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[TowerTalk] Bencher Skyhawk

Subject: [TowerTalk] Bencher Skyhawk
Date: Mon, 3 Jan 2011 21:05:59 -0600 (CST)
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>I'm planning on putting up a Bencher Skyhawk Tribander along with their
>Skylark 17/12 meter beam, so if you have either one of those antennas, I
>would appreciate hearing your thoughts on performance and reliability.


>John K7KB

I used a Skyhawk for a few years, purchased it essentially on the K7LXC 
tribander comparison report.  That publication is worth the read if you are in 
the market for a new tribander, although it was done a while ago and does not 
include the SteppIr.  I lost my Skyhawk to an ice storm; the boom broke.  
Although Bencher makes much of the beam not needing a boom truss, clearly mine 
did.  Also, the elements appeared to be undersized.  They took on a permanent 
"set" at the last taper.  Electrically the beam worked extremely well, but I 
replaced it with a 3 El SteppIr / 40 meter option/ which is vastly more 
convenient, but has its own reliability issues.  

Note that the ice storm which dropped my Skyhawk spared my good friend AB9M's 
TH7 - he is about 1/2 mile away.  I also have a next door neighbor, Ray, K9XL, 
whose Cushcraft tribander had no damage.  Mine was the only beam in the 
Bloomington/Normal area which suffered damage in the ice storm, so I do believe 
it is under engineered for high wind and ice.  As a point of comparizon, I had 
a Cushcraft WARC dipole 8 feet above the Bencher.  I think most people would 
describe that antenna as wimpy; I certainly do.  It had a slight bend at the 
center insulator, but survived the storm in better shape than my Skyhawk.  Note 
that Bencher rates the antanna for 90 mph, no mention of ice.  I might be very 
long lived in a less rigorous environment.  

I really appreciated the double boom to mast plate.  It makes it very easy to 
slip the antenna onto the mast.  I would also give high marks to the the all 
stainless and riveted construction.

I have mixed emotions about the wind compensating plates.  They might have 
collected anough ice to overstress the boom.



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