[amsat-bb] Re: Arrow Diplexer loss + Arrow v Elk

Jeff Yanko wb3jfs at cox.net
Sun Oct 4 02:22:06 PDT 2009

Hi Rich,

Technically the coax is the same.  It's the same brand, Intercom, and model, 
2482 RG-58C/U, coax.  Had about 13 feet or so rolled in a coil so I cut it 
and made two pieces, one for 144 the other for 440.  BNC's on both ends. 
The only difference now is the length is a little longer, by a couple feet, 
for both instead of the single shorter piece supplied by Arrow.

There very well could be problems with the soldering connections on the 
diplexer itself or the BNC connectors.  However, I'm not seeing anything 
that indicates a short or open anywhere on the diplexer board or connectors. 
However, it's still possible.  I don't have an Elk antenna, just the Arrow 
so I'm not comparing or working with 2 different antennas.

As for additional variables, as I mentioned in the first post i was using a 
TH-D7A(G) HT with the Arrow.  I've purchased a TM-D710 mobile rig and use it 
for the sats.  The HT has a problem with the headphone jack, but the speaker 
works fine so there's no problem with the receive audio.  My comparisons are 
using both rigs, not on the same pass obviously, with the Arrow diplexer and 
the Comet diplexer.  Even with the HT, there is a considerable difference in 
what is copied compared to before.

You mention about the Elk's F/B ratio.  I've noticed the same thing on the 
Arrow.  A while back, before the new diplexer, I contacted a local about 15 
miles away, he was running about 2 watts and no matter which direction I 
turned the beam, the signal strength never changed.  Hmmm.

I wholehearted agree with you that both antennas are very well assembled. 
There has never been any questions about the quality of the material or 
workmanship of either.  However, there is one thing that most people get 
drawn into and that is the statement you made "both antennas work pretty 
darn good."  Just about anything will "work" if it happens to be close 
enough to its sweet spot.  What needs to be focused on is how efficiently is 
it performing?  Let's get it in the sweet spot.  I would rather have any 
object, including an antenna, to not only work, but work at its best 
efficiency.  Let me make my point using a popular antenna in today's HF 
communication.  This is the 43 vertical antenna.  Don't get me wrong, there 
is absolutely nothing wrong with the 43 foot vertical.  The antenna performs 
well on the lower bands, 40, 30, 20 and 17 meters.  80 meters requires a 
loading coil but that's no big deal.  The problem lies in the performance 
above 17 meters.  Sure, you can make some contacts but the radiation pattern 
is so poor you'd wonder how you ever made the contact.

Let me make another analogy pertaining to work and working efficiently.  I 
had a Pontiac 1996 Grand Am with a 3.1 liter V-6 engine.  It put out 175 
horsepower at 5200RPM with 195 F/P of torque.  I now have a 2008 Toyota RAV4 
with a 3.5 liter V-6 engine that put's out 269 horsepower at 5200RPM with 
248 F/P torque.  The kicker, the RAV4 weighs 800 pounds more and gets better 
gas mileage than the Grand Am.  I know what everybody is thinking,  "geez, 
there's 12 years difference between the two so the technology has changed so 
there should be an improvement."  To a degree, your correct in thinking 
that.  However, over that amount of time it was designed, tested, 
redesigned, retested, to work efficiently, not just work.



----- Original Message ----- 
From: "KI6RRQ" <ki6rrq at cox.net>
To: <amsat-bb at amsat.org>
Sent: Saturday, October 03, 2009 2:49 PM
Subject: [amsat-bb] Arrow Diplexer loss + Arrow v Elk

> Jeff, you said; "The antenna and coax remain the same, the difference, the
> diplexer."
> My Arrow diplexer has three factory fixed wires coming out of it, one for
> the radio and two that go to BNC connectors on the Arrow antenna.   So, 
> you
> cannot say; the coax remains the same!   The coax on your diplexer or the
> connections to it, can be at fault as well.  These coax wires and how well
> they are connected to the Arrow diplexer, are another variable that you 
> have
> not considered in your statement because they are removed from the mix 
> when
> using the Elk, unless you are trying to use the Arrow diplexer on the Elk
> Log Periodic antenna, Which I doubt because I am assuming you used the 
> same
> one radio configuration on the Elk as you did the Arrow with your diplexer
> but if you are that could be presenting some other variables to produce 
> the
> results your experiencing.   You have to use different cables for your 
> Comet
> Duplexer on the Arrow, from the Comet, to the antenna connection.
> Although, I agree that the Arrow seems to pick up the signal a little 
> later
> then my Elk antenna, both antennas work pretty darn good, IMO.  I like 
> them
> both and recommend them both.   I do not have a technical background so my
> comments here, are all anecdotal in nature but the other thing I have
> noticed between the two antennas, is that when I make terrestrial contacts
> with them, the Elk appears to radiate almost as well toward the back, as
> toward the front.  I have been told this is called front to back ratio. 
> If
> I point north, a guy from the south calls back and I tell him, wow I am
> pointed north, let me turn and point it toward you.......any better.... 
> And
> usually there is little if any improvement, while on the Elk and what 
> blows
> my mind is, there is also a fair bit of response from people even 90 
> degrees
> from the business end of the Elk.   I have tried the same with the Arrow 
> and
> gotten much different reports.  This is only a general statement; I think
> the Arrow has a better front to back ratio, more energy going out the 
> front
> end but I know there are other variables such as; hand held or up on the
> tripod I use to hold them each up (at times) and perhaps the ground under
> me, or the moisture in the ground during the different attempts, etc. 
> (4-5'
> above the ground on tripod and me not always right behind it, so plenty of
> variables but in general, that is my experience in the field)
> Nevertheless, I have mentioned this to several on the board who have the
> Elk's and no one has responded that they have tested there's in this 
> regard,
> so take this with a grain of salt for now.  To others, I would love to 
> hear
> your experience in this regard.   I have asked a capable HAM friend to 
> help
> me figure this out, properly, so one day I will have more then anecdotal
> info.
> I think both antennas are very well built and work well for satellite and
> emergency communications!    I have often pulled one of them out, with
> success, when band conditions would not allow an Omni to get the job done 
> on
> my VX-7R.  I found the Elk a little cheaper to buy unless you do not
> purchase the Arrow diplexer.  For others I will point out that, you can 
> use
> the Arrow with two radios without a duplexer, with same two radio
> configuration, you will need a duplexer for the Elk and of course the
> reverse is true if you are using one radio for dual band work, as I do, 
> the
> Arrow will require a duplexer and the Elk will not.  Also as many of you
> know the Arrow diplexer is only rated for 10 watts but without it both
> antennas will handle much more.
> 73 de Rich
> Message: 15
> Date: Fri, 2 Oct 2009 23:26:38 -0700
> From: "Jeff Yanko" <wb3jfs at cox.net>
> Subject: [amsat-bb] Re: Arrow antenna reconfiguration results - UPDATE
> To: "Gary \"Joe\" Mayfield" <gary_mayfield at hotmail.com>, "'Charles
> Suprin'" <hamaa1vs at gmail.com>
> Could very well be.
> 73,
> Jeff  WB3JFS
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Gary "Joe" Mayfield" <gary_mayfield at hotmail.com>
> To: "'Jeff Yanko'" <wb3jfs at cox.net>; "'Charles Suprin'" 
> <hamaa1vs at gmail.com>
> Subject: RE: [amsat-bb] Re: Arrow antenna reconfiguration results - UPDATE
>> We are missing the easy answer.  He had diplexer that was off spec.  It
>> happens.
>> 73,
>> Joe kk0sd
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: amsat-bb-bounces at AMSAT.Org [mailto:amsat-bb-bounces at AMSAT.Org] On
>> Behalf Of Jeff Yanko
>> Sent: Thursday, October 01, 2009 4:28 PM
>> To: Charles Suprin
>> Subject: [amsat-bb] Re: Arrow antenna reconfiguration results - UPDATE
>> Hi Charles and the group,
>> FB on the numbers.  Interesting to say the least and thanks for taking 
>> the
>> time to look further into this topic.
>> Questions?  I have a few after looking at these numbers and performing
>> more
>> observations.
>> First, are you testing just the diplexer and not the diplexer and the
>> antenna combined?  This could result in an overall number and not just 
>> the
>> diplexer alone.  How could there be a large discrepency between
>> preliminary
>> reports, 2.65dB and .5dB now.  Could be equipment calibration, human
>> error,
>> etc. from previously tested, or attempted testing of the device.  I don't
>> believe any improvements have been made to the Arrow diplexer, but who
>> knows?
>> Second, I switched back to the Arrow diplexer and made another comparison
>> with the Comet diplexer.  Again, no comparison, the Comet outperformed.
>> Why
>> would this happen if the two are pretty close to one another in numbers.
>> The Comet has .25db loss at VHF and .26 at UHF.
>> Third, with the Arrow diplexer I wouldn't begin to receive the birds 
>> until
>> almost 3 minutes after AOS, with the Comet diplexer a minute to 1.5
>> minutes
>> after AOS.  Yes, watch calibrated to WWV and multiple times of acquiring
>> the
>> birds. I've tried both setups with the HT and D710 and they both show the
>> same results respectively, Arrow diplexer vs. Comet diplexer.  The 
>> antenna
>> and coax remain the same, the difference, the diplexer.  May not be test
>> lab
>> quality but something is proving itself. What is it?
>> Finally, is it just my Arrow diplexer?  Doesn't appear to be shorted or
>> any
>> defects to it.  Actually looks great and assembled very well.  I've
>> encountered others saying the same thing.  However, a very noticable
>> difference to the overall performance.
>> 73,
>> Jeff  WB3JFS
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