i'll upgrade my opinion to a 4 and will decide later to change it after i move the antenna and increase it's height. So hopefull my previous but very short comments will be removed in fairness to Tak Tenna Company.|
|How well the portable 40-10 meter version works.
||Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
|My call is N3YGL and my name is Rich.I purchased the portable 40-10m version.Its very easy to transport. I have a friend who does not have any room to put up any antenna.everything he tried nobody could hear him. He went from not being heard to 5x9++ signal.Which I find remarkable.I plan on keeping this one for Field day and getting the 80 meter version and my friend will soon be on the air.|
My friend has been off the air for two years. Not
anymore. Thanks Tak-Tenna.
|Save your money
||Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
|Bought this some time ago, followed instllation directions to a 'T".I have built multiple antennas over the years, this one is odd but not rocket science. Quality of parts is fine but the end result is terriable for how it is advertised. If you can't hear them you can't work them. A bedspring would hear as good. Put the antenna analizer on it, put it up on a tower for field day, horriable. Tried it horizontal and vertical along side my towner, horriable. Just like a fishing lure, designed to catch the customer/fish and thats all. I sold it at a swap meet to a blind ham for $20.00. Went to confession next Sunday, 20 hail Merries. The only good thing is the priest said I could use the $150.00 as a church donation on my taxes. Learned the hard way. |
||Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
|I have now had this antenna a little over 6 months, and had no problems at all. As I said in my initial review (callsign was KF5BUB at the time), the secret to vertical performance is height. For my QTH, the soil is about 3 inches of topsoil on lots of rocks. After a lot of experimentation, I found the sweet spot to be 27-feet above ground level to the cold coil. |
Build the antenna per Steve's instructions to the letter, and resonate the antenna. Then start experimenting at a low level of around 10-feet and go up from there. I found that at 27-feet (for me) was the best height. Reception was good between 24 and 30 feet on all bands, but it really jumped between 26 to 28 feet AGL.
I also switched tuners to the MFJ-969 as I bought a new rig that has 6 meters, and yes, I was actually able to run the TAK on 6 (with a lot of tweaking on the tuner).
For a multi-band antenna, this design works very well. I bought a second TAK that I run horizontally on a rotor at 60 feet, and its performance as a mini-beam is good as well. Not quite the performance as the vertical TAK, but excellent if I want to reject some signals in a direction other than the one I am working.
Keep up the good work Tak-Tenna!!!
73's ... Albert