Looking for a New Milair Antenna

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jsoergel

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I'm going to buy a new antenna in the next few weeks, and looking for some suggestions. I currently use two Icom IC-R20s, and most of my listening is UHF milair communications. I have a few different stock antennas for when I'm not at my desk (when I am, I have a converted TV aerial for UHF and a homemade quarter-wave for the VHF air band).

In general, I'd like to find a portable antenna that recieves 225 - 380 mHz well. My radios are a bit weak right around 290 mHz, so I'm hoping to overcome some of that issue as well. Any ideas?
 

zguy1243

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For a base antenna I use the SDL 225-400Mhz Log periodic for 225-400Mhz comms.

For portable use I use the Maldol AL-500H.

For their purpose you cannot beat these two antennas.
 
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CalebATC

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For a base antenna I use the SDL 225-400Mhz Log periodic for 225-400Mhz comms.

For portable use I use the Maldol AL-500H.

For their purpose you cannot beat these two antennas.
Thanks!! Would you recomend a discone for mil monitoring??? And can you send me a link to the top SDL antenna, and how much is it? Thanks!
 

zguy1243

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The discone is a very good performer for omni use for 225-400Mhz comms. I use the mil surplus AT-197/GR discones with preamps for my omni directional 225-400mhz monitoring. The AT-197/GR can be found on ebay from time to time for $100-300.00.
 
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zguy1243

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Thanks!! Would you recomend a discone for mil monitoring??? And can you send me a link to the top SDL antenna, and how much is it? Thanks!

I have had the SDL log periodic antennas special made. I can get more of the antennas if you would like to buy one. It really pulls in the distant stuff. Check out my youtube page for some comparisons showing the antennas performance.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMbvwIQiiaM
 

CalebATC

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I have had the SDL log periodic antennas special made. I can get more of the antennas if you would like to buy one. It really pulls in the distant stuff. Check out my youtube page for some comparisons showing the antennas performance.


YouTube - SDL 225-400 Mhz Log Periodic Antenna Test Video
Ok, how much do you think? And I'm trying to "build" one at the moment with some foil, and other stuff, the ATIS at KRSW went from nothing, to 3 bars!

My VXA-220 has no problem getting ATIS, but not as clear as I had my Pro-164 rigged up earlier.. too bad my VXA-220 is in the shop :/
 

zguy1243

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Ok, how much do you think? And I'm trying to "build" one at the moment with some foil, and other stuff, the ATIS at KRSW went from nothing, to 3 bars!

My VXA-220 has no problem getting ATIS, but not as clear as I had my Pro-164 rigged up earlier.. too bad my VXA-220 is in the shop :/
Hey thats great that you are having some luck with a home made antenna! The best advice that I could give you is put you money in your antenna system. You don't want to know the insane amounts of money that I have spent on this hobby since I got into it when I was 10 years old and I am 30 now. The best money I ever spent was on my antenna. There is no point in having a $1,000 radio and a poor antenna. The SDL log periodic costs me about 265.00 to get built, but bear in mind it is the in my mind the best milair antenna I have ever used and built with highest quality material I can get. You can get a similar antenna from Dave over at DPD productions for around $200 I think. It is a good antenna but falls short slightly of the SDL Log periodic I had built. I really think you would be better suited getting a good omni directional antenna in the air before you get a beam style antenna. Look for a AT-197/GR discone on ebay or pick up a nice Icom discone antenna. I can set you up with some feedline and a good little preamp to wake that discone up just just a few dollars. So keep you eye out for a nice discone and get one up in the air with good cable and a little preamp and you will be be blown away by what you have been missing. The nature of most milair signals is that they are weak and coming from aircraft over 100 miles away in most cases, a great antenna system is a must to really get in there and hear some stuff.
 

CalebATC

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Hey thats great that you are having some luck with a home made antenna! The best advice that I could give you is put you money in your antenna system. You don't want to know the insane amounts of money that I have spent on this hobby since I got into it when I was 10 years old and I am 30 now. The best money I ever spent was on my antenna. There is no point in having a $1,000 radio and a poor antenna. The SDL log periodic costs me about 265.00 to get built, but bear in mind it is the in my mind the best milair antenna I have ever used and built with highest quality material I can get. You can get a similar antenna from Dave over at DPD productions for around $200 I think. It is a good antenna but falls short slightly of the SDL Log periodic I had built. I really think you would be better suited getting a good omni directional antenna in the air before you get a beam style antenna. Look for a AT-197/GR discone on ebay or pick up a nice Icom discone antenna. I can set you up with some feedline and a good little preamp to wake that discone up just just a few dollars. So keep you eye out for a nice discone and get one up in the air with good cable and a little preamp and you will be be blown away by what you have been missing. The nature of most milair signals is that they are weak and coming from aircraft over 100 miles away in most cases, a great antenna system is a must to really get in there and hear some stuff.
Wow! Well, I'm only 13, so I don't have much money to spend. My porch on the 3rd floor is about 25ft+5 for sea level so 30 feet. And if I get a pole, it can be about 40 or so if it is at the very top.

Well, thanks for the help!! And when it get's time to buy a discone, which I hope is soon ( I have alot of things I'm gonna do to get some more $$) and I can probably find a cheap $50 discone on Ebay. But... what about cable?? I will probably just run a 10' cable just to get it inside, and maybe run a feed, or just sit on the porch listening with my mil scanner, and whatching (and listening with my VXA220) some 777's come of the TYNEE1 arrival into RSW. If I can get just about everything perfectly clear with the default antenna, and if I get a discone, I should have no problem at all.
 

Alliance01TX

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Howdy

I have the AT-197/GR and it is the best all around Mil-Air antenna, but very heavy to mount and often has the HA type connectors (I have seen some with BNC but rare) and the HA connectors are expensive and you must also have a larger diameter coax to really fit them better, although you can always get creative....and they too are expensive.

The Yagi is a great antenna for gain, but often you trade off as the Yagi's are mostly 'directional' and thus if you Mil Air traffic from various directions you might have some lower level signals at times off the direction of the Yagi. Thus, a point to consider....

I would honestly look at using a simple Dipole with both a Vertical and Horizontal elements....also, you might research 'Home-brew" an antenna. It's lots of work but fun....the main thing is the length of the Antenna element(s) and most Mil-Air antenna's are 'centered' around the 311.0 MHz frequency that covers the lower end of the spectrum (~230.0 MHz) to the upper areas (~390.0 MHz) generally speaking...

I have reasonable Mil Air reception even using a 146/440 MHz "J-Pole" from Arrow Antennas at Right Frame scales



Best of luck....
 

CalebATC

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Howdy

I have the AT-197/GR and it is the best all around Mil-Air antenna, but very heavy to mount and often has the HA type connectors (I have seen some with BNC but rare) and the HA connectors are expensive and you must also have a larger diameter coax to really fit them better, although you can always get creative....and they too are expensive.

The Yagi is a great antenna for gain, but often you trade off as the Yagi's are mostly 'directional' and thus if you Mil Air traffic from various directions you might have some lower level signals at times off the direction of the Yagi. Thus, a point to consider....

I would honestly look at using a simple Dipole with both a Vertical and Horizontal elements....also, you might research 'Home-brew" an antenna. It's lots of work but fun....the main thing is the length of the Antenna element(s) and most Mil-Air antenna's are 'centered' around the 311.0 MHz frequency that covers the lower end of the spectrum (~230.0 MHz) to the upper areas (~390.0 MHz) generally speaking...

I have reasonable Mil Air reception even using a 146/440 MHz "J-Pole" from Arrow Antennas at Right Frame scales



Best of luck....
Ok... but... two of the frequencies for Avon Park MOA are VFH (150 something)..... do those discones cover that too?
 

prcguy

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The AT-197 is the best Discone for 225-400 mil air due to the low end cut off being near 225MHz which keeps the entire mil band within the low angle radiation range of the antenna. It also has many more elements than scanner type Discones which improves the efficiency.

But the average Radio Shack, Diamond D-130, Icom, etc scanner Discone is no slouch on mil air and they also work great on VHF air and anything from about 100MHz up through about 400MHz where the radiation pattern eventually starts pointing upwards.

Why not start with an inexpensive scanner Discone and enjoy snagging things that are now out of range of your stock antenna while you save for a more elaborate antenna?

Ebay occasionally has surplus UHF ATC antennas from TACO, DB Products and other companies that supply the FAA and these omni antennas work very well, especially if you get a multiple element version with some gain. I've seen these go in the almost free to $35 range since most people don't know what they are and they get few bids. At least until now...
prcguy
 

CalebATC

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The AT-197 is the best Discone for 225-400 mil air due to the low end cut off being near 225MHz which keeps the entire mil band within the low angle radiation range of the antenna. It also has many more elements than scanner type Discones which improves the efficiency.

But the average Radio Shack, Diamond D-130, Icom, etc scanner Discone is no slouch on mil air and they also work great on VHF air and anything from about 100MHz up through about 400MHz where the radiation pattern eventually starts pointing upwards.

Why not start with an inexpensive scanner Discone and enjoy snagging things that are now out of range of your stock antenna while you save for a more elaborate antenna?

Ebay occasionally has surplus UHF ATC antennas from TACO, DB Products and other companies that supply the FAA and these omni antennas work very well, especially if you get a multiple element version with some gain. I've seen these go in the almost free to $35 range since most people don't know what they are and they get few bids. At least until now...
prcguy
Wow, I guess I'll keep my eye out for them.
 

zonian149

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I would also recommend the ST2 antenna, it does a great job on Milair here in Jacksonville, FL. I hear air to air comms from the Pinecastle range. At approx $50 it is a good deal and includes coax. I only have it mounted on a chimney and am very pleased with it.--Gary
 

CalebATC

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I would also recommend the ST2 antenna, it does a great job on Milair here in Jacksonville, FL. I hear air to air comms from the Pinecastle range. At approx $50 it is a good deal and includes coax. I only have it mounted on a chimney and am very pleased with it.--Gary
Do you have a link?? Thanks
 

zguy1243

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Caleb,

Just went out to my shop and dug around and found a couple Radio Shack discones that were in a box. I think I can make a complete antenna out of the two of them. Shoot me your mailing address and I will send them down. No charge on them, they were gonna get tossed anyway. Should get you going.
 

CalebATC

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Caleb,

Just went out to my shop and dug around and found a couple Radio Shack discones that were in a box. I think I can make a complete antenna out of the two of them. Shoot me your mailing address and I will send them down. No charge on them, they were gonna get tossed anyway. Should get you going.
Ok, thanks Alliance01TX!!

And Zguy, I sent you a PM here on the forums, did you get it?
 

KB9LMJ

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Eggbeater antenna for Milair?

Okay, so I'm back to monitoring MilAir after a few years break. Now, I've got my ham license, whereas before I didn't. I now have a greater appreciation for antenna matching and polarization. The setup I currently use to monitor MilAir is a Radio Shack discone antenna RadioShack® Outdoor Scanner/Ham Discone Antenna - RadioShack.com on 50' RG-58. (Yes, I know now that's not the best...) I'm considering an upgrade and would like to go for "big bang" since I've got several MOAs in the area and I can hear the F16s, but can't hear the ground stations. I've done some looking and wonder if anyone has used an "eggbeater" style antenna before and what your success was. I'd like to build an eggbeater for the UHF MilAir range and use a preamp to hopefully fill-in my dead zones. http://pagesperso-orange.fr/on6wg/Doc/Antenne Eggbeater-Engl-Part1-Full.pdf Of course, I'll change my hardline, but was just curious if anyone has any experience with this style of antenna.
 

prcguy

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Eggbeaters are circular polarized with a high angle of radiation for satellite work, you want a vertical polarized low angle antenna for mil air and very broad band width to cover the entire band. I built an Eggbeater for UHF satcom and it worked ok but there are better designs for that.

A Discone and preferably the military AT-197 Discone is hard to beat for mil air and height will probably make more of an improvement in picking up the ground side of the conversation over a better antenna.

There are very few omni antennas that cover the 225-400MHz range with any gain and if you find one its usually real expensive. Upgrading your coax and raising your existing antenna would be a good start and maybe a preamp at the antenna with a band pass filter in front of the preamp might improve things a bit more.
prcguy


Okay, so I'm back to monitoring MilAir after a few years break. Now, I've got my ham license, whereas before I didn't. I now have a greater appreciation for antenna matching and polarization. The setup I currently use to monitor MilAir is a Radio Shack discone antenna RadioShack® Outdoor Scanner/Ham Discone Antenna - RadioShack.com on 50' RG-58. (Yes, I know now that's not the best...) I'm considering an upgrade and would like to go for "big bang" since I've got several MOAs in the area and I can hear the F16s, but can't hear the ground stations. I've done some looking and wonder if anyone has used an "eggbeater" style antenna before and what your success was. I'd like to build an eggbeater for the UHF MilAir range and use a preamp to hopefully fill-in my dead zones. http://pagesperso-orange.fr/on6wg/Doc/Antenne Eggbeater-Engl-Part1-Full.pdf Of course, I'll change my hardline, but was just curious if anyone has any experience with this style of antenna.
 

KB9LMJ

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Appreciate the info! I currently have the Radio Shack discone up, but I've noticed by the pictures that the AT-197 does not have a vertical element like the radio shack does. I'm making the assumption that on the Radio Shack, the vertical is my driven element for all the Ham bands (I currently use 2m/70cm on it with a 1:1 SWR ratio), and the discone array is the ground plane that assists in the low SWR's. With the AT-197 not having any vertical element, I would assume this antenna would have a tilted polarization for low angle earth stations, and a more horizontal polarization for closer in aircraft. The main question is, how different is the Radio Shack from the AT-197?

I am also looking at the possibility of pre-amps and filters as well.

Thanks!
 
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