Suggestions for Amp? Traintenna comparison?

Status
Not open for further replies.

CN2434

Member
Joined
May 18, 2020
Messages
8
Hello all,

I recently bought a Traintenna mobile antenna (Link) to monitor the rail band (160-161 MHz) that I mostly use at home.

It works much better than my old antenna, but I'm considering an upgrade.

I'm still fairly new to this hobby, so I have no ideas where to look for a pre-amp. I've heard it can provide a small improvement so any pointers would be greatly appreciated.

I know Traintenna also has a indoor antenna, so I'm wondering is this could also work to increase my range.

Thanks
 

prcguy

Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2006
Messages
12,484
Location
So Cal - Richardson, TX - Tewksbury, MA
Avoid a preamp, especially indoors. Try to get the antenna outside on the roof, height is your best friend and even getting it just outside a window is much better than indoors with a preamp. You can buy or make a base station adapter for the Traintenna that has ground radials, and that antenna needs a ground plane. Or you could buy essentially the same antenna for about $27 shipped and get the base station adapter for about $29 shipped and you will still have the Traintenna for mobile use.


 

CN2434

Member
Joined
May 18, 2020
Messages
8
Avoid a preamp, especially indoors. Try to get the antenna outside on the roof, height is your best friend and even getting it just outside a window is much better than indoors with a preamp. You can buy or make a base station adapter for the Traintenna that has ground radials, and that antenna needs a ground plane. Or you could buy essentially the same antenna for about $27 shipped and get the base station adapter for about $29 shipped and you will still have the Traintenna for mobile use.


Thanks,

I've actually kept my old tram 1094 for mobile use, it works pretty nicely on the car.

I'm not quite sure about taking my antenna outdoor yet, it has actually worked pretty well so far. I have it all the way up in my cupola at the top of my house, however up to this point I've been using a old metal box as a ground plane. Would the mounting kit still improve my range, even if I kept it indoors?
 

Volfirefighter

Member
Feed Provider
Joined
Jul 26, 2003
Messages
851
Location
Canton, OH
This one has worked well for me. I have two, one I use for 700/800 Mhz. and the other for 150-450 Mhz. They improve reception in both bands quite well.

 

CN2434

Member
Joined
May 18, 2020
Messages
8
This one has worked well for me. I have two, one I use for 700/800 Mhz. and the other for 150-450 Mhz. They improve reception in both bands quite well.

Thanks!

Looks cheap enough, I'll keep that in consideration.
 

JoshuaHufford

Member
Feed Provider
Joined
May 27, 2018
Messages
688
Location
Jefferson City, Mo
I'm my experience preamps can help considerably for data decoding when you have a weak signal, and/or long coax run, or you are splitting the signal with a power divider to more than one radio.

For listening to voice communications they often don't help much or can make things worse by overloading your scanner and picking up a LOT of intermod. Listening to the railband can be especially troublesome when using a preamp because it is so close to NOAA radio.

Your best bet is to mount an antenna outdoors, and with what you have already I wouldn't spend any more money on antennas. If you want a simpler ground plane then get the ground plane kit that prcguy posted and use it with the Traintenna at home and use the Tram in your car. I seriously doubt any "indoor" antenna will work better than that, they are mostly designed to "blend in" with an indoor environment and look nice, not really perform any better.
 

Ubbe

Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2006
Messages
6,931
Location
Stockholm, Sweden
I have pre-amps connected directly to the antenna port to a scanner with an attenuator in between to regulate the amount of gain the scanner gets to avoid desensing and getting intermod. A low-noise amp always helps as the internal noise level in scanners are not so good.

Of course it helps even more if the amplifier are put at the antenna base, both to overcome any coax and connector loss but also the work as an impendance buffer.

I did some test with and indoor magnet mount antenna put it in the window and it was a huge difference in receive quality. The more off frequency the antenna where cut for the more improvement where noticed. Great for wide band scanner use.

I have many different amplifiers, some expensive ones, that have failed over time. Now I only use cheaper but better performing amplifiers from different sources, like these guys: GPIO Labs | eBay Stores

/Ubbe
 

Ubbe

Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2006
Messages
6,931
Location
Stockholm, Sweden
But you are not in a giant RF sink hole.
I also tested amplifiers in the worst place in stockholm where the majority of tranmsitters are installed and works equally well there using a 9dBi antenna. You have to be carefull and not have too much gain in RF hell locations, just enough to overcome the receivers internal noise level. It always improved reception even at those places.

If you use an inferior amplifier it will overload and create intermod in itself. All chinese ones are terrible.

/Ubbe
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top