I've purchased an MFJ-1622 vertical apartment antenna for the 40 m - 2 m bands. It has arrived in 10 days from the US. The box was squashed from the outside, I was afraid of potential damages, but luckily nothing was broken inside. The content of the box looked like follows:
I needed something compact that can be easily placed outside the window, and soon can be used for TX as well, once I obtain my license and call sign. This is how it looks like after a very quick and easy installation:
The antenna consists of an adjustable air wound loading coil, a telescoping 1.5 m radiator, and a universal mounting frame. The radiator collapses to 60 cm for easy storage or carrying. Feeding is via RG-58 coax line. The operating frequency is adjusted by moving the wander lead on the coil and adjusting the counterpoise wire for the best SWR.
In the first trial on 40 m, I could not achieve an SWR better than 2.0 in my circumstances, which is also okay to live with, and I expect even better results at higher frequencies.
I could clearly hear a lot of CW traffic on the 40 m band, plenty of SSB talks with acceptable quality. and several AM/FM stations with absolute clear sound. Having basically no operating experience so far, I can't provide a more detailed review yet, as I don't really have any basis of comparison. I used only a home-brew 'dipole' so far, which was only a pair of random wires laid down on the floor of the apartment, trying to receive some stronger signals from the air. Obviously this new antenna is nothing to compare to that, it is much better in all aspects and I have very good feelings about.
I quickly got in touch with HA7GN and checked whether he is on the air on this Sunday evening. Luckily he was! He told me his actual operating frequency, I tuned there immediately, and voila! I could perfectly hear his QSOs. His signal was always strong, the replying station's usually appeared weaker to me, but still audible.
I have no licence, therefore can't operate yet, but I was eager to figure out somehow if I could transmit with this antenna to HA7GN. We've set up a skype call, and he provided me some instructions how to set the antenna to TX, tune, and transmit a few CW signals on 50W. It was awesome! He could perfectly copy my signals from 800+ km distance. It was like magic: my first 'on-the-air' experience! Everybody starts somewhere, right? :)