My new G5RV Jr. multi-band antenna. A hands-on review.
My new G5RV Jr. is working extremely well.
Due to time and weather constraints, I needed to get an antenna up quickly. So rather than order parts from multiple sources and cobble together my own G5RV, I elected to buy a kit from W8AMZ.com. Please note that I am in no way affiliated with W8AMZ.com other than being a happy customer. I just feel W8AMZ’s G5RV kits are high quality and will literally last forever. You can also compare what W8AMZ has to offer with these G5RV kits.
Update Jan 2016: I’m sad to report that the W8amz.com website is no more. You can buy G5RV’s online via HRO, Ebay and the like. I just liked the high quality components provided from W8amz.com. It’s a shame it’s gone now.
A lot has been written about the G5RV design. It has been around for decades. Much of the negative press I read come from competitors of the G5RV design trying to sell you a different antenna. Some of these ads are quite funny…reminds me of late night TV infomercials.
Here are the important basics of my G5RV Jr:
- Get it up in the air parallel to the ground as high as you can. An inverted vee installation will NOT work.
- Definitely make sure all the vertical ladder line comes down perpendicular to the antenna and is completely off the ground.
- Attach a minimum 70 ft. length of 50-ohm coax to the antenna before connecting to your rig.
- Contrary to what is written on countless websites, the G5RV REQUIRES a good antenna tuner. My specific configuration is an Icom IC-718 transceiver and an LDG IT-100 Autotuner for Icom. I get less than 1:4 to 1 on the 10, 12, 15, 17, 20, 30 and 40m bands. Though not spec’ed for 80m, I can even tune my G5RV Jr. on 80m. Tried it on 160m…no go. But an antenna this short doesn’t make a good antenna on 80 or 160 anyway. But 10-40m performance is excellent and my G5RV is only 20 ft. high at the moment.
This was a quick and inexpensive way to get my HF transceiver on the air. When propagation is decent and given my 100 watt power limitation, I am really impressed with the G5RV’s performance. When conditions go south, the guys with beams in the pileups make it quite difficult for DX, but if you’re a stateside rag chewer, it’s all you need.
Come summer I want to plant two 90 ft. utility poles 250 ft. apart and string up a 6-160m double-size G5RV at 80 ft. Couple that new a new 1K amp and I think I’ll be having even more fun.
Bottom line: Forget about the ham reviews of the G5RV and its competitors. Your experience is going to be unique to you. A G5RV is an expensive antenna to build or buy. Give it a try…
P.S. One last thought. In the old days I started out with a windom. Then dipoles. The G5RV is by far the best wire antenna I’ve ever used. Just my 2 cents…