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What is considered to be the BEST Base Station and Mobile CB Radio Antennas?

K4EET

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Feb 18, 2015
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Severn, Maryland, USA
Seeing how popular my other thread was on CB Radios, I thought perhaps we might take a look at CB Radio Antennas for both the Base Station and the Mobile installations. My criteria for the antennas are:
  • Cost is not a factor (within reason)
  • Size is not a factor (within reason)
  • Antenna gain is important for enhanced coverage
  • Power handling need not be more than legal limits for AM/SSB operations (specify maximums though)
  • Mounting criteria will be as required for a quality installation
  • User comments about performance, durability, appearance, etc. very much appreciated
  • Durability is very important (my Hustler CGT-144 ham antenna was on various cars for 25+ years)
I really appreciate everyone's input in my CB Radio thread. I am also in the market for a decent antenna that will withstand Maryland's environmental conditions when mounted outside and I really like those "install it right the first time and forget about it" antennas. One thing we want to watch for in this thread are "wild" claims by the manufacturers. For example:

The Wilson 1000 antenna with a 3,000 watt rating has always amused me. The Wilson 1000 comes with 17 feet of RG-8/X coax with a soldered PL-259 connector. What is amusing, while all of the materials seem to be of decent quality, the coax itself (manufacturer unknown to me) is rated somewhere around 700 watts maximum at 27 MHz using the Belden RG-8/X specification sheet found at:

https://static.dxengineering.com/pdf/Belden RG8X Date 9258.pdf

So if anybody tries to push a kilowatt or more down the pipe to the Wilson 1000 antenna that can supposedly handle 3 kilowatts, there will surely be a catastrophic failure somewhere in the setup. :oops:

So let's see what all we can learn from this thread and see what everyone thinks might be the "best" antennas out there. If you know of any "wild" claims, be sure to point them out too! I'm looking forward to lots of good inputs. Thanks in advance folks!
 

K4EET

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Does anybody know what coax is on the Wilson 5000 mobile CB antenna that is rated at 5,000 watts AM and 20,000 watts SSB? :oops: That is some serious power handling capability! At 27 MHz and those power levels, I hope the antenna comes cabled with something like 1-5/8 inch Low Density Foam (LDF) like the old LDF7-50A Heliax Coax Cable. :ROFLMAO: Yeah, that should easily handle 20,000 watts SSB at 125% modulation with lots of reverb/echo. Why do they advertise such outrageous numbers? Is it that much of a selling point?
 

K4EET

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@mmckenna, I am sure you are right about that. It is my hope that talking about these items and their specifications in threads like this will help everyone to make better decisions using real, verified information. I still need two CB antennas and hope to get some good input in this thread. I will be looking closely at any published specifications that seem a little "over the top" and doing some fact checking. Hopefully, in the end, I'll be able to produce a good table with some very useful information.
 

chrismol1

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I had a base IMAX-2000 back in the day and it had favorable reviews. Worked very well

Haha 5,000 & 20,000 watts wilson. I think this gentleman took them seriously - from worldwidedx forum

320-1237204749-1c23e74992c896665f5b42e51d9ca840.jpg
 

K4EET

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Hi @chrismol1, and thanks for mentioning the Solarcon - IMAX-2000 CB/Ham Radio Base Station Vertical Antenna, 24-Feet. That is one tall antenna! I see it too is rated at 5,000 Watts :oops: and the CB Radio Magazine states in the paragraph subtitled "TVI" that "While the Imax 2000 is a great antenna in many respects perhaps one of it’s weak points is it’s tendency to create interference. The A99 was famous for creating problems and complaints from neighbors and while the Imax 2000 is much better than the A99 it still is known for TVI issues. Many of these can be solved be installing a choke coil just below the feed point of the antenna." I didn't think antennas were responsible for TVI but more so the high-power linear TVI-producing dirty amplifier feeding it. Who knew? Perhaps @RFI-EMI-GUY can help us here...

As for the included photograph, I bet that is a crew cab pickup truck and those 9 alternators are charging a bed-full of batteries. Then in the crew compartment, there is the radio itself feeding a 4 watt to 50 watt pre-amplifier that feeds a 50 watt to 2,500 watt post-amplifier that feeds a 2,500 watt to 50,000 watt final amplifier. And of course, the phased antennas on the truck's side-mirrors have floodlights that illuminate based on modulation from the RF energy. Perfect! :ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO:

All kidding aside, I really do need to find decent base and mobile CB antennas not only for my installation but also for the table that I want to create. Keep the information (and funnies if you like) coming... Thanks!
 

prcguy

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Messages
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So Cal - Richardson, TX - Tewksbury, MA
I'll put in a vote for the Hy-Gain Penetrator base antenna as the best performing commercial production omni antenna of all time. There are some custom made versions rated for huge power that are built with thicker materials but they are low production items made in someone's garage.

A Penetrator will outperform an IMAX-2000 or a Maco 5/8 or a Sigma 5/8 or anything else I've come across.
 

kk9h

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May 4, 2006
Messages
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Location
Northfield, IL
I think with respect to antennas, the answer to which one is best depends on what your needs are. We all know that the 102” whip mounted high on the vehicle is the king of CB mobile antennas, but who would want to put one of those on any of today’s cars? Then there is whether you want a permanently installed antenna or one that you use only occasionally. Lastly, there’s the overall length of either the permanent or temporary antenna. Many of us park our cars in garages so the length and ease of removal become important factors. Since I really only use a CB on road trips, I am a temporary type of antenna user which means a magnet mount for me. Since I am also a ham, I already have a couple Larsen NMO-MM magnet mounts that I use with various antennas. For CB use I have an NMO27 coil with its 48” whip that I place on the roof of our SUV. There are antennas with longer whips and shorter whips, but this antenna has been a good compromise for me between convenience, whip length and performance. It was easy to adjust for a good match and it works well on the road. Since all of my CB usage is mobile, I haven’t really focused much on base station antennas. I do remember that the 5/8 wave colinear and the 3-element vertical yagi were popular antennas years ago, so I assume they would still be good choices today.
 

hanlonmi06

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The first "real" base antenna I put up was the ole' SolarCon Antron 99. It worked as intended, was easy to handle in terms of installation. Later on I had a neighbor sell me his Maco 5/8 ground plane antenna. That was probably almost 25 years ago. It is still in use even today. I've refurbished it twice now, replacing hardware as needed, but the antenna has held up. It wasn't in continuous service that entire time, but I have had it in 4 different installations and have never had any problems with it. At all. Its probably seen a total of 15-18 years continuous use in Michigan weather. What I really like about it is that it seems to have "ears" all over the place. Its dead flat in 11m. It tunes 10m without issue, but I can use this thing as a VHF low band antenna, I've used it at times as an AM dx antenna, I use it all over the HF bands as a vertical option against a few horizontal wire antennas. I've looked online at modern replacements for just in case, and yikes...

As for mobile, I've had the same Wilson 1000 mag mount almost equally as long. It does not see regular service, but overall it appears to be a quality product. Never had problems tuning it, or with any sort of failures.

I am planning a new vehicle purchase in year or so, and having seen mmckenna's recommendations more than once, I intend on using the Larsen NMO-27 in a permanent installation.
 

WB9YBM

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May 6, 2019
Messages
1,392
Seeing how popular my other thread was on CB Radios, I thought perhaps we might take a look at CB Radio Antennas for both the Base Station and the Mobile installations. My criteria for the antennas are:
  • Cost is not a factor (within reason)
  • Size is not a factor (within reason)
  • Antenna gain is important for enhanced coverage
  • Power handling need not be more than legal limits for AM/SSB operations (specify maximums though)
  • Mounting criteria will be as required for a quality installation
  • User comments about performance, durability, appearance, etc. very much appreciated
  • Durability is very important (my Hustler CGT-144 ham antenna was on various cars for 25+ years)
So let's see what all we can learn from this thread and see what everyone thinks might be the "best" antennas out there. If you know of any "wild" claims, be sure to point them out too! I'm looking forward to lots of good inputs. Thanks in advance folks!
No matter what base antenna I pick, they all need some kind of tweak as far as I'm concerned--even the commercial grade ones (for example the commercial fiberglass antennas need some kind of paint/sealer--non-metallic, of course--to keep the fiberglass from degrading from UV). Okay, so maybe I'm being a perfectionist (or cheapskate in that I don't want to buy a new antenna every few years, or lazy in that I don't want to climb a tower or on a roof for extra maintenance work, or whatever). For verticals, I bought one from Walcott about twenty years ago (senior moment here: can't remember the name) that I've been satisfied with. The only base antennas I was very dissatisfied with were those sold by Radio Shack-they didn't seem to do all that much better than a mobile.

Speaking of mobiles, I went through three: a short (3'-4') center-loaded whip mounted to the back bumper (the Old Man wouldn't allow anything better on his car)--disappointing performance. A 102" whip--worked okay (neither terrible nor phenomenal), and a K-40 trunk-mount that worked about the same as the 102" whip.

A gentleman I used to work with studied mobile antennas in a bit more depth; he found out that--I think it might've been Wilson?--had the best performance.
 

FiveFilter

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Jan 1, 2016
Messages
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My old Wilson 1000 mag-mount is still on top of my F250 and still doing very well. Its 62-inch length is about as tall as I dare get, as it hits some trees in my neighborhood as it is. It does a great job up there.
 

chrismol1

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Messages
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Hi @chrismol1, and thanks for mentioning the Solarcon - IMAX-2000 CB/Ham Radio Base Station Vertical Antenna, 24-Feet. That is one tall antenna! I see it too is rated at 5,000 Watts :oops: and the CB Radio Magazine states in the paragraph subtitled "TVI" that "While the Imax 2000 is a great antenna in many respects perhaps one of it’s weak points is it’s tendency to create interference. The A99 was famous for creating problems and complaints from neighbors and while the Imax 2000 is much better than the A99 it still is known for TVI issues. Many of these can be solved be installing a choke coil just below the feed point of the antenna." I didn't think antennas were responsible for TVI but more so the high-power linear TVI-producing dirty amplifier feeding it. Who knew? Perhaps @RFI-EMI-GUY can help us here...
No doubt, Its been long time since I've done CB back then things were analog, the TV and telephone. I had one of those radio shop specials with a "little" modification. I only operated late at night. If you picked up the old landline phones around the house when on the radio it was all there to be heard, no doubt the neighbors heard me a few times and on TV channels it messed them up a few times. I I have no idea if that still the case today now that everythings digital
 

K4EET

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Messages
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Location
Severn, Maryland, USA
I'll put in a vote for the Hy-Gain Penetrator base antenna as the best performing commercial production omni antenna of all time. There are some custom made versions rated for huge power that are built with thicker materials but they are low production items made in someone's garage.

A Penetrator will outperform an IMAX-2000 or a Maco 5/8 or a Sigma 5/8 or anything else I've come across.
Are we talking about this one or some model that is no longer in production from back in the 1970s?

 

prcguy

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Jun 30, 2006
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So Cal - Richardson, TX - Tewksbury, MA
Both, the 1970s versions have slightly thicker tubing but the basic antenna is the same, matching network the same, power rating the same, gain is the same, etc. Price is not the same!

Are we talking about this one or some model that is no longer in production from back in the 1970s?

 
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