What is your favorite Railroad base antenna?

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walterb

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Traintenna?
Scanntenna?
Yagi?
Firestik RRBase?

Homebrew?

thanks.
 

JESSERABBIT

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Charles Town, Jefferson Co, WV
My only railroad base antenna is a Cushcraft ARX2B. It is
primarily designed for use as a Amateur Radio two meter (144-148 mhz) transmitting antenna, but here are the specifications from the Cushcraft Site.-

Frequency range(for transmitting)-135-160 mhz
Height-14 ft
Mast size (for mounting)-1" to 1 1/4"
Radial length-20.5"
Wind load-0.5
Weight-6 lbs
It receives extremely well here (36mhz to up and through (860-900mhz)
I have it mounted on the back deck on a, I believe, 1-1/4" 12 ft mast obtained many years ago from Radio Shack. There are probably other antennas-configurations that may work as good or better than this and maybe others will post theirs. I pick up railroad communications for an approximate radius, based on my location, of about 20-30 miles. "Your results may vary". There may be other configurations less expensive than this. If you decide on an antenna setup, please let us know how it works for you.
 

SAR923

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I have a good old RS 20-176 quater wave ground plane. Does a great job on the railroad band and most anything else from 145 to 470 MHz...and it's inexpensive. I've read good reports about the Scantenna as well but it's hard to believe it would do much better than my little ground plane.
 

Nasby

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RS 20-176... NOTHING beats it on the railbands. In fact it almost identical to most radio antennas in use by the railroads at yard offices, detectors, etc.
 

wwhitby

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I've tried both a 20-176 and a j-pole I built myself. Even though the j-pole has gain, with the same scanner and same type of coax, the 20-176 seems to pick up more distant railroad comms.

Warren
 

burner50

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I was using a set of rabbit ears off of a TV jammed under the dash of my car...

it actually worked out pretty well... I couldnt hear anything unless it was close.
 

DPD1

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TheReaper said:
The new Centerfire antenna http://www.centerfireantenna.com/scan2.html out performs my RS 20-176, DPD OmniX, and DPD LP. I'll be replacing my 20-176 with another CF.
Not trying to be rude, but if I could just butt in for a second and quantify that a bit... If I recall, you mentioned you're in an apt. I don't doubt that in a specific situation, you may very well get better performance with that. But comparing things indoors is a very unpredictable environment to test in. DC grounded designs in particular don't do well with objects around them. You could easily move it from one side of the room to the other and get totally different results. As far as I can tell, that model looks to be the same thing as the RS, which makes me think other conditions might be tainting your performance.

Dave
http://www.dpdproductions.com
Antennas & Accessories for the RF Professional & Radio Hobbyist
 

walterb

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DPD1 said:
Not trying to be rude, but if I could just butt in for a second and quantify that a bit... If I recall, you mentioned you're in an apt. I don't doubt that in a specific situation, you may very well get better performance with that. But comparing things indoors is a very unpredictable environment to test in. DC grounded designs in particular don't do well with objects around them. You could easily move it from one side of the room to the other and get totally different results. As far as I can tell, that model looks to be the same thing as the RS, which makes me think other conditions might be tainting your performance.

Dave
http://www.dpdproductions.com
Antennas & Accessories for the RF Professional & Radio Hobbyist

I've heard really good things about the RS 20-176, and the Traintenna.

Whats really needed is an Antenna "Cook-off" of the top 10 Rail Antennas each on a 20 foot mast all in the same location with the same scanner hooked up to them and something to mesure gain.

Somehow I don't think I could talk my wife into blowing a few grand on the equipment and having 10 masts in our back yard.. :)
 

DPD1

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I could tell you right now what will technically win... Any stacked collinear antenna with as many segments as you can find, which would be the size of something that needs to have an aircraft warning light on top of it, and would probably fail the wife acceptance test in most households. There's probably a "what's the best" post just about every day, but that's the problem... It's kind of like asking, what's the best car. All depends... Do you want to go fast, save gas, go off road. Are you single, or do you have a family. Do you have to pull a boat... There's no one car that will work for everything and everybody. Same thing with radio equipment. Something that works great in one situation may not work well for somebody else. If you travel along a rail line, you'll notice they use different antennas. A design that works well in one spot could be terrible in another. There's a spot on a line near me through the mountains that uses a corner reflector. That's very unusual for rail, but their tech guy must have found a reason for it. It probably works great there, but wouldn't work well at all in other spots.

Dave
http://www.dpdproductions.com
Antennas & Accessories for the RF Professional & Radio Hobbyist
 

walterb

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DPD1 said:
I could tell you right now what will technically win... Any stacked collinear antenna with as many segments as you can find, which would be the size of something that needs to have an aircraft warning light on top of it, and would probably fail the wife acceptance test in most households. There's probably a "what's the best" post just about every day, but that's the problem... It's kind of like asking, what's the best car. All depends... Do you want to go fast, save gas, go off road. Are you single, or do you have a family. Do you have to pull a boat... There's no one car that will work for everything and everybody. Same thing with radio equipment. Something that works great in one situation may not work well for somebody else. If you travel along a rail line, you'll notice they use different antennas. A design that works well in one spot could be terrible in another. There's a spot on a line near me through the mountains that uses a corner reflector. That's very unusual for rail, but their tech guy must have found a reason for it. It probably works great there, but wouldn't work well at all in other spots.

Dave
http://www.dpdproductions.com
Antennas & Accessories for the RF Professional & Radio Hobbyist

You have to admit, that would be pretty cool. But I agree, my wife wouldn't feel the joy.. :)

Well I guess it would have to a be contest category, like Feather-weight in boxing or The America's cup, or something that says it can only be X by Y and only weight Z. or something like this. Maybe its something RailFan magazine can sponser.. :)
 
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