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Reviews Categories | Antennas: VHF/UHF+ Omnidirectional: verticals, mobile, etc | Decibel DB-224 Series Help

Reviews Summary for Decibel DB-224 Series
Decibel DB-224 Series Reviews: 16 Average rating: 3.3/5 MSRP: $500
Description: Four Bay Folded Dipole Array - Manufactured by Decibel Products mainly as a commercial antenna but can be ordered for the 2 Meter and 220 MHz amateur bands.
Product is in production.
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N4DBM Rating: 5/5 May 5, 2019 02:55 Send this review to a friend
Works Excellent For Me  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have seen the mixed reviews on this antenna. I realize that the products (now sold under Comscope) are no longer made in Dallas, TX anymore like the old "real" Decibel Products antennas were. I don't know where they are made actually. Some say Mexico, but I have never paid much attention. I also realize that some folks have complained about quality control, etc, of the phasing harness and hardware itself. The complaints are legit and I'm sure there's no reason to lie about their negative experiences.

I have MANY early DB224's (by early, I mean mid-1970's models) all the way up to current models, as in 2016. The newer models have molded end-of-the-line terminations where the old models (probably mid-1980's) were just taped up with black tape. Newer models also have weld beads where the elements meet the support boom to aleviate duplex noise.

I am using a 2016 model DB224 top mounted at 400 feet, fed with 7/8" Heliax. It is running on a 2-meter repeater. It is a 150-160 model but the VSWR is acceptable on 146 MHz. I am running 100 W out of the duplexer with a good, low-noise preamp and excellent front end filtering. I have no duplex noise or desense with this antenna. It performs excellent. Whether the phasing harness will develop a problem or whether I have mechanical issues in the future is yet to be seen. It has taken beatings from direct lightning strikes and hurricane force winds here on the east coast of NC.

There are other antenna manufacturers that make plenty of 4-bay dipole antennas. Some are built much heavier, both electrically and mechanically.

Overall, I can only give my positive experience with the DB224 antenna and the other line of products that the now "Comscope" comapny offers.
AF5U Rating: 0/5 Jul 23, 2016 11:31 Send this review to a friend
Made in Mexico  Time owned: more than 12 months
There was a time, not so long ago, when the DB224 was made in the USA. Like so many other companies DB Products, the company, was sold - to Andrew and then to Comscope. When DB Products antennas were made in the USA, many of its problems were cured by hard working engineers and technicians who answered the phones and went to the assembly lines and solved the issues by doing. They understood and spoke English and many of them were hams just like you, The DB224 element has a tendency to crack if welded incorrectly where it is connects to the metal standoff. When it cracks I.M. and noise is created. It may also have VSWR issues. Also, the harness was made of different impedances of Times flooded cable (Valor-Block) 52, 72, and 35 ohm. The harness was a work of art - but no longer. Welcome to the new world!
WC3O Rating: 1/5 Jul 22, 2016 17:39 Send this review to a friend
Never again  Time owned: more than 12 months
I need to agree with all the recent posts. Our club purchased a DB-224 looking at it as a 30 year antenna. I couple years after install we started having noise and de-sense problems. Canít be the antenna? Itís a good commercial antenna with a proven history. After a lot of useless playing around later it was indeed the antenna. No outward reasons of the problem. I am sure it is in the harness. We replaced with a Sinclair SD-224. Much better built. More money. Worth every extra penny. You buy good products so that you donít have to worry about them for a long time. Every time someone needs to climb a tower they are risking their life. Who needs these problems? Never again a Commscope DB-224 for me. Good luck CommscopeÖ Thanks for nothing
W4FSA Rating: 1/5 Jul 22, 2016 09:23 Send this review to a friend
New Antenna is Trash  Time owned: more than 12 months
It is sad to once again see a proud Made in America company move elsewhere and produce trash. Comscope has De-contented this unit to ZERO Value. Our club has 2 new ones and a 30 yr veteran just sitting. If a new after market harness can be found for the veteran, we may put it up. From now on all new repeater antennas will be Comprod Products. We won't risk the cost of an additional tower crew with 224's.
KC2YMI Rating: 0/5 Jul 22, 2016 06:17 Send this review to a friend
Don't use the new ones ever  Time owned: more than 12 months
As a Tech for a State Agency I intended to replace all 100 or so Station Master antenna's with the DB-224 due to them being over 25 years old. When I was located down South we used them almost exclusively since a Station Master wouldn't survive multiple lightning strikes as is common down there. This install at 125 ft side mount with a stabilizer arm on a 175 ft tower didn't even last 18 months. High SWR and the problem is somewhere in the phasing harness, Comscope wasn't interested in any warranty over a year.
I recommend that everyone stay away from any of the new DB-224 antenna's.
We are going back to the Station Master.
WA6JGM Rating: 2/5 Jun 12, 2015 07:20 Send this review to a friend
Suffers from cost cutting  Time owned: more than 12 months
I am reluctant to write this review but have to to save some of you some grief. These antennas are not what they were 20 years ago. My harness went bad in just over a year. Yes I got a replacement but who wants to climb a couple of hundred feet to field replace it.

Nothing is welded; straps, pop rivets and hose clamps, just plain stupid. Mine now has random noise issues that is temperature sensitive and it is not feed line or connector issues. I can shake the antenna and the noise bursts come and go, lot's of de-sense!

It's a sad commentary about this legendary antenna, we have one at our dispatch center at work, it's 35 years old and it still preforms the same way the day it was installed.

Pay more money and purchase one that is well built, that's what I am doing at this time. It's your repeater system, if you like repairing this thing in the field then have at it....I'm getting to old for
WA0VED Rating: 2/5 Apr 4, 2011 07:15 Send this review to a friend
New ones, not so good  Time owned: more than 12 months
The older DB-224 antennas are very good. The new ones have problems. The main problem is water intrusion into the phasing harness. It takes about 6 to 12 months for the harness to fail. Andrew will replace the harness with a new and improved harness. I have had the new one fail in the same manner. I have 35 of these antennas in use for the state I work for and other state agencies are having the same problem. As a group we are moving away from this antenna.
When you have to change the antenna or harness within a year on 200 to 400 foot towers it gets real expensive.

If you can find an older model that is in good shape, use it. It will probably last and perform well for many years. The new ones, well Caveat emptor.
AI4SU Rating: 5/5 Apr 3, 2011 17:52 Send this review to a friend
GOOD FOR RECEIVING  Time owned: more than 12 months
I was warned about using those white fiberglass 17ft. antennas for repeater use, but I was hard-headed. On windy days the antenna would bend over and the repeater had cracking/popping noise in the TX carrier.

Now we up graded to the DB-224 and the repeater is performing as if we added more height to the antenna. I also notice there is no popping or cracking noise on windy days. I've owned several different 2-meter base antennas ranging from 17ft fiberglass design to aluminum base antennas. This DB-224 out performed them all.

One of the greatest thing about the DB-224 is its outstanding ability to receive signals, even the weakest signal.Since up grading to the DB-224 our repeater is now receiving distance stations that it never received with the other antenna.

The DB-224 is made of super strong thick aluminum. Lightening will not harm this antenna. The wind will not fold the DB-224 as it do the 17ft fiberglass antennas. Everything of the DB-224 is heavy duty. It will never rust.

I heard of others having issues with rain water getting into the phasing harness. Most phasing harness for the DB-224 series antennas have the T-connectors inside some sort of water resistant plastic molding. Don't stop there. Continue to apply more water resistant protection to the phasing harness.I'm sure everyone have their own techniques. I went to the marine boat store and got some water/UV resistant tape and wrapped the mold covering the T-connectors and all the places where water can get in.Basically, I gave the phasing harness additional water protection. In other words, water proof your phasing harness as if it were going to be submerged under water and it will do well.
So far we've had many many days of rain, even rain with heavy wind causing it to come down side ways; but no rain water penetrated into the phasing harness. The antenna is still performing well.

If you need a good antenna that receive signals well and transmits a super firm signal, the DB-224e is the antnna for you. 73's
N5NPO Rating: 2/5 Apr 4, 2010 15:30 Send this review to a friend
Great timeless design, but a victim of recent cost cutting...  Time owned: more than 12 months
I work in the land mobile two way radio industry. In the last 8 years we have seen an alarming number of these antennas fail because of water getting into the facory moldings where the sections of the harness come together. Andrew/Commscope is aware of this problem and has re-engineered the harnesses. I have sent them 3 of mine that have failed to keep water out of the factory moldings and they have sent me replacement harnesses free of charge. Problem is, they failed needlessly. I have not seen this issue from the older antennas that were built in the USA, only the more recent ones manufactured in Mexico. This is not an anti-mexican rant. It is a QC problem and at least it has been addressed. Has the problem truly been solved? Time will tell. The newer units have the updated harnesses with obvious revisions and changes.
If this doensnt solve the problems, then we will look into another make/model. The RFS Celewave PD-340's look good. Price is comparable, specs are the same and they come with a 5 yr warranty.
K5SL Rating: 5/5 Oct 15, 2008 17:33 Send this review to a friend
Worth the effort in longivity and gain  Time owned: more than 12 months
I just replaced a 21' long H700HNA with a db 228A. With a little work on the loops it tuned to 146.82 nicely. It gave a gain of 6 db over the fiberglass max gain colliner locally and 80 miles out. They are built to last, and take a beating. There is a reason they are used the world over and is the main one you see on commercial installations.
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