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Base antenna



I live in a very hilly, very dense forested area. I’m in a position to place an antenna on my roof. I have a 50w midland I’m using as a base radio. I currently have a little midland 6db antenna on a 10ft mast. It’s all told around 25ft up. 

what antenna do y’all experts suggest to reach out and touch? Would a bigger antenna help reception? 

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I have been down your path.  I have a 50W MXT575.  I love the 6db Midland antenna for my truck.  Great set up.  Tried to use it at my house. Experimented with it on the roof on a pie plate for a ground plane.  Not great.  Not even as good as the same radio and antenna on my truck in the driveway.

Then I tried an Ed Fong.  Short mast with minimal height.  A little better.

Then moved up to the Tram 1486 and all the way up to the peak of my roof.  Another step improvement, but still not satisfied.

I am currently at a 12 element yagi (PCTEL) with a rotator.  12 db gain.   The best I can do without a tower on height.   Much better.  Stronger on receive and transmit.  The most stable so far.

I am still not clear of the trees, and have some near by elevation gains that I have to contend with.  But I do have others in my area with a very similar set up and better elevation.  This set up is the best by my judgment when they hit the local repeaters.  Full quieting, very strong signal.

Also the higher gain means you can use less output power, which is always a plus.

In any case, the comments about good quality coax are a must to pay attention to.  Messi and Paoloni makes some great coax.  But Two Way Radios has some great folks to help you with many of the items I described above.  They have been a big help for me.  You can order coax to the exact length you need, so you don't have any unnecessary loss, and no connectors.

Your mileage will vary.  Depends on your starting elevation, obstructions, repeater height, your budget, many factors.   I am sure that any of the intermediate setups for me above would have been perfect, if I lived even a half mile away from my current location - with a little extra elevation and a clear view of the horizon.  So don't take my experience to mean those options will not work for you.

How far you need to go also depends on your goals.  Do you want to hit every repeater in your state and the surrounding states???  You're going to need lots of gain and lots of height and as little loss as possible in the feedline.  Do you want to be able to hit a single well placed repeater and be able to check in on your local net.  Maybe a lower cost option will work for you.

One last thing if you happen to have the 575 version:  I used the shortest coax possible, and have a radio that allows the mic to be run on ethernet cable.  That shortens up my coax and minimizes losses that way.  I cut the coax length in half by doing that.  And it gives me two locations for my radio.  One at the radio upstairs, and another downstairs where I ran the cat5 cable to.  At some point you do get some loss on the ethernet cable, so test your lengths before running through your walls.  And I put a wifi switch on the power supply, so I can turn the radio on and off from downstairs - even remotely turn it on and off if I want to reach out to my base station while I am mobile.

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