Arrow vs. Elk Performance

K6LCS <clintbrad4d@...>

... I am torn between purchasing an Arrow or an Elk ... But there's some negative messagegroup posts against the Arrow ...
I have not been able to determine WHEN and WHY that "anti-Arrow" sentiment started.

Personally, unless a "performance results" post on either the Elk or the Arrow antenna begins with the phrase ...

"According to my professional-grade, recently-calibrated signal generator indicates [such-and-such performance]' ...

- then the "report" is valueless to me." Because I hate "Internet myths passed as truth" and mindless repeating of un-cited sources. ESPECIALLY when my first-hand experiences indicate something totally opposite.

Some will tell you that you need to add little washers to each Arrow Antenna element. Others state that its duplexer is a miserable performer. Let me tell you a story ...

While I was working at Ham Radio Outlet, a client - an ENGINEER - bought an Arrow Sat Antenna w/duplexer from me - on my recommendation. I mean, I bought one myself, and was enjoying it. I wanted all my clients to enjoy them, too.

But there he was, waiting for me to open up the shop the next morning, Arrow Antenna in hand. "This cannot possibly work," he declared. "It is engineered all wrong. I want to return it."

Part of me wanted to "question / challenge" him and find out what troubled him. But he was so adamant that I immediately dropped that idea. Instead, I began to think, "Open Stock item - 10% discount ... " So I cheerfully refunded him his money, and bought the "defective, engineered all wrong" unit myself as soon as he left the store.

And you know what's coming next: Honest to gawd, it is the exact same antenna I have been using the past five or six years for my demos and presentations. The only "degradation" from Day One has been the color of the elements (brand new out of the bag, they're a vibrant purple. Mine, however, have "faded" over time to what I term an "elegant, well-worn light purple ... "

There WAS an honest, un-biased test result posted recently on the 'Net of the Arrow duplexer used, indicating about a 1/3 of one db loss through it. That is quite reasonable, and what I would expect from that circuitry.

And if one uses one of those little 18" thin jumper cables to convert from the Arrow BNC to a radio's SMA connector, possibly another quarter or third of one db loss. Bottom line - NO PROBLEMS. Both "additions" add up to 2/3 of ONE db loss.

Why doesn't the Arrow Antenna manufacturer post "gain" figures? Well, the emotional part of me thinks, "Heck, it works so great, I don't really need to know ... " But the inquisitive Clint would like to know. I personally have felt that there's about 7-12db gain on the 440 side, and about 4-6db gain on the 2 meter side. THOSE NUMBERS ARE PERSONAL OPINIONS ONLY, and not based on my own personal scientific analysis. But there are a couple "non-biased" tests out there that ARE reporting numbers very close to what I "feel."

ARROW'S YAGI vs. ELK'S LOG PERIODIC - I own both. They both work well for FM satellite work (as well as for Earth-based comms, too!). I have used the Arrow for my demos and presentations the past several years for a couple of (very un-scientific) reasons ...

- The Arrow for me just seems to "capture" the satellite's signal in a more "pronounced" way. (Talk about UN-scientific opinions! (grin)) I mean, when the satellite is rising ... and gets to about five or seven degrees above the horizon ... moving it slowly and pointing it towards the path of the sat gives me that slight audio "deadening" ("capturing") sooner than the Elk does. Although this phenomenon IS real to my ears, it is probably something that cannot be measured easily. But audiences hear me say, "There it is ... " well before voices are heard - as the Arrow "finds" the sat's approach.

- The Arrow is a great conversation starter, even if just sitting on a tabletop or mounted on a tripod. It is elegant ... simple ... new ones are a vibrant purple (grin) ... And after adding my Stanley(tm) hacksaw handle to it, it can be more easily passed around to visitors to handle.

POLARIZATION ISSUES - Engineers (darn those engineers!) tell us that there may be up to a 22-or-23db INCREASE or DECREASE in signal strength workin' the FM birds by simply twisting your antenna 90 degrees.

That's the engineers talking. And, on paper, that 22db loss/gain may be correct. But in the real world? It is nonsense. At EVERY demo I have given over the years, and on EVERY pass in my back yard, I talk with stations, and, during the pass, twist my antenna 90 degrees to see if I can "hear" a signal increase or signal degradation using the Arrow. It just doesn't occur - at lease noting that I can HEAR myself.

Elk antenna devotees state that it is easier to turn the Elk 90 degrees to accommodate the polarization issue. And that is probably true. I just haven't experienced this to BE an issue.

I *do* like the job Elk has done with the paint/protective coating on their elements. It is a weatherized sort of black coating. Gives a real "serious" look to the antenna!

SO ... there you go. More info than you probably ever wanted to know about the topic. I am packing up this moment to give my sat presentation to a club in Norwalk, CA this afternoon, it's my "elegantly well-worn light purple" Arrow that is going with me.

Clint Bradford, K6LCS

Join to automatically receive all group messages.