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ARCHER SPORT AIRCRAFT COM ANTENNA MODEL 1A

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Overview

These antennas have been designed by Bob Archer from Torrance, CA utilizing concepts common to military aircraft and space vehicles. The antenna performance is superior to most in use today in private aircraft. The only requirement for max. performance is that the antennas must be installed in accordance with the installation instructions. These antennas are designed to be installed inside fiberglass or other non-conductive wing tips or tail caps of metal or other conductive material aircraft.

Model 1A
This Wing Tip Com Antenna is designed to fit inside larger fiberglass wing tips on metal (conductive that is) airplanes such as T-18's, RV's Bonanzas etc. But tuned out for the Com Band. The wing tips must have internal dimensions of at least 11"x24" and generally fit better on the bottom surface. The VSWR is normally less than 2.0:1 over a frequency band of 108 to 127 Mhz but could be higher due to installation factors.

Offered because of pressure from RV builders. Users report good communications at ranges greater than 50 miles. Should be installed so that the maximum height of the tip is utilized to get the most vertical polarization.

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Reviews

I installed one of these antennas in each wingtip on my Glastar. Its possible that the Glastar wingtip simply does not have the needed vertical component for the Archer Sport 1a, but I was VERY careful with the installation, following all guidelines as best I could. The unit is well made and the instructions were reasonably good. I optimized everywhere that I could, including very careful and thorough grounding to the aircraft skin using special multi-contact material, and the highest quality coaxial cable and plug. The result has been mediocre at best. The problems are simple: poor range, and each antenna is sufficiently masked in certain directions (presumably by the rest of the wing and/or the rest of the aircraft) that I often find myself using roll inputs or turns in order to get better transmission or reception in marginal situations. This is obviously not a desirable outcome. My desire for an internal, zero-drag solution for com antennas drove me to try the Archer Sports, and for a long time I didnt want to admit failure, but ultimately, after asking about the range and performance of other antenna installations, Ive had to admit that theyve turned out unacceptably poor. The RV aircraft have much more vertical space in the wingtips for a more vertical mounting, and also have no fuselage hanging below the level of the antennas, so its possible that the Archer Sport performs significantly better in that configuration of aircraft. Soon, Ill be removing both of my Archer Sport antennas, and likely replacing them with a pair of standard com antennas atop the wing. People who have this configuration on the Sportsman and Glastar report outstanding com performance in nearly all situations.

Scobie P
September 30, 2019

I bought and installed my Archer wingtip antenna a number of years ago fairly early in the construction of my RV-7A. I was aware at the time of some mixed reviews about this antenna but I really liked the idea of not having a comm antenna mounted externally so the optimistic part of my brain won the argument and I went for it. I suspected that proper installation was key to making this thing work so I followed the included instructions meticulously. To minimize any possible contributing factors I had a solid run of RG-400 from the wingtip to the radio (an ICOM IC-A210) so there would be no connections to mess things up. I made my first flights and discovered that I had to be inside of 8 miles before the tower at my home airport could hear me clearly and while that might be OK for flying at small uncontrolled airports it simply doesnt work for the flying that I do. Ultimately I pulled the co-ax out of the wing and installed a RAMI bent whip on the belly just aft of the firewall and slightly to one side of the exhaust pipes. My first flight after installing the new antenna was to test the range of the same radio with the new antenna and the tower now gives me a loud and clear from 50 miles out. I hadnt previously noticed any issues with reception, but it became obvious on this flight that reception was much better as well. Im sorry this antenna didnt work out but Im glad I have a properly working comm radio now.

Jim M
September 19, 2020

Q&A

Please note, Aircraft Spruce's personnel are not certified aircraft mechanics and can only provide general support and ideas, which should not be relied upon or implemented in lieu of consulting an A&P or other qualified technician. Aircraft Spruce assumes no responsibility or liability for any issue or problem which may arise from any repair, modification or other work done from this knowledge base. Any product eligibility information provided here is based on general application guides and we recommend always referring to your specific aircraft parts manual, the parts manufacturer or consulting with a qualified mechanic.

Q: Does this antenna mount horizontal or vertical in the RV 9 wing tip? Is there a device to split the signal between two communication radios?

The Archer antenna typically mounts horizontally in the wing tip. Please consult vans forums for ideal mounting locations. The com splitter is available but it is special order. Contact sales for price and lead time for the splitter.

Q: Can this antenna be mounted vertical in the tail cone of a fiberglass aircraft?

Yes, this antenna will work mounted vertically.

Q: Is the 1A design to be used for COM only and a separate 1 antenna for NAV, or does the 1A function for both? Are mounting instructions for the 1A antenna identical to those previously documented by Bob Archer for the 1 antenna? How many 1 and 1A antennas are recommended for 2 COM and 2 NAV installations on RVs?

The SA-001 is for VOR nav, and the SA-001-A is for COM only. We have now added the current installation instructions for both the 1 and the 1A antenna, which can be located on their respective pages under the "Documents" tab. For 2 VOR installations, the best installation is one antenna in each wingtip, each connected to a single receiver. For COM, only one antenna should be installed.

Q: Can I use a 1A antenna for COM and a 1 antenna for NAV on the same wingtip of an RV? Using a left and right style, both could fit into a single wingtip this way. Would transmissions out from the COM interfere with the NAV receiving performance?

This is not recommended by the manufacturer. The NAV and COM antennas, even while not being used simultaneously, affect the performance of the other.

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