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Reviews For: Tarheel Little Tarheel II

Category: Antennas: HF Mobile & Accessories

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Review Summary For : Tarheel Little Tarheel II
Reviews: 65MSRP: 379
When properly installed on your vehicle this antenna will provide continuous coverage from 3.5 to 54 MHz with the supplied whip. The Little Tarheel II antenna like all of our motorized antenna models are built to meet the highest standards but in a smaller size.

All of our antennas come with the sensors already pre-installed so if you decide to add one of the auto controllers (Tarheel Simple Controller, Tarheel Programmable Controller, Turbo Tuner, Antenna BOSS and BOSS II, SDC-100 or the SDC-102) now or later everything is ready.

We designed this antenna for the person who wants to enjoy HF mobile but is not interested in our large antennas. Don't let the small size fool you because we designed this antenna to be mounted higher on the vehicle, and when mounted higher on the vehicle you have less ground loses which equals higher performance. Also, because of the smaller size you can use a more common type of mount like the Diamond K400 Series, the Comet Series or similar 3/8" stud type mount.

And like our other antennas you get the same great look with our Dupont Imron 5000 system with standard colors of black, white, red or silver. It also comes with the LexanTM Weather Shield like its big brothers, not the flimsy stuff others use. This model also uses the commercial 12 volt gear motor.

We designed the Little Tarheel II as a package. All you need extra is a mount of some sort and a nice HF radio. Included standard with the Little Tarheel II antenna is: the whip, 20 ft. of plug & play control cable, manual control box, ferrite decoupling core and 3/8-24 stud.
Product is in production
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# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
WA4UF Rating: 2016-12-19
Good deal, well built, works well Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I've had my Little Tarheel HP mounted to one of Hank Breedlove's beautifully over-engineered ball mounts on the side of my Accord for some time now. Compared to the Hustler I was using I've observed much better receive performance and better transmit signal reports from people I talk to regularly. The antenna holds up very well even under buffeting winds and storms during (*cough*) high speed driving on the FL Turnpike. The only beef I have with the antenna (which the Tarheel folks admitted was an issue when I talked to them at the Orlando hamfest last February) is that it's slow. They used the same motor as the original Little Tarheel. They looked into using a faster motor (which would've been feasible given the HP's beefier coil wire and contact assembly) but the motor manufacturer wanted them commit to buying an enormous quantity before they'd retool to build it. So I possess my soul in patience and wait the minute and a half it takes to get from 40m to 6m. Other than that, I have nothing but praise for the antenna.
KL7EZ Rating: 2016-11-02
Great Antenna Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I purchased my first HF mobile station in April of 2016. The equipment consists of a Yaesu FT-857D, Little Tarheel II Antenna, Tunematic TM-1 Antenna Controller, Rig Expert AA-170 Antenna Analyzer, MLS-100 External Speaker and LDG External FTL-Meter. I installed this system into a 2005, 2500 Dodge Ram Quad-Cab Diesel Pickup Truck. I took plenty of time to carefully read the operation/installation manual of each component to understand detailed manufacturer’s guidelines and suggestions. Although I did my homework, I didn’t get the chance to install this equipment until late summer 2016 due to many other family priorities/obligations.

After careful consideration, I decided to install the FT-857D on the plastic sub-dash panel located just under the steering wheel. I decided to place the Tunematic TM-1 Antenna Controller under the driver’s seat. There was plenty of control cable supplied by Tunematic to support this installation. I provided direct transceiver & antenna controller grounding to the truck’s negative battery terminal. There was also enough room under the steering wheel to install a Yaesu MLS-100 external speaker adjacent to the transceiver. Note that this external speaker is loud and sounds great. The speaker provides the proper male mono plug to work out-of-the-box with the FT-857D. All coax and control cables were routed under front and rear floor mats to provide a clean installation. I also utilized “MountGuys” 22” extra-long, floor seat, bolt-mount stand to support the transceiver’s LED display. This installation option provides a sturdy support that conveniently locates the FT-857D LED display within a comfortable hand’s reach of VFO operation while ergonomically resting my forearm on the truck’s center console. The FT-857D LED display is now very visible and out of the way during 6-speed manual shifting. Installation also included placing many 1” wide x 8” long tinned copper ground straps to bond the truck’s frame, muffler, hood, tool-box, side panels, doors and tail gate to help create a common RF node.

I installed the Little Tarheel II Antenna on top of a permanently mounted aluminum tool box located in the back of the truck’s bed. The passenger’s side location provided a tall and rigid profile. I also utilized a Tarheel supplied MT-5S manual lift and lay mount. This attractive mounting system works well when parking the truck into locations where the antenna system is too tall for a low profile shop/garage. I had a few questions on the antenna installation and Tarheel provided excellent and immediate assistance. Prior to installing the Tunematic TM-1 Antenna Controller, I tested the antenna operation with the supplied Tarheel control switch. I used a Rig Expert AA-170 Antenna Analyzer to check VSWR across all antenna bands. All bands checked out very well with a low VSWR as advertised. When I determined that the antenna functioned properly, with low VSWR, I installed the TuneMatic TM-1 Antenna Controller.

I manually stored 20 frequencies (equally spaced) into the TuneMatic TM-1 Antenna Controller across each HF phone band (excluding 160 meter). Using a Rig Expert AA-170 Antenna Analyzer, all stored frequencies tested below 1.40:1.00 VSWR. The 10 & 20 meter bands tested almost flat across the entire 20 meter phone band.

I had a small issue with the auto-tune function of the Tunematic TM-1. JT provided excellent and immediate technical support to mitigate the issue. JT mailed me the latest chip (software version 5.2). Two days later I swapped out the old chip (v 4.x) with the new chip in less than ten minutes. The 5.2 chip solved all of the auto-tune issues. The Tunematic TM-1 Controller auto-tunes all HF bands (excluding 160 meter) to a VSWR less than 1.40:1.00 with excellent repeatability. The auto-tune function works great either scrolling up or down separate HF bands. The Morse-code commands generated by the Tunematic TM-1 are more than loud enough to hear over a Cummins diesel engine cruising at 2K RPM.

In general, this HF mobile station works and looks great. The FT-857D and Little Tarheel II Antenna work extremely well together. The Tunematic TM-1 Antenna Controller provides excellent repeatability on all stored frequencies with a very low and/or reasonable VSWR. It’s a real treat to switch bands on the fly while driving down the interstate within Nashville traffic. I must say that the addition of the Yaesu MLS-100 external speaker works well competing with the noise generated from the diesel engine. I also purchased the LDG External FTL-Meter for the FT-857D. The meter is simply a convenient compliment to the mobile station.

If you’re considering this kind of installation, take your time to read and follow the instructions. Provide proper RF grounding. Consider shrink wrapping exterior control & coax connections. Locate your vehicle away from metal buildings/structures while checking and manually storing frequency low null points. The equipment has worked very well for me. HF SSB contacts are made with ease with 50W or less. I am also extremely pleased in the professional and kind customer support provided by Tarheel and Tunematic. I would definitely purchase these products again. The installation and operation of this equipment is a pleasure.

Scott (KL7EZ)
Nashville, TN
KF2TI Rating: 2016-05-22
Amazing stuff Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I just replaced my original little tarheel II antenna, first installed in April 2005. After 11 years and literally hundreds of thousands of miles, I couldn't fight the road salt corrosion anymore Purchased a new one this past Dayton along with the Tunematic antenna controller, retiring one of the original Turbo Tuners..a great box but having issues with my 7000's CI-V precludes its continued use. Highly recommend the antenna
KG4UHV Rating: 2016-02-11
Excellent antenna Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I installed this antenna few days ago, tested yesterday with excellent signal reports, now I'm facing forward to buy the programmable screwdriver antenna control. 73
K0MCI Rating: 2016-01-05
Much better than I'd hoped for. Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Installed on a Freightliner Cascadia with mirror mount. In the last month I've worked everyone I've called. Even broke the one and only pileup I've tried with it on the first try.
Using the programmable controller with it isn't an exact science, but it will put you in the neighborhood every time. If you don't want to shell out for a memory controller, just adjust for max noise and you'll be close. (Note it's reportedly not wise to adjust with much power, so qrp or un key before each transmission).
Advise buying the long whip if you want 75 fully tunable. Now I've read some have issues due to grounding. I believe them. Not because I have had any, but because I trust it could happen. But on the truck, which is largely fiberglass, I could tune everything. It may not spray magical rainbows out of the whip, but after using it, I'd say I'm just as amazed as if it did.
KB3GJP Rating: 2015-07-05
Great on 20 meters and above Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Radio used is a FT857D. Only used the antenna on 6M/10M. On those bands it tuned, Received and Transmitted great. It also Tuned great on 20 meters. Since it tuned great on 20 meters I can imagine it Tunes great on 12,15 and 17 meters. It tuned on 40 meters, but drops the power back and won't tune on 80 Meters. Again on 6M/10 the antenna is great.
G0IFL Rating: 2015-05-29
Just fine and dandy! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Have had the antenna for over a year now and I am very pleased I decided to go for it rather than the ATAS for my 857D. I had no issues with mounting or ground on the boot of my 320i. I recommend the longer whip.....not just for the added 80m but I notice I get better SWR with it (not that it makes too much difference).
W1ZZK Rating: 2015-04-16
Great for 2+ years Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have the Little Tarheel II connected to a IC-706-MkIIG via Turbo Tuner mounted on the aluminum bed mounted tool box on my 2005 GMC.

The performance is great. I have a 12" rigid extension above the screwdriver with a 8" round, 6 spoke closed end cap hat and the factory 32" whip from there up. It performs great!

I have tried it with just the 32" whip, with a 67" whip and my current arrangement with cap hat and 32" whip. All worked well, but the current config best. I do not use it for 6M.

The only time I have had to "fix" anything is to periodically (lightly) Scotch Brite the coil. Not only do I have the motor leads choked, but the feedline is well choked at the antenna and all truck panels well bonded. I've never had any trouble with common mode currents getting into the antenna, turbo tuner or cab. Do it right and give a little TLC occasionally.

It works rain or shine and contacts are virtually anywhere I can hear. I can't imagine using any other HF antenna or one more convenient when paired with the Turbo Tuner. Just press Tune on the radio and wait a few seconds. You are ready to talk.

After 2+ years, no problems, I can recommend this antenna to anyone willing to spend this much on an antenna and controller.

You can have the best radio made, but if your antenna can't radiate the RF, it does you no good. This antenna does good.

KD4HGR Rating: 2015-01-10
THE BEST Antenna Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have now owned the Little Tarheel II for over 10 Years and It has been perfect in my mobile use. It has never stopped working. Just do the simple cleaning that Robert says to do and it will work forever. The only thing that has failed was the Diamond K400 3/8 mount after 10 years the pot metal finally gave out. I also use a Tarheel 100HP in my attic at my condo. work perfectly as well. Great antenna Robert.

Earlier 5-star review posted by KD4HGR on 2010-03-03

I bought this antenna as a combo with the Yaesu 857D and the antenna boss tuner.I use the Little Tarheel 2 on my Ford Taraus on the diamond K-400 mount recomened by Tarheel with the current rig IC-706MK2G and it has been flawless in operation.It simply is one of the best antennas I have had on my car.I use the up down paddle switch that comes with it and the SWR meter on the rig and 100% it will tune to a 1.5 SWR or less with a good ground on the antenna mount.Also just a note if you want to work 160M this little guy will do it with the MFJ 3/8 24 thread 12'FT telescopic whip.You cant drive with it on there but it will tune at 1:1.1 SWR on my car..I highly recomend this antenna for any one tired of pulling off the road to change out your hamstick to change bands.Hamsticks do work great but hassel changing bands..73's and Happy DX-ing.
KD8YVC Rating: 2015-01-10
Awesome Antenna Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I started my HF mobile rig with a Yaesu-857D and a few hamsticks. I went back and forth on deciding from the little tarheel to the Yaesu ATAS 120A. Bottom Line: Ac8mw and myself installed this antenna on the trunk of my 2013 VW Passat and after leaving his qth on 20 meters, I spoke to a contact in Brazil from Ohio on 100 watts. The next morning in travelling to work, I made contact to Mexico City from Ohio. I did buy the 54" whip as well;however, I haven't installed this yet, so these contacts were made with the 32" whip that's supplied. I'm happy at this time with it and you can contact me with questions.