Classic CB Base Station Antennas

The best CB base antennas were manufactured in the 1970s and early 80s. Reason? They were made out of metal. In the early 1980s (1984, I believe), the Consumer Products Safety Commission began requiring that omnidirectional antennas meet certain standards. This was due to the large number of people who had been electrocuted while installing base antennas. The result of this was that most of the “good” antennas were discontinued since they could not meet the new standards. The “new” antennas were of fiberglass construction. As anyone knows, aluminum is a much better radiator of RF energy vs a wire encased in fiberglass.

Interestingly enough, the new rules only applied to “omnidirectional CB radio antennas.” It did not apply to directional beams. A simple 9-foot quarterwave ground plane was now banned because it was “dangerous.” Yet, manufacture and sale of a Wilson Super Laser 500 beam with 8 vertical + 8 horizontal elements was still permitted by the federal government.

The new law also did not apply to antennas which were not specifically designed and designated as “CB antennas.” A few years later, “10 meter amateur radio verticals” and “25-30Mhz commercial band” antennas began appearing. Strangely enough, many of them bore a remarkable resemblance to the “old” CB antennas of the 1970s. Sometimes, a duck isn’t legally a duck, even if it quacks like a duck.

Here are some of the vintage base antennas we used “back in the day.” I will add more as time permits. If you have photos you’d like to share, I’d love to post them and give you credit!

The famous Hy-Gain Super Penetrator! Also known as Super CLR or Penetrator 500, it was the best omnidirectional CB base antenna ever made! That’s just my opinion, of course, but it’s based on personal experience. I used practically every omni on the market at one time or another and found that NOTHING could outtalk my Penetrator. Extremely solid construction using aircraft grade aluminum tubing and clamps. The last genuine Hy-Gain Super Penetrator came off the assembly line 34 years ago. Yet, you still see these antennas on roofs and towers in complete, undamaged condition.

HyGain_CLR2

If you couldn’t afford a Super Penetrator, this was considered the next best thing by many: the Hy-Gain CLR 2. Known more commonly as the “Hy-Gain 5/8 wave”, “5/8 wave ground plane”, or simply “5/8 wave.” It was a very popular antenna which provided good gain, solid construction, and was relatively easy to install. There were several “knockoff” versions of this antenna, sold by Radio Shack (Archer), Royce, and others. As always, you get what you pay for. Hy-Gain antennas were made of aircraft grade aluminum and used quality clamps to attach the sections. The Radio Shack version used a cheaper grade of aluminum with sheet metal screws connecting the radiator and radial sections.

The quality difference between these two antennas became readily apparent in the first major wind or ice storm. The Hy-Gain CLR 2 didn’t bend, break, or shake apart. The Radio Shack 5/8 wave would almost always either bend in the middle or the screws would strip out, causing one or more of the radiator sections to slide down. When this happened, your SWR would go through the roof, rendering the antenna worthless until repairs could be made. In Minnesota, this usually meant waiting until spring when the snow melted off the roof. I know, since I owned both versions. Even so, the Radio Shack 5/8 wave was a big seller. The reason was it’s price: $34.95 in 1976. Frequently on sale for $24.95. By comparison, the Hy-Gain CLR 2 sold for $45-50. Again, you get what you pay for.

 
Avanti_Moonraker_4

This was the “dream antenna” for all of us kids who were running vertical ground planes! Avanti’s Moonraker. Somtimes called the “Moonraker 4” since a 6 element version was also available. Truth be told, we dreamed about the Moonraker 6 or the grandaddy of ’em all, the Wilson Super Laser 500 (8 vertical + 8 horizontal elements.) But even at 13, I was realistic in my dreaming. I knew those two required a tower which my parents would never allow. The Moonraker 4 was small enough to be mounted on a telescoping push up mast (which my parents might allow.) Never happened, though. The closest I got was a basic 3 element vertical beam, turned by a TV antenna rotor.

The Moonraker 4 provided excellent directional lobes and nulls. Before the rampant inflation of the late 1970s kicked in, it could be had for about $125. Add a rotor and you’re still around $200. Hard to beat the cost-to-performance ratio on this antenna.

  
Antenna_Specialists_Starduster_M400

Technically, this is an Antenna Specialists M400. But we all knew it as the “Starduster.” There was a never-ending debate as to what type of antenna this actually was. Some considered it to be a 1/2 wave dipole, center fed, with the single vertical being 1/4 wave and the bottom elements comprising the other 1/4 wave. Others said it was just a 1/4 wave ground plane with the radials angled down rather than extending at a 90 degree angle from the base. In any case, it was a strong performer. The manufacturer claimed “5dB gain” which was certainly an inflated figure. Nevertheless, the antenna got out very well. I owned two of these at different times. They outperformed every other omnidirectional antenna I had except for one: the Hy-Gain Super Penetrator 500.

One big advantage of the Starduster is that it did not use a tuning or loading coil. This meant you could run substantially more than the legal 4 watts if you so desired.  I personally knew a guy who ran about 1,300 watts into a Starduster for several years with no problems. By comparison, the coil in a standard 5/8 wave ground plane would “cook” if you attempted to push more than about 200 watts into it. The other advantage was that it was practically invisible to the wind, due to it’s thin-walled construction and the fact that it only extended 9 feet above the mast that it was mounted on. In a 60MPH gust, the Starduster would barely move. It did have one weak point in it’s construction, however: the plastic “spreader” element which positioned the lower elements next to the supporting mast. These cracked very easily, especially after being exposed to sunlight for a few years. Then, the elements would flap in the wind until the threads stripped out and they fell away from the center hub. Aside from this minor drawback, the ‘Duster was a great antenna. Price in the late 1970s was $39.95-49.95, depending on the retailer.

The Antenna Specialists Super Scanner was a very unique base station antenna. Was it an omnidirectional or was it a beam? Answer: it was both! You could use it as an omni and achieve 5.75db gain. Flip it to “beam” mode and it would deliver 8.75db gain in the desired direction. A control box at the base unit was used to select the desired pattern. Since no rotor was required, you could switch patterns instantly without having to wait for the antenna to rotate and change direction. Technically, the Super Scanner was classified as an electronically-phased antenna. Retail price in 1974 was $99.99. By 1977, Jimmy Carter-era inflation had pushed the price of a ‘Scanner to $139.99.

Other classic antennas included the Mighty Magnum and Super Magnum. Both of these were also made by Antenna Specialists. In addition to the legendary Moonrakers, Avanti manufactured the Astro Plane, Astro Beam, PDL 2, Sigma 5/8, and the strange-looking but incredibly potent Sigma 4. Radio Shack’s offerings consisted of 1/4 wave, 1/2 wave, and 5/8 wave Archer ground planes. In 1978, the .64 wave was added to their lineup. The Shack also sold a small 3 element beam which could be configured for either vertical or horizontal polarization. Cushcraft’s famous line of “Ringo” antennas featured models for CB as well as several ham radio bands. There was the “Golden Hawk”, a knockoff of the Starduster. Shakespeare gave us the Big Stick which is still around today. And didn’t Turner/Telex make an omnidirectional base antenna during the late 1970s? This was before Telex bought Hy-Gain and began manufacturing the redesigned (cheapened) Super Penetrator 500s.

If YOU have photos of classic CB radios and/or antennas from “back in the day”, send ’em to me! I’ll post them here for the world to see!

47 thoughts on “Classic CB Base Station Antennas

  1. mike

    a lot of of cb base antennas make good 10 meter antennas

  2. Drew Post author

    Definitely! With the old aluminum ground planes which are held together with clamps, it’s a simple matter of adjusting the length down for resonance at 10 meters. If they use sheet metal screws, just cut the top section down to the proper length. If you have a “modern” fiberglass base antenna (Antron 99, etc.) it’s even easier: Just turn the adjustment knob at the base of the antenna!

  3. steve

    thanks for the story on base anttenas back in the mid 70s i was 15 years old and cb radio crazy all my friends had base stations.i must have tried 5 or 6 base anttenas first was little rs 1/4 wave then mighty magnum 3 big stick wilson 5/8 with ring collor. star duster finnaly i settled for avnti sigma 5/8 it was a great groundplane had good db gain.then few years later got the big super scanner it was cool .

  4. Drew Post author

    I’m not sure I can even count all the antennas I had. My parents were always yelling at me to “Stay off the roof! You’re going to wear out the shingles and then we’ll have leaks!” Sound familiar?

    I started in August, 1976 at the age of 12. After mowing lawns all summer in order to afford my Midland 13-882C, I had no money left for a power supply or antenna. So, I used an old car battery for power and a random length of speaker wire for an antenna! I swear, that radio had iron finals. I operated this way for about a month until I could afford my “starter” antenna: a Radio Shack Archer 1/4 wave ground plane. It was mounted on 10′ of masting, using an eave mount on the side of the house. Fed with about 35 feet of RG-58/U coax. I was AMAZED at how well this worked, compared to the speaker wire! People more than a couple miles away could actually HEAR me now!

    About 5 months later, a CB friend needed money “right away”, so he sold me his Cushcraft AR-11 “Ringo” 1/2 wave for $10! I used the same mount as the 1/4 wave, but upgraded to RG-8/U coax. I gained about 1 S-units on transmit and receive vs the 1/4 wave. Well worth it for $10!

    My big upgrade came in the summer of 1977: a genuine Hy-Gain Super Penetrator 500! This was and is the mother lode of omnidirectional CB antennas. Nothing I used before or since could outperformed a well-tuned and maintained Penetrator! The only problem was that it generated a lot of TVI (TV interference) since the base of the antenna was at the same height as our TV antenna, as well as the neighbors’ TV antennas. I turned lemons into lemonade by using this as a convenient excuse to raise the antenna! With a Rohn 3′ tripod and 20′ of masting on top of our 2-story house, that Penetrator just SMOKED! The tip was about 5 feet over the FCC limit of 60′ above the ground, but who’s counting? I used this setup for nearly 2 years with various CB radios, power mics, and power supplies. Running a legal power output of just 4 watts, I had one of the strongest signals in Apple Valley, Minnesota! LOVE the Penetrator!

    In the spring of 1979, curiosity got the best of me. A friend was running a Radio Shack Archer 5/8 wave and claimed it got out “better” than a Penetrator. Plus, I was starting to get interested in home stereo equipment (another money pit!), so I needed cash. I took the Penetrator down and sold it for $40. Replaced it with a used Archer 5/8 which I bought for $15. Big mistake. I lost at least 1 S-unit on both transmit & receive vs the Super Penetrator. Worse, the Archer was of very poor materials and construction vs the Hy-Gain antennas (see the article above.) The very first wind storm resulted in a nice “bowing” of the Archer’s 3rd radiator section. In comparison, the Penetrator survived 2 brutal Minnesota winters (think heavy snow, wind, and ice storms) without a scratch. The Archer also had a higher SWR vs the Penetrator. I’m guessing this was because of it’s shorter physical length, using a loading coil to make up the difference. (The Archer 5/8, Hy-Gain CLR 2, Royce 5/8, and other similar antennas all utilized 19′ 10″ vertical radiators. The Penetrator was a full 5/8 wavelength of 22′ 10″.) Most annoying was the fact that you couldn’t adjust the SWR on the Radio Shack antennas because they used sheet metal screws instead of clamps to attach the radiator sections. I could never get it below 1.5:1. The Penetrator tuned down to 1.05:1 in the middle of the CB band with a 1.1:1 match on Channels 1 and 40. Needless to say, I got rid of this antenna after just a few months. I replaced it with a Starduster M-400 from Antenna Specialists.

    The Starduster was an interesting and very capable animal. It had a lot of advantages including easy assembly, great wind resistance, and a great SWR match right out of the box. When you look at it, it’s hard to believe that such a simple antenna performs as well as it does. I mounted the Starduster first on 20′ of masting, then added another 10′ in order to get it to the same height as I had with the Penetrator. (The Starduster’s feedpoint is located in the middle of the antenna. It only extends 9 feet above the mast.) No complaints at all with this antenna! EXCELLENT skip-talking ability with the ‘Duster! During the peak of the 1979-80 sunspot cycle, I acquired a Cobra 142GTL with “extra channels.” I was able to talk to Melbourne, Victoria, AUSTRALIA up around 27.600Mhz, using this antenna. The radio was running legal power. No linears required! I talked all over the globe using this radio and antenna combination. Big stuff for a 15-16 year-old kid!

    The only problem with the Starduster is that it wasn’t a Super Penetrator. I guess we all have to go back to “our roots” eventually. Now that I was 16 and working at a “real job”, I could afford to buy a new one. No more used antennas for this guy! By the fall of 1980, Jimmy Carter’s inflation had pushed the price up to $59.99. Also by this time, Hy-Gain had gone out of business. Their antenna division had been purchased by Telex. Telex cheapened the Penetrator considerably, a fact which was immediately evident as you began building the antenna. First, the unique beta match at the base of the antenna had been eliminated. Second, the radials were now of 2 section construction vs 3 sections under Hy-Gain. Third, the radial attachment to the base was now accomplished with 1 bolt instead of the 2 bolts that were used previously. Finally, the radiator sections now attached with metal screws, rather than clamps as was the case previously. There were also rumors that the grade of aluminum had been cheapened and was not aircraft-grade as previously advertised by Hy-Gain. However, I was never able to verify whether or not this was true. The good news was that the new Telex Super Penetrator performed just as well as the old Hy-Gain Super Penetrator. I took this opportunity to add 5 more feet of masting and replace the bottom 1-1/4″ section with a stronger 10 foot length of 1-1/2″ fence pipe. This gave me a total of 25′ of masting and put the top of my new Penetrator approximately 70 feet above ground level. Happy days were here again! Amazingly enough, I was able to raise and install this antenna by myself! I don’t recommend trying this. Needless to say, I was lucky! I used this antenna setup until I moved out of my parents’ house and out-of-state in the summer of 1983. Before I moved, I took everything down and sold the whole mess. This made my parents very happy!

    Of course, there is no law that says you must use only *one* base antenna. In the fall of 1981, I thought it would be fun to install another tripod over the garage and put up a Radio Shack Archer 3-element beam! My parents were conveniently out-of-town for a week, so the time was right. They wouldn’t notice a new beam, tripod, guy wires and rotor, would they? Radio Shack had the antenna on sale for $29.95 (regularly $39.95), so how could I go wrong? I mounted it vertical on 20′ of masting. The little beam worked very well. It was easy to assemble and lightweight enough so I could use a standard Alliance U-100 TV antenna rotator to turn it. My signal was about the same strength as on the Penetrator in the direction the beam was pointed, but the Penetrator was about 25 feet higher and it’s coax run was 30 feet shorter. The big advantage of the beam was that I could now “cut out” people whom I didn’t want to hear. There was a channel jammer 5 miles to the east of me who made communication impossible with a friend 10 miles to the north. Putting the side of the beam towards him cut him down from S-9 to S-3! Problem solved! The beam stayed up for about a year. The only reason I took it down was so I could replace it with a directional FM antenna. By this time, I was 18 and attending Brown Institute of Broadcasting. I wanted to be able to hear as many stations as possible since I would soon be “in radio” myself. I briefly thought about getting a crank-up tower for the beam, but realized that neither my parents nor my bank account would accomodate my wishes. So, I took the my “Archer 3” down and sold it. Kept the mast and rotor setup to use with my new Winegard 10-element FM yagi.

    There were a few other antennas which I bought and sold along the way. I’d put them up briefly to test, tune, and evaluate. Remember that original eave mount that I mentioned? When I installed the tripod, I kept my eave mount and installed a 5′ mast there. This was my “test” site for temporary installations. At various times, this mount was home to the following antennas:

    Hy-Gain CLR 2 5/8 wave (bought used, very good antenna, similar in design and performance to the Archer 5/8 wave but MUCH superior construction);

    Shakespeare Big Stick 1/2 wave (wasn’t impressed.)

    Radio Shack Archer .64 wave (a knockoff of the Super Penetrator, but with cheaper construction, no beta match, and no top hat radials.)

    Radio Shack Archer tri-band scanner antenna (became the final occupant of this mount in 1982 when I started messing around with scanners.)

    Radio Shack Archer 3-element beam (After removing the beam from the garage so that I could install the FM yagi, I briefly tried to “resurrect” the beam by using this mount and a 10′ mast. I immediately realized the beam and rotor was way too heavy for the small eave mount. I knew it would never survive the winter. So, I took it down and replaced it with the scanner antenna. Had to give it a try since I REALLY didn’t want to get rid of that beam!)

    So, there you have it! Probably more than you wanted to know and WAY too long for the comment section. I tend to get carried away when I start talking CB radios and antennas. It’s an illness, but a good one to have!

  5. Doug Hatley

    are there any of the CLR2s out there for sale

  6. Drew Post author

    Hi Doug,

    I saw one just a few weeks ago. It was mounted to the roof peak of a 2-story house with a 3′ tripod and 10′ mast. The antenna was fully intact with no bent, broken, or collapsed sections. Even the top hat was still there. Since metal base CB antennas were banned in 1983, this means it’s been up for at least 27 years. The quality of materials and construction on these antennas was EXCELLENT! Aircraft-grade aluminum and commercial-grade clamps. Which is how I know it was a genuine HyGain CLR2 and not one of the cheap Radio Shack Archer 5/8 wave knockoffs. There’s no way the Radio Shack version would have survived this long!

  7. SIX-SHOOTER

    I started in CB radio at the age of 6 with my dads 6 channel JOHNSON 100 mounted in his car.I killed TWO batteries before he decided I should have a base radio & base antenna.My FIRST base radio(MINE) was a Realistic TRC-30A & the antenna was a STARDUSTER in a Fla. pine tree at about 90 feet.I worked the world with it & before all was said & done I owned a TRAM D-201 with an ASTATIC D-104,D&A 12 TUBE PHANTOM,& a home brew 4 element yagi(4 vertical,4 horizontal)on a 20 foot boom which I built myself from the ARRL antenna handbook I borrowed from a friend.The yagi was mounted on a 20 ft piece of schedule 40 2 inch pump pipe which I turned by hand(The armstrong rotor system).My neighbors HATED me because I tore up EVERYTHING electronic in their house when I talked which was for HOURS at a time since my radio was in my bedroom.It was lots of FUN & resulted in me becoming a HAM RADIO OPERATOR & just this week bought TWO 40 channel SSB CB radios(COBRA 148GTL & REALISTIC TRC-468),one for home & one for my pickup truck.Have NOT talked on a CB in over 20 years until yesterday but think I’ll keep them around for a while just for another band to operate on.

  8. james scruggs

    i am in to cb radio to and would like to buy one of your hygain clr2 base station antennas oder number 473 i had one when i was 13 years of age and have been trying to find one for over ten years thank you james scruggs

  9. james scruggs

    my call sign is blue shark kaes1790 out of st petersburg fla

  10. james scruggs

    i am looking for a radio tech to work on radios here in florida in st. petersburg that is thanks james

  11. channeon l strode

    hi my name is channeon and i been in to cb radios for 30 year .. i like talking on the radios all the time ..i buy and sale radio all the time it.s what i love to do … right now i have same old cobra 29 and i just love don.t i wood ever sale i,ll talk on the radio for ever

  12. jb2279

    I am looking for a Radio Shack .64 Wave cb base station antenna from the late 1970’s. If you know of any one selling one, please let me know. Thank You

  13. Drew Post author

    These are tough to find. I believe the last year they were manufactured was 1981. Construction and materials used on this antenna were inferior to the HyGain Super Penetrator 500 (which the Radio Shack .64 Wave was modeled after), so they haven’t held up nearly as well over the years. We’ll keep our eyes open, though. If any RadioGeeks spot a .64 wave for sale, please let us know. Thanks!

  14. Willie

    I am looking for a Hy-Gain 5/8 or a Starduster. Anybody?

  15. Drew Post author

    The Starduster is once again being manufactured. Known as “the new Starduster M400”, it is readily available on eBay and elsewhere. Price typically runs between $60-70. The 7db gain claim is inflated, but it’s a good performer nonetheless. Of course, it’s now being marketed as a “10 meter amateur antenna” or “commercial antenna” in order to get around the CPSC ban on metal CB base station antennas.

  16. Sixcalls

    What fun CB was, (and still is!) especially before the big CB movie & music craze of the mid-late ’70s.
    – Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed seeing a CB antenna on every other house, especially because there were so many different types and I, (like the author) was sharp enough to recognize the Penetrator was the best going and therefore ad the advantage(!), but I hated to hear so many new people who either didn’t know how to correctly operate their radio or had a bad attitude and only seemed to want to harass other people on the air.

    Though I started out with a CLR2, I wanted to KNOW the Penetrator was the best so I bought and tried every possible omni available in 1976, including Avanti’s Sigma5/8 & Astroplane antennas.

    The Astroplane was a weird but disappointing antenna. I was hoping that oddball, off-the-wall design would work the miracles both the advertisers and users liked to claim.

    Uh, no.

    Next came the ‘prettiest’ antenna out there, the Avanti Sigma5/8 with that interesting ring matching network. Now I liked the Penetrator but that Sigma5/8 with it’s circular ring just above the radials had a symmetry the Penetrator didn’t and I was hoping it would outperform my Penetrator, (especially since in my area the Penetrator was a lot more common and I liked being unique and having a ‘Silver-Bullet’ antenna) but it didn’t.

    Actually it did, but on Receive only.

    Interesting that the receive on the Sigma was 1 needle width better, but the transmit on the Penetrator was 1 needle width better according to my several careful-eyed testing stations running Brownings, Johnsons & Trams..

    Looking at those downward folded top-hat radials at the top of the Penetrator and wondering if that wasn’t losing performance by losing almost a foot in height, I decided to try it without them, but I knew it wouldn’t tune right without those 10″ rods at the top, so I added 10″ of tubing to the top going straight up and it not only tuned perfectly, the receive came up that needle width, and with no noticeable increase in static.

    OK, so now it was a slam-dunk, the Penetrator was built better, no silly rods at the ed of the radials for large birds to bend, a non-cracking radial hub and better transmit by a needle width – DONE!

    I sold the Sigma to a good friend who loved it for decades, and kept what is arguably the best vertical omnidirectional CB ground plane ever made, The Hy-gain Super CLR Penetrator500.

    …and I still have it, plus I bought back my old Sigma5/8 and that’s in my storage awaiting a new home one of these days.

    email me at: ‘sixcalls gmail com’ for any follow-up such as measurements for the Penetrator matching network, ideas on how to convert your .64 to a Penetrator, etc., etc…

    73zzzzzzzzz

  17. Jeff Norton, Bemidji, MN

    As far as I’m concerned, one of THE BEST is still the Starduster, mounted on a ThunderPole tower. Man…what a set-up. Mine was great, and talked for miles! There were (are) plenty of others I agree, but for the limited budgets, it was wonderful!! Love this site, keep it up!!

  18. HotelCharlie181, NC

    Best omni-directional CB antenna was the Penetrator or the Starduster.
    I have a new in the box original Avanti “Moonraker 4” stored in my garage. I should eBay it but I just hang on to it.
    thanks for having this site to reminiss about the ‘good ole days, and the fun we had on CB radio.

  19. Drew Post author

    I had 2 Super Penetrator 500s (one Hy-Gain, one Telex) and a Starduster in between. I used an extra 10′ of masting on the Starduster so they were both at the same overall height. That meant the Starduster actually radiated higher, since it’s feedpoint is in the middle of the antenna vs the Super Penetrator which radiates from near the base. Still, the Super Penetrator was a better performer, both locally and in “Skipland.” The ‘Duster was a close second, though.

  20. Drew Post author

    My only complaint with the Antenna Specialists Starduster was the cheap plastic “spreader element” they used to insulate the radials from the supporting mast. This was the Achilles’ heel of the Starduster’s design. Over time, the sun would rot it out and/or the wind would cause it to crack and break away. Then, the radials would flap in the wind until the threads stripped out at the base. If they had soent a few more cents and used heavy-duty fiberglass instead of plastic, this could have been prevented. Otherwise, a great antenna. But was it a 1/4 wave ground plane or a 1/2 wave dipole? That debate goes on!

  21. Bart Jones

    The M400 Starduster is back on the market again under the brand name “Sirio M-400 10 Meter Antenna” by CTE International, the Italian parent company of Midland. Currently $78+S/H at Copper.

    …and it is a 1/2 wave, center-fed Co-Axial antenna, not a dipole or ground plane. CTE calls it a “CoActive” antenna. The original Shakespeare “Big Stick” was this same class of antenna, but encased in fiberglass. Debate Over.

  22. Scott

    I bought a Antenna Specialists beam about 5 years back new in the box. It has 3 elements vertical and 3 horizontal. I have moved since then and can not find the instruction manual to assemble it. Anyone have any idea were to find one. I’ve spent numerous hours on the net looking with no luck. I don’t know the model of the antenna.

  23. Scott

    Forgot to add it looks just like the Maco M103HV except it is a Antenna Specialists made in the 70’s or 80’s

  24. Brian

    Turner made the Turner Skykicker which I owned in the late 70s. It was a decent performer and slightly resembled the Starduster but if I remember correctly the radial elements extended at a 45 degree angle, and it had 2 elements extending up from the hub, with one being a tuning stub and shorter than the main element. I don’t think I ever took any pictures of it back then.

  25. mike

    i am looking for the avanti av101 astro plane parts and complete antenna’s. also looking for astro beams contact me at mcreighbaum@yahoo.com and please put avanti in the subject box thanks everyone and have a great day

  26. donnie dollar

    can i upgrade a pdl2 beam to a 3 element?

  27. John

    What was the model name for the electronic Turner beam? It was similar to the Super scanner but I believe they had another element or two.

  28. sam

    Hi guys im in oz we had the archer 5/8’s and .64’s here as well the penetrator. i still have a archer 5/8 witch i had now
    for over 29 years its been up and down fixed 4 times i all so have a siro 5/8 grand plane in witch i think is crap as we have cocotoos here that love to sit on top of it. 10 or more at a time till it snaps so the archer will go back up once again for a run till i get my new penetrator! im not shore if you guys out there know yet but hi-gain have started selling the penetrator again with better build and so on its 149.95 bucks so me and the blokes down under are on to it as it can take the beating and with the birds ive been wating and watchen ebay for one and found that hi-gain started maken this top antennner once more.

  29. Drew Post author

    Has anyone done an A/B comparison between the “new” Super Penetrator 500 and the old version? The original was simply the best omnidirectional base antenna available. Back in the 1970s-80s, I used practically every base antenna available and nothing could touch the Penetrator. The Avanti 5/8 wave ground plane and the Starduster M400 were close, but not quite. I’d love to hear from someone who has both a “new” and “old” Penetrator and has done a comparison of the performance and build quality.

  30. Drew Post author

    I should know that, John. I can “see” it in my mind! The Turner electronic beam had 4 vertical elements vs 3 on the Antenna Specialists Super Scanner. Also had oval-shaped “loops” instead of straight elements. Can anyone remember what it was called?

  31. john

    SIGNAL KICKER

  32. john

    I just thought I would share with you my update on my new antenna project. The Original Antenna Specialist Scanner model M119 . This is circa 1965. I see my post was removed for what reason I have no idea? It was here for over a month.
    Apparently this build offended someone. I wasn’t trying to Grand Stand anyone. I like to do things and not just talk about it. So I will not give you an update.
    in fact, I see no reason to come to this site. I made the mistake of thinking this would be a site of interest by sharing knowledge and experience with antennas. I see it is one way only. What ever makes you feel important.lol

  33. Drew Post author

    Hi John,

    I may have deleted your original comment by accident. A few weeks ago, I was slammed with automated comment spam. We’re talking over 1,400 postings in just a few days’ time! I scanned through all comments before deleting so as to save the legitimate ones. But with 1,400 pieces of junk to deal with, it’s easy to make a mistake and miss one. Sorry about that. Please, give us an update on your project. Thanks, Drew.

  34. mycbshack

    Hi Drew- great site! I actually stumbled on it while looking for some old antenna info. I usually don’t post on message boards, but felt compelled when I saw my very own (or at least my very own former) AS M119 Super Scanner picture on your site. It’s on my Antenna page on my own CB Radio website http://www.mycbshack.com. That antenna was on about 35 ft of tower out in the middle of corn country of North Central Ohio. I had it up for about 2 years but took it down in 2008 when we moved to the Dallas, TX area. Was a great antenna and held up great to heavy winds, snow and rain!

    After reading all of these comments, I have come to the clear conclusion that I’m not the only insane person who can’t get CB Radio out of their blood! Like you- I got my start with a 40 channel mobile AM CB (Voyager 490- still have it) in 1980. Had a car battery and a trunk mount, which I mounted to the eaves. Of course that killed everyone in the neighborhood with TVI, so I upgraded to the Archer 1/4 wave, which blew down in the first winter storm….then went to the Archer 5/8 wave, which lasted a while. After the 5/8 wave came down, I went with the Shakespeare Big Stick (it was skyblue in color)….which happens to be the antenna I was searching when I found your site. I got out of CB in the mid 80’s after High School and didn’t get back into the hobby until 2001 or so. Had an Antron A99 up in Ohio before the Super Scanner. Once we moved to Texas in 2008- I was not able to get an antenna up until around 2010 and I went with….you guessed it, an old Shakespeare Big Stick I bought off Craigslist for $20. It’s lost most of it’s color and isn’t in great shape, but I rarely talk anymore- mostly listen and it suits it’s purpose. I have been considering an Imax 2000, but haven’t pulled the trigger.

    Anyway- sorry for the lengthy diatribe! Great site and happy reminiscing! Cliff

  35. Bob

    Hi Drew great site I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s got my first CB in 1975 I was 10 been addicted to radio ever since lol. So addicted that I now have a extra class amature radio license and I am a Comercial Radio Technician. I still repair CB radios on the side I really enjoy working on and Repairing them. I seem to have a weakness to collecting them I have quite a collection, I think it had something to do with being a kid and no money to buy them since I was just a kid with no job and would have given my leg for one of those cool radios back then.
    I have to agree with you on the Hy-Gain Super Penetrator! Also known as Super CLR or Penetrator 500.
    After I was married back in the early 90′ and had a real job I decided to get back on the air.
    I put up a 50 foot Roan 45 tower at the top of the tower I had a moonraker 4
    10 foot above that I had the Super Penetrator
    I was verry dissappointed with the proformance on the Moonraker 4 concidering the price of the antenna and rotator.
    It would not out proform my Super Penetrator just like you said it had good side and rear rejection to block out local chatter but as far as range both were equal on both RX and TX.
    I have had my antenna in storage a big barn owl decided to roost on the top hat and broke off the next to the top section.
    I discoverd HY-Gain is now making the super penatrater again known as the SPT-500
    I downloaded the manual and orderd replacement parts from them and now have my favorite antenna back up and ressurected.
    Due to inflation the price on the SPT-500 is $150.00
    but still less than puting up a Beam including cost of rotator
    Here is a link for all intrested if needing parts or wanting to Purchase a great proforming antenna

    http://www.hy-gain.com/Product.php?productid=SPT-500

  36. flwfg

    Open to some ideas… I currently have a what I believe is a Shakespeare fiberglass stick that locals call an Army Stick, as they purchased so many of them for military use.. It is sitting about 3 foot on top of a 28” tower… and it works better than OK…I ALSO have an original Avanti Astro Plane, still in the box… Would the Avanti be a better antenna to put on the same height or maybe a couple of foot taller to allow the required 48″ spacing from tower to bottom of antenna… Welcome any and all suggestions… Thanks in advance…Walt

  37. Drew Post author

    Hi Walt,

    The Avanti Astro Plane and the Shakespeare ABS-1600 “Army Big Stick” are both 5/8 wave antennas. This is an important distinction since the standard Big Stick is only 1/2 wavelength. So theoretically, the Astro Plane and the Army Big Stick should have roughly equal performance characteristics. The Army Stick will cover a larger range of frequencies, however. If I remember correctly, it’s advertising specified 26.0-28.5Mhz coverage with no tuning required. So, if you’re using it outside of the standard 40 CB channels (commercial band or the lower portion of the 10-meter ham band), the Army Stick might work better for you. The Astro Plane is tough to tune without cutting it up. I would never cut or file down a vintage base CB antenna!

    Of course, the only sure way to determine a performance winner is to install the Astro Plane and do an A/B comparison. Good luck and let us know what you come up with!

  38. tony

    I can’t remember the name of antenna for a citizen band radio in the1980’s in usa, a two element quad antenna, maybe i bought it from radio shack,,, up at the antenna feed point were two gamma match rods to set the swr for the horizontal and vertical plane — ( E-Plane and H-Plane ) if i remember it was two cables down at the radio that connected into a switch box that allowed me to switch between horizontal and vertical, it worked on ten meters and fifteen with a match box when i got my ham ticket, it was a great little antenna, I’m blank on the name and I’ve searched so much, my eyes have gone blind to the text, thanks for putting the site together, tony

    who was the manufacturer that made a

  39. Drew Post author

    Hi Tony,

    Sounds like the Avanti PDL2. Technically, a cubical quad. Forward gain was rated at 12dB over isotropic source if I remember correctly. Does this look familiar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8u_7J3ai_y4

  40. DonL

    Hi Drew,

    I happened on this site while trying to locate info on my Avanti PDL2 antenna. All the parts are here, but completely disassembled.

    I would like to find a manual for this model, but can’t find a similar looking antenna. The antenna I have does not have the orbital gamma matching sections. It has matching and driven elements like that of a Moonraker with a copper wire reflector section. ???

    Any clues to what this model was known as or where to find any information or manuals? (BTY it looks very similar to the Maco Y-Quad. I do know mine is an Avanti by the embossed name on the hubs)

    DonL

  41. Bill

    My first rig was a Radio Shack 40 channel with volume and squelch and a 1/4 Archer. I soon upgraded to an Avanti Saturn, which offered vertical or horizontal signals. It was a chore to assemble and had a wire that ran around the radials with spacers that appeared to be fiberglass. What a talker!!! Would give anything to have that Saturn back.

  42. Drew Post author

    Hi Bill!

    The Avanti Saturn was one of those antennas I always wanted to try but could never afford. I think they were around $150. Quite a chunk of change back when a new Hy-Gain Super Penetrator 500 was only $50. Do you have any pics?

    My concern with the Saturn was durability. How well did those thin wires and fiberglass spacers hold up during wind and ice storms?

  43. Dedicated server

    While trucker antennas will often range slightly in height between 45″ and 60″, a rough range of 7 to 10 miles is a good approximation of what you’ll see from most models.

  44. Gary Armistead

    Well I am doing it again. I setting up a Base Station. Not like I had in 1974 which was a Browning Golden Eagle. Jack up for a little more than 5 watts. I had D&A Phantom 500, which had been set for 10 meter ham, and the good old Big Stick and a set of three element beams. D-104 Power Mic and a total of 1,850 Watts. Now it’s just a old Cobra Cam 89. But!!! I am looking for a good Big Stick or a Super Scanner the 119 I think. If any body has one jus lying around doing nothing but crying for some wattage. Let me know. I am just west of St. Louis and the Handle is ” Moonshine ” KFV-9181 or KZW-9968. E-Mail is ” garyshine@charter.net I am on Facebook. Look for Moonshine’s Music Video Page.

  45. Gary Armistead

    I hope before I leave this earth. I can talk to Jamaica. Like I did in the middle of all football games on Thanksgiving day in 1974.
    You guys keep up the good work. And I have had almost every antenna out there. The best was the Astro plane or Astro beam.

  46. John

    keep the Astroplane FLWFG, but be aware that the instructions tell you NOT to twist or try to adjust the top element because the feed point for the elements is very fragile! I read the instructions very well and took it all to heart, and kept the Astro-plane for 25 years. Now a ham but before I took the test in the late ’90s I did make a contact into NZ the week before I tested for tech. Just a caution, not a command or anything like that.

    Looking for a Antron 99, but they are a dime a dozen and broad banded enough to do 10-11 meters, also 12-20 meters!!!!

  47. Bcs

    Wow, this site brings back memories. I had a moonraker 4. 3 Ice storms finally took it out. Also still have the Astro plane sitting on top of 25′ schedule 80 pipe and had half a Large Wilson TV antenna left below it.

    The bottom ring of the Astro Plane was gone. Still using tower for Cell Repeater.

    I had a guy with boom truck taking my old antennas off. Got very hot on July 2nd 2017 and I made him stop working after he got weak and nausea took over.

    Was hoping that top of 25′ pipe was threaded to attach a 18″ Dia 5′ long Windsock.

    Unfortunately no threads and we had no jib pole. So I went and bought a schedule 40 15′ pipe 1.96 OD pipe threaded and adapter to fit windsock frame.

    Had the guy that threaded pipe climb tower to make sure I was getting right size pipe.

    I can’t find specs to 1970 vintage Rohn Towers to see OD of opening at top.

    Plan is to try and get old 25′ pipe out the top or lower to bottom and torch it out of tower.

    Was amazing recall guy putting it up, had Astro plane on top and large Wilson Directional TV antenna below all together wired. He pulled up with jib pole and right when he started to lift finally step to put into tower wind gust came along and he almost lost it all yelled it too ducking much. lol I ran seeing it 90 flat. How he every lifted that heavy 25′ schedule 80 with antennas back up I never know.

    Does any one know the OD of old Rohn tower opening at top. This tower does not have the x pattern like so many do. It’s stood up to high winds ice storms etc. key is to have great guyed wires and strong turn buckles that won’t break attached to 6 foot eye rods that twist into ground.

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