Best performing dual band mobile antenna

Discussion in 'Mobile Radio Systems' started by KC2CMU, Apr 11, 2012.

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  1. KC2CMU

    KC2CMU Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm looking for a good performer on 2 and 70, to use with an HT and 50 watt amplifier. There are several mounting options, but I'd prefer magnet so that I can move from vehicle to vehicle. Are the high priced antennas really worth the added expense?

    Thanks for taking time ...:)
  2. W9GB

    W9GB Ham Member QRZ Page


    I have used (or my father did with his LMR system) virtually every type of mobile mount for VHF/UHF antennas, such as: Old 1970's Antenna Specialists mount, Motorola ball mount, NMO, 3/8-24, SO-239/Comet, bumper/direct wire, etc.

    I would suggest NMO with the specific mounting that fits your vehicle:
    Direct hole, Trunk Lip, Magnetic, Mirror/Gutter. I use Trunk Lip.

    Manufacturer? Larsen/Pulse and Maxrad/AntenneX/AntennaSpecialists/PCTel
    are 2 popular USA mfg./companies with a wide selection to choose from.

    You have a number of amateur radio (or LMR) dealers to order from, some advertise here on QRZ. Reviews

    The biggest problem with many mobile installations -- BAD DIY installs.
    Watch the pro installers who install for law enforcement, fire, and ambulance -- most get it right first time!

    Last edited: Apr 12, 2012
    PD0NYL likes this.
  3. KC2CMU

    KC2CMU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Good advise, thank you!
  4. KC7YRA

    KC7YRA Ham Member Volunteer Moderator QRZ Page

    GB hit the most improtant point IMO. Look at what the pros are using. Fire/EMS/Law Enforcement/ETC know what works and they are very demanding in their performance.

    I have served in those fields as well as installed many MANY of their radios. You will not see Diamond, Cushcraft, Hygain or other ham antennas on any professional vehicles. Why? Because they generally dont hold up well over time and rough conditions.

    What you will see are antennas like Larsen and Maxrad on vehicles. Now, I personally do not like Maxrad (Antennex) products as every one I have used has failed. I have a thread lurking around here about how my last few were destroyed over the winter.

    Bar NONE, the best mobile antennas IMO are Larsen made. The larsen NMO2/70 is their dual band antenna made specifically for hams. I have several that have been on multiple vehicles for hundreds of thousands of miles. You will hear stories about 25 year old Larsens that have over a million miles on them and they still work fine. I have yet to have a Larsen fail me. They hold up great and perform as any professional would expect.

    Couple a nice antenna on a real NMO mount (again, not Diamond or Hustler or whatever) and you will be very pleased.

    Read up on Alan's website at and see what he has to say. While Alan's opinions are exactly that, I think he hit the nail on the head when it comes to VHF/UHF mobile antennas. His advice mirrors my experience exactly.

    As for magnet mounts, ehhhh. They work. They get you on the air. Other than that, I'm not a huge fan. I use them from time to time but I find them more bothersome than just drilling the hole in the roof. Magnets falling off, roof getting scratched, coax pinched in doors making them leak or cause wind noise, coax in the way getting stepped on. You get the point.

    Take a magnet mount VHF antenna and use it for a few weeks, right in the center of the roof. Get used to listening to area repeaters and simplex frequencies. Then, drill a hole exactly where the magnet was and put the exact same antenna on the mount. You will notice a difference. I always have.

    W8THAIR likes this.
  5. KC2CMU

    KC2CMU Ham Member QRZ Page

    More good advise and I think you may be correct about the magnet mount vs. NMO drilled into the metal. Magnetic coupled ground vs. direct connected ground? I could see that being lossier and noisier.

    Thank you!
  6. N7WR

    N7WR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    The Larson 2/440 for sure
  7. K7KWN

    K7KWN Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've got a Larsen NMO on work vehicle, and an MFJ mag mount on my personal pickup. Same dual band radio I switch between vehicles. Mag mount works OK, but Larson works great. I will eventually buy a Larsen 2/440 for my pickup.
  8. M0GVZ

    M0GVZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Is it possible to buy them from HRO? Being in the UK its not an antenna you can get here. I've bought from HRO and had stuff shipped to the UK from them and other suppliers so just need to find one willing to send to UK.
  9. N7WR

    N7WR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Yes--HRO sells the Larson 2/440 and the NMO wiring kit you'll need if you want to roof mount it. My dual band Larson is in service on my truck after a dozen years of service on other vehicles.
  10. K7KWN

    K7KWN Ham Member QRZ Page

    I bought my dual band antenna setup at HRO. Mine is a shorty because of the brushy roads I have to travel. The HRO model # is NMO-2/70 SH and requires a cable/mount, model #NMO-K which has a PL-259 connector. HRO sells taller antennas as well.
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