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1/4 wave vhf mobile opinions?

WB9YBM

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No they don't go out of business cause most HAMS are cheap as sh*t.
how do they go out of business if someone's too cheap to buy their allegedly "bad" stuff? Getting a cheapskate to let go of their money means it's some pretty good equipment.
 

sflmonitor

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I love Sti-Co's Flexi Whip 1/4 wave antenna. I've been using it for work and for personal use and it just lasts. It can take a beating and I've yet to see one break. They are a bit expensive when compared to regular 1/4 waves, but they are meant to last.
 

mmckenna

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I love Sti-Co's Flexi Whip 1/4 wave antenna. I've been using it for work and for personal use and it just lasts. It can take a beating and I've yet to see one break. They are a bit expensive when compared to regular 1/4 waves, but they are meant to last.
Yeah, they do work well. The last few patrol vehicles we received had StiCo whips on them for VHF and 800. I wish they used a base like the Larsen NMOQ's, though. I'm not a fan of those metal nut antenna bases.
I'm not convinced the extra cost is worth it in most cases, but it's a good choice for higher vehicles.
 

kayn1n32008

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Lotsa field experience taught me spec sheets and reality are not always the same thing.
Commercial specs are usually with the antenna installed with a proper ground plane. Not a hamtastic PL259 dual band on a magmount, or a lipmount, and RG174 feedline.

In respect to EMWave, their target audience is NOT amateur radio, and their prices reflect that. Incomparison, you could probably buy a couple MFJ dualband PL259 base antennas for the price of the 10008.
 

kayn1n32008

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how do they go out of business if someone's too cheap to buy their allegedly "bad" stuff? Getting a cheapskate to let go of their money means it's some pretty good equipment.
They stay in business because hams are cheap. Rather than buy a quality radio for $200-$250, they will repeatedly buy a $30 POS.

Take Baofeng as an example, inspite of the overwhelming evidence the radios are poorly made, have serious quality issues, lousy receive/transmit audio and radiate spurs across DC to daylight, hams seem to keep buying them. Its not because its 'pretty good equipment,' its because is cheap.
 

kayn1n32008

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Lotsa field experience taught me spec sheets and reality are not always the same thing.
Speaking of which...

You got me all excited for a moment, but the spec sheet indicates that the M10008 is only rated for 144-174 MHz @ 1.8:1.
This is a plot of the EMWave wide band 1/4.
signal-2020-12-28-121105.png

Real world, on a vehicle, installed for use.
 

12dbsinad

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I used to be a fan of Stico Flexi-whip antenna's, but I've had issues with them recently. The first thing is the rubber cone on the base dries out in the sun and cracks (like all of them with this base design). The whip will eventually come out, but before that it will leak water past and ruin the coax and mount. I've had issues with the newer ones breaking the whip off clean at the base. When it's cold, the whip "bends" into a "U" shape and doesn't stand up straight. I find the whip is a little to flimsy at VHF length, bending a lot at highway speeds and even worse with a small amount of icing.

Great idea, but the design could be better. I now stick with Laird QW's unless I absolutely need the flexible design (like a low overhead garage door).
 

wyomingmedic

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A couple takes on the issue:

If you look at emergency service workers and their vehicles, you will basically never see a ham antenna on their roof. Why? It's because they do not hold up like commercial ones and it is frustrating to have things break when you really need it to work. I have decades old Larsen antennas that still work great. I also live in an area where we see -40 temps every winter, and I like to drive through some rough back-country areas.

Ever hit a tree with your antenna at -40 at about 45mph? I have..... many times. The ham brand antennas will shatter. The remnants look like a grenade went off in them. They often leak and parts rust on them. Do the same thing with a Larsen....... no problem. Literally no damage. Use their large base gasket and they will never leak. Not even all commercial antennas will stand up to this abuse. I have seen PCTEL/Maxrad antennas with the two part coil where it is plastic screwed into the metal threads that hold onto the NMO mount, absolutely shatter in cold temps. Or they get water into the coil and it cracks once frozen.

But in my career in EMS and as a Motorola radio tech, I have only ever seen one Larsen coil leak. It was on my personal vehicle. After almost 20 years the little silicone filling in an opening used for manufacturing had been displaced somehow. This same antenna had over a million miles on it, on five different vehicles, and had been bashed into everything from parking garage ceilings to blackbirds on the interstate at 80mph.

The standard little chrome nut type 1/4 waves are just not acceptable for long term use; especially at VHF frequencies. The whip waving around will munch the center pin on the NMO mount after a few years. Pull one apart and there is powdered brass making everything black in the mount. They also leak after awhile. I really like the StiCo super tough ones, but they eventually leak too. If you could put that whip material into a Larsen NMOQ base-------- PHEW! That thing would last forever.

Anyway, in short, basically all ham advertised antennas are not built for a 20 year lifespan. In situations such as mine they won't even survive a winter. Some commercial antennas even fail me. But the Larsens shake off the mistreatment and just keep working year after year.
 

mmckenna

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...But the Larsens shake off the mistreatment and just keep working year after year.
I just installed a radio in my wife's new truck. I reused the Larsen NMOQ off her previous vehicle. That antenna had been on the vehicle before that. I don't know how long I've had it. I do know that I have a Larsen NMO-27 that I used back in the late 80's/early 90's. I used it for many years, then loaned it to a friend. He used it for a long time, then gave it back to me. All that time it was mounted on the roof of various full size pickups. While I don't use CB very often any more, when I do I pull that old NMO-27 out and use it.
 

KK6ZTE

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how do they go out of business if someone's too cheap to buy their allegedly "bad" stuff? Getting a cheapskate to let go of their money means it's some pretty good equipment.
Yet, you haven't suggested any particular manufacturer or part number in this thread.

Hmmm...
 

WB9YBM

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Yet, you haven't suggested any particular manufacturer or part number in this thread.
Then I'd have to charge the manufacturers for doing their advertising. :) Seriously, though, I wish I could remember the name of manufacturer of the antenna I had on the mobile--it's just too long ago. Plus, I'm sure are others that are useable as well.
 

WB9YBM

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If you look at emergency service workers and their vehicles, you will basically never see a ham antenna on their roof. Why? It's because they do not hold up like commercial ones and it is frustrating to have things break when you really need it to work. While I was at Motorola I learned a lot of it can also (although not exclusively) be the attitude of the people responsible. For example they certainly got upset when I proved that certain "hobby" equipment outperformed certain commercial equipment. I have decades old Larsen antennas that still work great. The same Larsen that also makes ham antennas?

Ever hit a tree with your antenna at -40 at about 45mph? I have..... many times. The ham brand antennas will shatter. The entire antenna, or just the fiberglass-covered radiator? If it's the fiberglass, I've seen that happen on commercial antennas, too.
 

cbehr91

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I'm glad I ordered a new spring for my Larsen NMOQ (I removed it a couple years ago and misplaced it). Once the spring arrives the NMOQ is going on my permanent NMO. While I've used a Maxrad chrome nut antenna on two vehicles without problems, after reading reports of them leaking I'll swap it out with the NMOQ.
 

jcefd10

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I had another antenna suggested to me last night. And as always, I try and read up on it before I make my mind up. It is the Laird BB1443S.
It’s been raining for 3 days here and I haven’t had a chance to drill the roof for coax yet, or install any of the radio, So I’ve just been reading everyone’s opinions.
From what you guys have been saying, I’m really liking the NMOQ. That EMWave isn’t looking too bad either.

I’m guessing no matter which one I go with, I probably won’t notice much difference with one over the other.
I asked a question regarding antenna position in the roof on a FB group and WOW man. Those dudes like to argue lol. It’s been fun reading everyone’s real world findings with different set ups
 

jcefd10

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I’ll add to my last post saying that I just now noticed that BB1443S is a 5/8 wave. How I looked over that before beats me. So that’s a no go.
 

mmckenna

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From what you guys have been saying, I’m really liking the NMOQ. That EMWave isn’t looking too bad either.
I've been happy with them, and they are relatively inexpensive. Never had an issue with one.

I asked a question regarding antenna position in the roof on a FB group and WOW man. Those dudes like to argue lol. It’s been fun reading everyone’s real world findings with different set ups
Well, it's all about the ground plane. As long as you have a 1/4 wave of ground plane in all directions, you're good to go.
But, yeah, hams LOVE to argue.
 

jcefd10

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Well, I'm still in the learning phase of all the wavelengths and stuff, so I had to ask. But I was asking, I've always mounted the antenna more toward the rear of the cab, actually right above the 3rd brake light. So I was asking if that was okay, or if it NEEDED to be mounted center roof for best performance. I got mixed results, most leaning towards me not noticing the difference either way. But, I want this install to be just about as close to right as it can be. I just have having to drop the headliner to mount center roof. So I'm probably going to do as always and mount rearward.
Plus, if the entire vehicle is grounded together, doesn't that make the entire thing a ground plane? Not just the cab?

Personal preference, if you had to pick between the NMOQ and NMOWBQB, which would you prefer?
 
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