My new favorite mobile antenna

Status
Not open for further replies.

cellphone

Member
Database Admin
Joined
Dec 28, 2002
Messages
1,528
Location
Ahwatukee, AZ (Phoenix)
When I moved out of a Low Band area, I ditched the 50” antennas for something shorter. I originally settled on the PCTEL MAXRAD BMAXSCAN1000. This antenna covers 150-174/450-470/800-840 at 15” long. This antenna is built very solid and performs well. You can pick these up for about $35-40 shipped online, which is not a bad price for a quality NMO antenna.

After the BMAXSCAN1000, I discovered the Larsen 150/450/800 tri band. The Larsen performed slightly better on all bands, and has a height of 16”. Due to the slightly better performance, this has been my go to antenna for the last 6 years. I was initially put off by the antenna as it has a plastic base and load covering. It feels like a step down in build quality from the PCTEL antenna, but the Larsen tri-band has held up very well in the AZ heat despite being mostly plastic. It is a similar price to the PCTEL antenna at around $35-40 shipped.

The other day I came across a Tram 1181 that had many great reviews on Amazon. At $20 shipped, I figured I would give it a shot. I am pleasantly surprised by the build quality. The antenna is all metal and has a quality feel like the PCTEL antenna. I was very surprised that the performance as I directly compared signal strength from distant transmitters with my trusty Larsen. The Tram 1181 outperforms the Larsen on VHF and UHF! Unfortunately, it does come in with slightly worse performance on 700/800mhz, but this is to be expected as it is a dual band 140-170/430-470. It is also slightly longer at 18 13/16”.

Based on the VHF/UHF performance of the Tram 1181, this will now take over as my everyday antenna on the vehicle. The slight drop in 700/800mhz is not a big concern for me as I live in LSM hell of the Phoenix area systems, and a little attenuation will likely do me some good. If you listen to distant 700/800 systems, and care less about 150/450, then the PCTEL or Larsen may be better antenna choices for you.

Long story short, if you are looking for a great 150/450 NMO mount antenna for your vehicle, the Tram 1181 is a great performer for around $20!
 

marksmith

Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2007
Messages
4,128
Location
Anne Arundel County, MD
It's a little more expensive because you have to buy the NMO mount separate, but I use a Laird antenna that is 2 inches high.

Using the roof of the Explorer below the roof rack height as a ground plane, it gets 700 - 800mz better than a base antenna, and receives 150-460mz pretty strong.

You can't even see the thing.

Mark
536/436/WS1095/HP1/HP2/996T/996XT/996P2/396XT/325P2/PSR800/15X/others
 

DJ11DLN

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Mar 23, 2013
Messages
1,916
Location
Mudhole, IN
It's a little more expensive because you have to buy the NMO mount separate, but I use a Laird antenna that is 2 inches high.

Using the roof of the Explorer below the roof rack height as a ground plane, it gets 700 - 800mz better than a base antenna, and receives 150-460mz pretty strong.

You can't even see the thing.

Mark
536/436/WS1095/HP1/HP2/996T/996XT/996P2/396XT/325P2/PSR800/15X/others
Model # or link? The 150/450/800 on my pickup works great but since our county does such a wonderful (sic) job of keeping things clear, it often whacks low limbs. It also barely clears my garage door...it doesn't if the door doesn't go all the way up, which has become a more frequent happening lately.:(

The pickup is 2WD and stock height, BTW.
 
Last edited:

lmrtek

Active Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2009
Messages
533
you will find that the Larsen and maxrad will outlast the tram

and if you want real 150 and 450 performance, the Larsen 150/450c
is the best by far
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top