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new 55 merlin base antenna

Discussion in 'CB Antennas' started by bighammer, Mar 4, 2008.

  1. bighammer

    bighammer Active Member

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    I have seen this antenna test results and would like to pass along the info to everyone.
    This has been copied with permision.

    Today I had good weather, and time. So I decided to put up the new 55 merlin. Which is a 1/4 wave base antenna. That is capable of unlimited power by hooking the coax directly to the antenna mast. Prior in the morning I was attempting to talk some poor condition skip. Uniden 78 into a magna 100. I think I got out once. Current base antenna is the interceptor 10k. Tower, 75 ft to the bottom of the antenna.

    The top of the antenna looks basically like the Immortal. All aluminum. Cross on top. 2 turn coil just like the mobiles ( this is the new immortal and 100k watt whipping stick design) The top is a 1/2 in shaft aluminum. Bottom is 1 inch. Very heavy duty. Total tuned length is 72 inches from the top of the insulator. The 3 ground radials drooping at around a 45 deg angle are 101 in long. This antenna is short (1/4 wave) and easier to hide.

    I got on the air and started talking. Conditions weren't the greatest, basically the same as the morning. There was about 2 hrs in between the 2 antennas set ups. Got my name called several times. Was once told I had a great, clean sounding station. I even got called 3 times on ch 6 with 45 bird watts 120 peak. I never get called on ch 6 with that power on the I10k. 55, 557, wild thing ( he was the one played in primes room locking down skip in a diesel car with an immortal, and had Texas on lock down and recorded) have noticed that the top load design works awesome in skip, and my first 1 hr of testing has immediately shown this also. In weak conditions I never get out in skip. So far so good.

    Local.. once skip dies down I will do my local transmission testing. I have one guy 45 miles away who I have done signal testing with the I10k and have a good baseline. 5/8 wave antennas are bad for bleeding down the coax and in general. I have one BIT*# of a neighbor with an aerial antenna for TV that gives me fits with any power. But being she is very inconstant with her info, it may be hard for me to give accurate enough info on bleadover.

    Tunning.. this antenna can be tuned with a tape measure and be about dead on. 71-72 in from the insulator should do the trick. 101 on the ground radials. And if any adjustment is needed it will be very little. swr was 1.0. Forget the mfj, the bird meter is more accurate. 45 bird I had 1/10th of a watt reflection. .9 is 1.3 swr. .4 is 1.1 swr 1 watt slug for measurement.

    Day 2
    tested the antenna locally. conditions were bad due to recent skip. A fair amount of constant static. But I was still able to hit a local 45 miles away with the same signal and audio. more fair based testing to come

    day 3
    Well I have gotten the antenna fine tuned. with the ground radials at 101 in. and the stinger adjusted to 73 1/8 its dead centered on the cb band.

    mfj says
    27.265 50 ohms x=0 and 1.0 swr lowest reflect here also, 80 rms and hardly moved the needle on the bird with a 1 w slug 1/10th max reflect
    my stinger is at 72 7/8 for a reason. 73 1/4 for ch 6

    27.185 48 ohms and x=0 1.0 swr

    26.000 44 ohms x=0 1.3 swr

    28.000 55 ohms x=10 1.3 swr

    26.9 to 27.5 1.0 swr

    the ohms can be fine tuned by lengthing the radials about 1/4 in and then the stinger would need a slight adjustment.

    Well to test the neighbor issue I put some mild improper english out ( yes i know im a bad boy) to try and prevoke her to call. She is a pain in the butt and when i put out my " please ring my phone 2 times" announcement she doesnt always call. not a plesant or cooporitive person. Any how no phone call. So far so good with bleed over with a uniden 78 and magna 200.. Note the lop of coax. this was needed with the I10k to cut down on bleeding since 5/8 wave antennas are notorious for signal comming down the coax. I just didnt take it out and have to restrap the whole tower again.

    signal reports so far are identical to the intercepter 10k. Remember this is a 1/4 wave antenna. But it is wayyyyyy more broadbanded then the I 10k. And is much less wind load then the I10k. In the same day I changed antennas we had skip, nothing on the I10k, changed to the merlin and I got out on ch 6 with my uniden and magna 100.

    This antenna needs to be tuned at 15 ft or more above the ground. But if you set it up with a tape measure to 73 in you should be about dead on first shot.

    Which antenna will I use, hhmmmmm I don't think I need to put the I10k back up.

    Power rating.
    if you hard mount the coax to the antenna, unlimited watts. Which is very easy to do.

    Local test.

    Ok I just did the local test. Being conditions change and such and its to hard and time consuming to take down the one and put up the other it cant be dead acurate.
    But the 55 is appering to do as well as the I10k localy at 45 miles. So as of right now its not comming down!

    When 2020 had his imax and went to the I10k there was a very noticable difference in TX. this is not the case here.

    One benifit is the day I did change it skip was running and I did not get out on any channel with the I 10k and I did on ch 6 with the 55



    Someone asked how it can be better then a 24 ft antenna.
    Response..
    Im not saying the 55 is way better. it is equal and more will tell when skip comes in, so far the top load design has proven very effective.

    what the merlin does bring is more versitile installs in certain aplications, like hoa's for one. height restrictions, following the ffc rules of 60 ft max to the top of the antenna, you can now have the feed point at 55 ft instead of 36 ft. the radials dont have the same overall diameter so tighter areas are posible. and it is easier to tune.

    btw receive was equal also.

    hope you enjoyed the test

    Another person tried one.

    i got the 55 merlin up this morning and with 4 of the 11 locals i wrote my tx & rx down with, i gained 1/2 # with 3 of the 4 both recieve ant transmit, and the one it was the same as my wolf .64. I have only 6 watts reflect with 3kw on ch19 to ch1, it goes up a little from ch20 to ch40.
    thanks 55

    i just put it together on 55's marks, and thats how close it was. i'll fine tune it when the snow is gone. I always tore up the phone and tv before, but now i dont go thru the tv at all, and my girlfriend says she can barely hear some static when I key everything up on the phone. so i'm convinced
     
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  2. W5LZ

    W5LZ Crotchety Old Bastard

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    I tend to sort of question any 'on the air' comparison, especially when there are a lot of 'superlatives' used in describing it. Doesn't mean that there's something 'wrong' or maybe 'not right' about it, just that it makes me wonder what might be missing.
    There are two broad aspects when dealing with any antenna, it's mechanical characteristics, and it's electrical characteristics. The mechanical characteristics mean how rugged an antenna is. The electrical characteristics mean if it puts a signal where you want it to go. If you find a $1.98, 3" antenna that suits your needs, it's just as 'good' as a 'Mega-Buck', 1000 foot tall/long one. That 'electrical' thingy deals with radiation patterns, and there are all kinds of "if's" and "but's" with that. Doesn't matter what 'size' the thing is, if it works for you, then it's 'best'. If not, then it ain't. If you should ever find an antenna that does everything, in any situation, would you get me one too??
    - 'Doc
     
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  3. CDX159

    CDX159 Supporting Member

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    You have any pics of this antenna ? I know Jay in the Mojave spent years and many many hours building and testing his antenna . I would like to get a look at this 1/4 wave master piece.
     
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  4. bighammer

    bighammer Active Member

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    email me at mrburg@hotmail.com and ill reply with pics or pm me with yours.

    all are welcome.

    Doc it has an unlimited power handeling. a cheap antenna can not do this. also 55 has a good reputation with his current antennas..
     
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  5. CDX159

    CDX159 Supporting Member

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    I think I found one.
    [​IMG]
     
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  6. KingCobra_CDX882

    KingCobra_CDX882 W9WDX Amateur Radio Club Member

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    Without having used one
    I would give it a thumbs down

    a 1/4 wave verses a 5/8 wave
    i saw even you compared it to a .625 wave

    even if power handling was as you say it is
    I fail to see how it can over take a 5/8 wave or .625 wave antenna
     
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  7. NorthStar

    NorthStar Administrator

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    Where can I purchase one of these?
     
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  8. bighammer

    bighammer Active Member

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    contact 55 himself. pm for the number. unless you give me permission to post it.



    and thats the pic of my merlin. wasnt it rotated to the right?

    and believe it or not. it works very well. I know most are very skeptical to anything other then what they have been told for years, even if its wrong.

    you would think a 5/8 would do better, but they said that about the 102 whip also
     
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    1 person likes this.
  9. W5LZ

    W5LZ Crotchety Old Bastard

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    bighammer,
    It really isn't so much what I've been told, as it is what I've used, seen used, or know of being used.
    The power handling thingy isn't that big'a draw at all. The same thing can be said for a 14 guage wire hanging in a pecan tree. Just because something can handle humongus amounts of power doesn't say anything about what it can hear. And if you can't hear'em, what's the point?
    It's a fact about the different radiation patterns of different 'sized' antennas, some just cover more than others. A 1/4 wave antenna is sort of the 'base-line' when comparing antennas of longer lengths, sort of. That certainly doesn't say there's anything wrong with a 1/4 wave antenna, but they honestly do not compare in coverage area with a 5/8 wave, for instance.
    I'm not particularly 'thrilled' with 'on the air' tests as such, because there are just too many subjective variables in that equation. Sure, they can be informative, but seldom to any degree of objective 'exactitude'. That make sense?
    At any rate, if you like it, if it does 'better' than something else you've used, then good!
    - 'Doc
     
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  10. Master Chief

    Master Chief Guest

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    Who wrote these test results?

    Usually the "weak link" in a high power antenna system is the connector and coax.

    Not only a 1/4 wave, but a loaded 1/4 wave. It should perform......just like a 1/4 wave. Dropping the radials moves the feedpoint impedance up to 50 ohms. As we know, the feedpoint impedance of a 1/4 wave antenna with an efficient radial system is about 32 ohms. This antenna is basically a top loaded Starduster, albeit heavy duty, but is it a 1/4 wave? More to follow!

    Top loading any antenna moves the signal current higher up the radiator which can improve its performance. Top loading is used to electrically lengthen the radiator, which can also affect feedpoint impedance. More on this below.

    What?! This is a bunch of crap! It will be interesting to see who wrote this review.

    The 71" - 72" is consistent with an electrically shorted radiator. The MFJ "Antenna Analyzer" is a "RF impedance analyzer". When we measure SWR, we are checking for "standing waves" which is a function of impedance matching. A Bird wattmeter is NOT a rf impedance analyzer. It is a "Directional Wattmeter is a field-proven portable, insertion-type instrument designed to measure both forward and reflected CW power in coaxial transmission lines" and only 5% accurate. It is NOT the device used for checking SWR, although a curve chart is made available for a basic reading. My point here is that the MFJ analyzer is a better indication of what is going on with your antenna system......and what you said is just plain WRONG.

    Glad to see you are using the MFJ Analyzer. Are you testing close to the feedpoint or at the end of a 100' coax run? Tests have been performed on center fed dipoles which proved that loading the ends will drop your impedance to 50 ohms. As pointed out above, a 1/4 wave antenna feedpoint impedance is about 32 ohms WITHOUT a matching network. I've argued that dropping the radials beyond a certain point takes this antenna from a ground plane to a center fed dipole. Loading the vertical element and extending the radials (effectively loading the radials) in this antenna is right in line with these tests. These results also support my argument that the Starduster, and the Merlin are center fed dipoles and NOT 1/4 wave ground planes. To be clear, its an argument, but I have yet to make any solid conclusions. Other antenna professionals agree with me however.

    Nope.

    I suspect a problem with your I-10K installation. Is it mounted in the same place, at the same height, as the Merlin? the man lobe coming out of antennas will be different do to their electrical length. One is a ground plane (no argument there), and one is a center fed dipole (room for argument here).

    Want to sell it?!

    Nope, but the connector won't be the deciding factor......the coax will.

    The major difference you see between the I-10K and the Imax is the losses in the feedpoint matching network. This same advantage also works for the Merlin as you have eliminated the matching network. HOWEVER, the gain figures of the I-10K (5/8 wave) will outperform a 1/4 or 1/2 wave antenna. The only other factor will be elevation and surrounding terrain. If you live in a valley, a broader beam will get up and over the hills. A 5/8 wave antenna has a lower angle of radiation and will be blocked by the surrounding terrain. Test these antennas in the middle of Kansas and you will see what I mean. What works in your area may be different than what works in mine. Also, the take off angle of the antennas will also change where the signal lands. Short skip needs one angle and long skip needs another, just like pool balls off of a pool table bumper.

    Easier to tune than what? With the I-10K, you set all the dimensions as listed in the instructions, and simply slide the trombones. With the Imax, you turn two little rings. With the Merlin, you need to measure and adjust 4 separate elements. The rest of your comments are true.

    As it should be. Too many people say, "It worked better on transmit, but the receive was the same." Nope! Increasing the performance of an antenna works equally for transmit AND receive.

    This has been very interesting reading. I'd be slow to say that it works better than an I-10K. I'd LOVE to do some side by side comparisons, where can I buy a Merlin?
     
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  11. bob85

    bob85 Supporting Member

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    i wonder how a gr45 would work on a starduster lower portion:unsure:
     
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  12. ive read many many times that coils on antenas always equal signal loss because theyre a compromise fix for height restrictions/problems . some coils seem to be better than others as far as having less detrimental effect on the signal . i guess next we will see some top loaded 1/2 wave , 5/8 wave and .64 wave base antennas . id still rather have a astroplane .
     
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  13. Master Chief

    Master Chief Guest

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    Is it true that bighammer is a mod over at the cb radio forum and is it also true that they just banned someone for a different opinion about the Merlin and the I-10K?

    Censorship is the very reason why the cb radio forum is NOT the place to go for fair and balanced opinions on radio.

    bighammer, you should be ashamed!
     
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  14. bighammer

    bighammer Active Member

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    bighammer aka Cool Breeze. and a member was suspended for a non antenna reason. please have the fact right.

    I did the testing. facts about antennas come from 55.

    as for balanced Im not commenting on the constant bickering that goes on here. discussion is one thing, no comment on the rest. ghost hunters tries to disprove everything. good greif.

    These are my findings. take them for what they are, come to your own conclusions. But im not going to start the normal bickering that goes on here. Being a fellow hobiest I figured I'd share with others that arent on some other forums. take that as you want to.
     
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  15. thanks for the heads up big hammer . since you know how new things here are always questioned until some sort of technological proof of concept or several unbiased reports/reviews are done/offered.........why did you expect this to be any difference ?
    a 1/4 wave coil loaded base antenna beating one of jays 10k's on both tx and rx is a pretty big statement/claim to make . youve been around long enough to know that would cause some incredulious replys . if the antenna is all you say it is thats great.............but i really doubt jay is loosing sleep.........
    thanks again for the heads up though . always nice to hear about new things on the horizon that can improve on our lil hobby .
     
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