Arrow vs Elk - NO "versus" needed!

Discussion in 'Satellite and Space Communications' started by N4UFO, May 27, 2021.

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  1. N4UFO

    N4UFO Ham Member QRZ Page

    (This started as a response in another thread, but when a moderator mentioned the thread might get locked and removed if participants did not play nice, I thought I might move it to it's own thread to hopefully preserve it for people searching for info in the future.) :cool:

    Elk vs Arrow... yes, the Arrow has better performance on UHF and can work satellites slightly better when down towards the horizon. Do I have/use one? I have both a regular Arrow with a piece of tubing I purchased and cut to make a 'short Arrow' and I have an Alaskan Arrow. All three have their uses.

    Regular Arrow... please note the Arrow is in one hand, the HT in the other with a recorder strapped to the back of the HT. Doppler is adjusted for with finger and thumb on knob. 6 - western SO-50 pass.JPG

    Short Arrow... from page 'Funcube4-2' of the 2018 edition of Getting Started With Amateur Satellites demonstrating use of short Arrow. (no, I'm not wearing the bag straps correctly, was in a hurry)
    Short Arrow.jpg

    The Alaskan Arrow as seen just after an unsuccessful attempt to contact a station in Hawaii. I made it into the bird, just no QSO. What a monster!

    attempting HI.JPG

    I have plans and have collected equipment to build an elaborate three axis mount to be able to use the Alaskan Arrow on a rather large tripod for extended operation i.e. in front of a crowd for demos. (a 'round tuit' project) Do I intend to take such a contraption with me to rove on the road? No. Might I use it on a mountain top to work low horizon passes? (which is what the Alaskan Arrow was originally designed for... low passes from Alaska) Perhaps... only if the effort warrants it.

    What I was far more interested in doing was using the Arrow and modified short Arrow on the road. Easier to transport in a way that was easier to assemble for quick side of the road stops, and certainly easier to wield for other than low horizon passes to give out grids to needy ops. Not to mention FAR less wrist fatigue. At one time, I had a complete extra Arrow II that would also come along for the trip in it's bag, to be assembled for those stops that would be from rare grids that warranted extra effort and multiple passes. Now I have a proper Arrow roll up bag that contains the full size Arrow and the extra short boom extension along with it.

    Arrow antennas.JPG

    Then I had the chance to purchase an Elk. And again, it may not perform quite as well on low horizon passes as the Arrow II, but it for sure performs better than the short Arrow option. Which as stated, had become my 'go to' for quick roadside stops. But I found the Elk to be much easier as it could usually be stored in a way that required no assembly... just pull it out, hook up the cable and use.

    elk in back.JPG

    However, the Elk itself, as it comes, is a little unwieldy to me as the handle is 'off center' to the antenna axis and makes it 'odd feeling' to 'flip' when matching polarity with the sat. Then I was gifted a prototype 3D printed handle... and that made all the difference! This new mount was designed to have a PVC pipe fit onto the end to be used as a handle instead of the offset version that the Elk came with. This now made the 'rotation' for polarity matching much easier as the handle is now along the antenna's axis.

    elk custom mount closeup.JPG elk with new mount.JPG

    But WAIT! There's MORE!!! I went on to modify the PVC attachment on the handle to make the handle easily removable and therefore could be longer, yet stored easily.

    screw apart - disconnected.JPG

    And the result was... a very good antenna, that I could rest on my hip, hold easily with one hand, adjust for polarity and have no wrist fatigue.

    Walmart #1842.JPG

    (The above are scenes from rover activity during the infamous WMPLOTA event of July 2018)

    My point is this... It's not a competition. Do what works for you! Or look at it like I do... they are different tools for different uses. Admittedly, I have a larger tool bag than most, but if you don't want to go all out, get the tool that is right for you. BUT... if you are going to teach and mentor new ops on satellites, then present a tolerance for other options, don't promote JUST what works for you or whatever option you like. And be willing to accept criticisms. Maybe what you are doing could stand some improvement. But hey... as I like to say when giving out advice on these forums: 'your mileage may vary', 'batteries not included', 'no warranties expressed or implied', etc. ;)

    It's ham radio... let's have fun. And hopefully I will be getting organized enough this summer to take a few day trips and activate some nearby grids. My wife enjoys it as long as a nice restaurant is involved along the way. :)

    73 and get roving! (And please play nice in responses... let's not get this thread locked.) :rolleyes:

    Kevin N4UFO
    Last edited: May 27, 2021
    K6LCS, KA2CZU, KC3RN and 8 others like this.
  2. KA0USE

    KA0USE Ham Member QRZ Page

    no place that has plastic ware or condiment packets!

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