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Top Performers In Repeater Antennas


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Ok, I would like to cover all the current antennas on the market today below 400 dollars for a repeater. I would like to know from experience from the repeater owners. I realize that antenna height, location and coax play an important factor. The current antennas that are below the $400 mark are Comet, Tram, Diamond ect. I currently use a tram 1486, and works ok, but I believe it lacks the gain the manufacture claims. The Station master is a good antenna too, but it is near 900 to 1000.00 dollars and out of budget for some users.

Any feedback would be appreciated.

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Big fan of the Andrew DB line of folded dipoles, I own and operate DB-404, DB-408, DB-420 and DB-411 all are excelent options and will out preform and out last any fiberglass stick on the market today. Just my opinion but one based on experience.

 

The under $400 ones Include the DB-404, and DB-411, you can find DB-408 and DB-420 for under 400 used if you hunt hard enough.

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DB404 is my go to antenna for repeaters in the UHF band. If I can squeeze out a few more dollars its the DB408. I have some that are over 25 years old and still going strong. They seem to hold up well with snow, ice and rain of CNY.  I plan to order 2 DB408 for my new tower in VA as soon as i get the base set.

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Info for those not familiar...

The popular "DB" line of antennas is/was made by Decibel Products, but due to various corporate buyouts and mergers became Andrew, and now CommScope.

 

Decibel Products DB-420

Andrew DB-420

CommScope DB-420

 

They are all one and the same.

 

...and they are my first choice.  The whole DB series, not just the 420.

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Agree with the previous posters - CommScope DB404, DB408.    Normally you can only find the B version, which are rated for 450-470 MHz, but they play just fine down to 438 MHz for amateur service.  Sinclair and Telewave (ANT450D) make similar models, with even greater bandwidth and quality. 

 

The common feature among these antennas are that they are corporate-fed types, with large diameter elements.   Try and stay with this type of antenna if possible (just from experience).  The other benefit of these is that they are wideband (2:1 bandwidths of 20 to 100 MHz) and DC grounded; direct DC grounding helps reduce noise, and also better protects against lightning induced voltages. 

 

I have not had the same performance experience with the series fed fiberglass antennas.  Also, these fiberglass covered antennas do not have direct DC grounding, have more limited bandwidth, and are prone to noise problems as they age when wind blown.  While the DB4XX and other dipole antennas look like they would have more mechanical and electrical issues due to exposed cabling, I have seen many last 20-30 years, even at coastal sites.   

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