Wednesday, December 20, 2006

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GAP Titan DX Performance Test

GAP Titan DX Performance Test: "General:

The GAP Titan DX is an unusual antenna, with optimistic claims made by the manufacturer. It is appx. 25 feet high, and split in the middle with an insulator. It is claimed to function as a shortened vertical dipole (or doublet if you prefer), without needing any ground radials.

The Titan utilizes a complex arrangement of linear loading/tuning rods, an internal coaxial tuning stub, and a small counterpoise at its base. All of this allows it to operate with 'acceptable SWR' on every band from 80 through 10 meters, including WARC bands, without any active tuning.

The complexity of the loading and tuning makes this antenna difficult to model, and even harder to understand which parts are actually radiating for each frequency range. The manufacturer publishes little to aide in understanding its operation. As best as I can determine, on various bands it performs as everything from a full wave to a loaded 1/8 wave radiator.

This makes actual performance tests of interest to me, for as we all know, the fact that it 'tunes up' on all bands does not say anything about its pattern or gain.

Rather than compare the Titan to other commercial verticals, I decided to compare it to a series of monoband verticals. These reference antennas are easy to model, and thus provide an absolute frame of reference for the Titan.

One may thus be able to deduce the actual pattern of the Titan, and make hypothetical comparisons of it to other vertical or horizontally polarized antennas, placed in other surroundings.

Due to the contentiousness of much of the GAP discussions, I feel compelled to state that I have no connection with the manufacturer, nor any position to defend either promoting or denigrating the antenna.

My sole interest is in performing an interesting experiment, controlled to the best of my ability.

Hopefully these tests will lay the foundation for more unbiased and rational antenna performance commentary by the Amateur Radio community, and lead the way for other hams to publish quantitative antenna test results, rather than anecdotal testimonials or condemnations."

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