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Hunting Radios II - Antenna Choice

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adterra

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Nov 24, 2009
Messages
37
Location
North Texas
Hello everyone!

Q. What is my best antenna choice?

This question is a continuation from the original subject found in the
CB Radio Forum / Hunting Radios thread.
http://forums.radioreference.com/cb-radio-forum/165312-hunting-radios.html

I got some great start up advice for my application but now it's time to start talking GMRS antennas for that same application.

I decided to go with the Motorola Talkabout Distance DPS HT with the Argent simplex repeater.
https://www.argentdata.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=98

The low power consumption coupled with its removable antenna and mobility were the foremost deciding factors.

As mentioned in the other thread, this will be set up in a small cabin connected to
a 30 watt solar panel and an 86 amp. hour gel-cell battery.

Terrain - thick brush and very hilly.
The Cabin is on the high ground and will have a 20 foot mast attached putting the antenna approximately 25 or so feet in the air.
I only really need to get out around a mile or so.

Suggestions?
 

techsender

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Joined
Dec 17, 2007
Messages
100
Location
N of St Paul MN
Get the Opek base antenna from R and L in Hamilton OH. Nice 4 foot fiberglas and not horribly expensive. Open it up and cut the elements to your freq according to the chart. I have 2 of them up and have had no problems. Spend the money and get a high quality coax and good connectors and get the antenna above the tree line.
 

adterra

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Joined
Nov 24, 2009
Messages
37
Location
North Texas
Get the Opek base antenna from R and L in Hamilton OH. Nice 4 foot fiberglas and not horribly expensive. Open it up and cut the elements to your freq according to the chart. I have 2 of them up and have had no problems. Spend the money and get a high quality coax and good connectors and get the antenna above the tree line.
Thanks techsender!

Gave R&L a call yesterday and spoke with Larry.
He said the antenna you cited is really about 8' feet long.
We did find a base antenna built for the GMRS frequencies at about 4' feet but he is not expecting any new inventory until the 1st week of next year.

This is the one he is out of,
R&L Electronics 800-221-7735

Any experience with DPD Production stuff?
This in particular, DPD Productions - GMRS Base & Mobile Antennas
 

techsender

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Messages
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N of St Paul MN
No, the one I am referring to is the 2401 Opek. The gain is dBi, so really it is about a 4 db gain antenna, so figure something less than double the transmitter power out as an ERP depending on the coax you use. The 2401 is a clone of a Comet I think - It comes with a cutting chart to set it where you are most interested. I have been quite impressed with the 2 I have purchased, and at 40 bucks each a good deal. I have one up at 90 feet and another on a 50 foot tower and they have both survived 2 winters in Minnesota. I also have had excellent results with Maxrads in commercial service but they are a bit more money. I cant emphasize the need for good coax. Will the 25 feet get you above the tree line ?
 

adterra

Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2009
Messages
37
Location
North Texas
No, the one I am referring to is the 2401 Opek.
The gain is dBi, so really it is about a 4 db gain antenna, so figure something less than double the transmitter power out as an ERP depending on the coax you use.

The 2401 is a clone of a Comet I think - It comes with a cutting chart to set it where you are most interested. I have been quite impressed with the 2 I have purchased, and at 40 bucks each a good deal. I have one up at 90 feet and another on a 50 foot tower and they have both survived 2 winters in Minnesota. I also have had excellent results with Maxrads in commercial service but they are a bit more money.

I cant emphasize the need for good coax.
Will the 25 feet get you above the tree line ?
Larry told me that the Opek 2401 was a pretty good clone but he was out of stock until 2010.
The price and specs. were excellent, however, when searching for plan "B," I stumbled on this antenna, $69.95, pre-tuned for GMRS.
DPD Productions - GMRS Base & Mobile Antennas

I will be able to install a single mast with a pulley, at the top of the tallest tree near the cabin, tether this antenna then hoist and lower it when needed. This should get me out 5' above the treetops. No way to damage the housing as it it made (I think) of an ABS grade, UV resistant plastic and it completely waterproof. A CAMO paint job will add the final touch!

I'm Jazzed!

Your advice on coax was reiterated by Dave, the owner of D.P.D Productions.
His choice, given my 100' length requirement was, ...

9914F BURY-FLEXTM.
A Davis RF 50 ohm, 100% double shield, flexible design.
Direct bury poly (not PVC) jacket, stranded center cond, LOW LOSS - 2.9 dB/100ft @ 400 MHz.
Davis RF Co. - Coax Cables

Again, ...I appreciate your feedback!
Especially in a thread where so many have the knowledge to share but have trouble sharing it.

Maybe it's the Hunting thing. (((shrug)))

3's
 

conve36

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Messages
155
Location
Menifee/Lake Elsinore, Ca
And just remember the hard fact, that vhf and uhf depend upon "line of sight". No matter how much power your putting out, if there is a hill obstructing the "line of sight" between the cabin and the handheld radio dont expect it to be able to communicate very well. Tree's, bushes and other objects of the such, shouldnt be a problem for the UHF band. But VHF it starts to become a problem. Why do you think VHF radios are used for marine radios? Because VHF will go farther out in the open with no obstructions than UHF.

I HIGHLY recommend to anyone using two-way radios in applications such as this, to make sure you take a few minutes and educate all of the people that will be using the radios. Make sure they know the small details, for example: making sure the antenna is upright and not too close to their face while transmitting and recieving, make sure they know the whole "line of sight" thing, etc...

Also, I would purchase a set of marine radios (from somewhere like walmart and keep the reciepts). Temporarily set-up the base marine radio (high power mobile style radio) at the cabin with an antenna on the roof. Then test out the distance you get and go from there. And of course "technically" marine radios are suppose to be used for "marine" applications... But technically its legal if your using them on a lake (say from the boat on the lake to the cabin), which is what your using them for right? wink* wink*

I love experimenting with radios, try different things and see what works best. Have fun!
 

SCPD

QRT
Joined
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Messages
65,126
Location
Virginia
And just remember the hard fact, that vhf and uhf depend upon "line of sight". No matter how much power your putting out, if there is a hill obstructing the "line of sight" between the cabin and the handheld radio dont expect it to be able to communicate very well. Tree's, bushes and other objects of the such, shouldnt be a problem for the UHF band. But VHF it starts to become a problem. Why do you think VHF radios are used for marine radios? Because VHF will go farther out in the open with no obstructions than UHF.

I HIGHLY recommend to anyone using two-way radios in applications such as this, to make sure you take a few minutes and educate all of the people that will be using the radios. Make sure they know the small details, for example: making sure the antenna is upright and not too close to their face while transmitting and recieving, make sure they know the whole "line of sight" thing, etc...

Also, I would purchase a set of marine radios (from somewhere like walmart and keep the reciepts). Temporarily set-up the base marine radio (high power mobile style radio) at the cabin with an antenna on the roof. Then test out the distance you get and go from there. And of course "technically" marine radios are suppose to be used for "marine" applications... But technically its legal if your using them on a lake (say from the boat on the lake to the cabin), which is what your using them for right? wink* wink*

I love experimenting with radios, try different things and see what works best. Have fun!
"technically" as you say might come back and bite you one day I wouldn't recommend a marine radio for use on land you never know when the FCC is watching.
 

techsender

Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2007
Messages
100
Location
N of St Paul MN
especially given the location of the original poster. If you want to run more power or have more coverage do it legally and license a system, or do up a full size GMRS system. I think adterra has done an excellent job of defining the mission profile of what he needs to use his radio(s) for and came up with a really good solution.
 

kayn1n32008

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Messages
5,638
Location
In the \'patch
Some more background,

Our lease covers 200+ acres and is very hilly.
We have established camp on the high ground and have built a small cabin there.
The cabin has recently been fitted with a 30 watt solar panel / 4amp. regulator / 86amp. hour gel-cell. The mast the solar panel is on could be raised another 10 feet topping it out at 25 feet from the ground and could be fitted with an antenna.
adterra, i took this off of your other thread.

Just to be clear on the area that you are on, it is a shade over a quarter section, half a mile by half a mile. well somewhat bigger but not by a whole lot.

Today i talked through a 146mhz ham repeater that was minimum 90 km (56+miles) from where i was. I was using a 5watt hand held with 10 feet of the worst coax possible, and a 1/4wave mag mount antenna.

Just about the worst set-up possible. and i was good enough into the repeater to have a conversation with another ham.


200 acres is not a very large area. you should be fine with 4watt uhf handhelds (real ones not bubble pack).

If you need a repeater there are a few on ebay for an alright price, GR-300 UHF Repeater - eBay (item 160383012378 end time Dec-10-09 11:58:32 PST) this one looks like it would work for you, just cut the power down to about 15watts, if it does not come with a duplexer they are cheap this one UHF 6 cavity duplexer for radio repeater FREE tune - eBay (item 170328372242 end time Dec-29-09 23:56:40 PST) is $100 and seller will tune the cans for you, add an antenna, even a 1/2wave on a groundplane kit, and your good to go, and it will run off a battery to boot.


I just cant see you needing a repeater for 200 acres of hilly land IF you use GOOD QUALITY 4 watt Uhf commercial hand helds. This means NO bubble pack radios.

And if your going to do it do it legit get licenced and all the rest of that good stuff that the SARPs out there will rag on you about
 

adterra

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Joined
Nov 24, 2009
Messages
37
Location
North Texas
Tree's, bushes and other objects of the such, shouldn't be a problem for the UHF band.
But VHF it starts to become a problem.
This seems to be the consensus.


Also, I would purchase a set of marine radios (from somewhere like walmart and keep the receipts). Temporarily set-up the base marine radio (high power mobile style radio) at the cabin with an antenna on the roof. Then test out the distance you get and go from there.
Good thought!


And of course "technically" marine radios are supposed to be used for "marine" applications... But technically its legal if your using them on a lake (say from the boat on the lake to the cabin), which is what your using them for right? wink* wink*
<grin>

I love experimenting with radios, try different things and see what works best.
Have fun!
Will do, …thanks for the input!
I will post my results near the end of December.
 

adterra

Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2009
Messages
37
Location
North Texas
especially given the location of the original poster.
If you want to run more power or have more coverage do it legally and license a system, or do up a full size GMRS system.

I think adterra has done an excellent job of defining the mission profile of what he needs to use his radio(s) for and came up with a really good solution.
Thanks for the nod techsender. (tips hat)

Afterall, …I did have (some) really good, qualified input.
For my specific application, …it seemed like the only logical / affordable choice.
We'll see soon enough.

To infinity, …and beyond!
 

adterra

Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2009
Messages
37
Location
North Texas
adterra, i took this off of your other thread.

Just to be clear on the area that you are on, it is a shade over a quarter section, half a mile by half a mile. Well somewhat bigger but not by a whole lot.

Today i talked through a 146mhz ham repeater that was minimum 90 km (56+miles) from where i was. I was using a 5watt hand held with 10 feet of the worst coax possible, and a 1/4wave mag mount antenna.

Just about the worst set-up possible. and i was good enough into the repeater to have a conversation with another ham.

200 acres is not a very large area. You should be fine with 4watt uhf handhelds (real ones not bubble pack).

If you need a repeater there are a few on ebay for an alright price, GR-300 UHF Repeater - eBay (item 160383012378 end time Dec-10-09 11:58:32 PST) this one looks like it would work for you, just cut the power down to about 15watts, if it does not come with a duplexer they are cheap this one UHF 6 cavity duplexer for radio repeater FREE tune - eBay (item 170328372242 end time Dec-29-09 23:56:40 PST) is $100 and seller will tune the cans for you, add an antenna, even a 1/2wave on a groundplane kit, and your good to go, and it will run off a battery to boot.

I just cant see you needing a repeater for 200 acres of hilly land IF you use GOOD QUALITY 4 watt Uhf commercial hand helds. This means NO bubble pack radios.
I really hope you are right on this as the budget is far lower than the level of enthusiasm!

When initially doing research on this problem, I also ran across some killer deals on a couple of similar repeaters. I almost want to buy them separate from the clubs budget just to play around with them here locally. (coming down with just a small case of the radio bug - cough-tx / cough-rx)

We will visit the lease on Dec. 22nd. with the Motorola Talkabout Distance HT / DPD Antenna / 100 feet of 9914F Bury-Flex and all of our old bubble-pack radios and see what happens.

If I can get out to all corners of the lease from the cabin, I will then purchase the simplex (echo) repeater from Argent, ($89.00) that was referred to me earlier and call it quits, …for now. If not, then our group will have to decide to keep their radios that don't really work all that well or sell them and purchase something practical.

Hmmm, ...keep something that doesn't work or buy something that does, ...keep something that doesn't work or buy something that does, ...keep something that doesn't work or buy something that does - That IS a tough one!

Thanks for your reply!

And if your going to do it do it legit get licensed and all the rest of that good stuff that the SARPs out there will rag on you about
SARPs?
 

kayn1n32008

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Tree's, bushes and other objects of the such, shouldnt be a problem for the UHF band. But VHF it starts to become a problem.
Vhf will work better in the bush, all most all logging roads in BC are radio controlled on simplex Vhf-hi.
Uhf works better in built up urban areas.

When initially doing research on this problem, I also ran across some killer deals on a couple of similar repeaters. I almost want to buy them separate from the clubs budget just to play around with them here locally. (coming down with just a small case of the radio bug - cough-tx / cough-rx)
I hear ya i have a wish list right now that my buget laughed at

We will visit the lease on Dec. 22nd. with the Motorola Talkabout Distance HT / DPD Antenna / 100 feet of 9914F Bury-Flex and all of our old bubble-pack radios and see what happens.
Keep the feed line as short as you can, if you do not need all 100 ft then shorten it up, it will make a difference.

If I can get out to all corners of the lease from the cabin, I will then purchase the simplex (echo) repeater from Argent, ($89.00) that was referred to me earlier and call it quits, &#8230;for now. If not, then our group will have to decide to keep their radios that don't really work all that well or sell them and purchase something practical.
Good luck let us know how it goes. If you can be heard from cabin every where, then why not just save a bit and get a duplex repeater?

Hmmm, ...keep something that doesn't work or buy something that does, ...keep something that doesn't work or buy something that does, ...keep something that doesn't work or buy something that does - That IS a tough one!
Dump the crap bubble pack radios and get some commercial radios that actually put 4 watts to the antenna and has a decent replaceble antenna(Icom, Vertex, Kenwood, Motorola ect.) Although it may take some effort to sort through the crap on ebay, there are some good deals for used gear.

Thanks for your reply!
No problem

Self Appointed Radio Police

Have a great day
 

adterra

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Messages
37
Location
North Texas
Vhf will work better in the bush, all most all logging roads in BC are radio controlled on simplex Vhf-hi.
Uhf works better in built up urban areas.
Many have responded that MURS (UHF) is their hunting radio of choice.
Did I get it mixed up?
Keep the feed line as short as you can, if you do not need all 100 ft then shorten it up, it will make a difference.
10-4!
Good luck let us know how it goes. If you can be heard from cabin every where, then why not just save a bit and get a duplex repeater?
I would love to!
However, …many in our club do not have the x-tra cash needed to buy the dual frequency HT's.
My hope is to utilize everyone's existing radios. If this works, we will have to put up with the echo or save up the $$$'s for the future.
Dump the crap bubble pack radios and get some commercial radios that actually put 4 watts to the antenna and has a decent replaceable antenna (Icom, Vertex, Kenwood, Motorola ect.) Although it may take some effort to sort through the crap on ebay, there are some good deals for used gear.
I see what you and others are saying.
I wish we could, …it would save a whole lot of messin around!
Someday maybe.
Self Appointed Radio Police
Too Funny!
Have a great day
Back at ya!
(^_*)
 

kayn1n32008

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Many have responded that MURS (UHF) is their hunting radio of choice.
Did I get it mixed up?
MURS is Vhf. Vhf will work better in the hills and bush, that comment was directed at another member, for the small area that you want to cover, Uhf should work.

British Columbia is all mountains, and logging is a major export for the province, and almost every where there is a radio controlled road it is a Vhf-hi radio channel that is used. Here in Alberta, where i live, most radio controlled logging/oilfield roads are on Vhf-hi, i have only seen one road, so far, in Alberta that uses CB for traffic control and i have yet to see a radio controlled road anywhere in BC or Alberta that uses Uhf.

Indusrty canada (our 'fcc') did some testing, in BC for some new 'resource road' (logging) channels, with 5w radios and i am assuming (I know, i know, never assume) with 5/8 wave antennas, and they were able to get 7-14 Km (4-8.5Miles) reliable range in the mountians using Vhf simplex.

I would love to!
However, &#8230;many in our club do not have the x-tra cash needed to buy the dual frequency HT's.
My hope is to utilize everyone's existing radios. If this works, we will have to put up with the echo or save up the $$$'s for the future.
I hear that, good luck with what ever it is that you find that works for you.
 
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