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Arrow Satelliet Antenna vs. Elk satellite Antenna

Discussion in 'Satellite and Space Communications' started by N0MIO, Jan 29, 2011.

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  1. N0MIO

    N0MIO Ham Member QRZ Page

    ok I'm sure this has been beaten to death but I found a few videos on youtube with several hams using the elk antenna and it seems cool. Was curious if there is really any bid advantage...disadvantage...or just plain user experience and or preference.
  2. AB9RU

    AB9RU Ham Member QRZ Page

    The Elk antenna is heavier than the Arrow and it is noticable even though the Elk is shorter. The Elk antenna has only 1 antenna connection, so no duplexer needed, it could be a disadvantage to someone who wanted to use two radios for duplex on the sats. The Elk seems to have better rx on 435 than the Arrow but also seems to be more directional and more sensitive to polarity on the downlink. You could do a search here or on the entire internet to find other comparisons
  3. KB1QYS

    KB1QYS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Re: Elk vs. Arrow

    I've own both, and love the Elk.

    The Elk is "Plug-n'-Play." No duplexer - No fuss.

    Give it a try. You won't be disappointed.

  4. K6LCS

    K6LCS Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    >> The Elk is "Plug-n'-Play." No duplexer - No fuss.

    That is one of the silliest statements in the "Elk vs. Arrow" debate i have ever read. Somehow, my attaching my dual-band radio with the Arrow Sat Antenna's single lead is somehow less convenient that attaching my radio to the Elk with a single lead. Huh?

    I purchased both units. I use both units. For ME - and this is very un-scientific - For ME, the Arrow seems to "capture" the beginning of a pass more definitively. I can hear that slight dip in the background noise as being more pronounced that when using the Elk.

    But that's just me, after successfully working hundreds of passes, and performing demos in front of hundreds of people the past few years with the Arrow and a radio turned down to half-power (2.5W).

    "Well, Arrow doesn't publish gain figures," I hear people moan. People are too hung up on "gain" numbers. Is a multi-element beam going to out-perform a seven-inch rubber duck antenna? Did we learn ANYthing when studying for our exams? No, Allen does not post gain numbers. But I have tested it with Motorola test equipment. I know what it is on 2M and 440. And Arrow sells 'bout every one they produce - because they WORK.

    The Arrow Sat Antenna I use is actually one that was returned to me while i was working at HRO several years ago. I sold it to a client - an engineer - and he took my recommendation and bought it. He was at the store the next morning carrying the Arrow, waiting for me to open shop. "This cannot possibly work," he exclaimed. "It is engineered all wrong. I want my money back."

    Well, I thought to myself, I'd like to know how he assembled it ... how he was using it ... but he was really adamant. I knew how well they worked so, instead of trying to dissuade him and see what his problem was, I refunded him his money. And then bought it myself - as an "open box" item. It is the SAME antenna I use to this day in ALL of my demos and presentations.

    "There's loss in that Arrow diplexer," I hear others try to demean the Arrow. Well, if you are worried about 1/3 of one db loss, then you're in the wrong aspect of amateur radio.

    I cannot think of any other "common misconceptions" between the two antennas right now. They both work the FM satellites very well. They're only about US$15 different in retail price. I love the black epoxy finish of the Elk's elements. The Elk "travels" better if you take it assembled places. They are both backed up by dedicated hams.

    Clint Bradford, K6LCS
  5. K6LCS

    K6LCS Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    >> ... The Elk antenna is heavier ...

    The Elk weighs 35.6 ounces - the Arrow 33.6. I cannot really sense that 2-ounce difference between the two during use.

    ... [the Elk] seems to be more directional and more sensitive to polarity on the downlink...

    In working the amateur FM satellites the past five years, "polarity' has NOT been an issue for me - period. But, then, I am using the Arrow most of the time. And in working hundreds of passes of the FM sats, I have yet to experience a definitive increase or decrease in signal strength when turning my Arrow 90 degrees.

    I have received an email recently from a gentleman who says he hears the FM sats tumbling in space, with resultant degradation in his reception, while working them with his HT. That is completely nonsensical, IMHO.

    As you read others' opinions, make sure they include, "I own them both, and have conducted independent tests ... " - and make sure we're not just hearing blind re-posts from someone who may have an axe to grind.

    Clint Bradford, K6LCS
  6. KD8KSN

    KD8KSN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Sorry Clint, but I disagree. If polarity was not an issue, why are CP yagis and polarity switches being made? Polarity is a element of working the birds. Now, AO51 and AO27 do not have many polarity shifts - BUT - a sat like HO68 and especially SO50 have a lot of polarity shifts. Something else to keep in mind is that just because someone says "I can tell when the polarity changes" doesn't mean that they are twirling the antenna 90 degrees - adjusting your polarity could be as little as turning it 45 degrees or less, something that is not really not noticeable. At AOS (for me) I usually have UHF horizontally polarized, TCA vertically polarized, and at LOS back to horizontal. There are obviously some exceptions, but 80% of the time that is the way it goes. If you were to come out and work a pass with me, you would probably assume that I was not adjusting for polarity. It becomes second nature and I think we tend to overlook it.

    I would be interested to know what your polarization is at AOS, TCA and LOS, respectively.
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2011
  7. AB9RU

    AB9RU Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have owned both since last June and I still use both, I seem to remember the Elk weighing 6-8 ounces more without having the coax attached to the far end. At times with the Elk, all I have to do is rotate it a couple degrees and it makes a large difference in the downlink. KO4MA has this video on youtube and I have the same experience. I know both antennas work well, could it be that the polarization issues are related to the environment, as far as I know, you may be doing your presentations surrounded by buildings that nullify the polarization change.

    Have you listened to K8YSE's recordings online? I can hear a similar pulsing noise is the background and can make a polarity change and eliminate it and it doesn't seem to matter if I'm outside the house, upstairs in the house, or a half mile from any building with either antenna.

    I used the Elk to have a contact with WC7V on a 2 degree pass of AO-27 and heard MM0KJG on a less than 1.5 degree pass of AO-51 on the arrow from inside the house, if I had been outside I probably would have a contact- it was cold with snow on the ground, I am not K0BAM.

    I feel that the Arrow antenna is a bit easier for a newcomer to the sats
  8. N0MIO

    N0MIO Ham Member QRZ Page

    If i am correct that the arrow antenna has a max watt output of 10 watts due to the duplexer correct? what is the max watt output on the elk antenna? Reason I'm asking is I want to use it indoors first on my Yaesu FT-7800R.
  9. KD8KSN

    KD8KSN Ham Member QRZ Page

    You are correct - 10w. I believe that is what the duplexer is rated at, but I also think they say that because, since you are holding the antenna, you really don't want to run any more RF through it; not unless you don't mind shedding a few brain cells. ;-)
  10. K6LCS

    K6LCS Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    >> ... Sorry Clint, but I disagree ...

    Well, I have hundreds and hundreds of eyewitnesses who will back me up ... (grin)

    >> ... If polarity was not an issue, why are CP yagis and polarity switches being made?

    For SSB and other birds. But not primarily for the FM birds in V/U mode.

    >> ... I would be interested to know what your polarization is at AOS, TCA and LOS, respectively.

    I have no idea what my polarization is. I have mounted my handle "mod" to the mast of the Arrow so that when I hold it, the 2M elements are parallel to the ground, and the 440 elements are perpendicular to the ground. That setup has yet to fail me.

    Clint, K6LCS
    K8CPT likes this.
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