people buy their first base antenna for CB radio they pick up a simple
vertical such as a A99, Imax, or Maco V-5/8. As they progress in the hobby
they eventually look for ways to upgrade their system to receive better
and talk further.
adding things like amplifiers can make your signal be heard further away,
they do nothing to help improve your receive abilities; actually when
you compare the increase in distance you gain with an amplifier versus a
high gain antenna, you're better off upgrading your antenna system.
where the Maco V-Quad makes its appearance.
antennas that use reflectors or directors can have a very positive effect
on increased gain for receive and focusing transmit power for your
outgoing signal. Most people have seen the popular Yagi style antennas
that use three, four, or five elements and take up large amount of real
estate in the sky, but many people aren't familiar with smaller beam
antennas such as the V-Quad.
is an aluminum antenna that consists of a 6' boom upon which two triangle
shape elements are placed at either end. One element is the driven element
and the other is a director. These two parts work together to direct your
signal in one direction and to snag incoming signals coming from that
antenna is a full wavelength loop antenna and is often referred to as a
Delta loop type antenna. Because it is a full wavelength antenna it means
that there aren't any coils in the antenna where you would normally
encounter wattage losses. These antennas are highly efficient and rival
Yagi style antennas in performance.
Upon receiving the box I was a bit concerned I had been sent the wrong
antenna. I didn't see how it was possible that this V antenna was jammed
inside this small box, but as I pulled out all the parts and pieces I found
I had everything I needed. The parts all came packaged nicely and the
smaller parts were packed in plastic bags. The all-important instructions
were also included.
One of the first steps in assembly is to connect together the pieces of
aluminum tubing to create the radials that will become the elements for
the antenna. This is accomplished by sliding the smaller tubing into the
larger tubing, sliding on a small oval shaped piece with a screw and a nut,
and then tightening them down. The screw pushes down and tightens the
larger tubing around the smaller tubing so they are solidly connected.
The tubing pieces then attach to the boom using a special clamp system and
U bolts. You have to attach them at 90 degree angles so that they make the
"V" of the antenna.
Once you've attached the elements you then have to attach the gamma match
to the driven element. The gamma match will assist you in tuning the
antenna for a low SWR. The gamma match also is where you attach the SO-239
connector where your coax will connect.
The last step in completing each element is to add the braided copper
wire that connects each tip of the V and completes the "loop" of your
antenna system. On the driven element you just use the straight piece of
wire, but on the director element you'll need to shorten the wire for it
to work properly. This is accomplished by a small coil you make using a
piece of provided PVC and two rubber caps that go over your finished
The completed antenna then needs to be attached to your mast. This is
accomplished by a special mounting plate that comes with U bolts. The boom
mounts directly to your mast. Since this antenna is a "directional"
antenna many people choose to make them adjustable by using a rotor so
they can point the antenna in the direction they wish to talk. This
antenna is very light (8 lbs) so most TV antenna rotors can work in
conjunction with the V-Quad.
Once the antenna is mounted it may seem big but it is actually one of the
smallest 11 meter beam antennas on the market and it takes up considerably
less space than a comparable 3 element Yagi antenna.
Now don't get me wrong - this isn't a small antenna, and when you talk
about 11 meter beam antennas small becomes a relative term, but this
antenna is definitely "smaller" than most other beam antennas on the
Unlike many antennas the V-Quad doesn't need to be mounted high up to get
good results. While height in most cases will improve performance, I
found this antenna performed very well from anywhere around 12 feet off
the ground up to 25 feet. It can easily be mounted on a roof (as I did in
this case for the testing of the antenna). It takes up very little space
physically - the boom is only 6' long and the elements are
only around 13' long and in the V formation they aren't sticking straight
up in the air.
Going from a vertical antenna to a beam antenna for
the first time can really be eye-opening. For those of you who haven't tried
a beam antenna you will be amazed at the difference in
performance and abilities a beam antenna provides over a simple vertical.
Beam antennas such as the V-Quad will make signals
that previously were barely moving your needle suddenly jump up in signal
strength. When local talking to other stations who are on vertically
polarized antennas you may not see a huge gain in performance, but if you
like talking DX or if there are stations in your area who run beams, that
is where the V-Quad really comes alive.
I have a local in a town 35 miles away who I
talked to regularly with a vertical antenna and I usually would register a
3 on his S meter and he the same on mine.. When I pointed my V-Quad at his
5 element Yagi beam suddenly his incoming signal jumped up to 5-7 and mine
did the same on his meter. When two beam antennas get pointed at each
other you'll see a big jump in signal strength. Additionally a beam antenna has "rejection" which helps prevent
unwanted signals coming in from the back or sides of the antenna from
being picked up.
I tested out this antenna and found that for DX it
easily did the job and all that was required to make multiple contacts was
a standard 12 watt SSB CB Radio. The antenna had fairly good front to back
rejection but it still wasn't as good a three element Yagi such as the
M103. The side rejection also wasn't as good as I've seen with Yagi style
antennas which wasn't surprising.
SWR tuning was very easy with the gamma match and
within about 2-3 minutes I was able to get a 1.1 reading with the antenna
mounted on a 8 foot mast. Once mounted on the roof the SWR dropped to
basically flat and even with running an amplifier (300 watts) the antenna
handled it all in stride.
Another oddity about this type of antenna is that it
can be installed in a "L" shape configuration. In this type of setup it's
supposed to be directional from front to back and skyward at an angle
out of the V. While I did find that this install allowed the antenna to
hear in a larger directional area it did seem to lose a bit of signal
strength in the front to back direction, dropping 2 S units at my receiving
test station. It did however allow the antenna to perform better for local
talking to stations nearby with vertical antennas. The L shape may be a
better install for someone who wants to talk locally and DX but truthfully
if you're buying this antenna you're better off installing in the V
formation with a rotor for the most impressive results.
One of the biggest concerns I found people had online was regarding the
wind handling ability of these antennas. Because they use a mix of tubing
and wire for the elements many people wondered how the antenna would do in
high winds. Shortly after install we experienced a 55 MPH storm which gave
the antenna a good working over. It survived without any damage but it did
move around quite a bit. The rating from Maco for this antenna is 90 MPH
and while I think it's a well made antenna I would have my own doubts that
it would survive storm gusts of that strength. Personally I might guess
the antenna could handle itself up to around 75 MPH which hopefully most
people aren't experiencing. For those of you who live in some desert
or mountain area with super crazy strong winds multiple times in the year
this may not be the best choice, but for the other 90% of the population I
think the antenna could give many years of trouble free performance.
The V-Quad antenna retails for around $150 and in my testing gave
improvements in gain over a vertical from anywhere from 2 to 4 S units. To achieve those
results with an increase in power from an amplifier would require an
expensive unit that would have to produce many hundreds of watts. As the
old timers in the hobby will tell you, the best way to improve your
outgoing signal strength is to improve your antenna.
Aside from some in-depth construction time and the possibility of damage
from 80 MPH winds I think many people looking to try something different
will appreciate both the small turning radius and performance of this
BELOW ARE THE SPECIFICATIONS FROM AN ADVERTISEMENT ONLINE
Performance equal to M103C in a small package for pushup
mounting. Stacking Kit available
Directional-Combined Vertical-horizontal polarization
plus high gain of 11 dB (14 dB stacked) makes the V-Quad
an ideal inexpensive beam for push-up mounting (stacks,
Weighs only 8 pounds (stacked complete 24 pounds).
Instructions also included for 10 meters.
* Boom Length (ft) 6
* Boom OD (inches) 1.5
* Number of Elements 2
* Longest Elements (ft) 12
* Turn Radius (ft) 7
* Surface Radius (sq. ft.) 3.2
* Wind Survival (mph) 90
* Tuning (Meters) 10-11
* Gain (db) 11
* Power Multiplication 14x
* Frnt-to-Back Sep. (db) 25
* VSWR (adjustable) 1.1-1
* Weight (lbs) 8
* Made With Aircraft Alloy Aluminum.