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Author Topic: Looking for top-notch 2m mobile antenna  (Read 6234 times)
NEVBEN
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Posts: 43




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« on: July 20, 2011, 04:31:05 PM »

I'm looking for a vehicle-mount mobile antenna for 2m/VHF around 40-50W TPO.  I prefer a permanent (like NMO) rather than magnet mount.  I can also clamp to an aluminum roof rack but not sure about the ground plane situation yet.  I get the impression that most people find 5/8 wave verticals ideal.  Does anyone have specific brand/model advice?  I want the best, but being mobile kind of puts some practical limits on there.  Thanks
« Last Edit: July 20, 2011, 04:36:51 PM by NEVBEN » Logged
K0BG
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« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2011, 05:22:02 PM »

Buy yourself a Larsen NMO2/70BK, and never look back.
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NEVBEN
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« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2011, 06:13:08 PM »

Thanks. I looked that one up.  I don't need UHF.  I haven't bought a radio yet but if I get a dual band I'll go that way, but if I don't get UHF at all I think I can get more gain with a NMO150 or NMOWB150 -- at least that's what I found when I looked.
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K3GM
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« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2011, 07:04:14 PM »

Larsen NMO150, and you'll probably replace the vehicle underneath it before you replace it.
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NEVBEN
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« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2011, 09:40:25 PM »

Thanks.  I never would have imagined a consensus on this.  I'm sure there's someone with a different opinion somewhere but I don't actually need everyone to agree, just need an antenna and don't want to forsake the wisdom out there.
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K5LXP
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« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2011, 06:16:10 AM »

I'm looking for a vehicle-mount mobile antenna for 2m/VHF

If it's VHF only I don't think you can beat a basic quarter wave.  5/8 antennas are fine but they're way more expensive, are more prone to hitting things and more likely to get tangled up in a garage door or in the car wash.  The slight gain difference isn't worth the trouble, in my opinion. 


Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
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K7RBW
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« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2011, 07:36:09 AM »

I used to think that "gain" was a big deal for a mobile VHF antenna, but I'm now in the same camp as K5LXP and many others, just getting a simple antenna up on the roof with a good mount is the best overall solution for a mobile antenna. There are too many parking garages, drive-thru windows, car washes, tree branches, garage doors, etc. waiting to eat your antenna. The so-called "gain" antennas that I've seen tend to be stiffer (to hold all the coils and gizmos) and taller making them more susceptible to such daily hazards. The simple, base loaded whips tend to have shorter and lighter whips making them more likely to survive.

In a car, getting a simple antenna mounted in the center of the roof is likely to be as good, if not better, than any other type of mobile antenna mounted anywhere else on the car. What you make up for in antenna gain, you end up losing in mounting inefficiencies (for non through-the-roof mounts) and/or placement inefficiencies that result from not being in the center of the metal. Having a big antenna in the center of the roof might offer slightly better performance but at the risk of all the aforementioned environmental hazards.

It just depends on what's most important to you.

Happy shopping!
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KD4LLA
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« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2011, 05:54:02 PM »

A simple quarter wave whip mounted (properly) on the roof will perform as good or better than any "gain" antenna poorly mounted (fender, roof rack, tire rack, etc).  Additionally, the last one I bought (2001) cost a total of $8 (antenna only, I already had the mount and coax).

Mike
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NEVBEN
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« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2011, 11:15:26 AM »

I see the point about clearance.  But this is not for my daily driver.  It's for a trail rig, and where I typically wheel there aren't a lot of overhanging trees and such.  My plan is to mount a 5/8 wave on the center of the roof.  It's an SUV.

The roof panel is steel and I have a full-coverage aluminum roof rack about 6 inches above it.  The floor of the rack is 4-inch wide aluminum  extrusions spaced about that far apart.  For a picture, I have the same vehicle and rack as this: http://www.disconomad.com/DiscoNomad/Photos.html#13  (I am not acquainted with the owner of this vehicle who mounted a 1/4 wave and GPS antenna on his snorkel along with an 11 meter band antenna on the rear bumper)

I am thinking I will use an NMO mount, but will probably fabricate a bracket to bolt to the middle of the roof rack rather than mount it on the steel panel under the rack and have it stick through.  Does that make sense?

The rack is not always loaded, but when it is, it's loaded with large duffle bags containing sleeping bags (bulky but light) that I can pack around the antenna or I can just remove the antenna until it's unloaded again.
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N8CNJ
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« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2011, 03:50:27 PM »

Allow me to be the odd ball here.

When I was in search of a mobile antenna for my 18 wheeler, I ran across a Firestick ( http://www.walcottcb.com/firestik-2m15b-meter-antenna-p-590.html ).  Cheap, works on trucks really well, very durable (you would have to see my driveway to understand the amount of trees it hits while on the rig), and I've bought a magnet mount for my pickup truck so that I can switch it over when at home.

A little tweaking gave me a great match and I'm hitting repeaters 20 miles away or more at 25w from the radio.

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G4AZB
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« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2011, 12:10:14 PM »

I use a 5/8 wave on 145 Mhz and find that it is a perfect loaded quarter wave on 50.150  Mhz (but our allocations in Europe are slightly different). Its a base loaded open coil 5/8 wave with a 3/8 thread. It works well and seems stable at speed. The local Taxi/CB shop sells them but they seem to be well made.

Steve
G4AZB/M
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K1CJS
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« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2011, 06:13:13 PM »

As K0BG said, a Larsen is hard to beat--either the one he recommended or the one KG3M recommended.  Either one of them will do nicely.  There are other antennas that would work just as well too--such as the 1/4 wave whip 

I bought a Comet SBB-5NMO on sale a number of years ago, and it has given me good service and excellent range with my Icom V8000.  Yes, it's a dual band (2 mtr./70 cm.) antenna, and I used to run an Icom IC2340H in my mobile, but since the 70 cm band has gone almost dead around SE Mass, I replaced the dual band rig with the V8000 and kept the dual band antenna because it works well.
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