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Chameleon Antenna First Impression

Discussion in 'Product Reviews' started by Tallman, Jan 10, 2016.

  1. Tallman

    Tallman W9WDX Amateur Radio Member, KW4YJ EXTRA class

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    Driving up to my house 1-9-2016 in the afternoon, there it was on my front porch. On January 02, 2016 I ordered the CHA Hybrid-Mini and the CHA V1.

    I have been looking for a mobile antenna for one of my new vehicles, a 2000 Chevrolet S-10 that has a turbocharged engine. I bought this one to be my daily driver and boat hauler.



    Since it is going to be my main vehicle for trips to Land Between the Lakes and any other long drives I might be taking I want a radio in it. I contemplated a Uniden 980 and after a little thought why limit just to CB radio? I have radios that will receive but not transmit on 11 meter band and will work for receive and transmit on all of the other bands. The choice radio is going to be an Icom IC-7100 and with just a little finagling I can have everything from 160 meters to 2 meter bands. A couple of antenna switch boxes and I'm set go with this antenna and a couple quick Mag mounts and I have my total shack on the road. I have not worked amateur radio from a mobile yet, other than 10 meters.

    First after unpacking I gave it a thorough inspection looking for shipping damage and found none because it comes well packaged. Next checked the contents against the order and it is all there.

    The first and most impressive thing I noticed was that the CHA HYBRID-MINI is that it is a billet machined aluminum. For those who don't know what that means, it is made from solid aluminum bar stock and machined into the desired configuration. That means that there is a good deal precision involved in the manufacture of the case of the HYBRID-MINI Matching Unit Base. It takes a lot of design work to build anything from billet and end up with a good product. It's a lot more than generating a CNC program and tossing a chunk of metal into the vise, a lot more.

    The vertical radiator is very typical of the fiber glass rod wound with magnet wire with traps wrapped in at various locations. It has six traps in the lower portion and the top section is wound in a helical fashion. The vertical radiator is l o n g and thick (106”+ 7”=113” Tall and .5“ thick) and I would think if you are not careful you will be thumping low overhanging tree limbs and utility wires. I would not mount this on the roof of a pickup or SUV for that reason. It is covered in a heavy thick heat shrink tubing which will make it easy to fix any minor dings in it. A dab of RTV Silicone and maybe a small section of heat shrink tubing should fix it right up.

    I would also recommend using a reinforcement at the mounting point because the area that will be clamping against the metal in the vehicle is a little over 1” in diameter. I plan on using two steel washers welded to the sheet metal to help spread the load from the antenna and wind loading. This point also has to be a good electrical ground for the antennas because the outside of the machined case is the connection for the counterpoise.

    As soon as weather and health permit I will install and perform electrical test. So if you guys hear me calling with my call sign and saying mobile call back and I will include it in a video for the review.
    Pictures will be posted later.
     
    #1 Tallman, Jan 10, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2016

  2. sp5it

    sp5it Master of puppets

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    Nice dummyload, but kinda expensive ;)
    Mike
     
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  3. binrat

    binrat WDX Club Coordinator
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    Worthless without pictures... ;) :D
     
  4. Moleculo

    Moleculo Administrator
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    Must include pics! :)
     
  5. 222DBFL

    222DBFL Sr. Member

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    Don't let anyone get at ya Tallman, sometimes I think it's either jealousy or envy, or just that some people have nothing better to do than to trash things before You, the User, even gets to use it and make your own deductions and form your opinion about how the antenna you own works.
    When you can, and I know you will, post up some pics and when you get to messing with it some more, let us know how you feel about the antenna!! JMHO. Have a good one my friend.
    Sean.
     
    binrat and Tallman like this.
  6. Tallman

    Tallman W9WDX Amateur Radio Member, KW4YJ EXTRA class

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    Water off the ducks back Sean. As I stated at the end of the posting that pictures will be posted as health and time permits. I'm still recovering from a bike crash that happened 9-28-2014. Some lawn mowing idiot had a can of diesel fuel bouncing around the back of his trailer and when he went around the corner he hit the curb with his trailer wheels. The can turned over and spilled about a gallon of fuel on the pavement. I come along about two minutes later and the back wheel of my F6B Gold Wing shot out from under me and trapped my right ankle to the pavement. Shattered the tibia/fibia and broke the heel bone. It took surgery $10,000.00 of hardware to save the the leg. The police officer that came to investigate was standing there looking around and said "I don't see any fuel on the street" and then his feet shot out from under him and he fell hard. Some joker said "Whoops there it is!" I laughed out loud!
    I have just started walking without crutches this month, but I can only do that for short periods of time. Damage to the bike less than $250.00. Just scratched up the engine guard and the bag guard. My speed at the time of the crash was less than 5 mph.
     
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  7. RatsoW8

    RatsoW8 Supporting Member, W9WDX ARC Member - WD8T

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    Ouch Tallman. Hope you have a speedy recovery. I ride a 2012 HD FXDC so I know just how many hazards there are out there for bikers. Things cage drivers would never even notice can put us on the pavement and we can never ride distracted.

    After the close calls of last summer I'm seriously considering selling the bike in the spring and getting a nice John Deer lawn tractor. Heck, I'll probably ride it more than the Harley. :)
     
    Tallman likes this.
  8. binrat

    binrat WDX Club Coordinator
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    Naw, just on a quest for an affordable mobile HF antenna. Current exchange rate is huge. A Tarheel with controller shipped would be well over 1K right now. Not worth it in my books.
     
    222DBFL likes this.
  9. Tallman

    Tallman W9WDX Amateur Radio Member, KW4YJ EXTRA class

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    I rely heavily on wind therapy to help me stay mellowed out. Some people use drugs, I use gasoline and G-Forces! I'm hooked on this bike. Six cylinders and 1800 c.c.'s with a modified fuel injection system it will shoot you down the road like a rocket. And it is so quiet as well. No cops hassling me about loud pipes. As soon as the Doctor give me a clear to go I'm hopping on that bike and go for a long ride.
     
  10. jon666

    jon666 Well-Known Member

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    stay safe. hope you have a quick recovery.
     
    Tallman likes this.
  11. Riverman71

    Riverman71 Well-Known Member

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    Did sell mine a few years ago after two close calls within days of each other. Both within two blocks of my home. Two women drivers who didn't "see" me and turned in front of me at the last instant. I was doing thirty (the speed limit) when both happened. Flat out miracle I stayed upright and uninjured.

    Been riding a bicycle for "wind therapy" till I was almost run over. Twice. Guess I'll stick to four wheels with the windows rolled down.

    Get well, Tallman.
     
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  12. jon666

    jon666 Well-Known Member

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    lol i here ya. i crashed my harley a few years ago. i told my self i would give it up. but nope i repaired the bike. still riding. as a matter of fact i just got back from dc.
     
    Riverman71 likes this.

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