Ham antennas for the rig

gzahnd

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Hamheads: what antennas are you running for off-road use? I’m going to be installing a Yaesu FTM-400XDR in my 200 Series, and will likely place the antenna on the ARB bumper tab. On my 73, I have a bumper-mounted antenna that, while it works well, it also jiggles like crazy, and can be annoying in certain situations.

For the 200, I’m looking for something that is powerful enough for convoys, and rigid and short, so it isn’t wiggling in my line of sight. What might you recommend?

Thanks,
Gino
 

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CardinalFJ60

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This is 26” . SS-680 comet and has a spring. For something more rigid, the venerable NR770 from diamond.
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CardinalFJ60

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Or this. Honestly, this is what I run 90% of the time. It’s got a spring but quite rigid. I think this is the one for short, rigid, not in line of sight. 18”? Or less? Diamond AZ504SP
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gzahnd

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Thanks for the tips. For the roof-mounted antenna, what’s your entry point to the truck? The reason I’m going bumper mount is that I don’t have to poke any holes or muck up any weather stripping, and it works well for my use cases (I’m not trying to talk to the space station from my truck).
 

rover67

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Do you want 2m/70cm functionality? I like the larsen whips for simple 2m as well as the 1/4 wave whip from Sti-Co. The Sti-co flexi whip has been my go to lately really. I thought I'd screw on the big whip pretty often but the little flexi whip actually does really well. I do have it in the center of my roof though. I'm not sure how it'd work on the bumper. It is pretty indestructible though...

flexi whip:
https://sti-co.com/project/flexi-whip-antennas/

and for the bigger 1/2 or 5/8 wave antenna I like these. You can decide if you want a 1/2 wave or 5/8, i'm not sure what kind of ground plane you have being on the front bumper:
https://www.arcantenna.com/products...8-wave-whip-144-174-mhz-omni-antenna-nmo-base

https://www.arcantenna.com/products...2-wave-whip-144-174-mhz-omni-antenna-nmo-base
 

gzahnd

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Yeah, dual band is what I’m after. I have a Comet on my 73 on the bumper, and have been running the Diamond NR770 on a magnet mount on the 200. The magnet mount has been beat to hell at this point, and I’m putting on a bumper, hence the change.

In my experience, with both those antennas, it’s been great for any convoy I’ve ever been in. Ground plane hasn’t been an issue at all, but I’m also not trying to talk to the moon. :)



Do you want 2m/70cm functionality? I like the larsen whips for simple 2m as well as the 1/4 wave whip from Sti-Co. The Sti-co flexi whip has been my go to lately really. I thought I'd screw on the big whip pretty often but the little flexi whip actually does really well. I do have it in the center of my roof though. I'm not sure how it'd work on the bumper. It is pretty indestructible though...

flexi whip:
https://sti-co.com/project/flexi-whip-antennas/

and for the bigger 1/2 or 5/8 wave antenna I like these. You can decide if you want a 1/2 wave or 5/8, i'm not sure what kind of ground plane you have being on the front bumper:
https://www.arcantenna.com/products...8-wave-whip-144-174-mhz-omni-antenna-nmo-base

https://www.arcantenna.com/products...2-wave-whip-144-174-mhz-omni-antenna-nmo-base
 

rover67

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you can tune the sti-co 1/4 wave antenna for 2m and 70cm depending on what frequencies you are after FYI.
 

Stuckinthe80s

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@rover67 is there a particular distributor you went with for the sti-co? I see that there isn't one in Colorado.

Disregard, I did a google search and found an online retailer. Thanks!
 

DaveInDenver

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When searching for STI-CO FlexiWhip antennas the part number you generally want to find is "ROOF-FT-NITI-M" and it'll be listed as a replacement mast. It's actually the whole antenna, which consists of an NMO base and whip long enough for 136MHz. It'll be $50, give or take.

If the price is around $75 or $80 that's the version with an NMO base and coax. Even if you need the base $25 is kind of steep compared to a generic Larsen or Laird NMO base and if you already have a mount there's no need to duplicate.

One thing to note with these antennas is that your NMO base needs to be installed as close as possible to the spec. The center contact on the whip has no spring so if the base is not the right height it might not make contact or it might stop early and leave a gap around the outer ring where water can seep in. In another thread Marco and I talked about it I think but if not some photos are probably in order.

And you definitely need a good counterpoise with this antenna. It won't tune well on a bull bar and marginally so on a lip mount in my experience. The lip mount can work electrically if you ground it well but the pattern will be distorted. In the middle of the roof it's excellent both electrically and propagation-wise.
 
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DaveInDenver

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FWIW, the pair of ham antennas on Donna The Taco. Forward is Flexi-Whip for APRS, aft is dual band Larsen 2/70 open coil for voice radio.

IMG_0277_mid.jpg
 

Stuckinthe80s

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When searching for STI-CO FlexiWhip antennas the part number you generally want to find is "ROOF-FT-NITI-M" and it'll be listed as a replacement mast. It's actually the whole antenna, which consists of an NMO base and whip long enough for 136MHz. It'll be $50, give or take.

If the price is around $75 or $80 that's the version with an NMO base and coax. Even if you need the base $25 is kind of steep compared to a generic Larsen or Laird NMO base and if you already have a mount there's no need to duplicate.

One thing to note with these antennas is that your NMO base needs to be installed as close as possible to the spec. The center contact on the whip has no spring so if the base is not the right height it might not make contact or it might stop early and leave a gap around the outer ring where water can seep in. In another thread Marco and I talked about it I think but if not some photos are probably in order.

And you definitely need a good counterpoise with this antenna. It won't tune well on a bull bar and marginally so on a lip mount in my experience. The lip mount can work electrically if you ground it well but the pattern will be distorted. In the middle of the roof it's excellent both electrically and propagation-wise.
Yep, I found one at Solid Signal for $57 shipped. They seemed to have the best base price ($47.25) and the cheapest shpping ($9.99)

I'm going to duplicate what Marco did on his 80 for running the sti-co through the roof and for now it will be a dedicated APRS antenna.

I'm finally getting serious with getting my HAM comms locked down as this last weekend was disappointing as far as how my radio was performing. The whole setup has just been thrown in the truck last minute and connected without any tuning. Then it gets moved back and forth between the wife's 100 when we take it on runs and I want to get my antenna's permanently mounted and tuned. I'll buy another set for the Hundy and even if I move the radio back and forth, the antennas will finally be fixed.

@gzahnd I apologize if this is a thread hijack but I figured by the title it would be good info to have documented.

Can we also discuss the difference between 1/4, 1/2, and 5/8 wave whips? I've been doing a lot of reading online and it seems as though it is a difference in ground plane requirements? For now, I'm going to get one of the Larsen whips @rover67 linked above and mount it on the fender but I don't know which one will be better? From what I can tell, a 5/8 will perform better on the fender?
 

DaveInDenver

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For now, I'm going to get one of the Larsen whips @rover67 linked above and mount it on the fender but I don't know which one will be better?
Yet another FWIW, about those Larsen antennas. I'm a big time advocate and they're excellent commercial quality but lately I've been throwing out the Laird antenna option, especially mono band VHF like you're considering.

The reason is the base I think is mechanically better. The Larsen uses a flat contact bent into a spring while the Laird uses a springy center pin. Either works but the Laird is I think a better option if you remove the antenna with any regularity. The Larsen can fatigue and eventually break. It's really designed to install and leave it.

On the flip side, the base on the Larsen is a better seal than the single O-ring Laird.

The 1/2λ equivalent (B1442):
https://www.arcantenna.com/products...ount-antenna-no-metalic-ground-plane-required

The 5/8λ equivalent (B1443):
https://www.arcantenna.com/products...o-mount-antenna-metalic-ground-plane-required

Laird base:
B1443.jpg

Larsen base:
untitled-1W_1.jpg
 

rover67

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Oh yeah the Liard's have that nicer base, I actually got one of those for the 80's "big" antenna.
 

DaveInDenver

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Wonder if this thread should probably be moved to the ham and CB sub forum?

@Hulk @Lars @wesintl

Can we also discuss the difference between 1/4, 1/2, and 5/8 wave whips? I've been doing a lot of reading online and it seems as though it is a difference in ground plane requirements?
@Stuckinthe80s - Nic, this topic should be a dedicated thread. It might already be but I'll have to search.
 

Stuckinthe80s

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brentbba

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OC, CA
Don't get over to your board often, but I'll throw in my $.02 on this thread. I run a SBB7 on road. Tall antenna, great for on road. Off road I use a SBB1. It's a short flexible antenna that still has great range.
 
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