Antenex/Laird Phantom TRAB7603 with Scanner

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Joseph11

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Does anyone have any experience with the Laird TRAB7603? I wanted something primarily for 700/800 MHz, but the TRAB7603 appears to be almost completely deaf — a VHF antenna made for 152-162 MHz significantly outperformed it on 700/800 MHz. Do I possibly have a bad antenna or is it just not a good antenna to use with a scanner? Any ideas? Thanks.
 

mmckenna

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They are not very good antennas.
We've used a few at work, mostly on garbage trucks, and they do work, but don't expect miracles.

A simple 1/4 wave 800MHz will outperform it.

You could still have a bad one, but it might be hard to tell unless you have an antenna analyzer or another known good one to compare it to.
 

br0adband

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An antenna is an antenna, period, so as for it being "a scanner antenna" the point is somewhat moot - it's either going to be a good receiving antenna or it's not, and in that respect since all scanners do is receive that's what's actually relevant. I wouldn't guess it's bad at what it does but given the design and the purpose of the antenna - to be mounted on top of vehicles that tend to have a respectable distance off the ground itself and also to be using the vehicle's roof panel or surface to work as a ground plane to some degrees - that would mean if you're using it in a home situation mounted inside then I'd say no it's not going to perform as well as something else based on the design itself.

I've yet to encounter one of those stubby dome like antennas that really works worth a damn on any hardware period whether it's receive only or RX/TX capable but that's just my experience.

As noted, something as simple as this dirt-cheap homebrew 1/4 wave ground plane you can make yourself in a few minutes with some coat hangers and an SO-239 chassis mount like this could be dramatically superior:

 

W8RMH

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I have used one of these for 5 or 6 years receving 760-870 MHz. with great success. Works very well on VHF and UHF as well. You may have a bad antenna or it is not contacting the mount.
 

Joseph11

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Aside from this antenna, what would you guys recommend for a good low-profile 700/800 MHz NMO antenna that also performs decently on VHF and UHF?
 

mmckenna

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I guess I should add:
"Low profile" is a subjective thing. Low profile compared to what?

Sometime trying hard to hide something just makes it stand out more. I've found that using simple 1/4 wave antennas works well. They are thin enough that they usually don't stand out. Unless someone is looking for it on the top of my full size truck, they won't notice it.

It's also really hard to get any sort of decent performance out of any antenna that shorter than 1/4 wave. It can be done, but it's difficult.
The Larsen I posted above is going to work well on VHF, UHF and 7-800MHz. It won't be a compromise. Installed correctly it'll likely blend in. For $29, it's hard to beat.
You are not going to get good performance out of the "low profile" 800MHz antennas on VHF. Even the dedicated low profile "soup can" VHF antennas downright suck.
 

Joseph11

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I was hoping for something smaller like the Phantom series, but they don't seem to work too well in the application I'm trying to use them in (receiving). The Larsen NMO150/450/800 actually seems to be a really good choice. Thanks for the recommendation!
 
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