Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Gulf Alpha Circular Polarized VHF (5x5) and UHF (8x8) Antenna Assembly

In March 2012, I ordered two antennas from Gulf Alpha Communications.  While I was initially told delivery would be in "3 weeks," the actual date I received them was much later.  However, I stand behind them as being a high-value, well-crafted product.  My recommendation is to order them now if you intend to install them in the next year.

My first observation was that all components were neatly packaged and secured.  My second observation is that were were no "formal" instructions included.  However, they are not necessary if you have any common sense.  It is very obvious which elements, T-Match, and phasing harnesses go with which antenna.  Also, you must have basic knowledge on the placement of driven elements and reflectors on a yagi (smallest goes on the front, duh.)

Here you see I have started to unpack, un-tape, and lay out some of the components.  It is a good idea to instpect everyting before you put it together.  Pete at Gulf Alpha did a fine job of packaging things in a manner that eases process of assembly.

Close-up of elements and mounting hardware.

Close-up of T-match for both antennas.

It is nice that both antennas use the same mechanical structure for mounting the elements.  It is very easy to use, much more so than some competitor's antennas.  Simply measure the elements and ensure equal length on either side of the mounting hardware.  All you need is a screwdriver, not a pair of vice grips!  Note the location of the driven element marked clearly.

Close-up of element mounting hardware.

Assembled 5x5 element VHF antenna before tuning.  Gulf Alpha provides measurements for you to avoid tuning but I prefer to ensure proper SWR for the satellite sub-band.

Assembled 8x8 element UHF antena before tuning.

In closing, I would recommend you call Pete and Gulf Alpha and discuss your plans.  He is very personable on the phone.  Just be prepared to wait a while for your antennas.

UPDATE 2014: I sold these antennas and they have now been put in operation in Lansing, Michigan.  I hope that the new owner will enjoy the quality and craftsmanship of the antennas.

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