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Antenex Phantom Elite Low Profile Antenna

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ke6gcv

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Has anyone installed and/or used an Antenex Phantom Elite like this one? How well do they work for receive only? Maybe a TX here or there on the Ham band, but that would be very few and very far between. I'm sure for around town and in open country they'll probably pull in a decent signal, but what about driving up the middle of a canyon? Again... Receive only. Here's why I'm asking...

My wife wants me to install my old FT-8800 into her Expedition but doesn't want an antenna sticking up from the roof. Note even a quarter wave VHF is allowed because it's too high! She's a stickler for not wanting any "visible antennas" and this one fits the bill because her vehicle is white. She also wants to be able to go through the car wash without having to take the antenna off. I prefer to hand wash our vehicles, but I digress... :cautious:

Anyway... Please chime in! I want to hear your thoughts. If that antenna isn't good enough, what recommendations can you make? Again... keep in mind, aesthetics is an issue here.

Thank you, everyone!

antenex.jpg
 

mmckenna

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Has anyone installed and/or used an Antenex Phantom Elite like this one? How well do they work for receive only? Maybe a TX here or there on the Ham band, but that would be very few and very far between. I'm sure for around town and in open country they'll probably pull in a decent signal, but what about driving up the middle of a canyon? Again... Receive only. Here's why I'm asking...
No, I have not personally installed one, and here's why:
Every person, and I mean every one of them, who has tried to use a low profile VHF antenna like this has regretted it. By regretting it, I mean they had the antenna on top of the vehicle for a few days, then removed it. Several went directly into the trash, others were put on a shelf to be used as warnings to others. I was offered one, but declined.

Do they work? Yes, but… They are very narrow bandwidth antennas. As in maybe 1MHz at the most. They don't handle a lot of power. They also suffer from the fact that you cannot cram 19" of antenna into a 2 3/8" tall can. The only successful applications I've heard of were from where they were installed in the Chiefs vehicle, he/she didn't want a full size 1/4 wave antenna, and range expectations were absolutely and properly managed, as in it's not going to work very far.

It's your money, it's your car, do what you want, but the overwhelming voices of experience most of us have heard is that these downright suck. And they cost a lot of money to suck. They do look good sitting on a shelf, though.

I understand your wife not wanting a 1/4 wave whip, but in all honesty I'm willing to bet you a cold beer that if you put on on top of the vehicle and didn't tell her, she'd probably not notice. While they'll often cause issues in a car wash, I've had some survive.

My wife wants me to install my old FT-8800….
And it's a VHF antenna, and not going to perform well on UHF.
 

Mr_Boh

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Not terrible, but it's super narrow bandwidth, especially compared to the non elite model of the phantom (the cylindrical one that looks like a can of peanuts).

So this might sound strange, but I actually find the Sti-Co Flexi-Whip to be a better option, especially for lower visibility. First, it's technically lower profile since it just needs the base to clear an obstruction, gives you the benefits of a quarter wave, especially bandwidth, and in my opinion is SIGNFICANTLY less visible than the Phantom VHF. The Phantoms, especially in white have a tendency to yellow over time as well for me. I actually think the sti-cos blend into the sky better.

Most of the folks I work with in this area of ditched the phantoms for the flexi-whips.
 

mmckenna

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A better option may be to look into the Sti-Co antennas that replace the existing AM/FM broadcast antennas. Those will look like stock and actually provide you with some level of performance. Our chief has one on his provided Ford Escape. You cannot tell it's not stock.

 

ke6gcv

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And it's a VHF antenna, and not going to perform well on UHF.
With Beale PAVE PAWS being an issue, there aren't many UHF repeaters on the air that are worth using. So, I was sticking to single-band antenna.

A better option may be to look into the Sti-Co antennas that replace the existing AM/FM broadcast antennas. Those will look like stock and actually provide you with some level of performance. Our chief has one on his provided Ford Escape. You cannot tell it's not stock.
Though the stereo antenna is integrated into the back glass on her vehicle, this is a very viable option! Now... next question: Cost? How much do they go for?

Thank you, @mmckenna !!!
 

mmckenna

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Though the stereo antenna is integrated into the back glass on her vehicle, this is a very viable option! Now... next question: Cost? How much do they go for?
Ya' gotta pay to play:

Which is why most of us just stick with a $20 1/4 wave VHF, which will also work as a 3/4 wave UHF antenna.

Car washes aside, my wife's 2009 Ford Escape has a chrome 1/4 wave VHF whip on the roof. We forget it is up there.
 

ke6gcv

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... They are very narrow bandwidth antennas. As in maybe 1MHz at the most...
I wasn't aware of how narrow they were. I guess I overlooked that part. My fault! But I continue to learn and grow!

Safe to say that the Phantom Elite is out of the question! Thank you for that information, @mmckenna !!!

... Sti-Co Flexi-Whip to be a better option, especially for lower visibility. First, it's technically lower profile since it just needs the base to clear an obstruction, gives you the benefits of a quarter wave, especially bandwidth, and in my opinion is SIGNFICANTLY less visible than the Phantom VHF. The Phantoms, especially in white have a tendency to yellow over time as well for me. I actually think the sti-cos blend into the sky better.

Most of the folks I work with in this area of ditched the phantoms for the flexi-whips.
@mmckenna recommended that too! I will look into them. Just need to see how much they cost. If they're too much, I'll have to go with a different option.

Thank you, @Mr_Boh !!!
 

tweiss3

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I wasn't aware of how narrow they were. I guess I overlooked that part. My fault! But I continue to learn and grow!

Safe to say that the Phantom Elite is out of the question! Thank you for that information, @mmckenna !!!



@mmckenna recommended that too! I will look into them. Just need to see how much they cost. If they're too much, I'll have to go with a different option.

Thank you, @Mr_Boh !!!
Make sure you read the install instructions PRIOR to ordering the Sti-Co. They are significantly more involved than just drilling a NMO and tossing on a 1/4 wave whip.
 

mmckenna

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@mmckenna recommended that too! I will look into them. Just need to see how much they cost. If they're too much, I'll have to go with a different option.

Thank you, @Mr_Boh !!!
Sti-Co makes some good products. They do have a simple NMO 1/4 wave whip that will take a car wash hit without issue. Not cheap, and they are coated in black vinyl like covering, so they don't blend in as well. Flexi-Whip Antennas | Sti-Co.com
 

mmckenna

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A glass mount might be an option if you have some clear/untinted glass to work with. On VHF frequencies, they are usually 1/2 wave, so about 40 inches long. You can get some shortened cell look alike antennas, but performance suffers.
 

ke6gcv

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Ya' gotta pay to play:

Which is why most of us just stick with a $20 1/4 wave VHF, which will also work as a 3/4 wave UHF antenna.

Car washes aside, my wife's 2009 Ford Escape has a chrome 1/4 wave VHF whip on the roof. We forget it is up there.
Well... That's a bit out of budget for me, unfortunately! Given the kind of car wash that she uses, I don't know that a quarter wave would work. Yes, they're cheaper than Sti-Cos, but would fold over quick with the "roof slapping" scrubber strips of the car wash. Has yours folded over yet?

Make sure you read the install instructions PRIOR to ordering the Sti-Co. They are significantly more involved than just drilling a NMO and tossing on a 1/4 wave whip.
I used to install Sti-Co back in the day. Late 90's to early 2000's. Yes, they can be difficult and are definitely more involved than a standard NMO.

A glass mount might be an option if you have some clear/untinted glass to work with. On VHF frequencies, they are usually 1/2 wave, so about 40 inches long. You can get some shortened cell look alike antennas, but performance suffers.
I did think of that when I first started this project. PulseLarsen has a glass mount that I've used before on our Yukon, with factory tint. It worked great! No notable loss because of the factory tint too! Problem is, the back glass opens for venting on the Expedition.

I could go with that and provide a "drip loop" to accommodate the opening of the glass when it's used. Plus, it's easy to remove when entering a car wash!

Thank you again, @mmckenna for your recommendation! I think I know what I'll go with now.
 

mmckenna

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Well... That's a bit out of budget for me, unfortunately! Given the kind of car wash that she uses, I don't know that a quarter wave would work. Yes, they're cheaper than Sti-Cos, but would fold over quick with the "roof slapping" scrubber strips of the car wash. Has yours folded over yet?
No, it's got a bit of rearward tilt, maybe 5º or so. But to be honest, my wife -rarely- takes her car to the car wash.

They'll flex pretty well, but I'd be careful with the rubber flap type car washes. Removing the antenna is usually what I do.
 

a417

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Has anyone installed and/or used an Antenex Phantom Elite like this one? How well do they work for receive only? Maybe a TX here or there on <snip>

Thank you, everyone!

View attachment 87135

I installed MANY of those about a decade ago, and they were a giant meh-burger. Echoing what was already said...they worked, they recieved below-average outside of their designed TX bandwidth (which was very narrow, was it 10mhz?), consistently underperformed every whip in the fleet and required me to roll the codeplugs in the radios back to avoid putting too much power down one of them on TX.

I had(have?) a bunch in box that have survived 3 moves now, and I haven't even been able to give them away to any one who knows about them or wants an effective antenna.

All that money put into those things, and they couldn't come up with white foam?
 

cmdrwill

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Which is why most of us just stick with a $20 1/4 wave VHF, which will also work as a 3/4 wave UHF antenna.
Best idea, and usually no problems in the car wash. IF you are still worried about the car wash, cut the little ball off the antenna so it will not snag. The Comtelco NMO antenna has never had a car wash or low parking structure problem.
 

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Markinsac

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To add on about the original antenna mentioned, the VHF coverage starts at 150 - too high for ham radio in 2M.

The comments about PAVE PAWS are correct - not too many repeaters. If you're around or south of Sacramento, you might find a few who have put in antennas with coverage away from Beale.
 

mmckenna

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