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Midland 3db Ghost vs 6db SWR tests


Hunter399
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Hey guys,

I just received my SWR meter and ran some tests to check my antennas and triple check a good mounting location etc. 

My 6db antenna and the little 2.4db antenna included in the MXT500 box are both good at 1.00 to 1.01 across all frequencies.

Now my midland ghost antenna, which I planned on being my primary antenna is showing 1.67 to sometimes 2.00 on some frequencies which is bad. Also noted the watts being higher. 
 

Is this a bad ghost antenna?

pics included for reference.

Thanks in advance.

C9068F4A-2839-4020-8079-CA8283C255D8.jpeg

E35BA4D9-5FCE-41FB-9A49-0B8205502364.jpeg

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Not sure what's up with the ghost; I havent seen a lot of good reports, and it's always seemed like a step down from their previous 3db option, the 5/8wave whip.

That one (mxta10) is a little taller but still reasonable at around 12", and I've managed 60+ mile reaches to a repeater with it mag mounted indoors on some sheet metal.

Sportsmen's appears to still have some in stock, too: https://www.sportsmans.com/hunting-gear-supplies/radios-and-weather-stations/handheld-2-way-radios/midland-micromobile-mxta10-3db-gain-antenna/p/1476042

 

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1 minute ago, Hunter399 said:

I assume if my swr is good on the other two antennas then my wire routing and location are good?

Also, with the power reading at 40 or so watts on the other two antennas is normal? Off a 50 watt radio is that normal loss?

The other tell will be if you're picking up interference. I haven't found gmrs to be super prone to interference in my truck (older ranger clone), though I've heard more issues in jeeps.

Power wise, that sounds about par with other reports on the mxt500's. @marcspazhas some direct experience in this thread:

 

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7 hours ago, Hunter399 said:

I assume if my swr is good on the other two antennas then my wire routing and location are good?

Also, with the power reading at 40 or so watts on the other two antennas is normal? Off a 50 watt radio is that normal loss?

 

7 hours ago, wayoverthere said:

The other tell will be if you're picking up interference. I haven't found gmrs to be super prone to interference in my truck (older ranger clone), though I've heard more issues in jeeps.

Power wise, that sounds about par with other reports on the mxt500's. @marcspazhas some direct experience in this thread:

 

 

 

Two things.  One is that Midland has confirmed that some early release radio's have less than the advertised wattage.  I measured as little as 32 watts on some frequencies, with a max of 38 watts on a 50 ohm load.  My assumption is, accept the power level its at or ask Midland if you can send it back to get an alignment and tune-up done.

 

I had to provide a significant amount of proof to Midland before they agreed.  They may expect the same from others.

 

The other is, it sounds like the the Ghost antenna isn't very good quality.  I would ditch it for a better antenna. 

 

If the SWR is increasing because the load is going down (i.e. 25 ohms instead of 50), the RF voltage stays the same, but the current increases.  The formula for calculating wattage is Voltage x Current = Watts.  The problem is, you are not radiating more power in the form of RF signal into the atmosphere, you are just creating more heat and risking the radio being damaged.

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I did reach out today and they are sending a new antenna. So I will test that new one when it arrives, for now just running around with the 6db on. If this new one doesn’t work I’ll try a laird one.

I forgot to ask them regarding my 40 watt output. Are they sending you a new one? I don’t have a dummy load for testing, isn’t that the only accurate way to measure power or is through the antenna and wire ok? 

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30 minutes ago, Hunter399 said:

 

I forgot to ask them regarding my 40 watt output. Are they sending you a new one? I don’t have a dummy load for testing, isn’t that the only accurate way to measure power or is through the antenna and wire ok? 

Into the antenna will be in the ballpark, but you need the dummy load to be as accurate as possible. Mine is due any day now, so I'll try to get some back to back numbers between antenna and dummy load and see how much it changes. (On mid power...radio issues)

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Agreed that the best way (only true accurate way) is on a resistive dummy load.  I shot the video on my antenna out of laziness and not wanting to go back upstairs.  I had a maximum of 2 watts discrepancy between the dummy load and the antenna.  That is fine at these very low power levels and for the sake of displaying the point I was making.

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The ghost antenna is nothing more than a rubber duck in a little plastic case. they are very specific in frequency range. They are used in LMR world for TLMR systems normally. They are not that good for GMRS unless your talking to folks nearby. Is that the antenna you specified as 2.4 db ? I thought the MTX500 shipped with the 1/4 wave which is not a gain antenna. 

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On 1/18/2022 at 7:05 PM, wayoverthere said:

Into the antenna will be in the ballpark, but you need the dummy load to be as accurate as possible. Mine is due any day now, so I'll try to get some back to back numbers between antenna and dummy load and see how much it changes. (On mid power...radio issues)

So..mid power showed 18.7 watts into the antenna, and 23.5 into the dummy load. Interestingly, the power drop on high is a bit slower into the dummy load compared to the antenna 🤔

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26 minutes ago, fremont said:

Laird claims here that my Phantom (ghost) GMRS antenna (4503) has an expected < 2:1 on a 2'x2' (!!) ground plane.  Mine gets 1.94:1 on a fender mount with my 25w TK-8180 (at high power; close to 1:1 at "Low" 4.2w).

 

< 2:1 just means that if you have a 2:1 or better SWR, don't bother them. LoL 

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On 1/24/2022 at 12:01 PM, marcspaz said:

 

< 2:1 just means that if you have a 2:1 or better SWR, don't bother them. LoL 

Yeah, anything below 2:1 is fine in my book. In my book, I have to emphasize. Others might have different tolerances for the imperfections of the real world around. Another thought is that SWR is only one metric of the antenna, and does not really address efficiency. Quality dummy load on fender mount will have perfect 1:1 SWR, but will not be an efficient antenna.

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@axorlov I fully agree.  My 40m mobile antenna is dead smack 1:1 in the center of my privileges, but its a giant coil system with an 86" whip.  There is zero chance of the antenna being efficient even at 1:1.  Given that it slides to 2:1 on the top and bottom of the spectrum doesn't bug me at all.  Honestly, while not ideal, even under 3:1 is still workable.

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