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Got a radio; now the antenna.

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jassing

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b7spectra

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Depending on what the repeater coverage is in your area. If your repeaters are nearby and in a city enviroment, then a 1/4 wave would work. If you live out in the burbs and the repeaters are a ways away, go with the gain antenna.

It's funny here in the Metro Atlanta area, all of the repeaters are out in the burbs and nothing in the city!
 

jassing

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Thanks -- I'm out in the sticks... and since it's gmrs and we have no repeaters around; i'll go with the higher gain antenna.

Thank you for the advice!

-josh
 

ermin

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Quickcall

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I've always had good luck with a standard 1/4 wave antenna in the rural areas. Laird makes a good line of decent looking antennas.
 

WA4VBC

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If you are in a rural area, you might consider a 5/8 over a 5/8 wave antenna that will get you 5 db gain. The length will be 33" or so. With any of these types of commercial quality mobile antennas, you will need to cut them to length as they normally come for frequencies of 450 to 470 MHz or so. A SWR meter will be a big help in getting maximum performance. Have fun. KAE5442
 
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jassing

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3' is taller than I had hoped for; but 5db gain sounds nice. But I found this antenna that could work (I cannot mount on roof, so no ground plane sounds perfect!)
while looking I saw a laird antenna: Laird Phantom Antenna claims are grand; can't find a real-word review.. but 3db and sub 4" sound (well) unbelievable but it's tempting.
 
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mmckenna

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Higher gain isn't alway better. If you start getting into really high gain antennas, the radiation pattern will start working against you.

1/4 wave mobile to 1/4 wave mobile both on truck rooftops I was able to do 14 miles, no repeater, on GMRS. Likely I could have gone further but a mountain got in-between the two of us.

I've used 5/8 wave on GMRS, and didn't really see much improvement over 1/4 wave. I've never use anything higher gain than the 5/8's.

A good radio with a sensitive receiver and a well installed antenna will likely do more than focusing on gain numbers too much. Likely you won't see too much of a difference between antennas unless you are really out on the fringe of coverage. Often the local terrain is a bigger issue than your antenna pattern, power output, etc.

I've got a used Comtelco 5/8 wave antenna sitting in my box of "stuff to get rid of". NMO mount, like new. If you want to try one out, I'll sell it to you cheap. I've got some 1/4 wave UHF antennas also I could toss one in so you can compare.
 

KX4KDH

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3' is taller than I had hoped for; but 5db gain sounds nice. But I found this antenna that could work (I cannot mount on roof, so no ground plane sounds perfect!)
while looking I saw a laird antenna: Laird Phantom Antenna claims are grand; can't find a real-word review.. but 3db and sub 4" sound (well) unbelievable but it's tempting.
You can't mount an antenna on the roof? Why not? And also STAY AWAY from the Phantom antennas.... There is just no substitute for a whip... I am using a 35w Kenwood TK-830 with an NMO mounted 6" whip...
 

mmckenna

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Ok; read up on the phantom -- that's out -- so since laird seems to have a good rep -- Out of these two choices, which would be better?

3db Roof Mounted 5/8 whip (11")
or
5db Body mounted, 5/8 (assume) over 5/8 (33")

is it a wash ? 3db optimal position vs 5db gain in not optimal ?

thanks.
The 5/8's on the roof top will work better as it will have a cleaner, more unobstructed radiation pattern. Anything short of a center of the roof mount installation will be a compromise. Some locations are just less of a compromise that others. You could do the collinear on the fender, and you may see an improved signal in some directions, but for all around, roof top is better.

I wouldn't get too concerned about this decision. If you install an NMO mount, either permanent, bracket or magnetic mount, you can easily swap antennas later. A 5/8's wave is a good compromise between gain and size. You won't see big differences between antenna designs unless you jump to something directional. For a vertical mobile, the difference between a quarter wave and a high gain collinear likely won't be noticed. I had a 5/8's on my truck a few years back, and I honestly couldn't tell the difference between that and a quarter wave. I went back to the quarter wave since it was less of an issue in parking garages.
 
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