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Product Review
 
 
TBJ-1
Tri Band  Base Station Vertical
VHF UHF & 220 MHz
 
2.1 dBi gain (all 3 bands)

 
Featured in: QST March 2017
 
Review by: John  'Miklor'

 

Click to enlarge

 
Ed does it again
 
The creator of the infamous DBJ-1 and DBJ-2, Dr. Ed Fong, has done it again with his recently patented TBJ-1. A true Tri-Band vertical with No Radials.


Assembly & Tuning

 
The TBJ-1 is shipped fully assembled and ready to install. Two U-Clamps at the base and it was ready to go. The 6' antenna is encased in 3/4" Class 200 PVC. 
 
The antenna is not a generic 'one fits all' antenna, but is specifically pre-tuned to the amateur bands.  144-148 MHz, 220-224 MHz and 440-450 MHz and rated at 75W.
 
 
Customization
 
You have your choice of connector when ordering. The SO-239 is standard, but if a Type N connector is desired, it can be substituted at no extra charge.

Design
 
The design is different than any other antenna I've owned, but rather that try to explain it, I've attached a copy of the description submitted for the patent. Ed explains it much better than I ever could.  Link to Patent 9,608,336.

 
Performance
 
I wasted no time getting this up in the air, as in Pennsylvania we only have a two week window between summer and winter.  Here is where the Rubber meets the Road. The specifications state a 1.3 to 1 SWR on all bands. When tested here, the antenna held true to its specifications.

 
        Click to Enlarge
 
 
 
My first test was naturally on 220 MHz. Out here in the sticks, I have three 220 repeaters within range, the closest of which is 35 miles away. I had absolutely no issues getting a solid signal into and from all three repeaters. As for the VHF and UHF bands, the performance was identical to the DBJ-1 that it replaced.
 
 
Use Good Cable
 
Here's where you don't want to short change yourself. Everything you gain by running a good antenna goes right out the door if you use inferior cable. Here is a link to a Cable_Chart  that can be used as reference.
 
 
Installation
 
The antenna should be supported only by the lower 10 inches of the housing to avoid interaction between the matching stub and any nearby metal, such as an antenna or tower. The antenna is light enough that hose clamps can be used for mounting.
 
 
Tree Mounting
 
If you're lucky enough to have trees on your property you may want to consider this add on.
 
Carefully drill a small hole and insert a small eye bolt through the plastic cap with a nut on both sides. Make sure the bolt doesn't extend far into the antenna area where it could interfere with the antenna. Secure the bolt with Loctite to keep the bolt secure. A rope can now hoist the antenna into place for that backyard or Field Day installation.

click to enlarge

Because the antenna will be supported from the top rather than the base, it will be necessary to cement the end caps in place, rather than hand tightening.
 
 
So where do I get one?

 
Unlike its cousins, the DBJ-1 and DBJ-2, it is not yet available on eBay.  Ed is trying to keep up with the initial demand for the new vertical.  The antenna is priced at $60 plus $13 shipping (CONUS).   Ed can be contacted directly at:
edsantennas@gmail.com
1163 Quince Ave., Sunnyvale, CA 94087
408-245-8210
 
 
Conclusion 
 
I was hoping that someone would eventually come out with and affordable Tri-Band antenna, and it finally arrived. The antenna is lightweight, efficient, and very affordable for someone on a tight budget.
 
I can give this antenna nothing less than a top rating.
 

 
 



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