newbie here, so i wanted to introduce myself along with asking a question about antenna placement. i few weeks ago i purchased / installed a midland mxt275 (15w) in my jeep. i also installed midland's -6db gain antenna. i also have a midland handheld.
in the past few weeks i've been reading many of the forum posts and doing as much research online as i could find. i've also done some local testing to compare this radio to my old cobra cb. my initial thoughts are that i've very impressed! i love the feel of this mic and the quality is awesome.
the one mistake i made was looking at the coverage circles of the repeaters thinking "oh wow, that's great" - not realizing at first that circle is the estimated range of the repeater's transmit... and my being able to reach that repeater is a whole different story! in my testing to the handheld, i got about 2, maybe 2.5 miles, through a suburban type area, with some trees and plenty of houses and buildings along the way. plus, the handheld was in the house, my daughter using it to test with me.
in another test from my jeep to a buddy with a midland mxt400 (40w), we got about 3 miles, hearing each other clear as sitting right next to each other. so i'm pretty happy with this - compared to the cb - but i want to make sure i'm getting as good range as a should be (with 15w).
here's the shameful part. i mounted my antenna on my jeep's tire carrier, between the tailgate and spare tire. i say "shameful" because i know it's not the best place, but i think (or thought at the time) that it was my best choice. i don't see many posts with pics here, but if anyone wants to see i do have two i can share. i knew mounting the antenna there would be shielded, which is why i went with the -6db loss antenna. it's 27.5" long and reaches up about 2-3" above the top of the jeep. recently i've been reading so many posts from people saying not to do this. my second choice for mounting it was at the base of the windshield, in front of the driver side mirror. i didn't choose that because i take my jeep off-road a lot, and it's going to constantly get whacked by tree branches.
i think 2.5 - 3 miles under these conditions is probably what i can expect, but that's just a guess and wanted to ask your opinions. if it's normal, that's ok. but if you think i should easily get 10+ miles then i have a problem. i ordered a uhf swr meter that should be here tomorrow. i'm assuming my ground is good - which is somewhat questionable, since it's mounted to a metal swing-out tire carrier. will test that with a multimeter tomorrow as well. the other problem - i've read recently to not mount an antenna near many vertical surfaces.... my nmo mount is on an L-bracket, screwed into what is basically a 2-3" wide vertical beam.
so my questions are: do you think my range is about what i should expect? and more importantly, if i am getting feedback from the antenna back towards the radio because of the lack of ground plane or all the metal surrounding the base of the antenna, would i see the result of that as a high swr reading? i wanted to ask in case the swr is actually good, i didn't want to assume the mounting location isn't causing a huge performance problem. i've read about non-ground plane antennas and am thinking to try one of those, based on the readings tomorrow and any suggestions you may have.
thanks in advance for any advice or comments you may have!