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bd348's Achievements

  1. Use a handheld connected to a base antenna in the 2nd story window. 5W gets to the 20 mile repeater just fine. Once I tried the low power setting, which is 1/2W. It still got through but they said it was a bit scratchy.
  2. This may work to mount a non-ground plane antenna onto the root with a mag mount, assuming you can find a flat spot 4" across. Remove for travel. TAF DISC3.5 They have other sizes for mag mount and also through mount. You could use one of the larger ones for a ground plane if you are willing to drill a hole.
  3. Well mine doesn't look so impressive from a distance. It's only when you get close and look underneath that you see the armor bits and sway bar disconnects and LT-E tires, etc. My kid thinks I should get a decal for the hood: "Curbicon". So you can go to the mall with CONfidence! (Que up the "Honest Jeep Commercial". Look it up.)
  4. Try a base antenna near a window, with a short coax to the radio. Use a setup where you can shift the base antenna's position a few inches this way or that, because in an urban environment with multi-path bouncing signals a few inches left or right can make a huge difference. Mine is mounted to a microphone stand. Once you find a good spot, keep it there. If using a hand held radio, you can run an 18 inch piece of thin coax from the radio to the thick stuff. This provides strain relief for the radio's antenna port, and lets you move it around a little. You can order some with the correct connectors on each end. Add a speaker microphone and you don't have to touch the radio.
  5. Jeep JT pickup, Sport model, stock height, 32" LT-E all-terrain tires, various control arm and shock skids, aluminum engine and transfer case skids, hitch skid, bed skids, the wider Mopar HD rock rails with step assist, Apex Autolynx sway bar disconnects, Bilstein 5100 shocks, Timbren SES rear bump stops due to bed cap and towing hitch weight, Timbren offroad front bump stops (not yet installed), bed cap, Midland 275 GMRS behind the dash under the steering wheel, 1/4 wave mag mount on the hood on a sticky plate, upgraded coax, Garmin Inreach Mini 2. We tow a hard-sided popup and get decent fuel mileage as we cross the country from the midwest to get anywhere interesting. Did some Ouray and Moab, plus a bit of VA out east. With the engine/transfer case skids sticking down a bit, and no lift, it can scrape a little on two track. On the other hand, it's awesome for carving up twisty mountain roads. Like many others here, I have to get my family to and from some pretty distant places, so I can't take "might break something" risks. But a single trip blew the stock front shocks, and the skids got some scrapes, so I'm not totally babying it either. I used the InReach a few times just to update the family while they're back home or in camp. I used GMRS once while they were in the trailer a few miles away with a mountain ridge between us. Made a thread here about how the signal was probably going along the valley, bouncing off the mountain at the end, then up the next valley to the trailer. I had the 1/4 wave on the Jeep, the family had a half wave on the handheld in the trailer. Heard some groups on GMRS while on the trails out west. Heard some locals in various areas during cross-country travel. GMRS is out there in rural America, usually being used w/o call signs.
  6. I get clear reports into a repeater 30 miles away with a 5W handheld and a base antenna near the second story window. In fact it still gets in, with static, with one half of a single Watt, as well. You may not have to bother with the attic. You can run serious coax to the base antenna, then a little thin stub the last 18 inches or so, to make it much easier to keep the handheld upright. And consider a plug-in speaker microphone.
  7. Bonus points if you ID afterwards. "This accident brought to you by WABC123."
  8. I blame surface mount electronics and cheap products from over seas. (Halfway joking, here.) Used to be that electronics were these neat parts with through-hole leads which you would wire up with solder or wire wrap and you got a cool product as a result. Like a crystal diode radio or a light sensor. Starting around age 8-10 with the old Radio Shack electronics kits with spring connectors. Now it's tiny black specks of plastic melted onto a PC board, and there is probably a better $20 product already available on the shelf. Now days, fortunately, there are Arduino or R-Pi with soldered or wire wrap I/O, so there is still some hope. And it gets programming into the mix too. (I also find it hard to interest people in learning manual transmission these days. Sigh.)
  9. Once you get to Chicago-land there will be plenty to listen to. Check the repeater map.
  10. You could also get an adhesive metal disc and put a small mag mount further onto the hood. Looking at the above photo with the high-lift on the hood, mine is mounted approximately half way between the antenna in the photo and the end of the high lift jack. I.e. about an inch or two forward of the back edge of the hood, and in line with the edge of the plastic cowl piece. This gives several inches of metal forward, left, and right, and I ran a grounded wire towards the wind shield for the backward direction, similar to a radial. That wire may or may not make much of a difference. Anyhow, a quarter wave mag mount on the adhesive disc works pretty well there, and it doesn't stick up too much to be annoying in the field of vision, it doesn't get knocked off by trees, and a quarter wave works pretty well in mountains with varying elevations. To reach your distant repeater you probably want something with more gain. Adhesive mag mount disc: TAF DISC3.5 Larger size also available, but you need a flat surface for this, which turns out to be not so easy to find on a modern hood.
  11. We were at Okefenokee Swamp, GA. The state park there has camping sites out in the swamp on platforms, and a big campground on land. There is a big tower at the headquarters. I don't know if they give campers radios, but the boat guides had some. It'd be nice if the folks on the platforms could talk to the headquarters and campers on land. Years ago in the boundary waters in Minn they gave canoe campers these walkie talkies with big antennas, not to be used unless an emergency. These days they are probably given Garmin Inreach or similar.
  12. I wish that parks and such without cell service but which already have a tower would put up a GMRS repeater for the masses. Or at least a simplex radio always on at the park headquarters.
  13. I am using a base antenna indoors next to the window of a second story house and it reaches the local repeaters just fine. Try the stock antenna, stuck in the middle of a metal baking sheet, placed up high somewhere close to the window inside. Doesn't even have to be outdoors. It may work fine just like that. You may have to move it a few inches this way or that depending on the repeater and any multipath propagation in the area.
  14. That thin cable is just so they can fit it into a smaller box for the retail shelf. It isn't doing Midland any favors otherwise, as it does cut the transmit and receive quite a bit through cable losses. The antenna is fine, it's the cable which is the problem. You could shorten the cable to the required length and add a connector, but the thin cable is hard to work with. By the time you get the stripping and crimping tools, you may as well have just gotten a different antenna with a better cable. I do use that antenna, but I cut the cable to one foot in length, enough to reach under the hood, and connected it to a better cable cut to about a 6 foot length to go the rest of the way into the cab to the radio. It works great. I did this because the little antenna has that little metal disc which sticks to the aluminum hood, and if not using it I can open the hood and tuck the antenna underneath the cowl. Meanwhile, the little quarter wave antenna is in theory better off road on slopes or where the other party is at a different altitude. And any antenna with a larger base would require a larger metal disc for the aluminum hood, and there isn't much straight and level metal near the edge of this hood. So the antenna is actually in the field of view about six inches from the edge of the hood, but it doesn't stick up very high, so it isn't too obnoxious. Midland might be able to sell these with eight feet of better cable, as a solution to get an antenna into a tight space. But I bet the base isn't designed for thicker cable.
  15. My mobile is 15W and it does fine. For comparison, using a handheld with a base antenna in a second story window, I can get 30 miles to the repeater and back with a half watt, which is the low power setting on the otherwise 5W handheld. In most cases, it really is more about the antenna.
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