Review: Arrow II Satellite Antenna

Well this is Christmas in April. My Arrow II LEO antenna came in yesterday! Woot! I’ve been budgeting for a while to outfit my shack. This antenna was at the top of my list.

This is a product of Arrow Antennas. They have a solid reputation.

Arrow II LEO Antenna

There are many, many YouTube videos out there about this antenna so I’m not going to go into a lot of detail about it’s construction other than saying, it is well built.

I do have a few suggestions is you choose to purchase this antenna:

1. You will need a carrying case for it. Arrow does sell one on their website, but I wanted something more sturdy than what nylon/canvas could provide. So I opted to buy an inexpensive “Telescopic Art Tube” from Office Depot. It’s ridged, plastic, and has a carrying strap.

2. It too me a few minutes to figure out the correct positioning of the UHF elements; one is only about a 1/4 inch shorter than the next. Anyway, once the antenna was assembled I took a Sharpie and numbered each element pass-through hole: 1-7 for UHF and 8-10 for VHF. Then I labeled each end of the element with the number corresponding to its position.

3. The last thing I did was apply a small bit of Loctite to one side of the mounting threads. Let me explain. Each element comes in 3 parts: The two equal length ends of the element, in purple with the red tips; and one thread stud. The threaded stud passes through the boom. Each element half screws onto the stud. Now, when I say “a small bit” I mean, a small bit; a light drop will do it. The idea is just to hold the stud in place so it doesn’t get lost while disassembled. You don’t want to add too much, it could swell and actually damage the inside of your element.

Just as every review that you’ve read about this antenna, it works well. I connected it to my Baofeng BF-F9V2+ And went hunting for AO-85; which was a total failure since it was only 10 degrees elevation and I’m in a highly urban area. However, SO-50 passed this morning at 89 degrees and the Arrow worked like a champ. Very, very low noise. I made 3 contacts.

Next on the agenda for this antenna is to rig a mount for a camera tripod. Adding this one to my future project list. I want to be able to attach an HT to the same mount along with an android device running ISS Detector.

Chinese Manufactured Radios – The Great Debate and Snubbary

I am currently shopping for my shack gear. Up till now I have only purchased a Baofeng UV-5R HT. I picked up some accessories such as the remote mic, programming cable, a spare battery pack, a AA battery battery pack, and an MFJ-1717 BNC high gain antenna; along with some adapters, but I’ll cover that in another post. I’ll also cover my antenna purchases separately, beyond the 1717. So with this little guy and all the accessories, I’ve spent less than $75.00 on my whole kit. I also have an SDR-RTL dongle…more on that another time as well. Continue reading