NEWS FLASH New QRP RIG:
(No longer available)
Can you please add the following to the 404-UL Testimonials page;
One of the main requirements for a HF antenna for use portable, especially when some hiking to a portable site is involved (such as with the Summits on the Air "SOTA" scheme), is low weight.
While there exist some very good commercial and home brew antennas using resonant wire lengths some with links to cover more than one band, these have the limitation of requiring the antenna to be lowered to allow a band change.
One alternative for a multi-band antenna is a G5RV or off-centre fed dipole antenna. Unfortunately most of the commercial variants of these have a large heavy Balun and thick wire so that they are capable of handling 1KW or so. These antennas therefore create extra weight to be carried to site and weight that the mast has to support.
The Aerial-51 404-UL is also an asymmetric dipole allowing multi-band operation however what Rick has been able to do by limiting the power allowed is to create a lighter antenna through the use of thinner wire and lighter components in the balun. (He still allows 200W PEP which should be far more than a portable operation needs).
So how does it perform? I have used this on two SOTA activations so far as well as testing it out in a portable location. It appears to perform as well as my commercial linked dipole with the advantage that I can immediately switch between 40, 30, 20, 15 and 10m without having to lower the antenna to do so, which is a big advantage when perched on top of a mountain! I have used the antenna in Inverted-V format with the centre at both 8.5m and 5m above ground. The antenna is optimised for being at 10m AGL but I can see zero reflected power when I have it at 8.5m. At 5m AGL, there is a small amount of reflected power only on 40m, but not enough to worry about.
Rick states that with an antenna coupling unit the 404-UL will also work on 12m and 17m. I have not tried this as I don't have a lightweight ACU available at the moment.
Would I recommend this antenna over other wire antennas? It depends. If you only operate on one band a simple cheap resonant dipole will perform as well as anything. If you need the flexibility of an antenna that is capable of multiple bands without having to take it down to change bands, the 404-UL does what it says it does. Would a home-made OCF also work, yes. What you get with the 404-UL is a professionally built antenna using good quality components without you needing to do all the work yourself.
73 Ed DD5LP