Manager - NA4M
Manager Notes

Reviews For: Tarheel Little Tarheel II

Category: Antennas: HF Mobile & Accessories

eMail Subscription

Registered users are allowed to subscribe to specific review topics and receive eMail notifications when new reviews are posted.
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
More Info:
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
N9GUU Rating: 2014-03-09
Great Antenna Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
This is my first attempt at HF mobile. I purchased the little tarheal II antenna because of its low profile and because it was said to operate from 6 - 80 meters. I installed it with a K400 type of mount on the hatch of my Lexus RX-350. I also ran a ground wire from the mount to a screw in the hatch door as well. Using my Icom IC-7000 I was working all sorts of domestic and DX on 10, 15, 20 and 40M. I highly recommend this antenna. I also purchased the Ameritron SDC-102 programmable tuner for the antenna. I can't imagine trying to use the antenna with just the up/down switch that tarheal supplies (especially while driving). I used an MFJ antenna analyzer to initially program the SDC-102 and that took all of about 10 minutes. Bottom line...Great antenna - I highly recommend it!
KD0JUF Rating: 2013-11-08
Excellent Start Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
This is the first antenna I've bought specifically for mobile use. I went with this because of the good reviews on performance and quality, and because it is a much smaller profile than the larger screw-type antennas I've seen.

I am setting up everything from scratch for mobile for the first time. I drive a GMC Yukon XL (full size suburban). I just got a Yaesu 857D, and I also bought the Little Tarheel II along with a Diamond 400 mount for the antenna. I also got the longer 56" whip for the antenna for 80m. I was on my way out the door for a road trip from Denver to Kansas, but was anxious to try it out, so I threw the radio (still new in box), a battery, the antenna (still in the box), a rig runner and power pole connectors, etc. and hit the road. My first night at a hotel, I unpacked everything, put powerpole connectors on everything, and connected the radio, antenna, etc. Tested the toggle switch that powers the antenna screw up/down - all checked out. The next day, after meetings, I mounted the antenna on the back of the GMC, left edge of the rear lift gate, just below the bottom of the window. The 4 set screws in the Diamond 400 mount seemed to hold nicely. I just tossed the cables up to the front seats, connected everything, powered up and voila - great signal reports from all over. Next morning I got on and made more contacts. From KS I had great signal reports from TN, FL, CA, WA, TX, NM, AZ, WY, MS. Many were 5x9. Made contacts in other states as well. Worked mostly 20 and 40 meters, some 80 on the first night. Kept it up working 20 on the way back to CO, making contacts as I drove with WA, WY, CA, AZ, NM. Had several guys comment on what a great signal it was, and they were surprised that a mobile rig was doing so well.

I haven't even done anything to ground this yet, or work on insulating noise from the motor. I just used a battery and powerpole connections and strung the coax up to the radio and the power cable for the screw motor through the vehicle up to my portable battery sitting on the passenger side floor. I tuned by eyeballing the approximate height of the antenna based on the pictures in the antenna manual, then to dial it in, I switched to low power on AM on a clear frequency, keyed the mic and raised/lowered the antenna while watching the SWL meter on the radio until it dropped to nothing. It's obvious when the antenna tunes, as the SWR meter on the radio is max'd until you go through the sweet spot, where it drops down and then it will go right back up again, so it's very easy to see. Once tuned, I switched back to full power on SSB and talked all over. One connection I made from KS was a 59 to TN and I had forgotten to put my power back up, so I was actually working mobile on 5 watts.

This is the first time I've ever done a review. My initial experience has been excellent. This was as close to plug and play as I could have hoped for. I'm not an electronics guru, nor am I a highly experienced radio operator. I don't have any other experience with mobile setups so I can't compare to anything else, but I can say that this antenna is easy to set up, easy to dial in without a tuner, is giving great results, and has gotten me excited about going mobile with HF. The Diamond 400 mount seems to be very sturdy and able to handle the smaller Little Tarheel II. Coming back from KS to CO I didn't have any problems. I hope to come back and review again when I have time to actually set it up right.
KF7JCK Rating: 2013-08-31
Works as advertised Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
My new Little Tarheel II is the first mobile HF antenna I have ever installed. It installed and worked as documented (this is the highest praise I can give to any product or company).

Between it and my 2001 Corolla is the Diamond K400-3/8C trunk lid mount. Everything connected as documented.

I was immediately able to tune as documented, and made an 80M contact with a local emergency net upon installation.

First impression: I do not regret purchasing this antenna. In two years I will know if I would purchase another one.
N4NUI Rating: 2013-05-07
Great on a Gorilla Mount Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I got tired of having to get out to re-tune the manual screwdriver so I bought the LTH-II. Using the SWR meter on the rig does work to tune it but that adds QRM on the bands. It doesn't take much more time to use the FG-01 antenna analyser to get it right on the best tuning point more accurately than using the rig's SWR meter function. I use two lengths of 1" braid from the Gorilla Mag Mount to vehicle frame ground points. I use the long telescoping whip from the MFJ-1661 rather than the Tarheel long whip for 80>40. It is a better choice because you can extend it when parked and shorten it when moving. But, I have to swap for the shorter Tarheel whip to tune 6-meters. The antenna works great and the only problems I have had were due to the cheap way MFJ handles the coax connection to the Gorilla Mag mount. Anyone who wants to know how I corrected the problems with the Gorilla mount can email me through my QRZ account. N4NUI
KE7FD Rating: 2013-04-22
Great antenna for the size Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I no longer have mine (vehicle totaled) but while I had it I thought it was the best overall. Like most hams I started with hamstick types and got tired of the fire drill of swapping those out then went to a Hustler whip with multiple stingers which was a great improvement in more than a few ways. After dealing with comments from my family of driving a windmill around I finally went to the LTH2. It's a great multiband antenna and I endorse the use of the longer whip over the stock whip too. Great mobile antenna! If the small one works this well I can only imagine the larger Tarheels work even better although there's quite a bit more real estate to own one of those.

Earlier 5-star review posted by KE7FD on 2009-07-02

This past trip to Dayton '09 from Pittsburgh gave us the chance to talk to other operators and to actually see what other hams use for mobile antennas. Keeping a running tally n my head of what I saw, the Tarheel made its appearance more often than any other screwdriver antenna during the road trip. Then walking through the parking lot, I again saw a greater count of Tarheels than any other make. This is not to say others are not good, but for me the criteria for selecting a screwdriver antenna was bolstered by the raw number of Tarheels encountered. I spent some time checking out everything at Dayton, getting some hands-on time with those other makes of screwdriver vendors that were there. (I wonder why not all of the brands make an effort to go to Dayton? The cost of space inside and all would be more than made up by sales. The more they sell, the more they will sell thereafter.) After talking with the helpful folks at the WB0W booth, I bought a Little Tarheel II. They had run out at the show, but no matter, I needed time to prep the vehicle for it's new antenna anyway. The unit arrived later the following week and mounting commenced. My advice to anyone mounting mobile equipment: You should want to take your time and do it right the first time. You do not want to do it over again later. Get it right the first time. I took my time and am glad I did.

The Little Tarheel II (with the standard short whip) replaced a set of Hustlers. (The Hustlers worked great too, but were not a good fit on my vehicle’s mounting situation. I would think the Hustlers would work best on a open-bed truck better than on a Grand Cherokee.) I have the unit mounted on the right-rear corner of my Grand Cherokee, about chest high on the body using a SS adjustable mount just where it clears the hatch. NOTE: everyone promotes a major brand of mount for this smaller screwdriver. However, such mounts will not work at the location on my vehicle since those mounts expect to clamp onto a flat surface like a trunk lid or hatch; mine is glass. I found that Firestick makes an adjustable stainless steel mount that worked best. It's very robust and costs much less than the others. Though I've never used RG-174 before, I decided to use a short length to route inside then using BNC's to transition to a 3 - 4 foot length of RJ-58U that terminates at the radio. I've added a ground braid at the antenna base to chassis just to make sure grounding never becomes an issue. The internal antenna tuner on the TS-480SAT is disabled and the Tarheel is controlled by an Ameritron SDC-102 located on the dash, in easy reach of the driver's left hand. This way the RF run is as short as possible, and grounding at both the antenna and the radio are a priority.

Although I've only had the setup for a short time, I found the antenna to tune 1:1 every time. The reports I've gotten from operators at the other end have been very good. The Tarheel performs every bit as good as the Hustlers and better because:
- It’s a better fit on my vehicle, and out of the way of the hatch
- The silver color matches my vehicle (other colors available)
- Can be tuned at the antenna itself w/o a tuner to 1:1
- I can clear more low-hanging trees and not have to worry about a tall antenna reaching out to slap pedestrians as I drive by
- Much less wind drag
- and it just works.

I suppose if I had one of the larger Tarheels, the need to tweak the controller would not be so necessary but my "style" of mobile operating limits me to the handful of memories in the SDC-102, which is a good fit for me. I also bought the 56inch whip at the same time but have not mounted it yet. I want to get the "feel" of the standard configuration. Once I get some airtime under my belt using that whip, I'll submit a separate review using the longer whip.
VK2FSTU Rating: 2013-04-22
After an upgrade to long antenna - works much better Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Well, what a difference after buying the 56 inch antenna I'm now much better off. The difference is incredible, 80 through to 6 meters and a SWR from 1.15 to 1.5 across the whole spectrum and DX now is better in some cases than my home set-up. A great system now it has this larger antenna extension. Oh, and also the auto antenna switch, the SDC-100B is a real bonus, and works great with this unit.

Earlier 3-star review posted by VK2FSTU on 2013-04-08

I bought the Tarheel II and had it installed (on the bull bar of my 4x4 - yes, there are earth staps radiating from the antenna), but have found it to be deaf of transmit to any stations, but picks up the faintess stations, very perplexing, hence my 3. But the concept is good, only if I can get the radio to transmit to those stations I hear will I be satisfied.
W4DKD Rating: 2013-03-25
Works great for me Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I've had mine about 2 years now and am very pleased with the performance. It's mounted on a Jeep Wrangler which is no ground plane to speak of, but still I can talk to about anyone I can hear, even Europe and South America.
AI4WC Rating: 2013-03-03
Great little antenna! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Hooked the little (it really is) Tarheel II up on a 2 foot high tripod on my 2nd floor balcony, built an L-bracket to attach 20M and 40M Hamsticks as horizontal counterpoises and got in on the International Phone contest (Yaesu FT-950/100 watts). Talked to Stateside (many), Mexico, Columbia and Switzerland on 20 M. Could not contact everyone, but by choosing clear signals, the QSO will be successful. Antenna has less than 2 SWR over entire 20M band and it is quiet and physically not very noticeable. Antenna workmanship and finish are superb and Jean and Robert are very helpful and professional. I'm glad I bought the Little Tarheel II!
N4MDX Rating: 2013-01-28
Simply amazing ! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Well, I felt this product needed a review. Santa was good to me this year and received a Tarheel 2 HF Mobile vertical. I opened the box and put everything together, then mounted it to my Nissan Titan. I purchased the Diamond K400 door edge mount. This is something that you will have to buy. Because each install is unique the K400 might or might not work for you. There is a ton of pictures and ideas in the "links" section of the Tarheel Antenna website. A few critical notes: 1) ground the antenna well, 2) mount it high as possible and away from the engine compartment, 3) do a Ohm test from the base of the antenna to your ground (vehicle).

So, after everything was installed and had a good Ohm test I turned it on. BOOM ! My jaw fell open. just found my new favorite antenna. I consistently receive 5/9 signal reports from ...well everywhere. If you can hear them, they can hear you. People don't believe I'm mobile ;)

You don't need a tuner at all. You will need an SWR meter. It does take a little practice tuning it. After a few times, its easy.
I would recommend placing a small piece of tape on the moveable column to help mark your bands initially, it helps.
- The antenna has a positive and negative wire that runs the motor on the antenna to move it up and down. Instead of running those wires to the battery I attached a simple DC cigarette lighter insert to those positive/negative wires and plugged it into my cigarette light plug. It draws very low power and works very well.
- So heres how you tune it quickly.. Decide on the band you want to chat on, next move the column in the general are of that band. On your radio, switch to FM and drop your power to QRP, 5 watts or less. Then key the mic and move the column up or down. While doing this, watch you SWR meter drop to zero. When you achieve zero your good ! Switch back to SSB and increase your power again. Once your do it a few times its easy. Probably not a good idea to do when your driving unless you have 3 or more hands. If I had three or more hands then I probably wouldn't be married either.
So in closing, this antenna has surpassed my inverted V in my home. I cannot recommend this antenna enough.

73 !
W4KVW Rating: 2013-01-15
SWEET AS SUGAR! {:>) Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Just bought myself a New (RED)TARHEEL II for Christmas to run with my ICOM 7000 in my pickup truck.I added the BETTER RF antenna tune control & BETTER RF tune module & now I have a simple push of the TUNE button controlled mobile setup.I have had a couple of other screwdriver antennas before but NONE were as simple to use & worked so well while taking up such a small space on my pickup. This is the total package for running a 100 watt mobile setup.The RED color is very close to the RED on my 2007 Dodge Quad Cab so it looks GREAT as well as performing GREAT as well.TARHEEL makes an AWESOME antenna & if I'm ever in need of another one it will be a TARHEEL again for me.