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The Sirio SD-27 Dipole Review.
Welcome to my attempt to add a much needed review on perhaps one of the best kept antenna secrets in the 10 to 12 meter world.
The SIRIO SD-27 Dipole.
The first thing I noticed upon opening the box was how VERY well made the components were. Sirio definately did not skimp on the quality of materials on this one. In fact, I was hard pressed to fiqure out
how they are making any money at all on this thing. I purchased it brand new from (At the time of this writing.) the only authorized U.S. dealer, H&Y Electronics, for $55.00. (I purchased mine from their E-Bay store.) ***UPDATE*** The price on these is even lower now! ***UPDATE***
Everything is made from very high quality aluminum, including the mounting points. From what I can figure, I could almost get my money back from scrapping it at the local scrap yard!
Everything you need to put this in the air is included in the box, the mounting bracket, U-Bolts, hardware etc. Even the coax boot and jointing sleeves. All of which are very heavy duty, lightweight and precision made.
It comes with Instructions (Including the proper dimensions for tuning at the mid-point of the 11m band for all you CB'ers out there.) that are written in many different languages and they are fairly easy to read and understand.
It even comes with the mast stickers warning of high voltage. The tuning instructions by the way, were perfect. After getting this into the air, my match was a near perfect 1.2:1. More on that later.
Assembly was a snap as the main elements are simply extracted from themselves and then locked into place with the provided allen screws and self tapping screws, over which the jointing sleeves are mounted into place at the same time.
There is an earlier review of this antenna online that is from an obviously earlier "version" of this antenna, it refers to "cheesy" jointing sleeves etc, but this "version" is definately made of very high quality materials. Also, that earlier review refers to it in a horizontally mounted configuration.
I will be mounting this vertically however, I have no doubts whatsoever that this dipole would make an exceptional bi-directional flatside DX talker.
Back to the antenna. For a 1/2 wave 11 meter antenna (18 ft.) I was very impressed with how light the whole assembly was. In fact, I was able to mount this on a 30 ft. telescoping mast with no guy wires as it simply wasn't enough weight or wind load to make it noticeable on the mast at all.
I mounted the mast so that the center point of the antenna (The center of the radiating elements.) was 40 feet off of the ground.
Also, you will notice in the pictures below that it is mounted very close to a large tree. I can tell you right now that this seemed to make little to no difference in this antenna's performance. Again, more on that later.
Once assembly was completed and the antenna was mounted to the mast, I called a buddy of mine to help lift this into the air, ran the RG213/U coax under the house and up into the shack and then plugged the radio in.
I've tried this antenna on 2 radios so far. The first radio, immediately after erecting the antenna, was a Ranger RCI 2970DX. The first thing I noticed after turning the radio on (And checking the SWR) was how exceptionally quiet it was. This antenna is going to be damn nice! I tuned into the 11 meter bands and
dialed around until I found some distant contacts. First one was someone I had never been able to hear before except in the mobile when I was closer to him since he has a low powered station and is over 45 miles away from me. This time I pulled him in at S5 with no problems hearing him at all. I made sure the radio was fully QRP (As low powered as is possible on this radio.) at 5 watts
and gave him a shout. He immediatey responded and reported that I was filling his radio with no problems. Going from a radio that I only knew he was on because of others closer to him talking to him to having a radio that I can now talk to him on myself with ease was incredible to me, especially for only having spent $55.00 to do it! Not only do I have exceptional receive now but this thing talks!
Now I want to see what this thing does on DX. I dialed around and found some DX chattering away on the high end of the 12 meter band. I pumped up the radio (Kept it at 100 watts CW dead key on this particular channel.) and CQ'd away. Instantly everyone responded and consequentally reported very nice signal and audio. Weeee! This thing still talks!
I live in New Jersey, the conditions on this particular day were such that I was talking to Mississippi, Alabama and the rest of the South East. I ended up playing around on 10 meters and 12 meters for the rest of the day and into the night. If I heard them, I was able to talk to EVERY one of them, and I run NO additional power outside of the radio itself. (To be fair, the 2970DX's will swing an easy 150 watts and the receive is exceptional on them but still...this antenna is impressive.)
The antenna I used to use on HF was a very popular fiberglass antenna that everyone and their brother has either used or heard of. (I won't mention the brand name of it but you probably know what it was.) From the very beginning it was always a trash antenna (Noisy, low power handling and poor quality materials.), even after decades of being around in one configuration or another they still produce junk. The only reason I had it, along with everyone else who owns it, was because of
its ease of use and its affordability and it is fairly easy to put up just about anywhere. I am going to beg all of you now that this Dipole is available, to throw that fiberglass fishing pole in the trash and go out now and get a very high quality, superior performing center-fed dipole antenna. There are no more excuses since this takes up about the same space, is cheaper and by FAR outperforms any base loaded fiberglass antenna I've ever used. Especially if you have a high powered station.
I now use an Icom 706MKIIG as my only radio. I use an LDG IT-100 Antenna Tuner for the HF bands along with an MFJ-874 SWR/Watt Meter and a Tram 1400 MURS Antenna on an MFJ-921 Dual Band Tuner for my VHF chatting. While the 706MKIIG is significantly less power compared to the 2970DX on 10 meters, I still to this day can talk to just about every radio that I can hear on this antenna.
***UPDATE*** For all of you "Magic Band" lovers out there, I can now report that this dipole EASILY tunes to 6 meters. The above tuner was able to tune almost instantly (As it should since this antenna is just ever so slightly off from being a full 6m wavelength antenna.) and performance is terrific so far! ***UPDATE***
Below are some pictures that I took of the Sirio SD-27 Dipole Antenna mounted vertically. Hopefully this review will help others to make their decisions when looking for an exceptional antenna.
The stand-off mast, mast mounting hardware and everything that you see in the pictures, except for the mast itself and the coax, was included in the box.
The very top portion of the top element is cut off in the picture above, this antenna is bigger than it looks in the picture.
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