Best AM/SSB antenna to replace bullbar mounted helical

SDRPlayer

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#1

jassing

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#2
You're going to get a lot of different answers. Depends on power, I think... Personally I never found those monkey made type helicals to really be any better; maybe they really excel when it gets into big wattage. For off-roading, short stubby antennas, I have had good luck with firestik's and low power (sub 500 watt) amps. "YMMV"
I'm not sure a big whip antenna would handle big watts either, so you may be stuck with those types of antennas if you're pushing a huge amp.

"best antenna" is like "best pasta sauce" everyone has one, but they're usually different.
 

jassing

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#4
Stock power, I think you'd be fine with any type. I tend to prefer fiberglass as they don't bend/kink, but they do split if abused too mu
A good rule of thumb is: The longer (physically) antenna you can run, and the higher up you can mount it, and the closest to the centerline, the better it will perform. (ie: mid roof is usually best, but it's a horrible location for offroading)

You already know this -- a proper length whip is your best option with stock power. (I would run it off a rear bumper before I took the chance of beating up my hood & windshield, depending on how off road you get)

I've never really seen these helical perform that much better; some swear by em, some say they are a gimmick, I think they are just too big for a mobile install...

No matter what you get -- tuning your antenna will help a lot; I hate seeing people just buy an antenna and slapping it on and then blame something for poor performance, when it just needs to be tuned/trimmed/etc.

If you do go fiberglass, keep a spare in your toolbox, they can get brittle and split if abused and they can't just be glued back together (or brazed back together as you can with an aluminum tube type) A whip can kink, and that will kill its performance. I have found firestiks good (I would suggest their lighter weight one as they are more flexible and take more abuse, especially since you're ampless)

Post back what you go with & how you like it.
 
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#6
The 102" whip is going to outperform anything reasonable. Full 1/4 wave gives you a nice radiation pattern. Ground plane does matter, and mounting it out in front of the vehicle is going to result in it being directional to the rear.
As for length, you can fold it back when needed. The spring/long whip will take it.

But, yeah, they are a pain.

The fiberglass whips will work, just make sure you get one that's tunable. Years ago I used the old Radio Shack ones. They were not tunable but were usually pretty close.
Putting heat shrink tubing over the fiberglass antennas can help with their longevity. I used to do that on mine when the end would start to show signs of wear. Choose a color you like, and periodically wipe it down with some armor-all to keep it looking good.

In the past 20-30 years, I've never used anything but the Larsen NMO-27. For my legal power CB and only occasional use, it worked very well. On a proper ground plane, they are hard to beat. A good mix between size, flexibility and performance.

I've never tried one on an offset ground plane like yours. I think any antenna other than one of the marine half wave designs is going to have issues with it.
You could try mounting an NMO mount up there and try the Larsen and see if it works. I've heard that the Laird 27MHz antenna is a longer whip and should work a bit better.
Both of those can have a spring added to help with branch strikes, but I've never had an issue with them. The whips are plenty flexible.
 

SDRPlayer

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#7
i've always wanted the 102" whip. i've seen and heard the performance compared other antennas but it's not safe or practical out here. thanks for the feedback fellas, i'll spend the next month or so looking around and let you know what i have settled on.
 
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