October 2010 News
Directive Systems has a large and ongoing commercial order in house, which makes delivery of some of our amateur products hard to predict. Expect some delays on some orders. I am trying to keep them to four weeks or so.
We added some pictures and a writeup of the September VHF Contest. We had a good crew of operators and made a big effort to compete with the perennial winners, W2SZ, on Mount Greylock, MA. Here is the link.
April, 2010 News
Things are ramping up for Summer as my backlog is growing by leaps and bounds. I have been working on a new rear mount SSB/FM yagi for 144 MHz. The results are quite good and I hope to have it in the catalog very soon. The model number will be DSFM144-6R. It is a spin off of the 8 ft rover yagi that has been a super performer. I need to get some fixtures made up for the new yagi.
Shipping rates continue to climb. I have had to revise my flat rate shipping amounts for those who want to send in checks or money orders to reflect the new rates that seem to climb drastically every January. Other changes include the addition of an amplifier project for 10 meters, complete with pictures. Why is this on a VHF/Microwave antenna company website? I don't know, but it is cool to look at!
NOVEMBER 2009 NEWS
Things are slowing down, as is typical of this time of year. The backlog has dropped drastically. There are a few old dish and dish feed orders that have not shipped as I have not heard back from a few customers after repeated attempts to contact them. If you have an old order outstanding, and you still need it, please contact Directive Systems, so we can finalize the shipment.
I am hoping that we can get back on track with stocked shelves of VHF yagis and short turnaround times for loop yagi orders. With loop yagis, we try to have all parts in stock and assemble them at the time of the order.
DISH FEEDS ARE NOW SHIPPING AS OF AUGUST 24
Both the single band and dualband parabola dish feeds are now coming off the assembly line. (Well it really isn't an assembly line, but you get the idea!) For all those who have ordered dish and dish feeds, please be patient, and thank you for being so understanding. I am working on them all now, and have finished all the 10 GHz feeds and am final testing the dual band feeds as of August 22. I am hoping to ship them all on August 24 and 25, hopefully in time for the 2009 10 GHz DX season. The feeds are hand machined and are time consuming to make. The dualband feeds require considerable technique, and much testing to optimize isolation and VSWR. In the near future I hope to improve and speed up the process with NC parts where possible.
YAGI PRICE INCREASE on AUGUST 1, 2009
We raised the price on our VHF and UHF yagis as of August 1, 2009. The hike is due to increased aluminum and metal costs in general. Our aluminum supplier has raised prices by 20% The price hikes are now posted on the August 1, 2009 pricelists. The good news is that the loop yagis and the DS50-5 prices will remain the same for the current year, thanks to some shrewd buying decisions. (WE stocked up when the price was right.)
DIRECTIVE SYSTEMS IS STILL SWAMPED!!
With all the news commentary about how the US economy is so poor of late, it is rather surprising that the work backlog at Directive Systems is so far backed up, that I cannot believe it! Business is booming here. (I need a break!!!) We have tried to keep the yagi antennas in stock, but even that has gotten away from us at times lately. The loop yagi designs are now experiencing a 2-3 week backlog as of August, 2009. There are several reasons for the huge backlogs. First, the economy has not shrivelled up everywhere,but is still vibrant in a few areas. Ham radio is a hobby, and is somewhat insulated from downturns at least for awhile. Whether that remains true is getting more doubtful as the days progress. Several ham antenna competitors of Directive Systems have also decided to cease operations. Lastly, the change in the value of the dollar has made American products more economical in the world market, and our loop yagis are now finding their way to foreign lands with much more regularity. The loss of competition is troubling however. It means that the VHF and UHF Amateur market is shrinking and there is not enough business to keep all the competitors busy. The solution is to expand our hobby and get more hams involved with VHF and above. Just getting on a VHF band at night and having a QSO will help. Making an effort to push away from the computer monitor and make some calls on a VHF band will do wonders. Listening to unattended beacons gets tiring after a few days.
I get many requests for technical help in designing multi band arrays for hams. In the past, I have done this as a complementary service to help my customers, but now I find that my time away from the assembly bench is becoming a huge problem. Time spent on the phone or answering e mails is time not spent trying to deliver great UHF antennas to customers. With the volume of orders lately, I spend much time just providing proposed delivery times and prices to customers. I cannot provide the technical help and service that you are accustomed to. For now, I will be concentrating on getting the backlog reduced to put smiles on some faces rather than the frowns that appear there now. If you do not get a personal answer to your e mail question, I hope you will understand.
SHIPPING RATES ARE STILL GOING UP!
UPS rates went up in the beginning of 2009. While rates have been increasing at a 5 to 6% rate each year, the hidden costs are rising at a much faster rate. There is not much that I can do about it. Even with the tremendous drop in fuel prices, they are still charging a fuel surcharge on all shipments in addition to the customary rate increase each year. Packages over 60" long now are charged an extra $7.50, while the cost for home delivery is now $2.05 extra. Shame on you if you live in a rural area. You are now tagged for another $2.40 on top of everything else. So we grin and bear it. I still charge the exact shipping cost and do not add any extra "handling" fees.
DIRECTIVE SYSTEMS PURCHASES THE REMAINS OF ARIANE ARRAYS
As some of you may know, C3i Antennas ceased operations in 2007 and the business was purchased by Ariane Arrays in Hopedale, MA. Shortly after the Dayton Hamvention in 2008, Ariane Arrays decided to close its doors and all of the machinery and test gear was sold at public auction. There were some remaining small parts and some boom drilling fixtures that did not sell at the auction, and these items have been purchased by Directive Systems. The thinking was that it was a crime for the parts to go into a landfill. I may be doing something really stupid, but the thinking is that these parts can be used as spare parts to repair old C3i or Ariane Array antennas. There was no documentation and no part numbers, but generally, a simple word description will identify a part. I did not have the parts for two days, when one ham contacted me looking for a C3i 144 MHz teflon balun. As luck would have it, I did have a few. As time permits, I will post a listing of the parts on this website.
JUNE 2008 ANTENNA PRICE INCREASE
We hated to do it, but the world situation on raw materials and the weakened dollar has forced us to change our prices. Increases are between 5 and 7%. Most materials costs are just crazy, and the cost of heating oil is not helping matters much. For example,in 2000, before we increased the size of the shop, a single Monitor heater heated the area, and cost me about $250 per year. Today, with a larger area and an air ducted oil furnace the heating cost is $3000 for the heating season, and that promises to increase before September or October, when I start heating the shop again.
The price increase is dated June 1, 2008. Any orders ordered before that date will ship at the old rates. New orders are now billed at the June 1 rates.
US POSTAL SERVICE RATES MAY 2008!
Say it isn't so, Joe!! The US Postal Service increased postal charges across the board, and while first Class stamp costs increased by 5%, there were drastic changes made in 2007, to the way packages are handled for Canadian & International customers. To put it simply, there is no more Air Parcel Post. This simple change has made shipping large antennas to our Canadian friends much more difficult and definitely more expensive. Any antenna package that is longer than 42" cannot be shipped through the US Mail to most foreign destinations. For Canada the limit is length and girth not to exceed 108". In addition, the rates are much higher than the old Air Parcel Post rates. International rates to Europe and South America have not changed as drastically , and the length limits remain at 42" in most cases. For a glimpse at the bad news, check out the new international rates here. You can choose your country and instantly see what the rates are.
UPS shipments to Canada remain the same, and all large antennas can be shipped via UPS as before. We are sorry for this inconvenience.
LOOP YAGIS UPDATED in 2007!!
We have made some changes for the better recently. In case you have not been watching, metals prices have skyrocketted in 2006. Copper is so expensive that the US Mint is now losing money making pennies, and the darn things are just plated copper!! Directive Systems was hit with a totally unrealistic price increase for materials used in our loop yagi driven elements. Rather than raise prices, we tried to re design the feed system to eliminate the expensive parts and still keep the quality and performance high. We reasoned that no one wants a lousy microwave antenna, and no ham wants a very expensive microwave antenna! Read about what we did HERE!
January, 2007 UPS RATES
New UPS rates have gone into effect for 2007. For the first time in many years there is actually some good news to report. Yes the rates have gone up a bunch, but the method of calculating the rate on long boxes has changed, and it has resulted in reduced shipping costs for our larger antennas such as the 3333LY, 2345LY, 1376LY and the larger K1FO yagis such as the DSFO144-12, 222-16 and 432-25. For customers on the West Coast, the savings will amount to almost $8 for each large antenna shipped.
We added some information on the WA1ZMS 144.285 MHz beacon. It uses our wide beamwidth LVA yagis and packs a potent punch all along the East Coast.
ATV ANTENNA UPGRADED!
The DSFOATV-25 has been updated to improve the high end frequency response. This was as a result of some requests from our Midwest ATV buffs. The antenna will now start to roll off at about 441 MHz, with very good VSWR well up past 439.25 MHz. See the new link to the DSFOATV-25.
We have also added material to the Application Notes (APP NOTES)
NEW LINE OF VHF ROVER YAGIS
Directive Systems has added some new yagi antennas to the VHF yagi catalog. They are available today and consist of short 144, 222, and 432 K1FO style designs plus our own computer optimized offerings. On 144 MHz we have the DS144-6RS which is strictly a rover antenna for the 144-145 MHz range only. It has very high gain and a great E and H plane pattern. It utilizes an 8 ft boom, so can travel the highways while nested sideways and still be street legal. The 222 and 432 versions have 10 and 15 elements respectively, and are 8 foot long K1FO type designs. These designs are marked by very clean E and H patterns, very high gain, and wide bandwidth. You can see the particulars by clicking on the links below.
In addition to these offerings, we have developed a great antenna for VHF contesting. We believe it provides a quantum leap in effectiveness. The original design came from Fred Stefanik, N1DPM. Fred was a major force behind the NC1I contest team and was always looking for ways to improve the NC1I score. The original NC1I 144 MHz antenna was an M2 50 ft yagi. The joke was that the front of the antenna extended into the next grid square and provided more signal as a result, but Fred found that such a long (and narrow beamwidth) yagi was actually a hinderance to a great score. They evolved the array into stacked 9 element yagis, and saw a large improvement in their score. The final result ended up with very short yagis stacked vertically to provide the gain, but also maintain a very wide horizontal pattern. Fred's design is now the DPM144-5LVA. It is now being used at several contest stations including W3CCX, W4RX, N3NGE, and K1WHS. Fred, N1DPM has even installed a small one (3 antennas) at his home QTH! For more information about the LVA series, check out the links below.
DPM144-5LVA The LVA page with all sorts of information
DPM144-5LVA The antenna manual in PDF format.
Along with all the new offerings, we have started to upgrade our website with more information, more pictures, and some application notes on antenna stacking and placement. Bear in mind that the Marketing arm of Directive Systems is also the IT Department, and the Production Department. The upgrades will take time, but we hope to get plenty of work done by the end of February, 2006. We have started with our VHF Yagis page. In the meantime, please accept our apologies if some links here appear to go nowhere or are non functional. The Photo Album page promises to be a fun filled adventure when it is completed.