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Rugged VHF 5/8 Wave

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Just looking for some fairly rugged VHF antenna suggestions. Some friends off mine folded the whip on their Baja truck over a tree branch and have been looking for some replacement options and since that kind of abuse isn't what I'm familiar with, I thought I'd ask here.

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902

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Just looking for some fairly rugged VHF antenna suggestions. Some friends off mine folded the whip on their Baja truck over a tree branch and have been looking for some replacement options and since that kind of abuse isn't what I'm familiar with, I thought I'd ask here.
I've been using these guys since they were Maxrad. I generally have satisfactory results. It's going to be difficult insuring a 5/8 wave antenna won't get caught up on a tree branch or in a garage door, but I usually use a spring on the base to give it a little extra flexibility. You can get them from a few sources and if you have a commercial account with a distributor, you can likely get a discount.
 
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Keep a couple of spare whips around, they aren't expensive. Short of that, go to a 1/4 wave. Some of the quarter waves have thicker whips. Add a spring to that and they are hard to tear up.
 

kayn1n32008

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Just looking for some fairly rugged VHF antenna suggestions. Some friends off mine folded the whip on their Baja truck over a tree branch and have been looking for some replacement options and since that kind of abuse isn't what I'm familiar with, I thought I'd ask here.

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Sin labs make pretty solid antennas, not sure if they can be ordered with a spring though. Best bet would probably be to use a 1/4wave with a spring.


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WB4CS

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Larsen NMO 150. Best 5/8 wave antenna out there. It's for amateur 146 MHz but can be tuned for the 150 MHz band.
 

photoguy2

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We used to have a HAM in our club, who was also a off-roader. He had a Military Surplus whip that he used on 6 meters and 2M. He used to tell tales of all the stuff that antenna had taken. I haven't seen him since he moved, and I have no clue where he got them, I would assume EvilBay or gov surplus auctions. Perhaps prcguy can chime in?

I also use a Larsen NMO, and it is great, but I've never hit it on a tree.

Matt
 

kayn1n32008

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Larsen NMO 150. Best 5/8 wave antenna out there. It's for amateur 146 MHz but can be tuned for the 150 MHz band.

The Larsen 5/8 wave model is NMO 150 made for any 5MHz or so of the VHF high band. For a pavement queen they are fine. Off road racing Not so much. While I do like Larsen antennas, and would normally agree with you, this time I cannot. For a Baja off road truck, I would not use Larsen, the sinclabs antenna coil is much better built, and the whips are significantly larger in diameter. The only thing I am not sure of is if they have a spring option for them. If he bent the whip over hitting a tree branch the Larsen will not survive long. A friend of the family used to race in the Baja 1000 and they never had a 5/8wave last a race, they ended up using 1/4wave antennas on the race truck because it was the only antenna that would not get destroyed during the race.


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I'm starting to think the best thing may just be to get a 1/4 Wave with spring when the course is in treed areas and then a 5/8 wave in open areas. These guys normally race in West Texas and East New Mexico.
 

kayn1n32008

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[Q UOTE=W5PKY;2129663]I'm starting to think the best thing may just be to get a 1/4 Wave with spring when the course is in treed areas and then a 5/8 wave in open areas. These guys normally race in West Texas and East New Mexico.[/QUOTE]



Honestly just use a 1/4 wave with a spring. The 5/8 will not make that much of a difference.


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prcguy

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If one mfrs 5/8 whip wrapped around a tree branch then most will do the same since they are all a similar length and diameter. A 1/4 is a good idea as mentioned.

There are some military vehicle antennas that are very rugged but probably not practical since the mounts are large and use a side mount or you have to cut a very large hole in your roof. One example is the Shakespeare 4265A which is a broad band coaxial half wave on VHF. See 4265A VHF/UHF by Shakespeare I just received one in the mail today, what a coincidence!
prcguy

We used to have a HAM in our club, who was also a off-roader. He had a Military Surplus whip that he used on 6 meters and 2M. He used to tell tales of all the stuff that antenna had taken. I haven't seen him since he moved, and I have no clue where he got them, I would assume EvilBay or gov surplus auctions. Perhaps prcguy can chime in?

I also use a Larsen NMO, and it is great, but I've never hit it on a tree.

Matt
 

kc0kp

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Just looking for some fairly rugged VHF antenna suggestions. Some friends off mine folded the whip on their Baja truck over a tree branch and have been looking for some replacement options and since that kind of abuse isn't what I'm familiar with, I thought I'd ask here.

Sent from my ME173X using Tapatalk
Back in the day, the Colorado State Patrol did test on all the available antennas for use on their patrol cars, mounted in the center of the roof. They tested for ruggedness and for measured gain. The gain tests were done on the antenna measurement field at the National Bureau of Standards (now NIST) in Boulder. With around 2.7db of measured gain, the Larsen NMO 150 won hands down. The whips were silver plated so the antenna's skin radiated well. As they corroded, there was little effect as silver salt conducted nearly as well as silver did.
As for ruggedness, the only NMO150s I ever replaced for damage to the loading coil was on a road grader for the city of Aurora. It graded alleys and stood about 9 feet off the ground. Trees damaged two coils, the only two coils I ever replaced in 40 years of communications. Replaced it with a Sinclair Excaliber railroad antenna that lasted the life of the grader.
Whips knocked out of the base is an issue, but still rare. Putting a flat on the rod where the set screw attaches helps with that.
Our Mobile Command truck is 13' 6" tall and all the 150 and 450 roof top antennas are NMO 2/70 SH with the spring base. They have been trimming trees in Denver for 5 years now without a failure. Cannot say the same thing about the satellite dish on the same truck.
 
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prcguy

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I've been using Larsen antennas for about 35yrs and NMO150 has a nickel plated whip with a layer of copper plating underneath. The copper plating has nothing to do with conductivity, its a standard method to make the nickel plating stick to steel or stainless steel.

Around here the nickel plated whips eventually corrode with a green color due to salt air. If they were silver plated they would tarnish and turn black almost immediately which I have never seen.
prcguy

Back in the day, the Colorado State Patrol did test on all the available antennas for use on their patrol cars, mounted in the center of the roof. They tested for ruggedness and for measured gain. The gain tests were done on the antenna measurement field at the National Bureau of Standards (now NIST) in Boulder. With around 2.7db of measured gain, the Larsen NMO 150 won hands down. The whips were silver plated so the antenna's skin radiated well. As they corroded, there was little effect as silver salt conducted nearly as well as silver did.
As for ruggedness, the only NMO150s I ever replaced for damage to the loading coil was on a road grader for the city of Aurora. It graded alleys and stood about 9 feet off the ground. Trees damaged two coils, the only two coils I ever replaced in 40 years of communications. Replaced it with a Sinclair Excaliber railroad antenna that lasted the life of the grader.
Whips knocked out of the base is an issue, but still rare. Putting a flat on the rod where the set screw attaches helps with that.
Our Mobile Command truck is 13' 6" tall and all the 150 and 450 roof top antennas are NMO 2/70 SH with the spring base. They have been trimming trees in Denver for 5 years now without a failure. Cannot say the same thing about the satellite dish on the same truck.
 
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You can take this 5/8 VHF antenna use a ball mount add a spring and they do a great job.
2 Meter Ham Radio High Gain Mobile Antenna

You can find this antenna in different places for cheaper prices,this is just a picture for reference but I have one that works great.
The downside is that going with a deferent mount style either means using a 3/8x24 to NMO adapter or completely installing a different mount (in a different location).

My friends are still using the antenna the previous racing team installed on the truck (previously it was a support vehicle for the Baja race and other southern cal races) and if I remember that part of the peninsula correctly, there aren't a lot of trees to hit out there.
 

wa1nic

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SF-2

The Hustler SF-2 that Wyandotte mentioned is hard to be. It has a 3/8-24 mount which makes for many possibilities.

I had two of them on my last truck (2 meters and VHF commercial) and when I sold it 13 years later they both still worked fine. I am going to install two more on my new truck in the next couple of weeks.

I got a couple of really heavy duty 3/8-24 to PL-259 adapters. I also have some SO-239 bulkhead connectors with heavy duty mounting nuts. I am going to mount the bulkhead connectors on the aluminum headache rack on my flatbed dually and screw the adapters into them to use as amount for the SF-2's.

Rick
 
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