• 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.

What Is The Best Coax For A GMRS Base Station?

Greg43545

Member
Joined
May 3, 2009
Messages
216
Location
NW Ohio
I will be setting up a MXT400VP3 Micromobile Bundle with a MXTA25 3dB Gain Antenna and plan on using it as a base unit, mounting the antenna approximately 25 feet up on a Tri-pole TV antenna tower. The first approximately 20 feet of coax will be what was provided by Midland with the MXTA25 3dB Gain Antenna.

I estimate I will need approximately another 20 to 25 feet of coax to run from the provided coax on the tower, into the attic, and then down into the room where the base station will be set up with the 12 Amp power unit I've purchased to operate it with.

What would be the best coax to use with a GMRS Base Station as described above?
 

mmckenna

I ♥ Ø
Joined
Jul 27, 2005
Messages
14,714
Location
SNCZCA01DS0
I will be setting up a MXT400VP3 Micromobile Bundle with a MXTA25 3dB Gain Antenna and plan on using it as a base unit, mounting the antenna approximately 25 feet up on a Tri-pole TV antenna tower. The first approximately 20 feet of coax will be what was provided by Midland with the MXTA25 3dB Gain Antenna.

I estimate I will need approximately another 20 to 25 feet of coax to run from the provided coax on the tower, into the attic, and then down into the room where the base station will be set up with the 12 Amp power unit I've purchased to operate it with.

What would be the best coax to use with a GMRS Base Station as described above?
Well, first of all, I'd suggest getting a better antenna. That one is going to be a poor performer. And using the RG-58 that probably comes with the mount is going to result in a fair amount of signal lost.

You'd do much better with a dedicated base antenna and run some better cable.
So, you're looking at 40-45 feet of cable.
When you ask for the "best" cable, you need to tell us what your budget is. "Best" can mean a lot of different things to different people. I could easily spec out the "best" cable at $7.00 a foot and $50.00 for each connector, but that's not likely in your budget (or is it???)

For a short run like 45 feet, Times Microwave LMR-400 is pretty good. It's a bit stiff, but not so much that you can't easily run it through your house. It's reasonably priced, too.
Trick is, you need to consider a few other things:
-Grounding. Putting an antenna outside your house requires proper grounding per the National Electric Code.
-LMR-400 is a little stiff and will put a lot of strain on the antenna connector of your radio. Common industry practice is to use a short length of a more flexible cable to make the connection between the main cable run and your radio. That will help prevent damage to the antenna connector on the radio.

You can find dealers that will sell true Times-Microwave LMR400, cut to custom lengths, and pre-install connectors for you. Use that for the entire run of cable and you'll likely get some decent performance out of your system.
 

Greg43545

Member
Joined
May 3, 2009
Messages
216
Location
NW Ohio
Well, first of all, I'd suggest getting a better antenna. That one is going to be a poor performer. And using the RG-58 that probably comes with the mount is going to result in a fair amount of signal lost.

You'd do much better with a dedicated base antenna and run some better cable.
So, you're looking at 40-45 feet of cable.
When you ask for the "best" cable, you need to tell us what your budget is. "Best" can mean a lot of different things to different people. I could easily spec out the "best" cable at $7.00 a foot and $50.00 for each connector, but that's not likely in your budget (or is it???)

For a short run like 45 feet, Times Microwave LMR-400 is pretty good. It's a bit stiff, but not so much that you can't easily run it through your house. It's reasonably priced, too.
Trick is, you need to consider a few other things:
-Grounding. Putting an antenna outside your house requires proper grounding per the National Electric Code.
-LMR-400 is a little stiff and will put a lot of strain on the antenna connector of your radio. Common industry practice is to use a short length of a more flexible cable to make the connection between the main cable run and your radio. That will help prevent damage to the antenna connector on the radio.

You can find dealers that will sell true Times-Microwave LMR400, cut to custom lengths, and pre-install connectors for you. Use that for the entire run of cable and you'll likely get some decent performance out of your system.
I will look into Times Microwave LMR-400 for the install thanks.
 

Greg43545

Member
Joined
May 3, 2009
Messages
216
Location
NW Ohio
Would this be the appropriate cable and is the price reasonable?

 

cmjonesinc

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Apr 25, 2011
Messages
1,054
I run Laird on my base. Something like this https://www.theantennafarm.com/catalog/laird-technologies-fg4500-1057 . There are plenty of options out there depending on what exactly you're trying to accomplish. I stick with Laird or Larsen for most of my antennas and have always been happy. The worst part is paying for them but they last for years. And as others have said, lmr-400 if the budget allows. Not knocking the Midland as I've never used one, but you can probably find some old commercial gear that would fit the bill for a good bit cheaper. If you're only needing a few channels the old 16 channel and less moto's are dirt cheap. But nothing wrong with a brand new radio either that you don't have to fuss with programming and all that.
 

mmckenna

I ♥ Ø
Joined
Jul 27, 2005
Messages
14,714
Location
SNCZCA01DS0
Which antenna would you recommend?
Yeah, the antenna CMJONESINC linked to would be a good place to start.
You want a quality base antenna for a couple of reasons:
-It will directly impact the performance of your system.
-There is risk involved in putting up an antenna. Going cheap and having to do it again in a few years isn't a good investment. A properly installed antenna should last you 20 or so years.
-You want the N connector on the bottom of the antenna.
-It's a known good performer.

You might want to consider something with some more gain than that specific antenna. Due to your location, you will see better performance from one with some gain.
 

WB9YBM

Active Member
Joined
May 6, 2019
Messages
1,067
Location
Niles, IL
I will be setting up a MXT400VP3 Micromobile Bundle with a MXTA25 3dB Gain Antenna and plan on using it as a base unit, mounting the antenna approximately 25 feet up on a Tri-pole TV antenna tower. The first approximately 20 feet of coax will be what was provided by Midland with the MXTA25 3dB Gain Antenna.

I estimate I will need approximately another 20 to 25 feet of coax to run from the provided coax on the tower, into the attic, and then down into the room where the base station will be set up with the 12 Amp power unit I've purchased to operate it with.

What would be the best coax to use with a GMRS Base Station as described above?
See if you can find a comparison chart of coax performances; coax manufacturers may have that listed on their web site, as might places like the American Radio Relay League. That'd probably be the best way to compare performances between coax types as well as performance-versus-cost. 20' - 25' doesn't sound like that serious of a length for loss to be all that much of a concern so you might be able to save a dollar and still get acceptable performance. Making sure you get good quality connectors might also be a consideration.
 

tweiss3

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Apr 24, 2020
Messages
265
Location
Ohio
You could also order from DX Engineering their LMR400 Max with ends terminated for pretty reasonable. I like them cause they have same day pick up, being local.
 

WB9YBM

Active Member
Joined
May 6, 2019
Messages
1,067
Location
Niles, IL
You could also order from DX Engineering their LMR400 Max with ends terminated for pretty reasonable. I like them cause they have same day pick up, being local.
In scanning (no pun intended) ham radio magazines, probably additional resources for pre-made cables are available, too...
 

mmckenna

I ♥ Ø
Joined
Jul 27, 2005
Messages
14,714
Location
SNCZCA01DS0
Yes, there are many sources.

However, making sure you get the real Times Microwave cable is a good idea. There are some cheap Chinese knockoffs that look similar but likely do not meet the same specifications.
 

mmckenna

I ♥ Ø
Joined
Jul 27, 2005
Messages
14,714
Location
SNCZCA01DS0
I want to thank all for their input which was very helpful and much appreciated. I've decided on using LMR400 and have ordered it from here:


Good deal. That's the right stuff.

Now that it's taken care of, consider the rest of your install.

All outdoor connections need to be properly waterproofed. While N connectors are designed to be water resistant, relying on that alone is not a good practice. Industry standards are to properly seal all outdoor connections. Do not use that crap that you squirt inside the connectors, instead, use this procedure:
Using high quality electrical tape start at the antenna base and wrap downwards with each pass of tape overlapping the previous by 50%. Pull the tape snug, but do not stretch the tape as you put it on. When you get down a few inches beyond the bottom of the connector, reverse direction and do the same 'half lapped' taping back towards the antenna. When you get back to the top, stop and cut the tape with a pair of scissors. Resist the temptation to pull the tape to break it. That stretches the tape, and thins out the adhesive and will cause it to come unravelled.
Note that some antennas have "weep holes" in their base to let any condensed moisture out. Do not cover those holes.

Then follow up with a layer of this stuff: https://www.theantennafarm.com/catalog/l-com-ht-tape104-9025 Once it's on there, mould it with your fingers into a solid covering over the connector and tape down past the connector. Should look like one solid piece when you are done.

Then follow up with another layer of the electrical tape as above. Continue on down past the sealing tape.

Done right, this will keep moisture out of your connector and ensure it lasts a long time. Do not skip this step or corrosion will take over and destroy your coaxial cable, antenna coax connection, etc.

Make sure you research (using a reputable source) the proper ways to ground your mast and coaxial cable. That is an important step that should not be overlooked.
 

WB9YBM

Active Member
Joined
May 6, 2019
Messages
1,067
Location
Niles, IL
On waterproofing connectors: I once used that tar-like tape, wrapped it around a good length and thoroughly smoothed it out with my fingers. After a few years when I had the need to remove the connector I found out it had gotten a lot more corroded than unprotected connectors--as though the tape inhibited the escape of moisture (condensation). Hopefully there's a better way out there somewhere than that tarry tape...
 
Top