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Baofeng Btech 50 Watt Radio Reception Issues with Tram 1181 Antenna (MNO Mount)

WSBV575

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Joined
Apr 18, 2024
Messages
8
I recently installed a Btech 50 watt radio with a Tram 1181 antenna on an MNO mount.

I've double-checked that everything is grounded properly, and while the radio transmits just fine, the reception is absolutely plagued with noise. Here's the weird part: if I completely remove the antenna from the MNO mount (but leave the mount itself attached to the bracket), reception improves dramatically! It's still not perfect, but it's a world of difference compared to having the antenna screwed on normally. In its normal configuration, the reception quality is worse than my handheld radio, and the range is definitely suffering too. I'm at a loss here. Any ideas what could be causing this? I am thinking antenna but I am not sure.
 

merlin

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Jul 3, 2003
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DN32su
Those have the single chip radio IC in them so the RX is not the greatest. Likely overloading the front end.
The Wouxun KG-1000g is about the same but double conversion and much better in the receive department. a little more expensive though. Cheaper than Midland.
A note with Btech also, on the bench, the most power from these is like 30 watts. I wouldn't expect more than 6 mile range with the 6 inch spike antenna.
I use the Laird equivalant of your antenna, and 30 watt from an Icom and probably not much more than 10 mile range in urban area.
 

WSBV575

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Joined
Apr 18, 2024
Messages
8
So if the antenna is attached I get very noisy, poppy, garbled sounds. Engine status doesn't matter. If I remove the antenna, the problem goes away and it sounds crystal clear on UHF and VHF...but I am almost certain having the antenna is better...I would assume I have some sort of fault. Talking to some people on the repeater today suggested the pin inside the nub is not contacting the base...so the ground is not. I have a video of the problem here:

 

ladn

Explorer of the Frequency Spectrum
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Oct 25, 2008
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1,352
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Southern California and sometimes Owens Valley
Any ideas what could be causing this? I am thinking antenna but I am not sure.
Tram antennas aren't the greatest, but there could be other issues as well:
  • Where is the antenna mounted?
  • What are you trying to listen to (GMRS??) and how far away is the transmitter?
  • Are you near any known sources of interference like power lines, heavy machinery, or even having your engine off?
For testing purposes of your cable and mouont, remove the antenna from the NMO mount and disconnect the PL-259 from the radio. Then use an ohm meter to check for a short between the center pin and outer shell of the PL-259 (it should be an open circuit); then use a jumper or piece of wire to short the PL-259 center pin to the outer shell and take a reading from the center pin of the NMO connector to the outer threads (it should show a dead short); remove the jumper and take another reading from the outer threads of the NMO mount or the outer shell of the PL-259 to a clean bolt or screw that's connected to the vehicle's body (this should also show a dead short).

Next, this will help test ambient RF noise. Rig up an 19' (about) piece of wire and connect it to the center pin of the NMO connector. Try to keep it vertical (or just buy a 1/4 wave ham VHF antenna). Compare received signals with this set up with your Tram antenna. You can also try tuning in a NOAA weather radio station (they operate 162.400 - 163.550) if there's one near your location.
 

WSBV575

Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2024
Messages
8
Mounted to the front fender using a NMO mount. Its grounded by wire to the grounding bolt on the truck.

GMRS or Amatuer. I compare the radio in question using a hand held. My handheld is clearer and has about 15 more miles of range on the particular repeater I am on. The mobile gets about 2-3 miles my handled will go 20 or so.

Its in a truck so it moved a lot. I use a hand held as a control. That works great no noise in all locations I seem to find myself in.

In reality would a mobile unit be any better than a hand held in good conditions?
 

Blackswan73

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Jan 29, 2015
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Central Indiana
Like Merlin stated in his post, the symptoms you describe can be indicative of front end overload. By removing the antenna, you are essentially attenuating the signal, and the audio clears up, kind of like a crude rf gain

B.S.
 

WSBV575

Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2024
Messages
8
Like Merlin stated in his post, the symptoms you describe can be indicative of front end overload. By removing the antenna, you are essentially attenuating the signal, and the audio clears up, kind of like a crude rf gain

B.S.
What is the solution to that problem?
 

prcguy

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Jun 30, 2006
Messages
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So Cal - Richardson, TX - Tewksbury, MA
The OP is in Oklahoma City and I don’t imagine that to be an RF hell like LA or NYC but the symptoms do sound like receiver overload. I also don’t think the antenna or mount or coax or grounding or the vehicle has anything to do with it. Does the OP have another radio to try in the vehicle? Even a handheld connected to the same antenna will do to see if the radio is at fault.
 

Blackswan73

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Jan 29, 2015
Messages
1,443
Location
Central Indiana
Try switching the radio to monitor mode and see if it improves your reception. If it does, then the problem is very likely overload. This is a reported issue with this radio model

B.S.
 

WSBV575

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Joined
Apr 18, 2024
Messages
8
Went to a friends, plugged a old radio in. No noise. Sounded fine. Btech must be faulty.
 

WSBV575

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Joined
Apr 18, 2024
Messages
8
The OP is in Oklahoma City and I don’t imagine that to be an RF hell like LA or NYC but the symptoms do sound like receiver overload. I also don’t think the antenna or mount or coax or grounding or the vehicle has anything to do with it. Does the OP have another radio to try in the vehicle? Even a handheld connected to the same antenna will do to see if the radio is at fault.
Yes, I found one. No issues at all on his radio Great reception and clarity. Sending back for a refund. Do you have a suggestion for something in the 200-400 range for a good mobile unit?
 

mmckenna

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Jul 27, 2005
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I am a lineman for the county.
Do you have a good Amatuer/GMRS radio you would suggest that isnt too pricey?

When you are done diddling around with the low end Chinese stuff and want a GMRS radio that works well, get one of these:


Or, keep spinning the roulette wheel of Cheap Chinese Radios. But honestly, once you get a decent radio, you'll realize what junk the CCR's are.
 

rf_patriot200

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Feb 9, 2024
Messages
236
Location
Freeport, Illinois
Yes, I found one. No issues at all on his radio Great reception and clarity. Sending back for a refund. Do you have a suggestion for something in the 200-400 range for a good mobile unit?
Do a search for a Kenwood TK805D, Great for Gmrs, Can be programmed without a cable or software, built like a tank and can be had for $100 or less.
 

ladn

Explorer of the Frequency Spectrum
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Oct 25, 2008
Messages
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Location
Southern California and sometimes Owens Valley
Do you have a suggestion for something in the 200-400 range for a good mobile unit?
If you want to strictly follow the FCC rules, the pickin's will be pretty slim as @nd5y and @mmckenna point out.

I've seen posts here on RR and on other forums with users modifying the Icom 2730A for out of band transmit.
 
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