Railroad Base Antenna Recommendations

Status
Not open for further replies.

Jonathan7

Member
Database Admin
Joined
May 5, 2008
Messages
10
Location
Central North Carolina
Hello Everyone,

I'm not seeing a ton of options out there for base antennas that are tuned for the railroad band. So far I've seen only the "TrainTenna Vertical Outdoor Base Antenna" and the "RRBASE - Firestik RailRoad Base Station Antenna Kit". I'm looking for some feedback on these antennas or other options?

I'm only a mile away from a major Norfolk Southern mainline.

Thanks

Jonathan
 

nmi02

Newbie
Joined
Mar 24, 2013
Messages
1
Location
Beaverton, OR
I've been using a Diamond F23H for the last year and have been very happy with it. It's tunable (144-174 Mhz), easy to do, and claims 7.8 db gain. It definitely increased my range. I've got some drill & storage tracks about 2 miles away and I can now hear both the train and handheld radios when they get worked.

--johnk
 

ratboy

Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2004
Messages
913
Location
Toledo,Ohio
I had a couple of two meter antennas, a Ringo, and another I can't remember the name of that worked great. I made a 161 MHZ ground plane that I had up in my attic as a backup antenna that I could depend on to stay together regardless of how bad the WX got and it worked very well too, but not as good as the other ones, probably due to it being 20 feet lower. It's cheap to make one and try it out, so I would give it a shot.
 

mmckenna

I ♥ Ø
Joined
Jul 27, 2005
Messages
16,592
Location
From the land of sky blue waters!
Hello Everyone,

I'm not seeing a ton of options out there for base antennas that are tuned for the railroad band. So far I've seen only the "TrainTenna Vertical Outdoor Base Antenna" and the "RRBASE - Firestik RailRoad Base Station Antenna Kit". I'm looking for some feedback on these antennas or other options?
There is nothing magical about the railroad frequencies. 160MHz. That's smack in the middle of what a VHF marine band antenna will cover. If you want something cheap and off the shelf, pick up one of those. Or any other antenna that is/can be tuned for 160MHz range. A simple quarterwave as cmdrwill said, would work well. Or a 5/8th's wave...
 

N5XPM

Member
Joined
Jul 29, 2011
Messages
169
Location
Texas
The comments here are accurate, if it is just for receiving, VHF marine antennas are plentiful and affordable, but decent coax, routing and connection sealing will make the outcome better for longer.
 

cbehr91

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jun 22, 2010
Messages
351
If you're handy you can build a 4-bay dipole array tuned for the railroad band for much cheaper than you can buy one commercially. They are tall -- at around 20' in height, but it's the same type of antenna the railroads use for base stations.

https://forums.radioreference.com/threads/4-bay-vhf-dipole-array-project.109144/

Otherwise, what others have suggested will work fine. If this is your first antenna, or if you're looking for something simple the recommended marine and 1/4 wave groundplane antennas work great too.
 
Last edited:

prcguy

Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2006
Messages
11,552
Location
So Cal - Richardson, TX - Tewksbury, MA
Yup, a big exposed dipole array will give you the most omni gain for size. That there dipole array project on RR is good, I made one myself. :)

If I was heavy into RR monitoring I would put up my Kreco 4 element colinear that's sitting new in the box. These don't have quite the gain of a 4 bay dipole array but they win with the cool factor. I've seen many of these in RR use but mostly on the east coast. Imagine this beauty, highly polished up on your roof. Kreco Antennas - Stacked Co-Axial Antennas

If you're handy you can build a 4-bay dipole array tuned for the railroad band for much cheaper than you can buy one commercially. They are tall -- at around 20' in height, but it's the same type of antenna the railroads use for base stations.

https://forums.radioreference.com/threads/4-bay-vhf-dipole-array-project.109144/

Otherwise, what others have suggested will work fine. If this is your first antenna, or if you're looking for something simple the recommended marine and 1/4 wave groundplane antennas work great too.
 

RadioDitch

Dual Citizen Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jan 24, 2010
Messages
2,792
Location
Labrador West, Labrador
Best omni-directional antenna for the AAR Band is a full-size Super Stationmaster, but it's impractical if you're in a neighborhood. Thing is 21ft long. Your best bet for a conventional residential set-up would be a DPD Productions Traintenna.
 

kayn1n32008

ØÆSØ
Joined
Sep 20, 2008
Messages
6,315
Location
Sector 001
Best omni-directional antenna for the AAR Band is a full-size Super Stationmaster, but it's impractical if you're in a neighborhood. Thing is 21ft long.
There are much better antennas out there.

Comprod and Sinclair 4 bay 1/2wave spaced exposed dipole arrays run circles around super stationmaster.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

prcguy

Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2006
Messages
11,552
Location
So Cal - Richardson, TX - Tewksbury, MA
A 4-bay exposed dipole array has an edge on the Superstationmaster with about 6dBd gain where the Stationmaster is around 5.25dBd. Plus the dipole array can give 20+ MHz band width and the Superstaionmaster is less at about 9MHz in the VHF band.


Best omni-directional antenna for the AAR Band is a full-size Super Stationmaster, but it's impractical if you're in a neighborhood. Thing is 21ft long. Your best bet for a conventional residential set-up would be a DPD Productions Traintenna.
 

kayn1n32008

ØÆSØ
Joined
Sep 20, 2008
Messages
6,315
Location
Sector 001
A 4-bay exposed dipole array has an edge on the Superstationmaster with about 6dBd gain where the Stationmaster is around 5.25dBd. Plus the dipole array can give 20+ MHz band width and the Superstaionmaster is less at about 9MHz in the VHF band.
Sinclair 210-Cx will cover the entire 136-174MHz LMR band, plus be resonant across the entire 440-450MHz(never swept wider than the ham band) ham band. Really handy when it cost big bucks to climb towers to link via UHF.

While the pattern is funky, it works quite well when you have an ideal UHF path.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

RadioDitch

Dual Citizen Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jan 24, 2010
Messages
2,792
Location
Labrador West, Labrador
A 4-bay exposed dipole array has an edge on the Superstationmaster with about 6dBd gain where the Stationmaster is around 5.25dBd. Plus the dipole array can give 20+ MHz band width and the Superstaionmaster is less at about 9MHz in the VHF band.
I can only speak to my experiences. I've just always found the Super Stationmasters to be better then the Sinclair or Telwave dipoles. Just me. (Shrug)
 

kayn1n32008

ØÆSØ
Joined
Sep 20, 2008
Messages
6,315
Location
Sector 001
A 4-bay exposed dipole array has an edge on the Superstationmaster with about 6dBd gain where the Stationmaster is around 5.25dBd. Plus the dipole array can give 20+ MHz band width and the Superstaionmaster is less at about 9MHz in the VHF band.
Plus the Comprod or Sinclair exposed dipole arrays will absolutely out live the SSM. An group I belong to is currently using 30+ year old Sinclair exposed dipole arrays with out issue.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

RadioDitch

Dual Citizen Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jan 24, 2010
Messages
2,792
Location
Labrador West, Labrador
Plus the Comprod or Sinclair exposed dipole arrays will absolutely out live the SSM. An group I belong to is currently using 30+ year old Sinclair exposed dipole arrays with out issue.
Oh, no denying the service life of the Comprod, Sinclair, or Telwave dipoles are longer cause they're better through tough conditions. But again, my statement is just to my experiences. SSM's have always performed better for me at various sites in varying terrain.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top