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Reviews Categories | Antennas: VHF/UHF+ Omnidirectional: verticals, mobile, etc | Tram 1181 mobile antenna Help

Reviews Summary for Tram 1181 mobile antenna
Tram 1181 mobile antenna Reviews: 1 Average rating: 4.0/5 MSRP: $$20
Description: VHF/UHF NMO mobile antenna
Product is in production.
More info: http://
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KC7YRA Rating: 4/5 Mar 24, 2015 17:57 Send this review to a friend
A slight step up for Tram  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I am a bit of a mobile antenna snob. I like robust antennas that work well and can take the knocks associated with mountain living.

Because of that, I have destroyed many MANY antennas, weeding out the wheat from the chaff. The Tram 1180 was abysmal. Over rated power handling, poor construction, doomed to failure.

The 1181 is a bit better. First off, it's cheap. Around $18 shipped. I feel that the price is an important factor while reviewing. My personal favorite antennas (Larsen) are the Zeus of mobile antennas, and their price reflects that.

One of the immediate things I noticed of the 1181 is the completely brass base section. Previous models were known to melt and warp due to poor design and a plastic base. I don't see that happening with this model.

What it does retain, which I don't like, is the spring loaded brass pin to make contact with the center conductor of the NMO mount. Regardless of manufacturer I have yet to see one of these contact setups work for very long. It seems completely absurd, but the bent metal tab of Larsen's works perfectly. These spring loaded pins work for a time, then fail. With that said, in the time I've used this Tram the mechanism is still working. If that changes, I will update here.

I also find the machining (I suspect it is actually cast) of the threads used to attach to the NMO mount sub-par. They are sharp and jagged and shred/gall the mating surfaces. Not good and not something you find on most manufacturers.

As a good note, the coating on the whip is tough. It seems much tougher than the type used on Larsen antennas. again, we'll see how it holds up, but initial testing is positive.

The SWR is good out of the package, but there is more to that than most people seem to care about. Mounting position on a vehicle, coax, connector style, etc. Also, SWR is not a "be all, end all" measurement of an antenna. Dummy loads have a great SWR but radiate poorly.

This Tram does an okay job. I find well known signals in both the VHF and UHF bands, on well known installations, with well known radios, to be down slightly from a Larsen 2/70S which is close in size to this Tram. It isn't so much that I would immediately throw the antenna out, but it is slightly noticeable.

Overall, this antenna is a pretty good value at <$20. If it were in another price bracket of >$40, I would probably be a bit more critical of the flaws that I see.

If you are on the hunt for an NMO antenna as you just get your feet wet in the world of mobile operating, this may be worth a shot. Time will tell how it handles more than 50 watts for extended transmissions (my next test), or how it handles miles and miles of bad roads and freezing temps.

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