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Author Topic: Simple setup question  (Read 2273 times)
KC7VWQ
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« on: April 25, 2009, 10:02:28 AM »

I recently came into a Yaesu VX-170, with its standard SMA rubber duck antenna. This would be okay if I lived in the city, but as it stands I live about 15 miles out of town, and therefore the rubber duck does not hit any of the repeaters in the area. My question is what is the most cost effective antenna I can purchase so I can hit the repeaters within, say 50 to 60 miles.

Kris - KC7VWQ
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W3LK
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« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2009, 12:13:51 PM »

A quarter-wave 2m ground plane is the cheapest, but an antenna with 6 to 8 dB gain will improve the situation. Be aware that HTs were not designed for use with large external antennas and front-end overload on local signals can easily become a problem, not to mention InterMod from other services.

Also, unless you are on a mountain top, or the repeater(s) you want to hit are on a mountain top (and there's nothing in between) you are going to be hard pressed to hit repeaters 50-60 miles away with 5w. A vertically polarized beam pointed at the specific repeater might do it, but not anything omni-directional.

My house sits just below the top of a ridge, 550' above the surrounding terrain and with 50w and a Comet GP-9 I can get into virtually all the repeaters within 50 miles and a couple just on the edge of 75 miles. BUT,  those repeaters have their antennas on 750-1000 foot towers and most of the towers are on mountain or hill tops, at least as high as I am.

If you can't hit a repeater with at least 60 percent quieting, you are going to have a hard time communicating through them. That's what the additional power gets you - full quieting or very close to it.

I am not trying to be discouraging, but an HT makes a rather poor home station rig for anything other than local use.

73,

Lon - W3LK
Naugatuck, Connecticut
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AA4PB
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« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2009, 12:16:36 PM »

There's probably no antenna that can be mounted right on the radio and hit most repeaters at 50-60 miles away. What you need is a good antenna on the roof with coax running down to the radio. There are a variety of "base" antennas available from manufacturers like Cushcraft, HyGain, and others. Mobile antennas generally don't work in a base application because they require the ground plane of the vehicle roof.
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Bob  AA4PB
Garrisonville, VA
W3LK
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« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2009, 12:21:06 PM »

I assumed the OP was taking about an external antenna in my response. If he wasn't, I concur that there nothing you can put directly on an HT that will significantly increase its range, must less work a repeater 50 miles away - unless either the OP or the repeater are airborne at 5,000 feet. <g>

73,

Lon - W3LK
Naugatuck, Connecticut
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2009, 02:25:45 PM »

A simple Hustler G-3 two meter ground plane (cheap, and not large) on the roof with 50 Ohm coax running down into the house and connected to the HT should increase your operating range about 20-fold, compared with the small flex antenna.

I agree with the others, unless you're using an extraordinary repeater, normally you won't be working any repeater 50-60 miles away with an antenna that directly connects to the hand-held (like a longer whip or something).  It's  just too far, and the hand-helds run low power (even 5W is very low power -- most "mobile" rigs are 50W to 70W, and even that is less than the output power of most repeaters, which are typically ~100W).

WB2WIK/6

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KB9CRY
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« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2009, 03:14:13 AM »

Yagi beam.
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N7ZM
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« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2009, 06:06:39 PM »

This is the main reason why new hams with HT's and rubber ducks get disappointed immediately with a HT. They serve a purpose but not for home use most of the time. I would recommend buying a cheaper used 2 meter rig with pl tone board, then putting up a 5/8 ground wave antenna, even at minimum height the outdoor antenna will surpass any rubber duck.
Good Luck & 73
Ron N7ZM
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WD4AOG
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« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2009, 07:26:38 PM »

If the street level Google pictures are of your operating position, I see you are on flat land surrounded by hills or small mountains.  

If the repeaters you want to work are on any of the hills you can see from your home, I'd say a quarter wave vertical on the roof will work fine.  If they are beyond the hills, you may not be able to work them at all, even with a yagi.  

On flat land where I live, it takes an 11-element yagi at 50 feet with about 50 watts to hit a repeater 50 miles away and sometimes, that's marginal depending upon the height of the repeater.
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W0FM
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« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2009, 02:25:48 PM »

Also, keep in mind that you can wear out your welcome on a repeater real fast if you have a consistently marginal signal into it.  Folks will quickly tire of straining to hear you, so try to avoid "the easy way out" and research what you intend to put up, especially if it will be a permanent or semi-permanent installation.

Good luck,

Terry, WØFM
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W3LK
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« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2009, 05:30:42 PM »

<< On flat land where I live, it takes an 11-element yagi at 50 feet with about 50 watts to hit a repeater 50 miles away and sometimes, that's marginal depending upon the height of the repeater.>>

That's interesting. When I lived in downtown Baltimore, I had no problem hitting any repeater (with at least 80 percent quieting) within 50 miles with 50w into a GP9 on a two-story building.

73,

Lon - W3LK
Naugatuck, Connecticut
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AA4PB
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« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2009, 05:46:50 PM »

It all depends on the repeater. There are a couple that I can hit at 50 miles with a 25W mobile.
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Bob  AA4PB
Garrisonville, VA
WB2WIK
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« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2009, 02:57:41 PM »

I can hit repeaters on Mt. Baldy, which is 70 miles from me, using my VX-150 and rubber duck, sitting on my living room sofa.

But the repeaters are up almost ten thousand feet, and I can stand in my driveway with binoculars and see the towers if it's a very dry day (no haze).

So, there are too many variables to predict this kind of stuff.

In general, even 20-30 miles with an HT and rubber duckie is a long way and shouldn't be relied upon, especially operating indoors.

WB2WIK/6
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