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Old 12-03-2013, 12:36 AM   #1
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New to HAM and need antenna advice

Hey guys. I got my HAM license (KK6CXJ) and I want a 2 meter radio in my JK. I've ordered a Kenwood TM-281A 2M radio. I have the radio mounting all figured out, but need some help with the antenna. I want to be able to pull my Jeep into the garage. My brother (a general license) said I shouldn't go shorter than a 1/2 wave antenna, but it seems they're all over 48" long (too tall). I think 36" is about as tall as I can go and fit it in the door. I could use some advice. Pictures of anyone's setup that would fit my needs would be great too.

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Old 12-03-2013, 12:45 AM   #2
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I'm looking at this mounting location.
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Old 12-03-2013, 10:19 AM   #3
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Wire antennas are flexible. My 1/2 wave hits the carport everytime.
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Old 12-03-2013, 10:40 AM   #4
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You don't need a 1/2 wave antenna, a 1/4 wave antenna will work fine. A lot of them are only 19". Take a look at Comet and Diamond brands. While I try and stay away from front mount antenna, these could go off the side of your hood or on the front fenders (TJ or YJ) and work pretty well. Mounted on your spare tire bracket is possible with some reduced performance.

Not the only place to buy, but here is a selection with dimensions listed; Amateur Mobile Antennas
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Old 12-03-2013, 10:51 AM   #5
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I have a Diamond Antenna and it folds over. Just stop before entering garage and fold it over. You will find that most will do that.
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Old 12-03-2013, 01:41 PM   #6
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The 281 is a good rig. I had one in the shack before I upgraded to a dual band.

I haved used Larsen NMO atennnas for years. They can take a beating. I run the NMO 2/70B, it's a dual band antenna for 2m/70cm. It's about 33" tall. http://www.universal-radio.com/catal...m/larsenm.html

If you run the dual band antenna now, you can upgrade your rig to a dual band in the future. A simple fender bracket would work for what you're after.
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Old 12-06-2013, 08:47 PM   #7
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What is the difference/advantage of a 1/2 wave vs a 1/4 wave
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Old 12-07-2013, 01:39 PM   #8
Knows a couple things...

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In theory 1/2 wave is very slightly better than a 1/4 wave is at communicating over long distances but at the VHF frequencies 2m is at, both are limited to line-of-sight distances anyway. And a 5/8 is better yet. But in real-world 2m use, there isn't enough difference for most 2m radio users where I'd worry about it.

But since most communications via 2m is done via repeaters where maximum range isn't usually an issue, a 1/4 wave is fine. I used a tiny mag-mount dual-band antenna for my 2m radio for years & it worked fine since 99% of my ham communications takes place over repeaters. I only went to a longer 5/8 wave Hustler SF-2 antenna for simplex use when I started volunteering for the King of the Hammers event. They had me located at remote check points where there were no repeaters and best possible simplex communications ability is required.
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Old 12-07-2013, 04:51 PM   #9
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Thanks Jerry. You're an encyclopedia of knowledge as usual.

Just to be clear, if I get a dual band 1/4 wave antenna for my 2M radio it will work just as good (or close to) as a 2M 1/2 wave antenna, and the dual band antenna will give me the ability to upgrade to a dual band radio later.
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Old 12-07-2013, 06:16 PM   #10
Knows a couple things...

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Yep, that dual band 1/4 wave should be fine, that's what I used to use and I was perfectly happy with it. It was, as said above, only because of the KOH event that I changed it out for the bigger 5/8 Hustler.

In fact, that little dual-bander I used to run was a mag-mount and I had it mounted inside the TJ on the rear fender well. Even inside it worked fine.
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Old 12-07-2013, 08:21 PM   #11
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A quarter wave will do wonders. I used a homemade one (Jerry, the famous co-tanga, haha) on the back of the house when I was "new". Believe it or not, I made a digital contact with the MIR station. Just about peed my pants! I also got them on voice while driving down I10. Only for a few seconds, but that too was a cheapo quarter wave.

Your mileage may vary, but you'll love it!
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Old 01-07-2014, 06:00 PM   #12
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I'm running a 281 with a 5/8 wave MFJ mounted on the back of my YJ.



This is the first place I mounted it but it kept getting beat up on the trails so I moved it inboard behind my spare tire.


Here's where I have my antennas mounted now.


Looks like this now...


It works great back there. I was worried about my jack and CB antenna affecting it, but I haven't noticed any problems from them.

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