Posts Tagged ‘TAK-tenna’

Last night at the OVMRC Meeting

November 16, 2012

Last night I wandered over to the Science Museum  (which you might remember is a short walk from my home) and attended the monthly meeting of the Ottawa Valley Mobile Radio Club.  The meeting served as a great meeting place as I had to drop off one piece of equipment as well as get back another piece of gear…

The gear coming home was my TAKTENNA which I had loaned out to a new ham about a year ago.

The antenna covers 10-40m and can also do 80m depending on your tuner.

As you can see from the picture its a different style design but it does work (read my earlier posts) about as well as any of the other compromise (limited space antennas) antennas do.

.

It will not out perform a wire antenna stretched out but it does get you on the air with a signal that can be heard.

I proved that in the RAC Canada Winter Contest a  couple of years ago.

I was talking to another amateur about this antenna and I believe it will be leaving me shortly (again) on another long term loan as he tries to find the best way to get an apt balcony “Radio Active”

Now lets talk about the toy that just left….

A few of you might know that I had a Yaesu VX1…

Thats a .5w micro dual band handie that  Yaesu put out a few years back…   I think that now they are up to the VX3.  At the last VE3ORF/3730 group supper meeting one of the hams there was mentioning that he was going to buy one of the Chinese knock offs of the VX3….  I mentioned that he should enjoy it and that I had a “REAL” VX1 that was sitting in a box and gathering dust….  We kept on talking and to make a long story short …  We met at the OVMRC Meeting last night and now its his VX1….  As much as I hate to get rid of gear …  Its a radio I was not using…  Could not see myself using….  And I still have the VX5, the VX8gr and the FT60r handhelds still in the shack that all serve alike purposes…  The VX1 was definately surplus to my needs….

So one piece leaves and another piece returns….  Liz probally would of been happier if two left but….

As I was at the meeting anyway I took the time to watch the guest speaker (Micheal VE3WMB) who was giving an excellent talk on Portable Radio HF Operations.  Micheal and myself are both avid QRP/Portable types and we have been out on a couple of event having fun.  The last time I saw Micheal was the 2012 ChillyCon event held in early September at the Rideau River Provincal Park.

He gave a very interesting talk/presentation and it was nice to be used as a good example (as a change) as he did mention QRP SSB as well as the FT817 and W3EDP Antennas in his talk. 

Anyway the meeting ended just after 9pm and I was home by about 2130 local after a great day.  After that I worked a bit on re designing the QRZ Page of a fellow ham and then I called it a night…

Today will be spent getting gear ready for the ARRL SSB Sweepstakes Contest which happen this coming weekend….

73bob

An email from the TAKtenna company

March 7, 2010

Yesterday in my email inbox I found the following:

Hello Mr. Sharp:
See that you had done a few interesting things with your TAK-tenna.

Permit me to ask: how’s it been doing for ya?

Kind regards,
Steve
WA2TAK
That email got me thinking….  First of all where did I put the antenna???  I had not used it since the the December 2008 RAC Canada Winter Contest.  If you check the archives for December 2008 (right hand side of page) and follow the December link you will see that I posted a couple of blog posts on the topic.
After a quick search I found the TAKtenna sitting safely in its “Pizza Box” tucked away safely in the storage area of the shack (third pile of equipment on the left) complete with its instructions…
In the past I have turned down several local offers to take it off my hands as I really feel that this is a “great limited space antenna. “
There is no doubt that some time in my future there will be an apartment building and hopefully the apartment will be close to the top floor with a western or south western exposure and then the TAKtenna will really shine.  They seem to let you hang satellite dishes off balconies these days and if you paint the TAKtenna battleship grey then it would be had to figure out what it was hanging off the balcony or even it it was even there as grey mixes with sky fairly easy when you are looking up…
But getting back to today’s story…
I am impressed that roughly 18 months after my purchase a company thought enough of my business to touch base with me and see how things are going…
73bob

Change in WX saves antennas

December 28, 2008

Well in Ottawa the weather ghod was smiling on the amateur radio community.  Last evening when I looked outside at the Maple tree that has supporter various antennas over the 20 + years we have lived here I was getting worried…

The branches were hanging a bit lower than usual with the added weight brought on by the freezing rain and there was a forcast for “gale force winds” that could arrive overnight…

Well the winds did arrive and they were strong but at least at the VA3QV home QTH the weather had warmed up enough that the ice had melted by the time winds arrived.  My TAK-tenna which had been suspended by a very heavy laden tree branch was still there in the morning but the branch was a lot lighter.  I removed the TAK-tenna and have replaced it with the normal long wire that uses the maple tree for support…  My antenna system is safe…  the maple tree and its branches are intact and at least for this storm we have dodged the bullet so to speak…

73bob

RAC CANADA WINTER CONTEST-WRAP UP

December 28, 2008

Well the contest has ended and although VA3QV will not be getting any awards or even honourable mention this year (just like the other years…) it was a fun time.


As mentioned previously the main purpose of this years contest for me at least was to test out the TAK-tenna at a time when there would be people around to talk to on the different bands…  I was not dissapointed although the band conditions could have been better.


This is the first RAC contest in a few years that I have not been able to talk across the country.  This year I was unable to contact Prince Edward Island, British Colombia and the northern parts Yukon, North West Territories and Nunavut.  Now to be totally honest I have never made a contect in VE8, VY1 or VYO but one of these days I hope to….


But here is the final scores…


80m VE1, VE2, VE3 and VE6


40m VE1, VE9, VE3, VE5 and VE6


20m VO1, VE3, VE4, VE5 and VE6


6m VE3


27 Canadian Stations plus 5 RAC Stations and 6DX Stations.  On 20m I worked a K7 station so there was propagation to the west coast so I guess I was just unlucky and did not hear any VE7′s.


My grand score was 392 contacts with 14 multipliers for a total score of 5488 points which will set in my records as the worst results since 1992 for any of my callsigns.


However on the equipment testing side of things the TAK-tenna worked better than anticipated and so far is the best multiband compromise antenna for the price I have found so far.  My windom, G5RV and 88 foot doublet all are better but they need much more real estate than the TAK-tenna does. 


I look forward to further testing with this antenna in the spring and I will let you know the results. 


I sent an email out to the TAK-tenna company to advise them of my findings and to let them know where they could see what I had written about them (this blog) and their reply from the company president was as follows:



Dear Mr. Sharp:

 

Thank you for your note.

 

And…please excuse me…but that ‘bugger’ is doing what it is supposed to do!

 

Most Importanly…I am most Happy that you might be a Satisfied Customer!!!

 

Permit me for asking…but might you consider putting the ‘blog note’ as an eHam.net Product Review?

 

Here’s the link:


 

Please see “write your own review” ..under the gray box..on the left side…

 

Also….may I suggest that you try it in VERTICAL orientation…cold sprial closest to Mother Earth…makes a good DX antenna with low take-off angle…please see Vince’s – S52CC report..last line in his text:


 

And..of course…eager to hear YOUR report!!!

 

Thank you for making my New Year..Happy.

 

And..a Happy New Year to You and Yours!!!

 

Kindest regards,

Steve

WA2TAK

I will be writing up a more detailed review for this blog in the future and will also forward a copy to eham and Tak-tenna.  I am impressed with this antenna as a compromise antenna…

I do not regret my purchase and would buy another!

But now the contest is over and to be honest I am “radioed out”  I managed to operate for about 16 hours of the 24 hour period and now its time to re-acquaint myself with the family…

73bob

TAK-Tenna Contest Report

December 27, 2008

First off  let me start by saying that I have no connection or interest in the TAK-Tenna and my only investment in the company was my purchase of the antenna….

My station for this test was as follows:

The rig is the FT897 by Yaesu and I am using the Yaesu FC40 auto tuner.  The antenna was a TAK-Tenna hanging horizontally (more or less) and orientated north-south for the bulk of the signal to go east west.  The Tak-tenna is being fed by 300 TV Twinlead (the real cheap stuff) to the FC40 tuner.

For this test I decided to operate in the 2008 RAC Canada Winter Contest as I felt this would be the best time to make contacts to test out things… Even with the poor conditions I was able to work almost across the country from Newfoundland VO1 to Alberta VE6.

I feel I am qualified to write a review on this antenna because since I have been licenced in 1992 I have only once had the luxury of having a full size wire dipole up between two trees…  Unfortunately the Ice storm of 1998 removed that luxury and since then I have been the king of compromise antennas.  My comments on this antenna will be honest but I an not going to compare this antenna against a windom, G5RV or simular multi band full sized antenna.  My comments are more along the lines of how it worked compared to a hamstick dipole or other such compromise antennas…

Using my FC 40 tuner I was able to get the TAK-Tenna to load up on 6m, 10m, 20m, 40m and 80m.  I had no luck with 15m or 160m but I have never operated 160m from my location.

I started the contest on 80m and was able to make contacts in the provinces of Nova Scotia, Ontario and Alberta.

When I lost 80m, the 40m band was starting to open and I was able to make contacts in the provinces of  Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta.

Once 40m had dissapeared I switched over to 20m and made contacts in Newfoundland, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. 

I would have to honestly say that the TAK-Tenna performed as well as any other antenna I have kept up at this location with the exception of my G5RV which was a mainstay here till the icestorm removed one of my trees…

I was honestly impressed with the performance of the antenna on a day that had very poor band conditions…  If you are moving from a house with a yard to a residence with no room for full size antennas it will work well for you.  It will not do as good as your dipole but it will keep you on the air with a signal that can be heard.  There is not really much of a difference between S7 and S9 to the ears…

There is just over 5 hrs to go in the contest and I think there is nothing else to prove with this test.  It works fine….  It would work better if the bands were cooperating but thats life these days.  If you have room for a full size antenna for gawds sake put one up…  If you don’t have the room for a “real antenna” then as far as compromise antennas go the TAK-tenna would be a good choice…

73bob

TAKtenna for the Canada Winter Contest

December 26, 2008

I decided to have some fun and play a bit…  The long wire has been taken down from the Maple Tree and replaced by my TAKtenna….

For those of you who need a reminder the antenna looks like this…

taktenna

Now the big difference between my Taktenna and the one you see above is that the one I use is tied to a branch in my maple tree.  I am using the same rope that I use to hoist the long wire over the branch to support the TAKtenna in the air…

The rig will still be my FT897 and FC 40 but I figured why not have some fun as well as test out the toy as well…

Stay tuned to see how it works… 

73bob

TAK-Tenna on 20m

November 30, 2008

I had a couple of free minutes after the Ontario Swap Shop on 40m and spun the dial on 20m.  I heard the Central Net Control Station (VE4) for the Trans Canada Net on 14.140.  He was calling for checkins and I jumped in and got him on the first call.  My report was a 5/7 and he was about the same back in Ottawa.  Once again a 5/7 report from Ottawa to the Manitoba border is not really a big item but the fact once again I heard him and I worked him…  So far we seem to be going 3 for 3 on getting them on the first call.  Not the strongest signals but they heard me…

The TAK-tenna is gaining my confidence…

73bob

More on the TAK-Tenna… 40m and 80m

November 30, 2008

After limited results testing the new toy on Saturday I decided to re-install it on Sunday Morning and test things out again for a few hours…

 

The installation consists of my FT 897 set at 100w.  I am using my FC40 Auto Coupler which is installed outside on my VHF Mast and the TAK-tenna is suspended at 20 AGL and connected to the FC 40 using approx 20 feet of 300 ohm twinlead.

 

Just before 0900 eastern I fired everything up and started with the testing.  I have decided to use the same nets I check into on a Sunday Morning as my benchmark.  Due to my setup is impossible to do quick A/B testing so I will forgo actual signal reports but go more towards can I hear them and can they hear me…

 

I was able to hear stations on 80m before I switched from the long wire to the TAK-Tenna.

 

0900 was the start of the North Bay Net on 3.778 and I was able to get a match using the tuner.  I was able to hear several stations in the background and actually make out VE3HMS Ian who was checking into the net.  I was able to hear the NCS who was Paul VA3PC but not well enough to carry on a QSO.  I lost all stations shortly after that.  My noise level is at an S8 which was lower than the normal S9 I get with the long wire but normally I can always hear and check into the North Bay Net from home using the long wire

 

After giving up on the North Bay Net at 0925 eastern and not hearing any other stations on 80m I decided to try 40m for a while…  Giving the TAK-Tenna the benefit of the doubt I should mention that this is not a 80m antenna so using it on 80 and making the tuner sweat it out is making it more of a compromise that it was designed to be…

 

WA1NPO in Whitman Mass was on 7.260 operating a special event station from what they called a “living museum”  Reports varied between 5/5 to 5/7 so I think the TAK-Tenna works better on 40 than 80.  The testing continues

 

I jumped back to 80m for the OVMRC Pothole Net on 3.760 at 1000 hrs and the results were confusing.  Two station VE3JW and VE3GX were stronger than they usually are.  Both stations are within 1km of my home so its easy to tell the difference between +20 and +40.  VE3EJJ who is in the west end of Ottawa however gave me a S5 as compared to my normal S9.  I could not hear VA3TQX in the Renfrew Ontario area or VE3UUH in Eastons Corners Ontario.  Once again on 80m I am having a S9 Noise level.

 

The antenna seems to be very directional on 80m.  I have it orientated North South which means the best signal reports should be from the east and west.  However there is a really strong null from the north as two stations that are normally are S9 to me are not there at all.  One station only gave me a S1 instead of my usual S9.

 

The Net ended at 1100 EASTERN and I QSy’d over to 7.055 to see what I could hear of the Sunday Morning Roundtable Net which also serves as the warmup for the 40m Ontario Swap Shop.  I was able to talk to Nick VE3NJG in London Ontario and got him on the first call.  Reports were about average for this time of day with an S7 back at me and he was approximately S8.  Concidering the exceptionally long conditions on 40m these days Ottawa to London at 11am is not bad.  Nick, however is talking to several other stations and I am unable to hear them.  I guess they are closer in to me than Nick is.

 

One thing to remember is that in my earlier postings I did mention that I did not follow the construction instructions to the letter.  I am planning two more tests for the antenna.  The next test will consist of swapping out the twin lead with 50 ohm coax and using my 857 LDG auto tuner combo.  The third test would consist of re building the antenna and fully follow the instructions for antenna resonance and then see how it works.  What I am trying to say is that todays results would be a bench mark as I have not really followed the instructions.  When I follow their instructions things should only get better.  Hams do like to experiment and I am no exception…

 

After using the antenna for a few hours now I am “not sorry” I bought it.  It’s a little too early to be really impressed with it as with the poor and unstable band conditions these days make giving an objective review rather difficult. 

 

It is stealth and small…  Its design would definitely confuse anyone looking at it…  Supporting it off the side of your apartment balcony in a fashion similar to how the sat antennas are mounted and then telling them “Its my homemade HD TV antenna”… would work especially if you add in the “I don’t complain about the Satellite Dishes why are you complaining about my TV antenna? Line… A little bit of battleship grey paint and no one would know the difference…

taktenna

 

The biggest problems with a stealth antenna is that they usually look like antennas and that draws attention to them.  The TAK-Tenna does not look like any sort of transmitting antenna I have ever seen and that is its biggest advantage…  So far it seems to work fine…NOT GREAT… but fine… More on the higher bands in the near future…

 

73bob

TAK-Tenna installed…. first report

November 29, 2008

Well its up and working???  Its very hard to comment on a new antennas performance when the band conditions are the pittsssssss….

So far the noise level is just a bit lower than the long wire….  I am able to get the antenna to load up on 10, 12, 20, 40 and 80m.  I am unable to get the antenna to load on 15m and 17m. 

My only contact so far was with Larry K3BFQ who lives close to Philly in Eastern PA.  He was a solid S7 with his KW into a 40m double bazooka antenna and he gave me a Zero but he could hear me over the noise for the most part with my TAK-Tenna and the 100w from my FT897.

The TAK-Tenna is suspended from a tree branch at about the 20 foot mark and its being fed with 300 ohm twin lead to the FC40 tuner which is mounted outside on a mast.

I’m really not sure if the poor results are due to very poor band conditions or my high expectaions for the new antenna…

Its obivious to me that more testing is going to be necessary before I can honestly comment on the TAK-Tenna… 

More to follow…

73bob

Well we did get snow…

November 26, 2008

It happened again… SNOW… 

But it was not as bad (again) as predicted by the weather gurus…  Enough to push up the accident rate in Ottawa and as it was a “wet and heavy snow” most likely enough to ruin a couple of antennas.  I’m kinda glad that I did not get the TAK-Tenna up on the mast yet…  Seeing that I did not snug everything down in case I had to re-built it (see earlier post about this one) the wet snow might have forced me to re-build before I needed to…

Its been a quiet week so far as far as amateur radio goes… Nothing going on that affects me…  and the only plans so far for the weekend is to get the TAK-Tenna up and tested out along with a Saturday morning local ARES Meeting….

I’m still looking for a suitable packet radio for the truck… and perhaps a dual bander as well for voice…  Im thinking of moving the ft 857 into the house as a 70cm/2m/6m SSB radio now that I have the extra masting in the back yard for the TAK-Tenna it also could support the dual band beam and the 6m beam and let me experiment with that part of the hobby for a while.  Normally I don’t do ssb vhf work unless its a contest weekend…

Will the weather co-operate with my plans????

More Later

73bob


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 911 other followers