Written August 2007 by a recently retired communications sergeant to a DoD employee, commenting on Syntonics' HTA-TACSAT antenna.
This antenna is state-of-the-art. [A DoD command] paid for its development and it is currently in use every theatre that the U.S. government is engaged in. This antenna was specifically designed to be very lightweight, rugged and easy/quick to place into operation. This is not a cheap antenna. The HTA-TACSAT is designed and manufactured by a company named Syntonics. Syntonics is a small specialty company that does special, high-tech projects for the government. This antenna costs much less than the [Radio Company] antenna, which is actually manufactured by [legacy Antenna Company] and private labeled for [Radio Company]. … Please do not confuse the price of this antenna with its quality.
I see some concern below about the specific frequencies for the PRC-117F and will this antenna work with the -117F etc? All military UHF TACSAT radios (PRC-5, PSC-117F, LST-5, MST-20, URC-101) all use the same satellites and as such they all use the same antennas. The HTA-TACSAT will work wonderfully with ANY military UHF SATCOM radio.
The [legacy Antenna Company's] antennas have a number of inherent characteristics that most experienced operators have come to dislike; they tip over while on their tripod, they have moving and telescoping parts that easily break, the built in tripod is not easily removed for weight or to use a different tripod. The HTA-TACSAT antenna was designed to overcome the shortcomings of [legacy] antennas.
Because the HTA-TACSAT is so lightweight it is not as prone to tip over as the much heavier [legacy] antenna. Additionally, the HTA-Antenna comes with a tripod that can be wrapped around inanimate objects providing additional flexibility for emplacement.
The HTA-TACSAT antenna has only three moving parts and none of them are telescoping. There is literally nothing on this antenna that can get jammed, stuck or corroded.
The HTA-TACSAT antenna was designed to be able to interface with any tripod and comes with its own very lightweight tripod. The pistol grip handle of the HTA-TACSAT antenna has a standard 1/4x20 thread that is common to all photography equipment. So while the antenna comes with a very small lightweight tripod, it can very easily be used with ANY tripod, not just [legacy] proprietary units.
One last point. I am a recently retired communications sergeant. I have spent most of my adult life carrying a SATCOM radio, often under grueling conditions. Had this antenna been available when I was in uniform I would have gladly purchased one or two with my own personal funds. The weight that an operator carries has always been a concern for leaders. I truly believe that this antenna will significantly reduce the weight that an operator carries and increase the speed that he or she can establish communications, it may even save a few lives.