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Reviews Categories | Antennas: VHF/UHF+ Omnidirectional: verticals, mobile, etc | Tram 1481 Help


Reviews Summary for Tram 1481
Tram 1481 Reviews: 28 Average rating: 3.9/5 MSRP: $150
Description: Dual band base antenna
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.k1cra.com
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KC9YZR Rating: 1/5 Aug 17, 2015 01:23 Send this review to a friend
Second Tram 1481 Gone Bad  Time owned: more than 12 months
Well, I had purchased two Tram Browning 1481 antennas, about 9 months apart, from two different suppliers.

After about two years or so, the first Tram 1481 developed a high SWR, and became unusable.

I had taken it apart and found nothing wrong with it, except when I removed what looks to be PVC pipe, as apposed to what the package calls high quality Fiberglass, I found two droplets of water.

Well, now the second Tram 1481 has also developed a high SWR, again after having it about 2 years.

I did like these antennas, as they seemed to have good gain, both in receive and transmitted range, and they seemed to work well.

However, both of them have high SWR now, and seem unusable.

I am afraid that I can't recommend these antennas, as they seem very unreliable, as mine developed high SWR after about two years of use, on 20 feet of mast, mounted to the side of the trailer home that I live in.

I was getting into repeaters 90 or more miles away, using either the 55-watt Yaesu FT-1900R, or the 50-watt dual-band Wouxun KG-UV920P-A, but now I can't even get into a repeater 45 miles away, with the high SWR, as when I heard someone say that I wasn't getting into the repeater, I then decided to check the SWR of the Tram 1481.

To me the antenna needs work and just didn't last very long.

73,
Bernie
 
KC9YZR Rating: 2/5 Jun 1, 2015 11:23 Send this review to a friend
Mixed Results (1 Good, 1 Bad, So far)  Time owned: more than 12 months
I purchased one of these about two years ago, and when I put it together, I had to lightly tap, a few times, one of the PVC pipes on the carpeted floor, to get the metal rod to come out of the end of the PVC pipe, so I could then connect it to the next metal rod section, using the splice that you tighten with the Allen wrench.

The package stated that the antenna was made using high quality Fiberglass, but unless I am mistaken, or unless there are parts that you can't see, what I saw was PVC pipe, and the metal rods inside of the PVC pipe, along with foam padding around the rod, to help center the rod in the PVC pipe, and probably to prevent the rod from banging against the PVC pipe.

I do not know whether it was a good idea or not, but when I put the antenna together, I wrapped White pipe thread tape around the threads where the sections are put together, where you use wrenches to tighten the sections together, thinking that maybe it would prevent any water from getting into the PVC pipe. Of course I did think about the pipe "sweating," meaning during damp weather, and having the moisture accumulate inside of the pipe anyway, like when a glass of ice tea, or water, can "sweat" on the outside of it.

About one year later, last year, I decided to buy a second Tram Browning 1481, as I was using one with a Two Meter transceiver, and I was using a Hustler G6-440 with my 440 repeater, and the other one I started to use on a Dual-Band transceiver.

Since I noticed a difference in range, when I removed the G6-440 antenna from the repeater, and started to use the Tram 1481 with the repeater, that's how I started to use the second Tram 1481, with the 440 repeater, since it has almost double the claimed gain of the G6 on 440 MHz.

So, OK, I now have owned one Tram 1481 for about two years, and the other one I have owned for about one year or more, and they both were working just fine, until last week that is.

I was going to buy a third Tram 1481, so I could use it on my dual-band transceiver, as I was using the two meter transceiver for an Echolink node, and was using one Tram 1481 for that, and I was using the second Tram 1481 on the dual-band transceiver, so I could talk on that, without fooling with mike connections on the Two Meter rig, but I switched that Tram 1481 to the 440 repeater, for better gain on 440, so I could use a third Tram on the dual-band transceiver.

However, last Sunday, when checking into a Two Meter swap net, on a repeater that's about 45 miles away, the NCS stated that my signal was noisy, so I checked the SWR with my Two Meter antenna analyzer, and found that the SWR was high.

I thought that the PL259 connector was bad, on the transceiver end, but that wasn't it, then I thought that maybe the PL259 became loose on the antenna end, but that wasn't it, and I then connected the analyzer directly to the Tram 1481, using a double male connector, and the antenna tested high SWR.

I then took the antenna apart, and there were a few droplets of water inside of the bottom PVC section, but water didn't run out of it, and the foam wasn't wet that's around the antenna rod that's inside of the PVC pipe.

Anyway, I can't find anything wrong with the antenna, yet it has a high SWR, and I checked to see whether all of the splices were tight, and that all of the sections are together, but it still shows a high SWR, although, occasionally, it will show a good SWR down around 136 MHz, but still shows bad every where else, especially between 144 and 148 MHZ, when the other Tram 1481 shows a good SWR even around 151 or 152 MHz, and down to around 136 MHz or so.

I have now placed the two year old Tram 148 in the storage shed, and I am now using the G6-440 antenna again on the repeater, for now anyway, and am going to wait a few days, then I am going to take the Tram 1481 back out of the shed, to see whether "drying it out" has any affect on the SWR, as I can't see anything else wrong with it, unless there's some water trapped down in the base of the antenna, or something like that.

Anyway, the second Tram 1481, that I bought last year, is still working fine, but the first one, that I bought about two years ago, had a few droplets of water inside of it, plus has a high SWR right now.

So I am unsure how to rate this antenna.
 
AF5QR Rating: 1/5 May 18, 2015 18:36 Send this review to a friend
What a difference two months makes  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
This antenna is on its way to the junk pile. You can NOT make this antenna weatherproof. I've tried it all and it STILL LEAKS. I even went to the extreme of wrapping (get this) the ENTIRE ANTENNA in coax seal from the bottom up. I figured I'd rather have an ugly antenna that works rather than a "pretty" antenna that doesn't. No dice. My working theory is the internals of this antenna are hygroscopic and are pulling moisture out of the very damp atmosphere here. If so, nothing but pumping the antenna full of sealant will help... but this IS the next thing to try.

Corrosion is also becoming a huge issue. The chrome antenna base fits into a sleeve of aluminum tubing that is designed to act as a mount. Except someone forgot to tell the guy who "engineered" this fitting that dis-similar metals generate corrosion. After just six weeks of weathering, it became utterly impossible to separate the base from the tube mount.

This antenna is coming down shortly. I'm done with Tram. I didn't expect a StationMaster, but I expected something that wasn't designed on crutches.

As always, your mileage may differ. If you're in a dry area, God bless. If not, spin again, OM.
 
WB7CJQ Rating: 5/5 Oct 30, 2013 16:42 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Antenna  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have used this antenna for a crossband repeater as well as for my personal use. I recommend some silastic around the joints, but I have to comment that the first one of these I raised about 5 years ago is still bone dry inside and still delivering fantastic performance. Today I upgraded a Tram 1400 install to the 1481, and immediately observed a 1 "S" unit improvement as well as a significant reduction in noise.

This is NOT a StationMaster, so don't expect it to deal well with high winds. The fact that it can flex, and that the inside components can move are the reasons it can survive strong winds. Like sticking a 17 foot long dowel in the air, expect it to bend!

I've never lost a 1481 to the winds and weather. It is not all unusual for us to get 60-70 MPH gusts, and although it looks scary, the antenna deals with all of this very nicely.

If you want a rock solid signal in a hurricane, get a StationMaster at $100 per foot, lots of concrete, lots of guy wires, and lots of friends to help you raise the beast. If you want an antenna that will last for years and consistently rebound from wind and weather, get the 1481.

The one I installed today is up 30 feet, no guy wires, no problems. That puts the tip at 47 feet AGL, and now the guys in Milwaukee (200 miles by air) are driving me crazy!


 
N8LJJ Rating: 5/5 Sep 3, 2013 06:49 Send this review to a friend
Can't ask for any more  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I have had the antenna for about 6 months. I placed it into operation at about 30' a month ago. It has been the monsoon season here in TN and from all I can tell it has not sucked any water as reported in other reviews. From the day of installation the match has been way better than 1.1:1 and remains so. I am feeding it with about 50' of RG-8X and have been amazed at the coverage it provides. The antenna is in the temporary installation mode and I will probably do a little weatherproofing of the joints before final installation. I will have to say that the mount could stand a little beefing up but that is not a real problem. The antenna is a little limber and that is to be expected for it's length but I have not encountered any problems so far. I bought it at a local hamfest for way less than the retail price so I can not complain. For it's price and performance I would give it a solid 5 out of 5.
 
KF7VXA Rating: 2/5 Dec 8, 2012 18:18 Send this review to a friend
Buy Something Else  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I pulled it out of the box, made sure all of the pieces were tight, almost lost one of the little hex plugs.

At first, it seemed to work good, got good transmitting distance and the SWR was decent on both bands at 1.5 to 1 at it's worst. Bent like crazy at 20 MPH plus winds, at 60 MPH, no way your signal is steady, the antenna was bent over to almost 90 degrees at times

After 2 months, the SWR went up. I took the antenna down, it had a bunch of water in it.
I dried it out (the spacers are great spounges).

I put it back up, the SWR was a little higher from then on. I sealed every possible place that water could get into which must be done on every one bought.

About a week later got a Yaesu 75 watt transceiver (It was on a Yaesu FT 7900 R, 52 watts max.). The antenna is supposed to take 200 watts, but the 75 watts fried the capactor in the top end,
It's now in the junk pile, I bought another brand that is 10 ft tall, 6.5 db on VHF, 9.0 on UHF, I think it transmits further, being 7 foot shorter, the bending problem in 50 MPH winds is gone and the quality is far better. Save your money and get another brand.
Even with 1.5 less gain, I think quality and with a possible improved transmission pattern, the slightly less gain is working as good or slightly better in my opinion, slightly more gain is not always for the best.

My antenna is at 34 feet at the base on a tower, in the open away from all objects, has slightly under 60 feet of LMR 400 coax (has #43 mixture torads on the coax right below the antenna) and all "N" connectors except the rear of the radio. While I would like more height, quality coax such as the LMR 400 or 600, as much height as is reasonable, seal the antenna and every coax connection as best as possible and your antenna will perform to the best of it's ability. I hit a repeater at 85 miles as the crow flies, and that is bouncing off of some mountains and most days have a pretty decent signal, a little better than the new one. local repeaters and other contacts in the area are no problem at all, totally quiet noise floor. Pass up on this one, it works good for a while, then it's time for a new one.
As far as this being a good repeater antenna, that is one of the better jokes I've run into this year, you need a solid antenna on top of a mountain, the Tran does not even come close on it's best day. I've put up more than a few repeater antennas and have seen what is left of them in just a short time. Get a Diamond X-300N, the Diamond 500 model is a better antenna than the Tram, but still suffers from some of the problems, 16 feet is just too much for thin fiberglass.
 
W6IZK Rating: 1/5 Feb 8, 2012 17:26 Send this review to a friend
Ok on 2m lousy on 440  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Purchased local and looked like a good buy but once I got it up in the air and checking the VSWR with a Vectronics 50-500 MHz directional wattmeter was dismayed at the VSWR curve on the 440 band. Antenna was flat across 2 meters, 1.5 or less but on 440 antenna had 1.5 at 430 MHZ then went up like crazy at any frequency above that. At 444 it was well over 3:1 and at 448 over 5:1. Took it back for a refund and ordered a Diamond X200A, you get what you pay for.
 
KD5PNT Rating: 4/5 Dec 3, 2011 06:26 Send this review to a friend
tran 1481  Time owned: more than 12 months
had it for 3 years now and has always worked well . never had any water in it . the factory supplied mounting brackets are worthless . the V bolts that came with mine were not threaded far enough back and would not tighten on a standard mast . were not a standard size so could not get replacements at the local hardware store . the mounts went into the scrap metal pile and I replaced them with 3 ubolts that fit tight around the tube at the bottom of the antenna

the antenna gets a 4 and the mounts get a 0 rating .
 
KJ4YFP Rating: 2/5 May 2, 2011 14:26 Send this review to a friend
owners manual  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Anyone have the owner manual they can send Me
k4get@yahoo.com
 
KR6G Rating: 5/5 Dec 29, 2010 07:47 Send this review to a friend
Common sense use  Time owned: more than 12 months
Like any antenna out side, you need to get it ready for weather.I live in the sierra mountains with rain snow wind

I have 7 in use at various sites, a couple up 120 to 150 ft in trees and have been for years.

I have used both vaseline, and rtv to keep the water out, inside I put the vaseline, then seal the joins with clear RTV.

They are not for use on High mountains with wind and snow, with the ice loads.

K7SFN pulled one a part and compared to his diamond and the Tram had one size heaver wire
than the diamond. AT more than half the price.

I have used commerical watt meters with hardline and found the swr from band edge to edge to be 2.1 or less at middle of band, both uhf and vhf, my radios have not cut back on power due to swr and any time, both commerical and ham.

Once again do your homework and help them get ready for the weather, before you put it up.
)
 
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