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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
WG9U Rating: 2012-12-28
Easy Install, amazing results! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I'm an engineer by profession, in two disciplines, and I appreciate a well engineered system, which I consider the LT II Tarheel antenna to be.

Frankly, I've had a number of screwdriver antennas over the years, and have fielded just about every one of their competitors on everything from cars to my trucks. As well versed as I am in electronics design, mobile antenna installations are unique unto themselves and I've gone to great lengths to bond and ground my installations in order to obtain maximum efficiency, with admittedly varying degrees of success using a broad range of screwdriver antenna products. Some of my past experiences with other screwdriver type systems has been challenging, if not frustrating, at times, and the results were shall we say, not as stellar as I might have hoped. Of course the quality of the products varied widely and while some were less than robust, they did at least work to varying degrees, some of lower frequencies better than others, etc. Anyone experienced with mobile operations and antenna systems understands the nuances and pitfalls of various antenna installations.

That being said, I am extremely impressed with the Little Tarheel i.e. LT II antenna system! Happily, I'd like to report that this was probably one of the smoothest installations I've ever had with a screwdriver antenna. What I mean by smoothest, is that it was a relatively simple installation, so much so that I found it just short of true "plug and play". I'm very, very, big on bonding and grounding my mobile installations, so the grounding straps, etc. were already affixed and in place where I'd decided to mounted the LT II, which was the driver's side back door of my crew cab Chevy 2500 HD diesel truck. I used a Diamond K400 3/8 mount, ran the control cable, made my battery connections, etc, fired up my ICOM IC-7000 and began tuning the LT II manually. Unfortunately, I've ordered a Turbo Tuner to go with it, but it's on back order, so no auto tuning for the moment. However, like the old days I just manually tuned it by band noise and quickly had it very close to resonant on the frequency I was tuned to. I found that once I was in the neighborhood, a tap on the control switch, while checking my SWR meter, and I could get it well within the 1.5:1 claims of their marketing documentation. Another tap put me well below that ratio in most cases, which was surprising.

Actually, I'd like to take a moment to note my astonishment that I am actually getting a much better SWR ration than 1.5:1 on most bands... I'm seeing better numbers on practically every band, 75/80 meters being the exception at around 1:5:1 or slightly lower.

Since SWR meters on a radio like the IC-7000 are not as accurate as one would hope, I checked the SWR with my Palstar ZM30 antenna analyzer. I've made a complete mapping of the each band, edge to edge, and the results were pretty astounding as they tend to confirm the IC-7000 meter readings concerning standing wave ratios, only more accurately... In point of fact a majority of the SWR readings are < 1.5:1, most between 1.2:1 or better. Hard to believe, but true.

Not to belabor the point, but this is an amazing antenna... I did order the 56" whip with mine, which is what was in place for all of the ZM30 measurements. Anyway, I've been running 100 watts out of the IC-7000, and my signal reports have been very good for a mobile. In fact, I was on 3.964.25 (the Missouri net) @0500 the other morning and even in the noise I got a 5 3 signal report from here in Florida with 100 watts. I've been able to make contacts in Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, North Carolina, Illinois, and Ohio, in the brief time I've been able to get on the air. And on Christmas Day, I made a contact with a contester in Brazil on 40 meters...

The bottom line is that this is an outstanding little antenna, and I'm extremely pleased with it's performance, and the quality of the materials and construction. In fact, I can say with complete assurance that the LT II is the best screwdriver antenna I've owned, to date. If the Little Tarheel is this outstanding, I'm going to have to buy a a model that covers 160 just to see how their larger screwdriver performs. I'm so impressed with the Tarheel product that I cannot see buying any other antenna in this class in the future, except one of their products.

Obviously, each installation is different from vehicle to vehicle, and some may not see results like these, but with all of the screwdriver antennas I've owned over the past ten plus years, this one exhibits outstanding results, the workmanship and construction materials are superior, and the price is right!

The results are so impressive, I have no reservations about recommending this antenna system to anyone!

KQ4KK Rating: 2012-10-17
It does work Time Owned: more than 12 months.
For about 14 years I used HAM STICKS. They worked great on the top of the car. I then bought a Honda minivan and the HAM Sticks did not clear some tunnels and toll booths when on the roof. I then bought a Little Tarheel II. Put it on the roof, clearance problem solved, did not have to change antennas when I changed bands. It worked as advertised. However, in the back of my mind I felt the HAM Sticks operated better. MORE steel in the air. Used the LT2 for about 4 years, OK, but did not overcome the laws of physics. I then traded the minivan for a SUV with a trailer hitch mount and bought a TARHEEL 200. Boy, big improvement. Yea, it is mounted on the bumper hitch, way too low, but the "full size" of the 200 makes it a real performer. The 200 is as good as the full size HAM sticks were. It is easier to tune than the LT2. A LT2 is better than no HF antenna.
KA3NRJ Rating: 2012-10-17
Fantastic Antenna Time Owned: N.A.
I bought the Tarheel 2 for the back of my Saturn Astra, along with the Turbo Tuner, it turned out to be the best combination that I ever had HF Mobile. It works great and very well made. I now put all my Ham sticks away as I no longer need to carry multi antennas in the car.I installed the antenna on a K400 mount. I highly recommend this antenna.
WI0H Rating: 2012-06-06
Great antenna Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Back in December of 2010, I wasn't completely sold on mobile HF operations. I mean, I'd only be running 100 watts, would anyone even hear me with that little bit of metal in the air? In spite of my reservations, I decided to take the plunge and picked up a mobile rig and a Tarheel II. Because I wanted some 80m coverage, I also got the 54" whip to go along with it. It didn't take long for this antenna to make a mobile ops believer out of me.

As I stated earlier, this isn't a lot of metal up in the air, so it shouldn't come as a surprise to find that it performs exceptionally well on 10-20. I often get 59 reports out of Europe on 17, followed by a congratulations on my excellent signal. I've even worked into Australia on 20m from the parking lot in front of my old office building in Baltimore. Talk about a great way to start your morning!

What I didn't expect was the exceptional performance on 40. I have no trouble checking into MidCars in the mornings, rag chewing from coast to coast in the evenings, and have even managed to work a few DX stations out of Europe. 80m coverage is OK, but I knew better than to expect much on that band anyways. It is good enough for me to check into some of the regional nets though, including the Teenagers, the Tailgaters, and the Iowa Emergency net.

18 months and who knows how many thousands of miles later, my Tarheel II is still going strong. It's definitely one of the better ham radio purchases I've ever made.

W1ZE Rating: 2012-03-15
well built & works Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have been using the Little Tarheel II for three + years with excellent results. At first I was skeptical of it's performance being so short. I have used a bigger screwdriver antenna on my old P/U but had to do a lot of input matching with a toroid transformer and capacitors. When I installed the Tarheel on my new Rogue SUV I had bo more need for input matching. A good vehical ground and it is a plug-n-play antenna. I did replace the supplied short whip with a longer whip and performance on 75 meters improved but I can at the expense of 6-meters - not a problem for me. If I want to work 6, I just put the short whip back on. On air performance is pretty good for a mobile antenna....It is a keeper

Earlier 5-star review posted by W1ZE on 2009-08-05

I recently replaced my P/U with a small SUV and my old DK3 would not fit and the XYL would have
been pleased with it on the SUV. Friends recommended the Little Tarheel II so I ordered one and was pleased with its quality. My old DK3 was a real HF mobile performer but I needed to do some feedpoint matching. Not necessary with the Tarheel. Performance on 20 through 10 I found it equal with the DK3. On 40 & 75 The DK3 was better. As recommended by the Tarheel folks I put on a 56" long whip and added a homemade capacity hat just above the coil and performance on 75 & 40 improved to close to the DK3 with a much smaller profile. I'm happy and so is the XYL. W1ZE
W6IWW Rating: 2012-01-13
Superb! Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
This antenna and the folks who build it are about as great as they come. I've had many, many mobile antennas over the last 40 years and I can't imagine anything better than the Tarheel II unless you want to get one of the bigger Tarheels. Wonderfully built and supported by an immediately responsive tech available by cell phone, you simply can't beat this package. I have it mounted on a Crown Vic with a Diamond K-400. The trunk lip mount is less than ideal but the antenna still works great on ALL bands from 6-80 meters. I use an IC-7000 with it and it's a piece of cake to quickly tune a quick and flat match on any frequency. It takes a week or two to get the tuning down to a simple reflex. You don't need an auto tuner like the Ameritron SDC-102 or the Turbo Tuner, but they are nice add on. I'd suggest the Ameritron so you can manually fine tune the manual settings. Like with ALL mobile antennas, the key here is proper grounding (rf and dc) on your installation and as much bonding and choking as possible. No one is a better guide to this than the site of K0BG. In short, do NOT run a ground braid from the mount to the frame, that will cause a ground loop. The imperative here is to properly choke the motor leads coming out of the antenna, right at the base and therefore outside of the car. The Tarheel comes with one choke, but I would and did add another Mix31 ferrite with about 6 turns of the motor cable. Putting a couple of ferrite beads on the other end of the motor cable won't hurt. Take a few minutes and hang some bonding straps on your hood and trunk, and if you can, use some braid between your exhaust system and the frame. There is ONE trade off with this great antenna. If you use the smaller whip that comes with it, you MIGHT have some trouble tuning on 80m unless your grounding and bonding are A-1. I also have the longer whip which costs another 10-15 bucks. Well worth it to have both. The longer whip adds gain on all bands and makes 80m tuning ridiculously easy (and efficient!). Problem is, u are unlikely to get better than a 3 to 1 match on 6m with the longer whip. So i bought two quick disconnect couplers from Tarheel and put them on both whips. I generally use the longer one. If 6 meters opens, I can pop on the smaller whip in one minute. You will love this antenna and the folks who build it and service are just plain sweet, nice and responsive.
K0VET Rating: 2012-01-11
Great antenna great service Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I have had my Little Tarheel 2 for about 6 mos and it is a great performer especially for its size. I have compared it to other antennas and it is equal or better than any I have used. A few days ago it started blowing fuses when I tried to tune it. Called Galen at Tarheel and he said send it in and they would look at it. Shipped it UPS on Mon at Noon and when I came home Wed it was sitting on the front porch. Wow!! New motor, cleaned and like new.
2E1RDX Rating: 2012-01-04
Very pleased Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
What a great little antenna I am having a great time with it
I have a 9ft CB 1/4 whip that splits at the 5ft point I put this on with a home made Capacitor hat which has 8x1ft rods the cap hat is mounted at the 5ft point for 17m to 10m if I want 20m to 160m I add the 4ft top section as well this works a treat and as i say also gives me top band I have worked the world in the past few weeks 122 DXCC in a month YS1/HB9KNA via Longpath on 17m today ZL3JAS/M on 3 bands in one morning see my Bio for pics of the antenna in use love it
Ian 2E1RDX
N2JFD Rating: 2011-09-24
Incredible Antenna Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I have had this antenna installed for 6 months now, i cant believe how well it works. i worked the 13 colonies event and when i could not be heard on my base i got thru easy with the tarheel and a 100 watt yaseu 857. easy to install and set up, i considered getting the auto tuner unit for it but after a few tries i found it very easy to tune with just my ear. listen for the static, give a little tone and watch the swr until it drops. cant get much easier. i would recommend this antenna to anyone who asked.
K7RNV Rating: 2011-08-25
Outstanding Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Easy to set up, just make sure you have good ground for both the antenna and radio. I used the shield from some coax that i had left over.