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Midland GMRS Antenna Questions

KK6HRW

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Sep 29, 2018
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1. My 3 db magnetic mount GMRS antenna from Midland is secured by a set screw at the base. Is it likely that this antenna needs to be “tuned” for its intended use?

2. Does anyone have experience with the “Ghost” (3.5 inch length) from Garmin?
 

mmckenna

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1. My 3 db magnetic mount GMRS antenna from Midland is secured by a set screw at the base. Is it likely that this antenna needs to be “tuned” for its intended use?
Yes. The cut charts, or if this antenna came "tuned" from the factory, are usually ~close~, but not right on. Your specific installation will impact the antennas resonate point. It's always best to check the SWR after completed installation.

2. Does anyone have experience with the “Ghost” (3.5 inch length) from Garmin?
No idea what that is, got a link?
 

mmckenna

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Those work about as well as a 1/4 wave UHF antenna. Not sure I'd agree with the claimed 3dB. Since they don't show dBd or dBi, we'd have to assume the worst.

Essentially, this is what they look like on the inside:

Of course, that is a Laird model, so no telling what cheap Chinese junk Midland is using. But you can't take a 6" long whip and stuff it in a 3" tall can and expect it to work well.
You'd do better with a regular 1/4 wave whip. It'll give you a lot more useable bandwidth, such as covering down to the 70cm band as well as GMRS.
 

N4KVE

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Those work about as well as a 1/4 wave UHF antenna. Not sure I'd agree with the claimed 3dB. Since they don't show dBd or dBi, we'd have to assume the worst.

Essentially, this is what they look like on the inside:

Of course, that is a Laird model, so no telling what cheap Chinese junk Midland is using. But you can't take a 6" long whip and stuff it in a 3" tall can and expect it to work well.
You'd do better with a regular 1/4 wave whip. It'll give you a lot more useable bandwidth, such as covering down to the 70cm band as well as GMRS.
I use this exact antenna. It works very well, & can get into the 400 foot repeater perfectly from 50 miles away. I would throw a similar Midland, Tram, or Browning antenna in the trash.
 

vagrant

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Nov 19, 2005
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I agree with the "...you won't even know it's there..." in the marketing copy. I purchased a version of that style and the poor performance was as expected. I will never sell it as I loan it out for others to test and understand why an antenna like that would be used.
 

mmckenna

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It's the same thing that happened with CB radio.

The manufacturers want you to think that a low profile antenna will work. They don't want consumers to not buy the product due to high profile antennas, complex installation, or even annoying things like licensing. They sell these products because it's what people want, not what they need.

Low profile antennas. Cigarette lighter powered. No/little mention of licensing. Just sell the product as fast as you can.

Like CB, these radio services (GMRS, MURS, FRS) would be much more useful if consumers understood the technical requirements.
Many years ago Icom sold a really nice FRS portable radio. It was what many purists were screaming for. Nice durable radio, lots of useful functions, and had a full length 1/4 wave flexible antenna. They also sold the same model with the cute little stubby antenna. After a while, Icom sort of stopped selling the full 1/4 wave versions because consumers purchased based off looks, not performance. It was a shame, since it really improved performance. But trying to get consumers to understand antennas is a waste of oxygen.
 

charlie12

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Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Messages
248
Location
Pride, LA
I have one of these I use on my wife's car for ham radio. It's on a mag mount and friends can't believe how good I get in the UHF repeaters with it. Some I have to show them for them to believe me.

Ham ant..jpg
 

tweiss3

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Apr 24, 2020
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Location
Ohio
That looks like it might be close to 6" long. A 6" whip is 1/4 wave and does very well on UHF.
 
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