Elk Silently Improves Performance

Discussion in 'Satellite and Space Communications' started by K6LCS, Jun 11, 2018.

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  1. K6LCS

    K6LCS Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    New stock the past few months at HRO and the other major ham
    retailers are carrying an ever-so-slightly different "version" of the
    renowned Elk 2M/440L5 log periodic.

    The air gap capacitor/capacitance setup is different ... and re-positioned. And 440
    receive performance is slightly better - noticeable even without test equipment!

    No price increase ... nothing mentioned in the documentation ...

    I will be editing my "Elk vs. Arrow" comparison on my Web site
    overnight. This was an area of performance where Arrow had an
    edge. Both Arrow and Elk LISTEN to their customers, and CARE
    about what we experience!

    Clint K6LCS
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2018
  2. K6LCS

    K6LCS Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    From my messageboard ...

    >> ... Clint, I've had mine apart several times. No capacitor. Are you referring to the spacing between "mast" components ??

    Yes - just the "air gap" capacitor / capacitance relationship ... It is subtle ...

    >> ... If so, what's the difference and older ones should be able to be upgraded.

    Let's let Jim get through this season of hamfests and conventions, and help him write a "tech bulletin" later!

  3. W5SAT

    W5SAT Subscriber QRZ Page


    Here is a sweep of my Elk centered at 440 MHz. Pretty darn solid as-is with a low VSWR and reasonably broad bandwidth.

    Changing the parallel conductors (spacing and diameter) will change the Characteristic Impedance but would have no real affect on gain.

    If, as you say, there is an audible and measurable improvement in 440 RX (and by virtue of reciprocity, TX) gain then there would have to be a change in number of elements and/or element spacing which would be immediately noticeable from a visual inspection.

    Any pics of the new and improved Elk antenna or other references citing the improvements?

  4. N4UFO

    N4UFO Ham Member QRZ Page

    I don't know what the improvement is, but I think I know what it may have to do with... several months back, I called him and asked what the larger metal piece was just next to the feed point and asked if it was necessary. I was asking because I had not seen such a thing on some homebrew log periodics on the internet. He responded quickly, that oh yes, it needed to be there and that it was key to matching/pattern on the 440 band and removal would affect performance. Seems like he might have called it an 'air gap capacitor', I don't really remember. But as you can see in the link below to a sale ad here on QRZ, this is not a 'new component'... closeup of this item in second picture.


    I can only assume that a modification has been done to the placement of this component. Unfortunately, I am no where near a ham store to take mine in and compare. I know I like my Elk and will be using it for roving in the future. If a modification has been done to improve performance, I hope it is backwards compatible. ;)
  5. WD9EWK

    WD9EWK Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yup, that extra piece near the coax connector was not present on older Elks, like the one I got in 2006 (and still use!). It has been on Elks for many years, at least since 2010.

    On my road trip following AMSAT's 2010 Symposium in Chicago, I had a different Elk with me for that trip. I didn't want anything to happen to my original Elk from 2006, as that was a gift, so I bought one for trips where I flew to a destination (not trusting the gift to baggage handlers and TSA at airports). Anyhow... on that October 2010 trip, I happened to snap a picture of that Elk, leaning against my rental car:


    You can see that extra bit in the picture, just above the coax feedpoint. Or look at this closeup view, focusing on that piece and the coax feedpoint:


    It would be nice if there was a way to get it onto an older Elk, but I don't have any issues using my 12-year-old Elk as I still do today. I still like the antenna, and have used it as the antenna for my satellite work since 2009, after going 3+ years with an Arrow Yagi.

    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
  6. WD9EWK

    WD9EWK Ham Member QRZ Page


    Going back through my archives from past satellite operating... I found a picture of an Elk antenna with the extra bit near the coax feedpoint as far back as late 2009.

    Before and after the 2009 AMSAT Symposium in Baltimore, I made trips down the Baltimore-Washington Parkway to Washington DC, and operated from a park northeast of RFK Stadium along the Anacostia River. I also made a drive up I-95 and worked from a spot in northern Delaware, not far from New Jersey and Philadelphia - my first time working satellites from the US east coast.

    On the back of my rental car, I had my Icom IC-2720H. Rather than using the cigarette-lighter socket in the car for the radio, I had a jumper cable that went to clamps that I connected directly to the car's battery. I didn't want to leave the keys in the ignition while playing radio, even though this wasn't a particularly worrisome place to park in Washington. Leaning against the car, an Elk antenna:


    Again, looking closely around the coax feedpoint, I see the extra piece on one of the booms:


    I didn't have any pictures of my antenna from my trip to the Dayton Hamvention a few months earlier in 2009, but I may have had this antenna with me at that time. It may have been the same antenna as pictured here, which made the cross-country trip to Baltimore and my other roving down to Washington and over to Delaware.

  7. W5SAT

    W5SAT Subscriber QRZ Page

    Clint, any chance you could cite your source(s) for the improvements you discussed?
  8. K6LCS

    K6LCS Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    The owner of the company. Personal experience.
  9. W5SAT

    W5SAT Subscriber QRZ Page

    Ok, so you have had your hands on the new improved model then.

    Actually.... Never mind. I'm an Engineer not a Dentist.
  10. WD9EWK

    WD9EWK Ham Member QRZ Page

    W5SAT, WE4B and KB1PVH like this.

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