Antenna's, Antenna's and more antenna's...

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The subject comes up from time to time - which antenna is the best antenna that I can buy.
Normally I do not get into one of these peeing contests because I know better.
For a person that knows absolutely nothing about communications and wants to keep things simple and doesn't realize that the little rubber duckie antenna that came with their radio is not the only kind of antenna available and that there is better antenna's available - this is the post for you.

Radios comes in all shapes and sizes.
The purpose of having any type of radio is to get reliable information about the situation both locally and in the world.
The world is round - or so Christopher Columbus told queen Isabella.
Because of our atmosphere surrounding our planet, it acts during the daytime - kind of like a mirror, which holds down shorter wavelengths of radio near the earth, which allows us to listen to things both near and far. At night when the plasma from the ions bombarding the earth from the sun recombines this layer dissipates and we still have the option of being able to listen to things on the longer wavelengths - frequencies. Some general terms used are Skywave and Ground Wave Propagation.

In order to receive these broadcasts we first have to have some type of receiver and second we have to have some type of antenna.
The longest waves we normally use are in the AM portion of the broadcast radio bands - commercial radio. We know that since broadcasters with a license to operate a Clear Channel - can broadcast both day and night with hundreds of thousands of watts of power - from very tall broadcast antenna's.

Simple pocket AM radios with their ferrite rod antenna's will always receive something as long as there is a broadcast station still on the air.
http://www.radio-electronics.com/info/antennas/ferrite_rod_antenna/ferrite_rod_antenna.php

The Internet is full of suggestions on how to improve the performance of these types of radios.
http://www.instructables.com/id/A-Dynamite-Antenna-for-an-AM-Radio/
http://www.mtmscientific.com/loop.html

I would suggest for someone just starting out in communications that does not know a lot about communications to find a simple radio kit and put together your own small radio receiver - it will teach you a little about how to solder and a little about how radio theory is applied.
http://www.allspectrum.com/store/radio-kits-c-38_135.html

In the long run, it will be very important for you to acquire the types of skills necessary to keep some type of radio equipment on hand and to understand the theory of electronics and communications.

Once you graduate from the most simple communications - commercial radio, the next logical step would be to learn how to use wireless personal communications.
Since we do not believe that all of the cell towers will be working in a post SHTF situation and since we realize that we are in a constant dire need to keep in touch with others, our next logical step would be to acquire some type of skills that will allow us to communicate with others.

The most simple solution would be the citizens band radio.
The CB radio - would allow us to communicate both near and far.
The most important part of the CB radio is not the amount of output power, but the size and efficiency of the antenna.

Two situations -
1. - You have a bug out location - which you own, which you desire to protect from intruders, that you would like to be able to communicate to and from other members in your party.
How do you get a group of people on the air, without a license, and be able to communicate with them from a distance of up to 35 miles locally? CB radio.

2. - How do you manage to keep track of a group of people at your bug out location, with a type of radio that no one pays any attention to anymore? CB radio.

In order to use CB radio - you need two types of antenna's.

1. The first antenna you need is some type of ground plane antenna.
The manufacturers has realized that the CB radio has made a come back and has returned to the antenna industry with some old favorites that works really well..

A. Solorcon A99 Vertical with ground plane kit. Also known as Astron 99 etc...
This antenna will allow you to talk both locally - with just a couple of watts and DX - all around the country with 100 watts. It is a very good antenna for listening due to its omnidirectional pattern.
http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/hamants/1001.html

B. A horizontally polarized beam antenna with some type of gain.
Two options - a old PDL / Moonraker / MaCo type beam antenna, or a old HY Gain 11 meters antenna such as the Long John...
https://www.bellscb.com/products/antennas/Maco/Maco_antenna_index.htm
http://www.jogunn.com/
http://www.hy-gain.com/Categories.php?sec=164

Its my belief that in a congested area that the little bubble pack GMRS radios will be of little use, due to the over use by all the people that owns them - initially. And later due to the fact that once the batteries goes dead and most people will not have a place to buy more or recharge them that there will be limited use of these types of radios.

Not to mention the limited range of the bubble pack radios compared to the range of a CB radio.
 

Silent Bob

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Thank you again for posting your insightful information. For some of us who don't spend a ton of time in the communication arena, you and Clyde are the best for passing reliable and partial information. I can't tell you how thankful I am for having you both post information, it has saved me tons of research time and money. Had it not been for both of your posts, last month I would have spent about $1,000 on useless stuff that I really had no room in my communication bug-out kit.
 

eireguy

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I like my a99 . I have talked 1,000's of miles on it on ssb with it connected to my roof
 

Clyde

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The subject comes up from time to time - which antenna is the best antenna that I can buy.
Normally I do not get into one of these peeing contests because I know better.
For a person that knows absolutely nothing about communications and wants to keep things simple and doesn't realize that the little rubber duckie antenna that came with their radio is not the only kind of antenna available and that there is better antenna's available - this is the post for you.

Radios comes in all shapes and sizes.
The purpose of having any type of radio is to get reliable information about the situation both locally and in the world.
The world is round - or so Christopher Columbus told queen Isabella.
Because of our atmosphere surrounding our planet, it acts during the daytime - kind of like a mirror, which holds down shorter wavelengths of radio near the earth, which allows us to listen to things both near and far. At night when the plasma from the ions bombarding the earth from the sun recombines this layer dissipates and we still have the option of being able to listen to things on the longer wavelengths - frequencies. Some general terms used are Skywave and Ground Wave Propagation.

In order to receive these broadcasts we first have to have some type of receiver and second we have to have some type of antenna.
The longest waves we normally use are in the AM portion of the broadcast radio bands - commercial radio. We know that since broadcasters with a license to operate a Clear Channel - can broadcast both day and night with hundreds of thousands of watts of power - from very tall broadcast antenna's.

Simple pocket AM radios with their ferrite rod antenna's will always receive something as long as there is a broadcast station still on the air.
http://www.radio-electronics.com/info/antennas/ferrite_rod_antenna/ferrite_rod_antenna.php

The Internet is full of suggestions on how to improve the performance of these types of radios.
http://www.instructables.com/id/A-Dynamite-Antenna-for-an-AM-Radio/
http://www.mtmscientific.com/loop.html

I would suggest for someone just starting out in communications that does not know a lot about communications to find a simple radio kit and put together your own small radio receiver - it will teach you a little about how to solder and a little about how radio theory is applied.
http://www.allspectrum.com/store/radio-kits-c-38_135.html

In the long run, it will be very important for you to acquire the types of skills necessary to keep some type of radio equipment on hand and to understand the theory of electronics and communications.

Once you graduate from the most simple communications - commercial radio, the next logical step would be to learn how to use wireless personal communications.
Since we do not believe that all of the cell towers will be working in a post SHTF situation and since we realize that we are in a constant dire need to keep in touch with others, our next logical step would be to acquire some type of skills that will allow us to communicate with others.

The most simple solution would be the citizens band radio.
The CB radio - would allow us to communicate both near and far.
The most important part of the CB radio is not the amount of output power, but the size and efficiency of the antenna.

Two situations -
1. - You have a bug out location - which you own, which you desire to protect from intruders, that you would like to be able to communicate to and from other members in your party.
How do you get a group of people on the air, without a license, and be able to communicate with them from a distance of up to 35 miles locally? CB radio.

2. - How do you manage to keep track of a group of people at your bug out location, with a type of radio that no one pays any attention to anymore? CB radio.

In order to use CB radio - you need two types of antenna's.

1. The first antenna you need is some type of ground plane antenna.
The manufacturers has realized that the CB radio has made a come back and has returned to the antenna industry with some old favorites that works really well..

A. Solorcon A99 Vertical with ground plane kit. Also known as Astron 99 etc...
This antenna will allow you to talk both locally - with just a couple of watts and DX - all around the country with 100 watts. It is a very good antenna for listening due to its omnidirectional pattern.
http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/hamants/1001.html

B. A horizontally polarized beam antenna with some type of gain.
Two options - a old PDL / Moonraker / MaCo type beam antenna, or a old HY Gain 11 meters antenna such as the Long John...
https://www.bellscb.com/products/antennas/Maco/Maco_antenna_index.htm
http://www.jogunn.com/
http://www.hy-gain.com/Categories.php?sec=164

Its my belief that in a congested area that the little bubble pack GMRS radios will be of little use, due to the over use by all the people that owns them - initially. And later due to the fact that once the batteries goes dead and most people will not have a place to buy more or recharge them that there will be limited use of these types of radios.

Not to mention the limited range of the bubble pack radios compared to the range of a CB radio.
Problem with trying to figure out what antenna is best is that it is subjective to some degree. While there are some companies that have less than desirable antennas, i.e., MFJ, it usually comes down to personal preference, and realizing some antennas just work better with certain radios.

For 11 Meter (CB) I have always favored the Wilson 1000 or 5000 depending on the rig I was running.
For my mobile 2m/70cm radio I use NR770HNMO by Diamond Antenna.
At the house for 2m/70cm I use either the OSJ-146/440 J-Pole by Arrow Antenna or the Diamond X-50.

I so do agree the GMRS/FRS radios are almost all but useless in an city area. Depending on the brand they tend to be useless in an open area too.
 
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Silent Bob

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Problem with trying to figure out what antenna is best is that it is subjective to some degree. While there are some companies that have less than desirable antennas, i.e., MFJ, it usually comes down to personal preference, and realizing some antennas just work better with certain radios.

For 11 Meter (CB) I have always favored the Wilson 1000 or 5000 depending on the rig I was running.
For my mobile 2m/70cm radio I use NR770HNMO by Diamond Antenna.
At the house for 2m/70cm I use either the OSJ-146/440 J-Pole by Arrow Antenna or the Diamond X-50.

I so do agree the GMRS/FRS radios are almost all but useless in an city area. Depending on the brand they tend to be useless in an open area too.
Clyde,

So I am trying to uniformly begin to focus on communications. I have an odd assortment of FRS radios that I bought back about 4 years ago, a Uniden CB, a Baufeng UV-5 handhelds (that I still have in their packing because I still don't have my radio license), a Bearcat Scanner. RDM2020 MURS radios, and 2 TA 312 Field Phone with about a 1000 feet of WD-1 wire. What advice would you have for me for further purchases of communication devices. You mentioned some brands are useless in open areas, do you know of one will operate well in mountainous conditions? Thanks for any advice you would like to offer on helping me streamline the comm kit.
 

Gazrok

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Potter/Clyde,

I'm looking to establish some HAM communications (and get my license, etc.), but I've seen a lot of conflicting info on range, etc.

For the base camp, I'd like a non-portable radio that is under $200 along with a large antenna. I'd like to be able to to at least communicate in a 100 mile radius if at all possible. What would you recommend?

For handhelds, I'd like to get about 4 handheld HAMs (that are each under $100) that could communicate with each other and the base camp in a 20 mile radius (or more) if at all possible. What would you recommend?
 

Clyde

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Potter/Clyde,

I'm looking to establish some HAM communications (and get my license, etc.), but I've seen a lot of conflicting info on range, etc.

For the base camp, I'd like a non-portable radio that is under $200 along with a large antenna. I'd like to be able to to at least communicate in a 100 mile radius if at all possible. What would you recommend?

For handhelds, I'd like to get about 4 handheld HAMs (that are each under $100) that could communicate with each other and the base camp in a 20 mile radius (or more) if at all possible. What would you recommend?
For ham hand helds under $100.00 There is the Baofeng UV-5RE opperate on 2meter and 70cm
the only base unit I know of for under $200 that is dependable is the Yaesu FT-2900R. On sale I have seen it as low as $139.00 (After discounts and rebates). The nice thing about this radio is that it is 75 watts. The draw back is that it is only 2meter.

An antenna I like is the Diamond X-50A, but I also use a J-Pole by Arrow Antenna with great success. J-pole are nice and sturdy, but they don't give you any DB gain.

Hope this helps
 

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