Still very preliminary to draw my final conclusions, but I received my Ed Fong DBJ-1C antenna kit and an antenna analyzer this weekend (on the same day I passed my ham tech exam, so that was fun).
I ran a couple of antenna placement tests quickly. My aim was to communicate with my wife in her office, first via the local Alexandria GMRS repeater and then see if I can achieve simplex to her (2.1 miles).
- Deployed at attic height, my wife reports my voice is the clearest she has heard it over GMRS. All good.
- Still no simplex comms. Not even breaking squelch. I'll keep trying, and will work on a mobile at home as well. I can still go higher on the antenna and mount it roof top, but that requires HOA permission and a whole lot of hassle. Still, I may well do that soon.
- Antenna analyzer (SureCom SW-33) in hand, I measured everything. I have the ducky that came with my handheld as well as a Nagoya NA-771 and a Nagoya NA-701C. I also have a Nagoya UT-72 mobile mag mount, but have not measured that one yet. All the duckies suck, at least in terms of SWR on the GMRS freqs I use the most. Lowest SWR I measured was 2.0; highest was 4.5.
- The Ed Fong DBJ-1C, on the other hand, measured in 3 separate measurements, a paltry 1.02. That seems nigh on perfect, and may well explain the clear and strong signal my wife received from me.
I've heard some good and bad things about the Fong kits. (Calling them kits is even a stretch. All you do is insert it in a 5 foot PVC 200 PSI pipe and you're done. Toughest part is finding 200 PSI and not the ubiquitous "Schedule 40" (480 PSI) piping.)
My initial impressions are that the nay sayers are largely wrong, at least compared to my needs and deployment. Oh, I should add that I used a high quality LMR-400 feed line with PL-259 connectors.
(Aside: As I operate mostly in UHF, is it worth changing from PL-259 to BNC, N, or some other connector better suited for these freqs?)
(ham sign pending FCC)