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Looking for a new antenna for my MTX115


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#1 TonyAldo

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Posted 09 August 2019 - 12:48 PM

I've finally went out and got my self a starter radio. But looking at that tiny antenna they ship with the radio .. I feel the need to upgrade. I'm going to go with the Midland NMO mag mount. But I'm not sure what antenna to go with. Any help would be appreciated! Thank you.



#2 RickW

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Posted 09 August 2019 - 02:30 PM

Some time back I had posted my experience with four different antennas from an intentionally marginal location which was several miles from the home base and hundreds of feet lower in elevation, using Midland MXT400's at each end (running at mid power setting) and and with a GP-9 2m/440 ham antenna at 40 feet on our ridge top farm base location. The GP-9 is not optimum for GMRS due to being quite a bit off the design frequency and has nearly 2:1 SWR on the 467 channels but reasonable SWR on the 462 channels helped by the coax loss of course. Results surprised me somewhat:

 

- 2m/440 ham antenna retuned for GMRS generally showed one bar on transmit and receive

- 6" Midland stock mag mount quarter wave showed two bars and much better signal copy

- so called 3 dB Midland NMO antenna showed three bars

- so called 6 dB Midland NMO antenna showed four bars

 

I read that at least one person had problems with the 6 dB antenna melting the center coil, but so far we have not had that happen with only limited transmission time when mobile.

 

We use Midland magnetic NMO mounts on our vehicles. My wife has the MXT115 with the 3 dB antenna on top of her Equinox SUV and I have the MXT400 with the 6 dB antenna on my Malibu rear trunk lid so that we can clear the garage door. Range between vehicles is several miles and not that much different than when we used simplex on 2 meters when we use ham equipment. 


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#3 quarterwave

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Posted 09 August 2019 - 04:06 PM

Best antenna we ever used in commercial application (I worked for Motorola years ago) was a quarterwave. I have one on my Blazer roof connected to a 40w M1225 and it works great. Although, I do recommend hole mounting versus mag. 

 

I have Motorola Spectrum 5dB, ASP 5 and 3dB sticks too....never got any more out of them on a NMO hole mount. Quarterwave always matches better too. 



#4 TonyAldo

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Posted 10 August 2019 - 09:29 AM

Some time back I had posted my experience with four different antennas from an intentionally marginal location which was several miles from the home base and hundreds of feet lower in elevation, using Midland MXT400's at each end (running at mid power setting) and and with a GP-9 2m/440 ham antenna at 40 feet on our ridge top farm base location. The GP-9 is not optimum for GMRS due to being quite a bit off the design frequency and has nearly 2:1 SWR on the 467 channels but reasonable SWR on the 462 channels helped by the coax loss of course. Results surprised me somewhat:

 

- 2m/440 ham antenna retuned for GMRS generally showed one bar on transmit and receive

- 6" Midland stock mag mount quarter wave showed two bars and much better signal copy

- so called 3 dB Midland NMO antenna showed three bars

- so called 6 dB Midland NMO antenna showed four bars

 

I read that at least one person had problems with the 6 dB antenna melting the center coil, but so far we have not had that happen with only limited transmission time when mobile.

 

We use Midland magnetic NMO mounts on our vehicles. My wife has the MXT115 with the 3 dB antenna on top of her Equinox SUV and I have the MXT400 with the 6 dB antenna on my Malibu rear trunk lid so that we can clear the garage door. Range between vehicles is several miles and not that much different than when we used simplex on 2 meters when we use ham equipment. 

 

The 6dB antenna it is then. Thank you.



#5 marcspaz

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Posted 10 August 2019 - 11:33 PM

I read that at least one person had problems with the 6 dB antenna melting the center coil, but so far we have not had that happen with only limited transmission time when mobile.

 

The 6dB antenna it is then. Thank you.

 

I have 3 of the Motorola 6DB gain antenna's on 3 MXT400's in 3 different trucks... all the best performers of all the antenna's I have tried.  I have been through 4 different ones as well. The 1/4 wave is also a great choice, but the Motorola 6DB just works better for me.



#6 Downs

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Posted 11 August 2019 - 03:43 PM

Those motorola antennas look lot like Browning antennas.

Sent from my SM-G892A using Tapatalk

A pile of "cheap Chinese radios", BF888s, UV5Rs, UV82s, KGUV8Ds, BFF8HP, UV50X2, and a few "good" radios, Yeasu FT310 (airband/nav), Yeasu FT90R (no longer in mobile service used as a base radio)


#7 taco6513

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Posted 15 August 2019 - 06:52 AM

I have had 3 of the 6bd gain Midland antenna's melt the load coil. I am not buying any more of these.

MARCSPAZ please send me information on buying the Motorola 6db antenna's.

Thanks

WRCW870


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#8 marcspaz

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Posted 15 August 2019 - 11:48 AM

I have had 3 of the 6bd gain Midland antenna's melt the load coil. I am not buying any more of these.

MARCSPAZ please send me information on buying the Motorola 6db antenna's.

Thanks

WRCW870

 

 

I bought all of my working gear from Motorola.  The first round of hardware came from Amazon, and I think they were counterfeit. 

 

https://midlandusa.c...b-gain-antenna/



#9 rickdel

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Posted 19 November 2019 - 11:50 AM

Hello All, I wish I had found this site BEFORE I just bought and installed the Midland products. I have the MXTA 11 6db antenna and the mag mount along with the MXT 400 radio.

I mounted on my Ram crew cab, so far everything seems fine...? Has anyone checked SWR on this combination? The antenna says it's pre-tuned for the GMRS band? 

I don't have an SWR meter for this band, so I'm kinds flying blind if it really is matched so I don't burn something up? Thanks in advance, Rick



#10 Jones

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Posted 19 November 2019 - 11:54 PM

Midland GMRS antennas are pre-tuned for the GMRS band, so don't worry about SWR. ...just know that there are better alternatives out there.

 

Read on, and enjoy....


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#11 Downs

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Posted 23 November 2019 - 12:22 PM

Yeah they got this stuff down prettt good. Ive yet to run across a dual band antenna for my ham setups that needed to be adjusted.

Sent from my SM-G892A using Tapatalk

A pile of "cheap Chinese radios", BF888s, UV5Rs, UV82s, KGUV8Ds, BFF8HP, UV50X2, and a few "good" radios, Yeasu FT310 (airband/nav), Yeasu FT90R (no longer in mobile service used as a base radio)


#12 gman1971

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Posted 25 November 2019 - 03:23 AM

Counterfeit stuff is on the rise, and harder to spot these days; and the performance is usually much lower too, as recorded by my own measurements. Most of the knockoff antennae are made with inferior materials too, and after some time they will develop high SWR, and be useless. So, my recommendation is to buy a brand antenna, I have nothing but Diamond antennas installed, and I really like them. I've tried TRAM/Browning, etc, all these went into the recycle bin after 1 or 2 years as they developed super high SWR... so, unless you like replacing the antenna every year or so, stick with brands like Diamond, Comet, Laird... and try to get it from an authorized dealer if possible, otherwise chances are you'll get a counterfeit that won't stand the test of time, more so in bad weather conditions.
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#13 RCM

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Posted 25 November 2019 - 09:48 PM

Larsen guys say the same things about Diamond, Comet etc. antennas.


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#14 gman1971

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Posted 25 November 2019 - 11:03 PM

 

Larsen guys say the same things about Diamond, Comet etc. antennas.

 

I am sorry, I don't understand what you mean.

G.

#15 marcspaz

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Posted 25 November 2019 - 11:29 PM

Larsen guys say the same things about Diamond, Comet etc. antennas.

 

   

I am sorry, I don't understand what you mean.

G.

 

 

If I may be so bold, I believe he is making a comment about 'brand loyalists'. 

 

Not saying this is you... you and I have chatted off line and you seem like a smart, well-versed individual... but in my experience, many recommendations are because of limited exposure. Not that they have had a wide exposure or performed any significant testing. So they talk up their favorite product or the only product they have used.

 

Honestly, everything that I have that has weather exposure gets replaced every 12-18 months.  Especially cables with ends that are not water tight and mount terminals that are not water sealed.  Everything starts to oxidize and/or corrode with time.

 

The only exception to that rule is 3/8-24 heavy-duty studs and stainless steel whips.  That is only because they can very easily and reliably be disassembled and cleaned.

 

An example of why... I tried using a K400 mount for more than 2 years.  The base corroded enough that the electrical ground was not perfect and it led to the receiver in my Yaesu 6m radio going bad.  I am still waiting for it to come back from repair.  Needless to say, that mount is now gone and I switched to a 3/8-24 stud.



#16 gman1971

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Posted 26 November 2019 - 12:28 AM

Ah, I see. Well, I have found that I like their antennae but I am not opposed to trying other quality brand gear. For sure.

 

So far these Diamond haven't let me down yet, the X50C2 and the F23H I have are holding rather well in Wisconsin weather conditions. Since Diamond offerings for vehicle mounted applications aren't that great for what I want I'll probably end up getting a Larsen or a Motorola mobile antenna for a van mounted NMO antenna solution.

 

The point is that most of the cheapie stuff always gets you in the end; and yes, I was on that boat, I was the guy who read the comments like the one I made and said "nah, it can't possibly be that bad, he is just an overreacting fool!" Until I had to throw away multiple antennae b/c they developed 8.0:1 SWR... rusted, solder joints were cold and cracked with the extreme weather... etc. Oh, and once you learn about nickel/chrome plating, intermod and poor RF performance there is no going back to the cheapie stuff, ever. Heck, even the US Navy wrote a paper recommending that all nickel plated connectors had to go... and guess what most of those cheapie antennae are made out of... nickel plated/chrome plated steel surfaces.... which might be fine for the first two weeks, but then, when you look at that "return loss" dB curve on the antenna analyzer rather than looking like a nice deep valley it looks more like Ruffles potato chip....  a wavy mess.

 

Again, its Other People's Money, so I won't lose any sleep if you decide to go TRAM, Browning, or Ganzou CrapMaster... just be aware that materials matter a LOT, and a lot more than you'd think.

 

As for corrosion and weatherproofing connectors I've found that STUF dielectric grease works wonders for those non-sealed UHF connectors. Next antennae I get when these Diamond bite the dust will have N connectors, but again you live and learn. 

 

Thanks for the clarification Marc.

 

G.

 

If I may be so bold, I believe he is making a comment about 'brand loyalists'. 

 

Not saying this is you... you and I have chatted off line and you seem like a smart, well-versed individual... but in my experience, many recommendations are because of limited exposure. Not that they have had a wide exposure or performed any significant testing. So they talk up their favorite product or the only product they have used.

 

Honestly, everything that I have that has weather exposure gets replaced every 12-18 months.  Especially cables with ends that are not water tight and mount terminals that are not water sealed.  Everything starts to oxidize and/or corrode with time.

 

The only exception to that rule is 3/8-24 heavy-duty studs and stainless steel whips.  That is only because they can very easily and reliably be disassembled and cleaned.

 

An example of why... I tried using a K400 mount for more than 2 years.  The base corroded enough that the electrical ground was not perfect and it led to the receiver in my Yaesu 6m radio going bad.  I am still waiting for it to come back from repair.  Needless to say, that mount is now gone and I switched to a 3/8-24 stud.


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#17 marcspaz

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Posted 26 November 2019 - 12:46 AM

NP... I'm a fan of Diamond antennas myself. Them and MFJ... I have had good luck. I seem to have the best luck with stainless steel, though.

#18 gman1971

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Posted 26 November 2019 - 12:59 AM

NP... I'm a fan of Diamond antennas myself. Them and MFJ... I have had good luck. I seem to have the best luck with stainless steel, though.

 

Yes sir, stainless won't easily corrode which seems to be the enemy, and like you said, it usually cleans up easily. All stainless radials are mounted using STUF dielectric grease, after several months I took them out for inspection and they looked 100% pristine. So, worth mentioning as well.

 

G.



#19 RCM

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Posted 26 November 2019 - 09:51 AM

A lot of problems are probably exacerbated by the presence of salt, whether it be on or near the ocean or in an area where salt is used on the roads. You wouldn't believe the amount of rain we get here, but not much salt.

Btw, the wideband uhf antenna I linked does have an N connector. That's one of the reasons I chose it.


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#20 marcspaz

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Posted 26 November 2019 - 11:08 AM

Having lived in New England for many years, I have seen what ocean and road salt does to everything. What a mess.


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