Need VHF/UHF mobile antenna suggestions

K6GBW

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Joined
May 29, 2016
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61
Location
Montebello, CA
If you want a 2m/440 antenna that will give good general performance you can't go wrong with something like a Comet B10NMO or any of the other major brands. Antennas are always a trade off so there isn't a "best" one. You can get antennas with lot of gain but they are larger and gain isn't always your friend. If you live in a mountainous area and plan to use repeaters gain can actually hurt. Using something like a B10NMO will give good "all around" performance. You're bigger issue is going to be those Baofengs radios. They have receivers that are not very tight. You will likely have problems with near signals getting into the receiver and driving you nuts. The Baofengs are have trashy transmitters that put out a lot of spurious emissions. This means that when you are talking on a particular frequency it puts out random signals above and below the frequency you want. These emissions can cause problems for others. That's why repeater owners and people that know radios don't like them. A Baofeng for $35.00 will give you a $100.00 headache long term. Spend $98.00 for a Yaesu FT-65R and you get a similar radio made to much better specs that will give you better performance and frustrate you less. Even then, a hand held in a car just plain sucks. A real mobile radio is the way to go if you want to get the kind of performance you probably have in mind.
 

ClemsonSCJ

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Joined
May 29, 2018
Messages
33
If you want a 2m/440 antenna that will give good general performance you can't go wrong with something like a Comet B10NMO or any of the other major brands. Antennas are always a trade off so there isn't a "best" one. You can get antennas with lot of gain but they are larger and gain isn't always your friend. If you live in a mountainous area and plan to use repeaters gain can actually hurt. Using something like a B10NMO will give good "all around" performance. You're bigger issue is going to be those Baofengs radios. They have receivers that are not very tight. You will likely have problems with near signals getting into the receiver and driving you nuts. The Baofengs are have trashy transmitters that put out a lot of spurious emissions. This means that when you are talking on a particular frequency it puts out random signals above and below the frequency you want. These emissions can cause problems for others. That's why repeater owners and people that know radios don't like them. A Baofeng for $35.00 will give you a $100.00 headache long term. Spend $98.00 for a Yaesu FT-65R and you get a similar radio made to much better specs that will give you better performance and frustrate you less. Even then, a hand held in a car just plain sucks. A real mobile radio is the way to go if you want to get the kind of performance you probably have in mind.
I figured that going into it and should have probably clarified in the original post...I most definitely intend to get a mobile radio. I actually was planning on doing that sooner rather than later but I was also expecting them to be more along the price-line of CB’s which I’m fairly familiar with. Which I know there are units I could get in my relative price range, however my vehicle would be better suited for something with a detachable face which is going to drive the price up a bit. It won’t be long before I can get a good mobile unit but for the time being I’d like to go ahead and get up and running with a good antenna just to be able to monitor and listen in to the stuff around me since I drive a good bit.
 

k7ng

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I've used a Diamond NR-770HBNMO antenna for, let's see - 27 years?! I used the very same antenna from 1993 until 2012, when it disappeared while I was in a hardware store. I got another immediately and have been using it ever since. Others may disagree with me, but IMO it does the job adequately, is very very rugged, can be folded over when trying to get in/out of low overhead locations, and doesn't cost too much. VSWR is decent over the entire 2M band and from 435-450 MHz. Don't let 0.2 dB differences in claimed performance guide you. For a dual band mobile antenna, decide how high you want the tip of the antenna to be, based on your chosen mounting point, then look for antennas that would make that height limit or less. Some of the brands you may find are basically the equivalent of baofeng radios - cheap substitutes for real hardware.
Listen to the advice of the smart folks on this site (and I am not considering myself as one of them, for what it's worth).

Happy Radioing!
 

N4KVE

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I've used a Diamond NR-770HBNMO antenna for, let's see - 27 years?! I used the very same antenna from 1993 until 2012, when it disappeared while I was in a hardware store. I got another immediately and have been using it ever since. Others may disagree with me, but IMO it does the job adequately, is very very rugged, can be folded over when trying to get in/out of low overhead locations, and doesn't cost too much. VSWR is decent over the entire 2M band and from 435-450 MHz. Don't let 0.2 dB differences in claimed performance guide you. For a dual band mobile antenna, decide how high you want the tip of the antenna to be, based on your chosen mounting point, then look for antennas that would make that height limit or less. Some of the brands you may find are basically the equivalent of baofeng radios - cheap substitutes for real hardware.
Listen to the advice of the smart folks on this site (and I am not considering myself as one of them, for what it's worth).

Happy Radioing!
I used this antenna for years on my car with a mag mount. It worked great. Before that I used the original Larsen dual band antenna with the closed coil on that same magnetic mount. It too was a great antenna. I still have them both, & use them in my condo where outside antennas are verboten. They have no problem accessing the local repeaters. I have small Laird antennas on my trunk lid now with NMO mounts. I only use my antennas on UHF, as I don’t operate on VHF.
 

K6GBW

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Joined
May 29, 2016
Messages
61
Location
Montebello, CA
In your original post you said, "Jeep." Is it a Wrangler? If so then mounting can be a slight pain but there are ways around it. Wrangles don't have much for ground plane but when I had one I put the antenna right in front of the passenger seat on the cowling. I used the aforementioned Comet B10NMO and it was almost invisible. It was also below my roof line so I didn't hit it on trees. Running my dualband radio at only 5 watts I worked all the "local" repeaters around Los Angeles. There's always a way!
 

ClemsonSCJ

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Joined
May 29, 2018
Messages
33
In your original post you said, "Jeep." Is it a Wrangler? If so then mounting can be a slight pain but there are ways around it. Wrangles don't have much for ground plane but when I had one I put the antenna right in front of the passenger seat on the cowling. I used the aforementioned Comet B10NMO and it was almost invisible. It was also below my roof line so I didn't hit it on trees. Running my dualband radio at only 5 watts I worked all the "local" repeaters around Los Angeles. There's always a way!
No it’s a Grand Cherokee. Sorry I thought I had put that in there somewhere cause I’ve learned when I just say “Jeep” everyone assumes wrangler. But nah, I got that souped up Hemi that’ll pass anything but a gas station.
 

ClemsonSCJ

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May 29, 2018
Messages
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So I got the NMO mounts done about an hour ago and got the Larsen NMO2/70B mounted up. CB antenna hasn’t shipped yet so I just put a rain cap on that one for now. Wish I had done this years ago. I’m certainly more confident installing one on my wife’s car now that I’ve done it.

One question though that may be a stupid one but I’m just curious...would the metal roof rack cross members “get in the way” of the signal hitting the ground plane more efficiently or no? You can see I took one picture with them on and another with them off. In the 7 years I’ve owned this Jeep I’ve never touched the roof rack so I don’t need it, but I must admit it does look a slight bit awkward without them. But if it improves the antenna performance even a little bit then I’d rather just leave them off.
 

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mmckenna

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So I got the NMO mounts done about an hour ago and got the Larsen NMO2/70B mounted up. CB antenna hasn’t shipped yet so I just put a rain cap on that one for now. Wish I had done this years ago. I’m certainly more confident installing one on my wife’s car now that I’ve done it.
Yeah, you're hooked now.

One question though that may be a stupid one but I’m just curious...would the metal roof rack cross members “get in the way” of the signal hitting the ground plane more efficiently or no?
No. Ran a 1/4 wave VHF whip on my wife's Ford Escape with a roof rack for years. Putting it on a $17,000 antenna analyzer showed no issues at all.
 

ClemsonSCJ

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May 29, 2018
Messages
33
Yeah, you're hooked now.



No. Ran a 1/4 wave VHF whip on my wife's Ford Escape with a roof rack for years. Putting it on a $17,000 antenna analyzer showed no issues at all.
Good to know. SWR was spectacular. Across both bands I never saw higher than 1.1 or so. 2m stayed at 1 most of the time and got as high as 1.05. 70cm varied the entire time between 1 and 1.11.
 
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