• To anyone looking to acquire commercial radio programming software:

    Please do not make requests for copies of radio programming software which is sold (or was sold) by the manufacturer for any monetary value. All requests will be deleted and a forum infraction issued. Making a request such as this is attempting to engage in software piracy and this forum cannot be involved or associated with this activity. The same goes for any private transaction via Private Message. Even if you attempt to engage in this activity in PM's we will still enforce the forum rules. Your PM's are not private and the administration has the right to read them if there's a hint to criminal activity.

    If you are having trouble legally obtaining software please state so. We do not want any hurt feelings when your vague post is mistaken for a free request. It is YOUR responsibility to properly word your request.

    To obtain Motorola software see the Sticky in the Motorola forum.

    The various other vendors often permit their dealers to sell the software online (i.e., Kenwood). Please use Google or some other search engine to find a dealer that sells the software. Typically each series or individual radio requires its own software package. Often the Kenwood software is less than $100 so don't be a cheapskate; just purchase it.

    For M/A Com/Harris/GE, etc: there are two software packages that program all current and past radios. One package is for conventional programming and the other for trunked programming. The trunked package is in upwards of $2,500. The conventional package is more reasonable though is still several hundred dollars. The benefit is you do not need multiple versions for each radio (unlike Motorola).

    This is a large and very visible forum. We cannot jeopardize the ability to provide the RadioReference services by allowing this activity to occur. Please respect this.

The 102-inch whip in a perfect world and the real world

devicelab

Whacker Extraordinaire
Joined
Jul 18, 2016
Messages
898
Location
Bothell, WA
Yeah the 102 inch whip 1/4 wave antenna beats them all, that is the shorter antennas. From field testing the different antennas while looking at a Spectrum Analyzer and trying many different antennas the 1/4 wave 102 inch or 96 inch fiber glass antenna always nosed ahead of the shorter antennas.
Jay did you ever compare them to the Firestik II antennas? I have the 4ft and 5ft models. I'm going to compare them to my 102" whips -- I have one from R/S and the other from DXE. (Some of have claimed the DXE whips are better but dunno...)
 

prcguy

Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2006
Messages
11,174
Location
So Cal - Richardson, TX - Tewksbury, MA
In the 80s when Firestick made a 7ft version I tested them against a 9ft steel whip and the steel whip was a tiny bit better. The steel whip is noticeably better than the 4 and 5ft Firesticks.

Jay did you ever compare them to the Firestik II antennas? I have the 4ft and 5ft models. I'm going to compare them to my 102" whips -- I have one from R/S and the other from DXE. (Some of have claimed the DXE whips are better but dunno...)
 

mmckenna

I ♥ Ø
Joined
Jul 27, 2005
Messages
15,862
Location
SNCZCA01DS0
I've seen a lot of casual antenna-performance comparisons on the Internet through the years, and the general results were that, inch-for-antenna-inch, the magnet-mounted antennas were as effective as those permanently mounted in a hole. The key seems to be the antenna length and where it is placed on the car, the best generally being in the middle of the roof. This is one recent example I ran into:

"Magnetic mounts (good quality ones anyway) have little significance on an antenna's performance, just as the Larsen PDF illustrates: a tiny loss of 0.2 dB with a magnetic antenna vs a permanently mounted antenna. That paper also states the minimum amount of effective ground plane needed for several frequencies; but, of course, CB @ 27MHz will require much more ground plane than 150MHz will, making it all the more detrimental to the signal pattern to have it on the fender of the vehicle instead of the roof. I've seen it many times in the real world too, where I could clearly hear a buddy of mine who has a magnetic roof-mounted antenna, but signals from others who had various non-roof-mounted antennas (most being non-magnetic) were not even detectable."

Correct. When comparing like for like antennas, mounted in the center of the roof of a vehicle, there is a 0.2dB loss for the magnetic mount. It's highly unlikely anyone is going to hear that 0.2dB difference.
All things being equal, mounting the same antenna on a mag mount versus a permanent mount isn't going to amount to much.

However, there's other things you need to consider.
There is a difference between a capacitively coupled ground plane and a real ground plane. That's where the 0.2dB comes in.
But if your antenna is not working well, you can have stray RF radiating off the outer shield of the coax on your magnetic mount antenna. That can be a problem.

Then you have to get the coaxial cable inside the vehicle. Sure, run it through a door, window, etc. However, running coax through the door risks pinching the cable. Pinching the coax changes it's characteristic impedance. Now you've added to that 0.2dB of loss.
Pinching the cable/abrasion between the door/body risks damaging the cable jacket. Now you risk getting moisture inside, which will corrode the copper. Now your coaxial cable is compromised.
And running through the weather stripping risks letting water inside your car.
Leaving a window cracked, especially the rear slider window on a truck, creates an entry point for anyone that wants what's inside your vehicle.

And then you have vehicles that magnets won't stick to. My F350 is aluminum, so even if I wanted to do a mag mount, it's not going to stick.

And then there's coaxial cable routing. Having it run across the roof of the vehicle from the antenna to the door can result in the cable flapping against the body. The noise can be annoying. The damage to the paint can be annoying.
And then you have to route the cable to the radio. Personally I don't like any wiring showing in my installs. I don't want a cable draped in through the window and across the back seat to a radio. That sort of install just doesn't sit well with me.

And those with newer cars don't want to risk paint damage from mag mounts. Some don't care about the looks of their vehicles, some do.

I have no problem with others choosing magnet mount antennas if that's what their skill level allows. But they do have their drawbacks. It's a compromise. Some are willing to accept the compromise.

It comes down to magnet mounts being the quick/easy compromise antennas for consumers. They don't require any installation skills, so they are attractive solutions to some users. Nothing wrong with that.
But they don't really compare to a properly installed/designed/tuned antenna.
 

slowmover

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Aug 4, 2020
Messages
371
Location
Fort Worth
DD635625-AE17-4B17-895C-B43FB40C8060.jpeg

This — with 6”x6” backing plate — goes onto the roof of my Dodge pickup this year.

Antennas range from SS 102” down to 54” Signal Engineering Golden Rod 45. And 3-4 more inside that range, besides.

Bought a Foldover stud as well.

On the Peterbilt I run up to 14’ TTL clearance without issue. Longer is better (not just taller).

The 102” will likely be for more stationary use unless I’m on the Interstate (14’5”). The 7’ President Texas baseload will be the default.


“Dork” is the guy with the short mag mount can’t get out.


If you want to run stock power, the antenna has to be the emphasis instead of an amp.

One, or the other, in mobile installs.

.
 

Syntor-X9K

Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2017
Messages
32
Location
Monterey Bay Area
I've found any low loss antenna, that's around 4 Ft/ 48in (or taller) and is mounted on the trunk (worse of the two), or on the roof of the car (the best), is going to work fine (will have less than 1db difference between the 102in whip antenna, when mounted in the same place). Most Commercial antennas (Larsen, Laird, etc) are rated for between 150-500W continuous, is my meaning for low loss.
I also found for Low band/CB, that the larger NMO center tab, mounts (Larsen) NMOKHFCX, works better, and provided the lowest SWR at residence. Magnetic mounts should be avoided. If not possible use 5-6in (or bigger) mag mounts only...
 
Last edited:

vagrant

ker-muhj-uhn
Joined
Nov 19, 2005
Messages
1,992
Location
California
A million years ago I had a 67' Baja VW Bug. On the roof above the back window I installed a ball mount with a spring and some janky short CB antenna, so I didn't hit everything along the way. It was easy to swap out a 102" whip with it, but storing the 102" "inside" the bug was not an option. A 100W amp helped, but the lights would dim so probably not providing 100W.
 

ai8o

Electron Wrangler
Joined
Oct 6, 2007
Messages
258
Location
Lexington, NC
I grew up in Southwestern Ontario and remember OPP cruisers with those antennas. And they were using low band right up until around 1989. Was the antenna actually mounted to the roof or to the light bar?
The antennae were mounted thru the metal in the middle of the roof.

In the 60s/70s, they did not have light bars. instead,
Originally two bulb, and then four bulb bubble gum machines.
The power cable for the lights went right thru the roof in the middle of the area covered by the light.
Earlier units had mechanical sirens, later the siren loudspeaker was in the base of the red light assembly.
Federal signal was one supplier.

Those long whip antennae were dangerous.
More than one car involved in an accident or even a hard stop, had the antenna whip slam down on the windshield and shatter the glass.
 

FiveFilter

Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2016
Messages
285
Correct. When comparing like for like antennas, mounted in the center of the roof of a vehicle, there is a 0.2dB loss for the magnetic mount. It's highly unlikely anyone is going to hear that 0.2dB difference.
All things being equal, mounting the same antenna on a mag mount versus a permanent mount isn't going to amount to much.

However, there's other things you need to consider.
There is a difference between a capacitively coupled ground plane and a real ground plane. That's where the 0.2dB comes in.
But if your antenna is not working well, you can have stray RF radiating off the outer shield of the coax on your magnetic mount antenna. That can be a problem.

Then you have to get the coaxial cable inside the vehicle. Sure, run it through a door, window, etc. However, running coax through the door risks pinching the cable. Pinching the coax changes it's characteristic impedance. Now you've added to that 0.2dB of loss.
Pinching the cable/abrasion between the door/body risks damaging the cable jacket. Now you risk getting moisture inside, which will corrode the copper. Now your coaxial cable is compromised.
And running through the weather stripping risks letting water inside your car.
Leaving a window cracked, especially the rear slider window on a truck, creates an entry point for anyone that wants what's inside your vehicle.

And then you have vehicles that magnets won't stick to. My F350 is aluminum, so even if I wanted to do a mag mount, it's not going to stick.

And then there's coaxial cable routing. Having it run across the roof of the vehicle from the antenna to the door can result in the cable flapping against the body. The noise can be annoying. The damage to the paint can be annoying.
And then you have to route the cable to the radio. Personally I don't like any wiring showing in my installs. I don't want a cable draped in through the window and across the back seat to a radio. That sort of install just doesn't sit well with me.

And those with newer cars don't want to risk paint damage from mag mounts. Some don't care about the looks of their vehicles, some do.

I have no problem with others choosing magnet mount antennas if that's what their skill level allows. But they do have their drawbacks. It's a compromise. Some are willing to accept the compromise.

It comes down to magnet mounts being the quick/easy compromise antennas for consumers. They don't require any installation skills, so they are attractive solutions to some users. Nothing wrong with that.
But they don't really compare to a properly installed/designed/tuned antenna.
All good points. And you also might agree that there are also a few disadvantages to the alternative permanent mount in the roof, including having to punch a permanent hole in the roof and potential problems relating thereto, having to remove and/or otherwise deal with the headliner to make the install, having to route the wires in sometimes hard-to-negotiate places, et al.

Of course, each of these can be accommodated. But so can any problems with magnet mounted antennas.

My use of magnet mounts has extended over the course of many years now. They are very suitable to me because I use my CBs in three different vehicles and only for particular circumstances, and so the flexibility of magnet mounts is a very important attribute. I am careful to preserve their inherently excellent performance by placing them in the best location on each vehicle, and I have managed to prevent any damage to the coax and to my vehicles by using care.

Every coin has two sides. No reason not to look at both of them.
 

iMONITOR

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Sep 20, 2006
Messages
9,251
Just like when people say "the antenna is more important than the radio", I also think a proper installation is as important if not more so than the antenna.
 

mmckenna

I ♥ Ø
Joined
Jul 27, 2005
Messages
15,862
Location
SNCZCA01DS0
All good points. And you also might agree that there are also a few disadvantages to the alternative permanent mount in the roof, including having to punch a permanent hole in the roof and potential problems relating thereto, having to remove and/or otherwise deal with the headliner to make the install, having to route the wires in sometimes hard-to-negotiate places, et al.
No, I'd disagree. After installing hundreds of NMO permanent mount antennas over the last 30+ years, I have not found a real downside.

The downsides that are often brought up are usually excuses by people that don't understand the importance of properly installed antennas, are too lazy to do a proper install, or are not permitted to do those sorts of modifications to a vehicle.

But the drawbacks are not physical or technical, they are perceived drawbacks.
Using the correct tools, parts and techniques does not have any "potential problems". I've never had a properly installed NMO mount leak. I've never had one fail.
I think it my career, I've had to partially drop a headliner once. I've never had to completely remove a headliner on any vehicle.
Routing wires is part of doing a good install. No professional would leave exposed wires. It's called being a craftsman. Maybe it's the difference between a hobbyist/amateur and a professional.

Often people will claim "resale value" as a drawback.
I've installed permanent NMO mounts on all my vehicles since 1990. Never, not one time, have I had it detract from the sale price of the vehicle. This goes back to doing a professional job and paying attention to details. The last vehicle I sold was a 2011 F150 with about 100,000 miles on it. It had 2 NMO permanent mounts on the roof. The dealer didn't care. Because I'd maintained the vehicle correctly, it was in good shape inside and out, and I'd looked after it, I received higher than blue book value for it. The dealer didn't care that it had two antenna mounts on top.

Of course, each of these can be accommodated. But so can any problems with magnet mounted antennas.
There's nothing to accommodate if the install is done correctly.

If someone doesn't feel like installing a permanent antenna, then fine, they should just say that. But magnetic mount antennas are not as good as a permanent install.

My use of magnet mounts has extended over the course of many years now. They are very suitable to me because I use my CBs in three different vehicles and only for particular circumstances, and so the flexibility of magnet mounts is a very important attribute. I am careful to preserve their inherently excellent performance by placing them in the best location on each vehicle, and I have managed to prevent any damage to the coax and to my vehicles by using care.
If that works for you, then great. Magnetic mount antennas are a reasonable solution for some users.

On the other hand, you could install a permanent mount NMO on all three vehicles. Buy two rain caps and one antenna. Swap antennas around as much as you want. Get the best of both worlds.
 

wa8pyr

Technischer Guru
Moderator
Joined
Sep 22, 2002
Messages
5,594
Location
Ohio
No way I'd mount a 102" whip on any of my vehicles. It just screams "DORK Alert!".
Maximum dorkage. . . remember Uncle Buck?
Screen Shot 2021-03-16 at 4.10.52 PM.png

That being said, I had a 102" whip on my car for a short time in high school, but it didn't last. . . girls look at you funny when you have that kind of thing on your car; the classic K40 was less conspicuous and worked quite well for transmitting obscenities to your friends or passing truckers.

Now that I once again have a pickup truck, I have considered putting a long whip on the rear bumper for HF and using it folded down for the lower bands and upright for the higher bands as @prcguy mentioned.
 
Last edited:

prcguy

Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2006
Messages
11,174
Location
So Cal - Richardson, TX - Tewksbury, MA
I avoid bumper mounts, especially on trucks because of excessive ground loss which brings the antenna efficiency way down. Take a typical Hamstick for 40m which should have an impedance well under 20 ohms and more like 12-15ohms when mounted in a good spot. Move that to a rear bumper or even worse, the trailer hitch and the feedpoint impedance might go up to 40 or 50 ohms. You just introduced 25-35 ohms of ground loss and associated decrease in performance.

For a ball mount on a pickup truck I prefer high on the bed wall maybe a foot or so behind the cab on the drivers side. The antenna will work well there and its easy to open your door and deal with removal or whatever, plus its away from the sidewalk side which invites people to mess with it. I have a new Jeep truck arriving soon and I might just take my hole saw with me to pick it up so I can put a ball mount on while in the dealers parking lot.

Maximum dorkage. . . remember Uncle Buck?
View attachment 100617

That being said, I had a 102" whip on my car for a short time in high school, but it didn't last. . . girls look at you funny when you have that kind of thing on your car; the classic K40 was less conspicuous and worked quite well for transmitting obscenities to your friends or passing truckers.

Now that I once again have a pickup truck, I have considered putting a long whip on the rear bumper for HF and using it folded down for the lower bands and upright for the higher bands as @prcguy mentioned.
 

mmckenna

I ♥ Ø
Joined
Jul 27, 2005
Messages
15,862
Location
SNCZCA01DS0
That being said, I had a 102" whip on my car for a short time in high school, but it didn't last. . . girls look at you funny when you have that kind of thing on your car; mentioned.
Yeah, almost like they think you are trying to 'compensate for something'.
 

iMONITOR

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Sep 20, 2006
Messages
9,251
Bumper mounts are subjected to a lot of moisture and depending on where you live, road salt.
 
Top