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Old 10-05-2017, 05:21 PM
czechsix's Avatar
czechsix czechsix is offline
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Spring Hill, KS
Posts: 323
Default Archer Com antenna in RV-10 Wingtip?

Has anyone tried a Bob Archer VHF Com antenna in the RV-10 wingtip? PIREP? Pictures?

I'm building a -14 but it has the same wingtip as the -10. I'll have dual Coms, and plan to use a belly-mounted bent whip for the primary Com. I'm thinking about the wingtip location to reduce drag for the second Com. I already know the wingtip Com antenna won't perform as well as an external antenna, and there have been mixed reviews from people who have installed them in the 2-seat RVs. Some people found them unacceptable, others seemed satisfied that the performance was good enough for a second radio used primarily for a backup.

The -10 and -14 have a substantially thicker airfoil than the rest of the RV series, so I'm wondering if perhaps the wingtip antenna may do a bit better due to the greater vertical polarization potential, but I could not find any antenna performance reports specific to the -10 in the forums...

Actually there is one thread (found with Google instead of the VAF search engine):

Any others who have tried this antenna?

Mark Navratil
Spring Hill, KS
RV-8A N2D #80583 - built/flew/sold
RV-14A #140017 - wings complete, empacone in progress...

Last edited by czechsix : 10-05-2017 at 05:37 PM. Reason: added link to related thread
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Old 10-05-2017, 07:05 PM
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Walt Walt is offline
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Dallas/Ft Worth, TX
Posts: 4,773

Do yourself a favor an forget this idea.
Walt Aronow, Dallas, TX (52F) RV7A, IO360, C/S, 1500+hrs

EXP Aircraft Services LLC
Specializing in RV Condition Inspections, Maintenance, Avionics Upgrades
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Old 10-06-2017, 05:34 AM
vic syracuse vic syracuse is offline
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Join Date: May 2005
Location: Locust Grove, GA
Posts: 2,313

The 10 is a really nice cross-country traveling machine, and because of that you will most likely fly in the weather once in a while, at least we do. I don't fly in any serious weather, but it is nice to have the capability to get up and down through layers or perform an instrument approach or instrument departure when needed. There is nothing worse than not being able to hear ATC when you are in the thick of it. The drag of an external antenna is minuscule and far is far outweighed by the increased clarity and range in communications.
I know you are thinking that you are planning on one external com antenna. Keep in mind that radios do fail.

Vic Syracuse

Built RV-4, RV-6, 2-RV-10's, RV-7A, RV-8, Prescott Pusher, Kitfox Model II, Kitfox Speedster, Kitfox 7 Super Sport, Just Superstol, DAR, A&P/IA, EAA Tech Counselor/Flight Advisor, CFII-ASMEL/ASES
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Old 10-06-2017, 06:02 AM
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scard scard is offline
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Cedar Park, TX
Posts: 2,798

Listen to Walt and Vic. I had one in a wingtip that didn't make it out of phase I over 10yrs ago. It was quickly moved to a "proper" external location.
Scott Card
RV-9A N4822C flying 1900+hrs. / Cedar Park, TX
RV8 Building - fuselage / showplanes canopy (Done!)
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Old 10-06-2017, 06:16 AM
bruceflys bruceflys is offline
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Ocala, FL (Leeward Air Ranch)
Posts: 107

A belly com antenna is sometimes insufficient to reach ground control. If your wingtip com antenna's line-of-sight to the tower is also blocked by the fuselage, you have a problem. A whip antenna for com #2 on the top of the tailcone takes care of both issues.

RV-14 - Building Empennage
RV-12 - Flying 2016; Sold 2018
RV-10 - Project Sold
SeaRey - Flying 2012; Sold 2017
2018 Contribution made
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Old 10-06-2017, 06:30 AM
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Jesse Jesse is offline
Join Date: May 2005
Location: X35 - Ocala, FL
Posts: 3,566

We tried an Archer COM antenna in our first RV-10 and were so disappointed with the performance that we removed it and put another bent ship on the belly. The wingtip Nav Antenna, on the other hand, we have always been happy with.
Jesse Saint (Saint Aviation, Inc. - VAF Advertiser)
RV Hotel (hangar, room, car) at X35 in north FL

Commercial ASEL/S A&P/IA EAA Technical Counselor

Dynamic Prop Balancing, Prebuy Inspections, Condition Inspections, Repairs and Mods, Injector Tuning, Airframe, Engine, Panel Upgrades, Ferrying, etc.

Last edited by Jesse : 10-06-2017 at 07:15 AM.
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Old 10-06-2017, 07:39 AM
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Carl Froehlich Carl Froehlich is offline
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Dogwood Airpark (VA42)
Posts: 1,614
Default Make your own if you can

I've posted on this before.

My first RV-8A I made a wingtip comm antenna. Flying with someone that had the Archer antenna I had to really coms to ATC as they could not hear my buddy.

Wingtip antennas (bought or made) work only as a well as they are installed and tuned. If you do not have an antenna analyzer like this don't even try:

Two things:
- Page 13-16 of the Aero Electric Connection provides the basic wingtip antenna design. Use that to figure out how best to extend out into the full width of your wingtip - and with the most change in vertical placement. Note the first third of the antenna does most of the work, so this is what you want to be as vertical as possible. The tail that runs aft along the outer edge of the wingtip brings the antenna into resonance but does little of the actual work.
- Make the tail a little long so that you can trim it to resonance. Remember the tail length will determine resonant frequency, the Gamma Match (the little stub with an insulator where you attach the feed line) does the impedance matching to your 50 ohm coax.

This antenna will never work as well as a properly installed belly whip - but does just fine for the backup radio. This is also the only VOR antenna I would ever consider putting on an RV. The one in the RV-10 picks up VORs out to 100nmi at altitude.

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Old 10-06-2017, 10:42 AM
BobTurner BobTurner is offline
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Location: Livermore, CA
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+1 (as I said in my PM to the OP)
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Old 10-06-2017, 11:36 AM
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Bill Boyd Bill Boyd is offline
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Landing field "12VA"
Posts: 1,109
Default What I'm doing in my cabin top

worth substantially less than Stein's $.02

simply what I'm going with as a first effort...

not flying yet and won't be for a good while...

similar has worked for me and others on ham VHF mobile, so I'm reasonably hopeful.

top pic shows the vee dipole VOR/LOC/GS antenna in the mid-section of the cabin top, with feedline and "bazooka" style balun of RG-400. The ends are about halfway down the doorway B-pillars. Legs are 26".

bottom pic is the 23" quarter-wave foil monopole Com 2 antenna in the right rear cargo area. This will be connected by very short pigtail to a BNC bulkhead fitting in a tab attached to the right top longeron, to use the fuselage side as a ground plane/counterpoise. This antenna is about 3/16 wavelength from the metal of the baggage area turtledeck skin, and fairly close to the right rear seat occupant. Because of the risk of RF exposure, this will be known as the mother-in-law seat. Just kidding - we're way below field strength concerns here.
Bill Boyd

Hop-Along Aerodrome (12VA)
RV-6A - N30YD - flying since '98
RV-10 - N130YD reserved - under construction

donating monthly to the VAF - thanks, Doug
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Old 10-06-2017, 05:01 PM
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czechsix czechsix is offline
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Spring Hill, KS
Posts: 323

One thing I noticed about Bob Turner's installation is that he attached the antenna ground plane to the top wing skin, and the outboard leg angles downward. This makes the most sense for the RV-10/14 wingtip. However the Aircraft Spruce info for the Archer com antenna says you mount it to the bottom of the wing skin and angle it upward. This is probably because the older horner style tips would have allowed better vertical orientation by attaching it to the bottom skin.

For those of you who were not happy with the installation in the RV-10, did you ground the antenna at the top skin or bottom skin?

Mark Navratil
Spring Hill, KS
RV-8A N2D #80583 - built/flew/sold
RV-14A #140017 - wings complete, empacone in progress...
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