TRAM nmo ground plane kit any good?

bobruzzo

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I am looking to convert my mobile mag mount (NMO) 800 mhz antenna to use as base antenna. Searching online I only find these "Trams"......the price is nice $29. But I'd rather spend more and get better quality. I can't find any other manufacturers of these things, especially with the "N" connector. HRO carries them so I am more apt to buy from them. I am wary of all those little companies that sell on Amazon. I attached the ad from HRO website. Open to other suggestions.:cool:
 

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bobruzzo

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Tram is low end Chinese knock off stuff. You can do better.

And HRO? Hobby grade stuff. They seem to like the Tram/Browning stuff since it caters to cheap hams.

Laird: https://www.theantennafarm.com/cata...-kits-483/uhf-800-mobile-antenna-to-base-485/
Larsen: https://www.theantennafarm.com/cata...tenna-to-base-484/index-1-20a?manufacturer=17
Thank you!!!! I guess HRO has lowered their standards....When I was active with ham radio thats where I used to buy all my gear. I was surprised they didnt have a better selection.
 

mmckenna

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Thank you!!!! I guess HRO has lowered their standards....When I was active with ham radio thats where I used to buy all my gear. I was surprised they didnt have a better selection.
The local HRO at one point carried a lot of the Larsen products, and they still show them online. I haven't been in a HRO in probably 10 years, so I don't know if they still do.

Someone on here was mentioning HRO a few weeks back and that the sales guy tried to sell him a Tram antenna and said it was "just as good as Larsen". I'm sure to the unassuming ham, that would be the case. I've looked at the Tram/Browning products at trade shows, but was not impressed. Most of them appear to be direct copies of other brand antennas, which is not surprising coming out of China. I tried talking to the sales guy at the show, but he didn't seem interested in discussing any details about the product. Some day I'm going to buy one of their antennas and cut open the coil and compare it to other professional antennas I have, just for kicks.

I did disassemble one of the Tram preinstalled PL-259 connectors a few years back and it was in no way a quality connector and was not installed well. The center pin was soldered, but the outer shield was held in place with a single hit from what looked like a center punch. The only thing that held the crimp/shield in place was the overmolded plastic strain relief.

I don't really care what others want to buy/use, it's their money, up to them, but I'm not going to risk my reputation at work by cutting corners to save a few bucks on cheap products from China. I don't doubt that China can make quality products, but they don't come cheap. When I see lower priced knock off products, I know where the cost savings comes from. Quality and paying their labor is the first place that gets cut.
 

bobruzzo

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The local HRO at one point carried a lot of the Larsen products, and they still show them online. I haven't been in a HRO in probably 10 years, so I don't know if they still do.

Someone on here was mentioning HRO a few weeks back and that the sales guy tried to sell him a Tram antenna and said it was "just as good as Larsen". I'm sure to the unassuming ham, that would be the case. I've looked at the Tram/Browning products at trade shows, but was not impressed. Most of them appear to be direct copies of other brand antennas, which is not surprising coming out of China. I tried talking to the sales guy at the show, but he didn't seem interested in discussing any details about the product. Some day I'm going to buy one of their antennas and cut open the coil and compare it to other professional antennas I have, just for kicks.

I did disassemble one of the Tram preinstalled PL-259 connectors a few years back and it was in no way a quality connector and was not installed well. The center pin was soldered, but the outer shield was held in place with a single hit from what looked like a center punch. The only thing that held the crimp/shield in place was the overmolded plastic strain relief.

I don't really care what others want to buy/use, it's their money, up to them, but I'm not going to risk my reputation at work by cutting corners to save a few bucks on cheap products from China. I don't doubt that China can make quality products, but they don't come cheap. When I see lower priced knock off products, I know where the cost savings comes from. Quality and paying their labor is the first place that gets cut.
Back in the early 90's when I was getting started in ham radio, the good stuff outweighed the bad by a big margin. But now......and it makes me wonder.....the really great technology that goes into building the sds radios for example......but who knows what is lurking inside beneath all the circuit boards.....cheap circuitry? Cheap parts? I have an sds200 and the quality and construction is very good. The only thing I noticed is the big "push/func" knob had a flimsy feel to it. Buttons seem nice....the vol/squelch knobs have too much backlash....cheap potentiometers?
I have seen those crappy cheap chinese antennas and parts. There are some REALLY crappy hdtv antennas I have seen....thin, flimsy, weak plastic frames with thin easily bendable elements. How are these things supposed to last outside? Well I'd rather pay more and get something good. I used to buy Larsen antennas years ago but now it seems all the good manufacturers have small inventories. Including the junk like tram.
 

mmckenna

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I think with so much of the electronics being surface mount and heavily automated assembly, there's not a lot of cost savings to be had. They probably have to cut from the only place they can, the non-SMT parts.

With the antennas, I'm sure there is some more labor involved. It's easy to save money there, and it's easy to cut corners on connectors.

I'm pretty sure some of the Larsen/Laird/Etc. stuff is built in China, but if the company is willing to pay for quality control, China will happily do it. I have some Milwaukee power tools that are made in China, and they've been just fine.

For the record, the Tram antenna/mount was my dad's. The 1/4 wave whip looked fine and equivalent to the other brands, but there isn't much to them. On the NMO mount, the mount looked OK, but not as well machined as Larsen. The coaxial cable looked OK, good shield coverage. The PL-259 connector was pure junk.
 

bobruzzo

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I think with so much of the electronics being surface mount and heavily automated assembly, there's not a lot of cost savings to be had. They probably have to cut from the only place they can, the non-SMT parts.

With the antennas, I'm sure there is some more labor involved. It's easy to save money there, and it's easy to cut corners on connectors.

I'm pretty sure some of the Larsen/Laird/Etc. stuff is built in China, but if the company is willing to pay for quality control, China will happily do it. I have some Milwaukee power tools that are made in China, and they've been just fine.

For the record, the Tram antenna/mount was my dad's. The 1/4 wave whip looked fine and equivalent to the other brands, but there isn't much to them. On the NMO mount, the mount looked OK, but not as well machined as Larsen. The coaxial cable looked OK, good shield coverage. The PL-259 connector was pure junk.
I just realized the mag mount antenna I have is a BROWNING! Hahahaha I looked at the base coil and it says "Browning" on it. This antenna is from the same company who I bought my Omni X antenna from, "DPD Productions". Well maybe they have some respectable gear, this antenna works pretty well. I did notice the rg58/u coax though.....This is the antenna I want to use as backup base antenna for my SDS200. I was using it for a few months till I recently picked up a yagi. The yagi out performs it. But the mag mount is still decent enough to use. If I can get ground plane kit I will use better grade coax.....depending on where I can mount it. Short run I will use LMR240 and if I put it out behind garage I will need about 40' LMR400.
 

mmckenna

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I think you are probably OK with the Browning mag mount. Weak point seems to be the coaxial connectors. If it ever gives you problems, try replacing the connector.
 

JimD56

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I love that mount and it performed well for all band scanner receiving for years. Never tried it for transmitting. Now I just use it for 700-900mhz scanner receive and its still works great with a new tuned 800mhz antenna, and I had to clip the ground plane radials to match 800mhz as well.
 

KO4IPV

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I am looking to convert my mobile mag mount (NMO) 800 mhz antenna to use as base antenna. Searching online I only find these "Trams"......the price is nice $29. But I'd rather spend more and get better quality. I can't find any other manufacturers of these things, especially with the "N" connector. HRO carries them so I am more apt to buy from them. I am wary of all those little companies that sell on Amazon. I attached the ad from HRO website. Open to other suggestions.:cool:
I have the same ground clean mount that I see in your picture it works fine
 
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