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GMRS mobile antenna

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bhamilton930

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Hello everyone,

i'm sure this was answered before (although i didnt find a recent post) but i'm looking for a high performance antenna to match with my midland mxt 400 radio [which is on it's way for delivery =) ] i bought 2 radios i will be using 1 radio for mobile operations and another for base. for the base radio, i'm using a fung jpole antenna.


my question is, for mobile operations, what is highest quality and highest performing antenna i can get for my truck? antenna height doesn't bother me, i already have a flat match 102 for my cb on this truck. =)
 
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mmckenna

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I agree, I had one of those for a while when I had my GMRS license.
A few things I'd point out based on my experience with it:
1. It's a stiff antenna, so consider one with a spring. It won't flex as it is, and that can lead to damage if you hit a low tree branch.
2. I honestly couldn't tell the difference between the 6" tall quarter wave antenna and this one.

High gain isn't the answer to every issue. Sometimes high gain can work against you. In other words, the higher gain antenna doesn't give you "free" increase in ERP. It comes at a cost. That cost is a narrower radiation pattern. That narrower pattern can work against you in some instances.

Don't spend extra money on an antenna like this unless you are going to properly tune it. That may mean a suitable SWR meter or a full on antenna analyzer.

Increased gain usually comes with an additional cost of narrower bandwidth. Not an problem for what you are doing with a GMRS only radio. If you ever plan on getting your amateur radio license and using a commercial UHF radio for GMRS as well as amateur, you may want a wider bandwidth antenna.

But, for just GMRS and knowing it's limitations, that's a pretty good choice.

You can go higher gain, like a co-linear design. They'll have 5dB of gain, but they'll be around 3 feet tall. Look at Larsen, ComTelCo, Laird, etc.

Skip the low end Chinese Tram and Browning antennas. Not worth the cost savings.
 

tj20

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....Skip the low end Chinese Tram and Browning antennas. Not worth the cost savings.
Well that's disappointing. I ordered a mxt400 and a 'tram 1170' antenna from buy2wayradios. I thought I could trust them with quality, maybe not
 

lu81fitter

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antennas

Well that's disappointing. I ordered a mxt400 and a 'tram 1170' antenna from buy2wayradios. I thought I could trust them with quality, maybe not
I agree with mmckenna. If you look around at your local professionally installed antennas (law enforcement, fire, etc.), you will most likely see Laird or Larsen antennas. They are "the best in their class". The Tram will do OK, just not the best choice for lasting quality.
 

lu81fitter

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I currently have a Tram dual band that I received in trade that does OK for VHF-hi and UHF on a homemade groundplane for a base. But I have my eye on a Laird that I know I can rely on. Don't let a few bucks sway you. Go with Laird or Larsen. You won't be disappointed. Just my opinion.
 

mmckenna

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Well that's disappointing. I ordered a mxt400 and a 'tram 1170' antenna from buy2wayradios. I thought I could trust them with quality, maybe not
Don't get too hung up on it, it's just my opinion from looking at their products and having the other brands to compare them to.

Some have had good experiences with the Tram/Browning antennas. For amateur/GMRS/hobby use, they'll work fine.
What really makes the difference is how well you look after it. Periodic maintenance will get the best out of it.

Some of us work in the industry and have to put our reputations on the line when we make recommendations. I won't recommend or install the Chinese radios or antennas, especially when I can get a known good brand name product for a few bucks more.
 
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I currently have a Tram dual band that I received in trade that does OK for VHF-hi and UHF on a homemade groundplane for a base. But I have my eye on a Laird that I know I can rely on. Don't let a few bucks sway you. Go with Laird or Larsen. You won't be disappointed. Just my opinion.
A friend actually compared the dual band Tram/Browning offering to the Larsen NMO2/70...night and day difference when you are listening to him. Larsen FTW.
 

lmrtek

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Larsen is the best

maxrads are tolerable

All the Chinese knock offs are junk
 

mmckenna

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Word of advice on the mobile install.

Not sure what they come with in the way of power cords, but make sure you connect the power at the battery. Utilizing cigarette lighter plugs or tapping into existing wiring can introduce a lot of interference to your radio.

Positive wire should be fused at the battery and connected to the battery positive terminal.
Negative wire should be connected to the vehicle body.

Also, if this is a permanent install in your vehicle, run a short ground wire from the radio chassis to the vehicle ground. Relying on the long negative lead to the battery can result in it acting like an antenna and picking up interference. Grounding the radio directly can help prevent headaches, radio issues and hair loss.
 

bhamilton930

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solid advice for sure!

I've been installing CB radio's for better part of a decade now (in my own cars) and i follow the method you described above with similar reasoning. =)
 

tj20

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It comes without cigarette lighter, just bare wires. Both the positive and negative wires have fuses. I connected the positive wire to the battery like suggested.
 

12dbsinad

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I have not owned any Larsen stuff since they got bought out and moved to China.

Is the quality still as good as it was?
They're ok. I've found there black coated antenna's do not last as long as a laird. the coating starts to chip off rather quickly.
 

mformby

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East Texas
Mobile antenna

Hello everyone,

i'm sure this was answered before (although i didnt find a recent post) but i'm looking for a high performance antenna to match with my midland mxt 400 radio [which is on it's way for delivery =) ] i bought 2 radios i will be using 1 radio for mobile operations and another for base. for the base radio, i'm using a fung jpole antenna.


my question is, for mobile operations, what is highest quality and highest performing antenna i can get for my truck? antenna height doesn't bother me, i already have a flat match 102 for my cb on this truck. =)
I sold the Maxrad antennas for 20 years with no problems. This included public safety, schools, oil field, etc.
 

RFI-EMI-GUY

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Dec 22, 2013
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Does anyone recall two mobile UHF antennas Motorola sold in the 70s. One was a tall coaxial sleeve antenna made of stainless or plated brass that had a permanently connected cable. It was for motorcycles. The second was a chunky 5 dB gain, elevated feed with a NMO mount an a fold over swivel at the base. It was also very tall. I would like to find one of these in good shape if I could.

Sent from my SM-T350 using Tapatalk
 

bhamilton930

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lockport, ny
my midland mxt400 came in mail today! i'm so excited!

but it's one of those (hurry up and wait) moments. =(

I'll have to wait until it warms up some before mounting the antenna (for a base) i might toss this one in my truck for a while and see how it performs on my Larsen 1/4 wave antenna.

i also have a kenwood tk-8180. i'm debating on which radio i'm going to use for base and which for mobile.
 

v700

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GMRS Mobile Antenna

Crazy me. I use a Comet 2X4 broadband mobile antenna. Get great results with my B-tech UV-5001.

They make a ground plane adaptor for base stations.

I also use the optional spring for mobile use. No complaints,
 
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