2M Antenna Recommendations?

#1
I have learned with CB that the antenna is an often overlooked part of the setup, and that the best radio will be worth nada without a good antenna.

So, as I venture into 2M land... what type of antenna can I get that will mount to the tabs on my rack... and do the job well without breaking the bank, while also being durable enough to handle "hits" from trees, urban obstacles etc.?

BTW, I'm looking to replace my Firestik II CB antenna too so maybe I can get two that are of similar construction/length etc. for mounting up front on my rack?

Suggestions?
 
#2
I went with Larsen antennas for both 2m/440 and CB.

Although I drilled through the top of my 4runner (3/8 hole) and used Diamond NMO antenna mounts because it's necessary for me to remove my antennas to get into my carport.

Ground plane is also essential. Tabs on a rack will limit you as to what antennas you can use, you'll need something that doesn't need much of a ground plane. In this scenario, seek no further than Comet antennas and mounts.

But if you're willing to bite the bullet, and drill the hole, you can't go wrong with the ground plane you'll end up with.

I went with these parts:


Diamond c213nmo Drill-Through NMO Mount (I have two, one for Ham, one for CB)

Buy here http://www.hamradio.com/detail.cfm?pid=H0-009384, or locally.



Larsen NMO 2/70B - A 2M/70CM Dual band antenna needed for the 8800.

http://www.hamradio.com/detail.cfm?pid=H0-000565

Plenty of online places have them, I bought mine at HRO, but Fry's has them too.

Entire Larsen Catalog: http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/hamantm/larsenm.html
The CB Antenna I use can be found here too, the Larsen NMO 27B
 
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#3
I have two tabs on my rack dedicated to radio antenna mounting.

One is for my CB Firestik II antenna (which will really be obsolete soon I hope...)

The other is waiting for a 2M antenna. Here is what I have to work with:


I need a specific antenna and mount/coax for this tab/location but with the Death Valley trip coming up fast I dont have time for experimentation or ordering errors. I need to get this right the first time for once!

Suggestions?
 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
#5
ARB and GME/Electrophone (sold as TJM antenna mounts by 4X4 Connection) might fit the bill. I have used the ARB ones and they work OK, although being powdercoated you have to be creative with getting a ground to them. The GME ones come in various diameters, although I'm not sure that all are available here in the USA.

View attachment 13553
View attachment 13555

The GME/Electrophone product page (with dimensions):
http://www.gme.net.au/land/antennas/mounting_brackets.php

Personally I think the ARB brackets are better used as additional light tabs. However, if you are astute, you'll notice that a piece of aluminum plate and a couple of exhaust clamps can achieve something very similar with more flexible mounting options and get you exactly what you need. This is what I'm using for my CB antenna on the bull bar. In my configuration the ARB brackets were too long and hit the hood when mounted with the tab towards the back, so they had to be pointed forward. This subjected the cable to road debris and hooked stuff all the time. So I made a little bracket that uses an NMO mounted, goobered it with silicone on the bottom to seal it, mounted so that the base is behind the bar. Here's the only picture I have of it, maybe it makes sense. I think it was 2" exhaust clamps that ended up working for an ARB, but I think you can easily get as small as 1" clamps and up to 4" at most any parts store.

View attachment 13556
 

Desertdude

Expedition Leader
#6
I ditched the heavy firestik for The Venice I have it hood mounted. (Now with most trips exclusively 2M I'm not sure how much longer I will keep the CB)

For the 2m I use a couple of different antennas depending on terrain and overhead trees.

Larsen NMO 2/70B - and a NMO 150B antenna when I can have something taller on. I have seen AndrewP sometimes uses a rubber duck on really tight overhead trails and close formation trips.
 
#7
Since you will be mounting on your rack, I would mount a Larsen 1/2 wave whip. The 1/2 wave antenna will give better performance since there won't be much ground plane for a 5/8 wave antenna (which would otherwise be my recommendation). Half wave antennas can still give decent performance in terms of SWR even without a ground plane (the coax acts as the counterpoise). In your set up, a 1/4 wave antenna will give poor performance.

I would also mount the whip of your antenna on a spring. Up high like that is great for radio performance, but it will bang into lots of branches and overheads.

If you do want to drill a 3/4 inch hole (not 3/8 as stated), an NMO mount centered in the roof will give optimum electrical performance and allow you to run a true 5/8 wave antenna.

Lots of other options-you could do a lip mount on the edge of the hood. That's not a bad compromise.

I've changed antenna systems on 2 trucks 3 times since becoming a Ham 2 years ago. In general, I have come to appreciate the simple, cheap, robust, and otherwise excellent antennas from Larsen. Plain steel whips seem to hold up better than other antenns in the offroad environment. If you want pics, I can supply a few later today.

Have fun.

edit:
Desertdude said:
Larsen NMO 2/70B - and a NMO 150B antenna when I can have something taller on. I have seen AndrewP sometimes uses a rubber duck on really tight overhead trails and close formation trips.

I like the antennas that DD mentions as well, and have a couple of the Larsen 150 series which are cheap and work great. They are cheap enough to carry a spare. I have run a shorty 1/4 wave Comet(SBB1)--Very poor performance, but good enough at short range, just not so good for working repeaters at a distance. It does work fine for trail use, and still blows CB out of the water. It's very flexible and does not hang up on trees.
 
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#8
Desertdude said:
I ditched the heavy firestik for The Venice I have it hood mounted. (Now with most trips exclusively 2M I'm not sure how much longer I will keep the CB)

For the 2m I use a couple of different antennas depending on terrain and overhead trees.

Larsen NMO 2/70B - and a NMO 150B antenna when I can have something taller on. I have seen AndrewP sometimes uses a rubber duck on really tight overhead trails and close formation trips.
Thanks Pasquale!

... A rubber duck? Ques que ce que ca?
 
#11
I don't care much for CB anymore. When I run CB, I use a Wilson 5000 mag mount. I riveted a small steel plate on the center of my rack. If that space is taken, I'll stick the mag mount on top of my camping webber grill. It works great. Plus it gives me a lot of height. The coverage is great. However, more and more I find myself using just my Ham rig and no taking the CB antenna all together. Our group has almost gone 100% 2m.

As for the 2m setup. I have Comet's heavy duty K400C and a short SBB1 rubber ducky antenna for every day use (parking in my garage) and tight trails. For desert trips I have a much longer antenna (better gain). I'm not at home right now. When I get back I can post the model number.

Here's a post on my blog on my Ham radio antenna install


Regards

Alvaro
 

Jacket

2008 Expedition Trophy Champion
#12
Funny to hear folks talking about ditching their CB's in favor of 2m. This has been a big debate with the Rising Sun club, as many members over there have migrated completely to 2m, yet others are still running CB exclusively. But it seems like it will take a long while to completely abandon the CB, as it is still what most people on the trails use. If/when I devote the time to get licensed for 2m, I think I'll keep the CB around for a while longer...

But I'll be watching this thread to keep tabs on the popular choices for outfitting a rig for 2m:lurk:
 
#14
Total Ham newbie question. (don't laugh too hard) I will mounting mine very similar to this on my FZJ80 rack. With an NMO mount is it relatively easy to switch between the shorty antenna and the longer with an NMO style mount? It seems carrying two antennas one for short distance trail work and theother for long range wrok is ideal. I just want to be sure that the NMO allows this. Thank you for any info anybody can offer. akraven
 
#15
akraven said:
Total Ham newbie question. (don't laugh too hard) I will mounting very similar to this on my FZJ80 rack. With an NMO mount is it relatively easy to switch between the shorty antenna and the longer with an NMO style mount? It seems carrying two antennas one for short distance trail work and theother for long range wrok is ideal. I just want to be sure that the NMO allows this. Thank you for any info anybody can offer. akraven
Sure-you can screw antennas on and off. I have a PL259 mount on my 80 series hatch, and switch a Comet Sbb25 for road use, a Comet SBB1 for trail use, and a Larsen PO150 I've been experimenting with for all around use. You can do the same with an NMO mount.
 
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