Vertical HeavenBy Jose B Rivera - N2LRB
On August 5, 2018 I decided to try out my old Tarheel 100A vertical antenna inside my bedroom. So far I had been using Magnetic Loop and Wolf River Coil antennas inside my bedroom. They worked ok. But I found that the vertical slightly out performed my magnetic loops. The Wolf River coils were great, but I did have to adjust the coil when changing different bands. I also liked that the Wolf River Coil allowed me to tune the antenna, let’s say, for 20 meters and that I could work the hold band without adjusting the antenna.
My magnetic loop antennas tune to a part of any band and must be re-tuned when moving up or down the band.So I pulled the old Tarheel 100A from inside the corner of my bedroom closet and set it on my bed. Its been years since I used the antenna on my rooftop of my former residence so I had to reacquaint myself with its various parts.
After putting the antenna back together, control cable, home made ugly balun and coax, I set the antenna close to the bedroom window. I put a power pole connector on the Tarheel Antenna Programming Antenna Controller. Connected the controller to my power pole distributor and held my breath. The antenna has not been in use since 2008.
I powered up the power supply and was glad that the antenna controller came to life. I use move the antenna up and down its coil and looked at my FlexRadio 6300 for signs the antenna was getting resonate on 20 meters. And boy did it! I was happy to see signals on the panadapter/waterfall. I tuned into the strongest signal to see how it sounded. It sounded very well. I then used the controller to see if it would tune to other bands. It did.
I was able to make contact with N0TW,and K2CSX on 10 meters. I then made contact with K0STP on 20 meters. 291 miles away in Virginia. The reason I say that the this vertical slightly outperformed my magnetic loop antennas is that I was able to make contact within one or two tries, as oppose to over 5-10 minutes. I am being heard better.
Since then I have made most of my contacts using the Tarheel 100A antenna. I have experiments with different types of materials for the antenna/whip part. I have used bare wire. Which works well. I have also used 1 and 2 Buddipole Arms. Its seems slightly better with the thick Buddipole Arms as oppose to thin wire. In the last week I have made a base which holds it up straight. It will do for now. I want something smaller, yet heavy to hold up the antenna.
The Tarheel offers me the advantage of working multiple bands without too much trouble. I need only push a button on the antenna programmer to switch bands. I then check the SWR and work the band. I wonder if getting the Baby Tarheel, which is smaller, would be easier to physically work with the antenna. Being smaller it would be a lot easier to place, secure to something.
For now I will continue to use the Tarheel and continue to compare it to my various Magnetic Loops. Regardless, its great to be able to have an antenna I can count on most of the time. I need to use both at the same time to make a good comparison. I also need to ask contacted stations how the magnetic loops sound as compared to the Tarheel. I will post the results when I have them.
Shown in the photo is the Tarheel 100A as secured to a wooden box with a paper towel holder close to my bedroom window.