[amsat-bb] Re: Elk Antenna vs Arrow Antenna

n3tl@bellsouth.net n3tl at bellsouth.net
Fri Dec 26 19:26:43 PST 2008

Trey and all,

I've used both. The Arrow is responsible for my Satellite VUCC Award, No. 170, and my initial application with 130 grids was all using a handheld satellite station on the FM satellites. That being said, I didn't know the Elk antenna even existed until late September or early October. I picked one up,, and I  no longer own my Arrow. I encourage you to talk to others because everyone seems to have different experiences with each antenna. I can tell you that, for me, the Elk out-performs my Arrow consistently.

Wiith the Arrow, my low-end limiting elevation here was 8 degrees (i.e., I couldn't copy any of the satetllites until they had risen to at least 8 degrees at the start of the pass, and I lost them at 8 degrees descending at the end of the pass). My low-end limiting elevation on the Elk is 4 degrees on a regular basis. I have a confirmed contact on AO-16 with a station when the satellite was at 0.7 degrees. II worked a station last night on VO-52 also down to 0.7 degrees. And in both instances, I was inside on the second floor of my house, manually tracking the satellite while hand-holding the Elk.

I am able to routinely work AO-7, AO-16 (when she comes alive for us!), AO-51, FO-29, SO-50 and VO-52 with the Elk, along with the International Space Station when its repeater is turned on. Speaking of the ISS - the Elk enabled me to realize a 25-year dream when I worked Richard Garriott from the ISS during his trip. I heard his Dad 25 years ago, but I didn't make it. I got the SWL card that ARRL issued back then for W5LFL, the first hamj in space. Now, I'll have a card confirming a contact with his son. The Elk made that possible because it's rated for up to 200 watts. The Arrow will run more than 10 watts, but not with its duplexer,. You'll have to run separate feeds to each of the yagis to accomplish that. The Elk has a single feedpoint and does not require a duplexer for dual-band operation with one radio. Here, I use a two-radio "full duplex" station for the SSB/CW satellites, to I use a duplexer to connect both radios to one Elk. If I had an Icom 910, for example, which is a full-duplex-capable radio, I wouldn't need that.

This point is, in my opinion, as much a tribute to the satellites as it is the Elk - but I failed to mention that I can and do routinely work all the satellites mentioned above with a station consisting of one or two Yaesu FT-817ND QRP rigs. I have and use a Yaesu FT-857D as a transmit radio from time to time, but I don't NEED the extra power to reach the satellites and make QSOs with the Elk. 

It's smaller than the Arrow and, as a result, I find it more manageable as a handheld antenna. You'll need to spend 40-50 cents on one PVC "t" connector and about 2 feet of PVC (total) to make a handle like the one shown on my QRZ.com listing. The elements and attach points on the main beam are colorr-coded, which is helpful during assembly. And, the Elk retails for about $50 less than the Arrow.

A few years ago, I discovered, there was a thread here on the AMSAT-BB that suggested the Elk was not suitable for satellite work because it would not permit full-duplex operation. That simply is incorrect, and I have a 4-minute-plusrecording of an AO-51 pass I'll be happy to email you in MP3 format if you'd like to hear it. The Elk handles full duplex operation just fine, and my ability to work the linear-transponder satellites is more evidence because Doppler tuning is so important with them. I have to hear myself to be able to Doppler-tune, and the Elk lets me do that.

Back to the Garriott contact. I say the Elk allowed me to make that contact because it allowed me to run  more than 10 watts out. There were hundreds of stations calling Richard Garriott every time he worked voice contacts during a pass over north America. I set up my FT-857D outside in semi-duplex split frequency, and Richard answered me the second time I called him. What a thrill.

I have only owned one Arrow, and I have only owned one Elk. I encourage you to talk to otthers, and I'm sure you'll hear from others here. Many people I've met through satellite contacts know what I was able to accomplish rather quickly using the Arrow. It is effective - but effective can be a realtive term. I have found the Elk to be even more effective than the Arrow day-in and day-out.

I hope this helps. Let me know if you'd like to hear that MP3, and I'll send it along.

73 to all,

Tim - N3TL
Athens, Ga. - EM84ha
-------------- Original message from "Trey Brown" <palintheus at gmail.com>: -------------- 

> I'm looking to get started in FM satellites and am considering 
> purchasing one of these antennas. Wanting to get some thoughts and 
> opinions from people that have been doing this longer than I have 
> been. 
> http://www.elkantennas.com/2m4405element.htm 
> http://arrowantennas.com/146-437.html 
> -- 
> Trey -- N5THX 
> They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary 
> safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. 
> - Benjamin Franklin 
> _______________________________________________ 
> Sent via AMSAT-BB at amsat.org. Opinions expressed are those of the author. 
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