Portable wideband antenna for camper.

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JoshuaHufford

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I'd like to get a wideband antenna to use while camping in our camper, I'd mount it on a temporary mast, wideband because I'll never know what frequencies might be used in whatever area we are in. A discone would be ideal however it would take up too much storage room inside the camper while traveling.

I've never actually seen a discone in person, do they come apart easily so it could be stored?

Other thought was a mobile antenna with a ground plane kit but I haven't seen one as wideband as a discone.

Any other suggestions?
 

mmckenna

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Yeah, they come apart. But you'll have a bunch of parts to reassemble each time. If you are anything like me, slowly parts will disappear.

Larsen NMO-150-450-800 or the NMO-150-450-756 with a base mount would be a good option. Smaller, less parts, easier to assemble/disassemble. It'll cover the VHF, UHF and 7-800MHz bands just fine. Probably will outperform a discone on UHF and 7/800 since it actually has some gain. On VHF, it's quarter wave, and has a broad bandwidth.
 

JoshuaHufford

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Yeah, they come apart. But you'll have a bunch of parts to reassemble each time. If you are anything like me, slowly parts will disappear.

Larsen NMO-150-450-800 or the NMO-150-450-756 with a base mount would be a good option. Smaller, less parts, easier to assemble/disassemble. It'll cover the VHF, UHF and 7-800MHz bands just fine. Probably will outperform a discone on UHF and 7/800 since it actually has some gain. On VHF, it's quarter wave, and has a broad bandwidth.
Yeah that was the other option I was thinking of. I liked the idea that the discone would possibly have better reception for lower stuff like lowband and CB, although I know they still aren't that great at it.
 

W9WSS

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A VHF quarter-wave with a thick rod (Laird, Em-Wave, or ComTelCo) works very well for UHF/VHF, low band, and mine even does a great job on 700/800 MHz on our statewide Starcom21 P25 trunked system. The thicker the rod, the wider the bandwidth. I have two of them cut for 146 MHz (it's a 1/4 wave) and on UHF 446 MHz (it's a 3/4 wave). Excellent performance for monitoring and ham radio usage. Mine are permanently NMO mounted on my car, because I refuse to use magnetic-based antennas for anything other than very temporary usage.
 

mmckenna

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Yeah that was the other option I was thinking of. I liked the idea that the discone would possibly have better reception for lower stuff like lowband and CB, although I know they still aren't that great at it.
The run of the mill hobbyist discone antennas are not going to work well on low band or CB, no matter what the specs say.

If you want low band or CB coverage, you'll need a suitable antenna.

For VHF/UHF, I agree with W9WSS, a wide band 1/4 wave will do wonders. That all I use on my mobile installs. Cheap, easy and works very well.
 

mmckenna

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I have one of these on my work truck:
I've taken it down a lot of overgrown access roads and it's stood up well.

I had the same antenna on my personal truck when I ended up in a parking garage in Las Vegas and no where to pull over and remove the antenna. The spring had a permanent kink in it, bu the rest of the antenna/base were just fine.

This with the N connector would be a good choice:
 

JoshuaHufford

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Thanks, this would certainly be a lot simpler and more compact.

Do you happen to know how long the ground radials are on that mount or if they can detach?
 

mmckenna

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Thanks, this would certainly be a lot simpler and more compact.

Do you happen to know how long the ground radials are on that mount or if they can detach?
They are 22 1/2 inches long. It has Allen head set screws to hold them in. If you took them down to a hardware store, they could probably help you find some longer Phillips head screws to replace them. That would make assembly/disassembly a bit easier.

Other option would be to make your own ground plane/NMO base using an old tape measure blade. Those will collapse down easily.
 

Elpablo

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How is the MBCN on low band? I put up an Tram 1465 kit with Larson NMO40 and I get great signal with it on low band (CHP) but there is a lot of noise during daylight hours. I thinking of moving to the Larson BS45C with much longer the radials to match low band antenna but I am trying to identify/eliminate other sources of the noise before I spend more in case the radials aren't the issue.
 

prcguy

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If you want VHF hi, VHF lo, VHF air, UHF air, UHF public service and CB but no 800 you might look for a surplus Shakespeare or Harris military whip that covers 30 to 512MHz continuous and works ok on CB. These show up on Ebay here and there in the $200 range +/- a few $$ and work quite well. You can also get surplus mounts that can attach to your camper near roof level and make use of the camper as a ground plane.

I have a couple of the Shakespeare SBF3512 series and a mount just inside the top bedrail of my truck for when I need really wide band or when I want the truck to look extra stupid. These antennas are also sold under the Harris brand and some multiband Harris antennas are now made by Comrod with similar specs to the Shakespeare. If you monitor Ebay for awhile these will show up.




Edit: If you look here under post #15 there is a pdf article comparing the Shakespeare military 30-512Mhz antenna to the Austin Spectra and the old but famous Antenna Specialists MON-52 series on air with a gain chart. You can see in a few spots the Austin and A/S can work a little better in some of the commercial bands but over all the VHF lo band and a few other spots the big Shakespeare works much better. The Austin and A/S were specifically made to cover VHF lo and comparing other antennas like the Larsen Tri-band or VHF quarter wave will be 20dB or more down on VHF lo band.

 
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vagrant

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The LP-3512/VRC looks nice and eXtra dorky with the capacity hat at half the height. My head has enough holes in it, so my SUV would have to handle one of those if/when I find one.

P.S. - There is a NIB HP-3512/VRC on eBay for around $240 shipped out of Spain.
 

vagrant

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When camping, I use tuned antennas for what I want to hear like Mil Air, as well as the Larsen tri-band on my vehicle. Using separate scanners on each of those helps to catch things, versus a large scan list on one scanner. For wide range stuff when camping I use an additional scanner and a Tram 1410 discone, a diplexer and an 800+ MHz vertical. I basically have the same setup as in this thread, plus the extras I noted and a sandbag or two for the tripod.

I store the 1410 discone in a 36" long 1" PVC tube with a PVC cap on one end and the discone top on the other to keep everything inside, along with the Allen wrench. It is relatively quick to deploy/take down. Here's the top on the PVC and a photo the OP posted in that thread using the same antenna. I haven't lost, bent or broken anything.
DisconePVC.jpg20191223_195642s.jpg
 

iMONITOR

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Get this little discone. Worked good inside my house in the winter until I put up my full size discone in the spring. I take it camping now along with a survey tripod and a 12 foot pvc pole.
Some dispute the design and performance simply by looking at it, but I used one in my home office for about 6 months and it worked great for VHF/UHF aircraft as well as a 700-850MHz P25 simulcast system.
 
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