Non-religious question elk vs arrow

Discussion in 'Satellite and Space Communications' started by KA7FTP, Feb 28, 2017.

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  1. KA7FTP

    KA7FTP Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am putting together the equipmet to work sattelites.

    I know there have been more than a few threads about these two antennas.

    So, from a portable stand point which antenna is easier set up and break down for field use? I do not have a truck and just plan to take it in my car.


  2. K3RLD

    K3RLD Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've never used an elk, so I can't comment on it.

    I can tell you that the Arrow II breaks down in about 1 minute. Putting it together takes maybe 5 minutes, as you have to sort through the elements and pair them up correctly based on length. Having said that, when I take it in my car, I just remove the 2m elements, as the boom + 70cm elements is "flat" and pretty minimal. Makes re-assembly very easy as there are only 3 different lengths of 2m elements.
    AI3V likes this.
  3. AB1OC

    AB1OC Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    We have both antennas here and I would say that they are similar in terms of setup/breakdown time in the field. I like the Elk antenna because:

    1) Its durable and easy to put together
    2) It has a single feed point for both 2m and 70cm combined
    3) Is uses a log-periodic design for both bands so there is not need to rotator the antenna once its polarity is aligned with the sat you are working

    Fred, AB1OC
    AI3V likes this.
  4. WD9EWK

    WD9EWK Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have used both antennas - initially an Arrow Yagi for a few years, then an Elk since 2009. I currently use Elks as my satellite antennas, and I am currently using a modified Elk with a carbon-fiber handle instead of the normal PVC handle.

    The other posters in this thread have pretty much covered it. There are more pieces to assemble and disassemble with an Arrow dual-band Yagi than an Elk log periodic. The Arrow is really two antennas on a common boom (3-element VHF Yagi and 7-element UHF Yagi), where the Elk is resonant on both bands with just its 5 elements. The Elk can lay flat, where the Arrow can't - without removing some elements. If you travel without doing any disassembly of the antenna - i.e. you put the antenna on the back seat or the floorboard behind the front seats, or maybe in a trunk - then that becomes a moot point. If you get the split-boom version of the Arrow Yagi, both antennas break down to about the same size. Use a long pouch, bag, or even some large PVC with end caps for storing the antenna pieces.

    If you plan on lots of travel and lots of setup/breakdown of an Arrow antenna, take care if you use the Arrow 10W (probably safer to call it a 5W) diplexer. It goes up in the handle of the antenna, and is not very sturdy. Too many hard knocks and bumps will knock the diplexer out of alignment. If you want to use more than HTs with your Arrow, you'd probably want to consider having a different diplexer that can handle more power and is more rugged than that Arrow diplexer. Lots of options for 2m/70cm diplexers; I like MFJ's MFJ-916B at about half the price of the comparable Comet or Diamond units, and perform at least as well as the more expensive units.

    AD7DB and AI3V like this.
  5. W5PFG

    W5PFG Ham Member QRZ Page

    I find the Elk performs well for mode B satellites' 2m downlinks and mode J satellites' 2m uplinks. However, I am not convinced the Elk is a very solid performing 70cm antenna. It is by no means my "go-to" antenna for portable satellite operating.

    Let me counter the argument about the number of elements to remove for transportation by saying this: You can simply leave the 70cm elements on the Arrow boom and remove the 2m elements for transportation. This significantly reduces any "setup time' when you quickly decide to work a satellite pass.

    I've made thousands of contacts on both antennas and don't want to disparage the maker or users of any. That being said, I generally prefer the Arrow. I always travel with both when possible.

    NJ4Y and AI3V like this.
  6. KD0KZE

    KD0KZE Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've sped up my Arrow II assembly time with a quick trip to my local craft store. They make something called "washi tape". (Get it in solid colors, and your testosterone won't be offended.) What I did was simply wrap a strip of uniquely colored tape around the end of each element pair, just before the plastic end tip. Then I drew a sketch of the antenna and put a piece of tape on each element in the drawing, to create a reference diagram. I then scanned this into my computer, so I can reprint it (in color) when I lose it.

    What I don't like about the Arrow II is that it's not terribly sturdy and it seems to me that both have a homebrew look about them. Sometimes the double-ended screws can come out the shaft and drop to the ground -- so make sure you don't lose anything if you're assembling in the field. On the upside, it's lightweight and gets the job done for me.

    73, KD0KZE / Paul
  7. N4UFO

    N4UFO Ham Member QRZ Page

    Um... what about putting the appropriate colored tape around the boom at the corresponding holes... no need for a diagram. (Or maybe I don't quite understand.) The Elk comes with the colored tape already installed on both elements and boom so you know which set goes where.

    As for Elk versus Arrow... most folks have covered it. With my very first Arrow, I left the UHF elements on all the time and just removed the 2m elements. I got some velcro strips that have the slot in them, attached to one 2m element. When I disassembled, I wrapped all the 2m elements together with two of those velcro strips. Then I have some 'Gear Ties' which are like reusable twist ties that I then secure the 2m elements bundle to the boom of the Arrow. (They also keep the coax secure and not flopping around. So reassembly is fairly easy... remove the two gear ties, undo the velcro and put the 2m elements back on the boom... the sizes are different enough, that identifying marks are not really necessary.

    And if you have a split folding rear seat, I found that shoving the UHF elements into the 'split' made for a simple way to carry the antenna. :)


    Since that time, I've acquired a second Arrow with a carry bag... I take that one completely apart. With the original one, I have copied what some others have done and created a shorter boom with less elements. I still carry this one 'piggyback 2m' style. I find the 'short arrow' to be my 'weapon of choice' when I have a bunch of luggage in the car. When there is no luggage and plenty of room, I assemble the UHF elements before leaving out and then just put on the 2m elements when I stop to work a pass.


    Arrow antennas.JPG

    I do have an Elk as well, but I've not used it but a few times. I have taken it along as a backup, but in the future I plan to see if, like others have found, it is a good choice for AO-85 portable ops. Good to have lots of tools available.

    Bottom line for me... the question is not which to use, but rather when to use them.

    As always, your mileage may vary, no warranties expressed or implied, batteries not included and only you and your doctor can decide which antenna is right for you... :p

    73 & GL!

    Kevin N4UFO
  8. NJ4Y

    NJ4Y Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've used both a lot, and I like both. The elk is a slightly better 2m antenna, the arrow is a (far) better 70cm antenna.

    The elk is easier to transport while fully assembled because it lays flat. However, as everyone else said it's not any trouble at all to unscrew the 2m elements from the arrow so it will pack even smaller than the elk.

    Because of the arrow's higher gain on 70cm, I have found it easier to use with an HT on AO-85. Others have experienced the opposite, and prefer the elk for AO-85. The elk definitely seems to exhibit more gain on 2m, however I find that most mode B sats have a strong enough downlink that the extra gain isn't necessary. YMMV, and ultimately it comes down to a preference on the part of the operator.

    What I do know personally is that I used the Elk to make around 600 qsos during my first couple of months on sats, both while traveling (as you see in my profile pic) and at home. It's a great antenna, and earned me my sat VUCC.

    However, since I got my arrow in early December, the Elk has been used about 3 times... :)
    W5PFG likes this.
  9. KA7FTP

    KA7FTP Ham Member QRZ Page

    Wow, thanks guys... You gave some really great points on both. I may end up trying both at some point. Im going to order a radio tomorrow. I hope to catch you guys over the air soon.


  10. KD0KZE

    KD0KZE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Good idea, I hadn't thought of that. I guess, the issue is making sure you don't confuse the short vs. long elements by color since they intersect at some points. Toward that effort, on the main beam I stuck a strip of black tape as a reference point indicating to me which end faces up during assembly. I got the Arrow II carry case, so I disassemble completely for storage. It fits fully assembled in the back of my Jeep, but my Jeep is not long for this world so I'll see if it fits into whatever I replace it with.

    73, KD0KZE / Paul

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