Best radio for spectator

OldStroppeTeam

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Antenna question...On a chase truck (crew cab) a permanently mounted roof antenna in the center of the roof is ideal correct? I am wondering what the difficulties would be with the addition of a bed rack?

If there is a bed rack that extends over the cab with stretch metal across it what would be the best mounting situation?

What would be the case with a bedrack that only extends over the back half the cab roof ?[/QUOTE


Half rack, your most effective (probably only) transmission would be to the front of the vehicle.
The key to effective antenna is ground plane. It needs at least 9" around the antenna base to operate "as advertised".
I you put ANYTHING in the path of the radio waves, it will block transmissions in that direction. That includes tire and what have you above the level of the cab on a rack in the bed. You can build an antenna mount on your chase rack, just dont forget to allow for ground plane.
 

dan200

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Antenna question...On a chase truck (crew cab) a permanently mounted roof antenna in the center of the roof is ideal correct? I am wondering what the difficulties would be with the addition of a bed rack?

If there is a bed rack that extends over the cab with stretch metal across it what would be the best mounting situation?

What would be the case with a bedrack that only extends over the back half the cab roof ?[/QUOTE


Half rack, your most effective (probably only) transmission would be to the front of the vehicle.
The key to effective antenna is ground plane. It needs at least 9" around the antenna base to operate "as advertised".
I you put ANYTHING in the path of the radio waves, it will block transmissions in that direction. That includes tire and what have you above the level of the cab on a rack in the bed. You can build an antenna mount on your chase rack, just dont forget to allow for ground plane.
When u make the rack your mounting surface, does the stretch metal act as the ground plane or would a solid metal plane be better? Is bigger better when it comes to ground plane or is their an overkill point? Not having 360 degree radio waves and limiting my ability to transmit and receive would not be something I wanna have happen.

Maybe I should go without out building the over cab rack at all and do better maximizing my bed space for storage. Does a visor mounted light bar where the lights extend a bit above the roof plane cause problems as well. There just never seems to be enough room in the bed and since crew cabs generally have shorter beds this is an issue for me...
 

dan200

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When u make the rack your mounting surface, does the stretch metal act as the ground plane or would a solid metal plane be better? Is bigger better when it comes to ground plane or is their an overkill point? Not having 360 degree radio waves and limiting my ability to transmit and receive would not be something I wanna have happen.

Maybe I should go without out building the over cab rack at all and do better maximizing my bed space for storage. Does a visor mounted light bar where the lights extend a bit above the roof plane cause problems as well. There just never seems to be enough room in the bed and since crew cabs generally have shorter beds this is an issue for me...

Bump cuz no one answered my questions.. Anyone??
 

DanDan

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A proper ground plane for vhf would be a circle of at least 18" diameter with the antenna in the center. The stretch metal will act as a ground plane at vhf. Don't put any metal higher than the ground plane if you can avoid it.
 

wrightracing.net

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I know this is an old post, but if you are running a rack, you don't want to run a antenna that requires a ground plane, you want to run a Non-ground plane antenna and place the antenna mount on the highest part of the rack with no metal from from the rack above the base of the antenna.

The best practice is to run a ground plane antenna on a solid metal surface with a minimum of 9-10" of flat metal in all directions from the base of the antenna. Bigger is better for ground planes, but you will not notice a huge change with a bigger ground plane from 18" in diameter to say a 30" diameter, you will notice you can hear people from long distance a little better.

Ok, that is my opinion and Opinions are like Farts, some stink and some don't
 

dzrt performance

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old thread but im going to reply anyway as there is so much disinformation here.

you don't need a 500watt radio to get decent distance. a 5 watt radio IS CAPABLE of going a LONG ways....just not with the rubber antenna. just a magnetic mount antenna will work wonders. i have had radio transmissions of 100 miles with a handheld with TRUE line of sight transmission. everyone thinks crank up the power and to an extent that is true, but the MOST important thing is line of site. no amount of power is going to get you from ground level to the other side of an 8000' mountain. the reason WXman worls so well is is high altitude location, not because he has 500 watts.

ground plane.....the idea a "bigger" then needed ground plane will gain you anything is BS. the ground plane is a function of the frequency you are trnsmitting/receiving at......so a bigger one does nothing for you. it doesn't hurt anything.....just doest gain you anything.
 

wrightracing.net

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old thread but im going to reply anyway as there is so much disinformation here.

you don't need a 500watt radio to get decent distance. a 5 watt radio IS CAPABLE of going a LONG ways....just not with the rubber antenna. just a magnetic mount antenna will work wonders. i have had radio transmissions of 100 miles with a handheld with TRUE line of sight transmission. everyone thinks crank up the power and to an extent that is true, but the MOST important thing is line of site. no amount of power is going to get you from ground level to the other side of an 8000' mountain. the reason WXman worls so well is is high altitude location, not because he has 500 watts.

ground plane.....the idea a "bigger" then needed ground plane will gain you anything is BS. the ground plane is a function of the frequency you are trnsmitting/receiving at......so a bigger one does nothing for you. it doesn't hurt anything.....just doest gain you anything.
I am right there with you on the line of site with power. The first time I realized it was on a trip to Glamis and we were just talking car to car with 5 watt handheld radio's. I was on the top of the mountains and just about to drop into the desert when a friend of mine who was already at the Glamis ranger station came up on the radio. He thought we were already there near by, but in fact we were almost a 90 miles from him. I thought it was crazy, but when we dropped into the desert the handheld would not reach him anymore. It was kind of funny and surprising at the time.

As for ground planes, my experience with them and manipulating the antenna ground plane from one car to another car makes a difference. I learned this when we use to play radio tag. On my 82 F100 I had a metal she'll on the truck and when I had it on the truck and in the center of the truck shell, I could hear people better, then if I moved the antenna to the rear of the truck, it would make the antenna direction with the signal stronger from people in the direction the truck was pointing. I would use the truck as a direction finder to track down the person we were looking for in our game of tag.

Now when I took off the shell, I put the antenna, a magnet mount, on the truck cab, single cab with a much smaller ground plane, the reception and directionality did not work as well as with the larger ground plane.

Now I don't know about frequencies and ground planes, but that is my experience with placement and size of ground planes and that has proven itself useful over the 35 years I have been putting radio's in everything from buggies to race truck's.

So in my opinion saying the larger ground planes are not better is misinformed. That is from real world experience.

But opinions are like Farts, some stink and some don't.
 

dzrt performance

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I am right there with you on the line of site with power. The first time I realized it was on a trip to Glamis and we were just talking car to car with 5 watt handheld radio's. I was on the top of the mountains and just about to drop into the desert when a friend of mine who was already at the Glamis ranger station came up on the radio. He thought we were already there near by, but in fact we were almost a 90 miles from him. I thought it was crazy, but when we dropped into the desert the handheld would not reach him anymore. It was kind of funny and surprising at the time.

As for ground planes, my experience with them and manipulating the antenna ground plane from one car to another car makes a difference. I learned this when we use to play radio tag. On my 82 F100 I had a metal she'll on the truck and when I had it on the truck and in the center of the truck shell, I could hear people better, then if I moved the antenna to the rear of the truck, it would make the antenna direction with the signal stronger from people in the direction the truck was pointing. I would use the truck as a direction finder to track down the person we were looking for in our game of tag.

Now when I took off the shell, I put the antenna, a magnet mount, on the truck cab, single cab with a much smaller ground plane, the reception and directionality did not work as well as with the larger ground plane.

Now I don't know about frequencies and ground planes, but that is my experience with placement and size of ground planes and that has proven itself useful over the 35 years I have been putting radio's in everything from buggies to race truck's.

So in my opinion saying the larger ground planes are not better is misinformed. That is from real world experience.

But opinions are like Farts, some stink and some don't.
sounds good. however, you ever notice the race teams with large mast antennas? they have three little whiskers that act as the ground plane. if there was merit to a larger ground plane...you can bet these antennas would have it.

comparing antenna and/or ground plane performance in a city, where multipath (reflections from building and objects) and noise floor greatly influences receiver performance to what happens in open country are two entirely different things.
 

wrightracing.net

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Well first of all, I have a couple different base antennas with the ground plane Aerials on a horizontal axis. I also get better reception on one of my base antennas that has longer ground plane arials. That is why we use that particular one in remote pits in Baja like when we pitted out past Bahia de Los Angeles for the Baja 1000.

Also, my experience with Radio tag is in the desert, so for the most part is flat and no buildings.
 

M4BoomStick

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Use this Antenna on a flag pole. Make sure you tune it for your race freq, or tune to 152 for most stock PCI freqs. ( you can tune yourself , it


and this radio



Yes the Kenwood TM281A is decent, but it’s a Ham radio that people Jail break to work with VHF Business band ( what we use racing). Since it’s a HAM radio, PCI will not program or tune it.

the Kenwood TK7360 is the best 50 Watt out there. Check out what the top TT , 6100, Class 1 , 10 , etc guys are running…. TK7360s.


110 watt Kenwood NX5700 is a bad ass chase radio, you need a big alternator and dual batteries for sure




The older 110 Watt Kenwood is called the TK790, it’s not made anymore and PCI may have 1-2 left.

there is another 110 watt out there to be aware of. It’s called the Kenwood TK730. PCI never sold it, can’t service it but it looks just like the TK790. People will slap a PCI sticker on a 730 ,call it a 790 and sell them here. The only way to tell is that the PCI 790 has a round mic plug, the 730 has a square one.

yes a No Ground Plane antenna is what most people need. You can mount it on a tab or on the edge of a roof. It doesn’t need 18” of flat metal around it like a 3DB antenna.
… but that being said, if you mount a No Ground plane with flat metal around it, it sure optimizes it 🤣

Remember, these antennas transmit radios waves out of the base ( or coil/spring ). CB antennas transmit out of the tip, that’s why you see a lot of Jeep’s with cB antennas mounted on the bumper. Make sure your base has no obstructions
 

wrightracing.net

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Use this Antenna on a flag pole. Make sure you tune it for your race freq, or tune to 152 for most stock PCI freqs. ( you can tune yourself , it


and this radio



Yes the Kenwood TM281A is decent, but it’s a Ham radio that people Jail break to work with VHF Business band ( what we use racing). Since it’s a HAM radio, PCI will not program or tune it.

the Kenwood TK7360 is the best 50 Watt out there. Check out what the top TT , 6100, Class 1 , 10 , etc guys are running…. TK7360s.


110 watt Kenwood NX5700 is a bad ass chase radio, you need a big alternator and dual batteries for sure




The older 110 Watt Kenwood is called the TK790, it’s not made anymore and PCI may have 1-2 left.

there is another 110 watt out there to be aware of. It’s called the Kenwood TK730. PCI never sold it, can’t service it but it looks just like the TK790. People will slap a PCI sticker on a 730 ,call it a 790 and sell them here. The only way to tell is that the PCI 790 has a round mic plug, the 730 has a square one.

yes a No Ground Plane antenna is what most people need. You can mount it on a tab or on the edge of a roof. It doesn’t need 18” of flat metal around it like a 3DB antenna.
… but that being said, if you mount a No Ground plane with flat metal around it, it sure optimizes it

Remember, these antennas transmit radios waves out of the base ( or coil/spring ). CB antennas transmit out of the tip, that’s why you see a lot of Jeep’s with cB antennas mounted on the bumper. Make sure your base has no obstructions
Good advice,

Only one issue, Bob AKA Weatherman did sell TK730H radio's and program them 25 years ago, I know, I got one from him. Currently the Techs at PCI do not know how to program them, but they did up until 15 or so years ago. They did start pushing the TK790H around the same time I got the TK730H, it was probably the last of the old stock at that time.
 

M4BoomStick

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Odd, in a meeting, Scott told me and about 20 other people that PCI never sold the 730. Regardless, don’t get a 730 if you find one. PCI or not, there are no parts out there for them. Kenwood will tell you to pound sand.
The best sounding radio right now is the Tk 7360 . Plus you can run it on a cigar power cord and still Tx at 50 watts, great for chasing.

we tried using an Icom F-5021 on cigar power and it TXed at 40-45 watts.
 

PaulW

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Of all the radios I have used in various rigs the one I like best is Yaesu FT-2980, 80 watts. Ham and with the Mars mod works in the commercial band. Great radio for a Ham guy like me that spends most of my time in Baja where we exclusively use the commercial band. Last time I checked Gigaparts price was $230. It is has DIY built-in programming or what I prefer is the RT Systems cable and SW which makes it much easier.
 

PaulW

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The last three I purchased for them all had the Mars mod. they have been doing Mars for years on various radios the sell. Gigaparts has a tech that does the mod just before shipping. Lots of happy desert guys are using the 2980r and are very happy. I am now driving a plastic roof Jeep so antenna is an issue that is overcome with 80 Watts.
 

paranoid56

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I use the TM281A and remove the resistor to allow the proper bands. Also easy to program with a 15 bucks cable and the free software.
 

paranoid56

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For someone that knows nothing about radios, what is the "Mars mod"?
To make an amateur radio capable of transmitting just outside of the amateur radio bands, this service usually involves the removal of a surface mount component inside of an amateur radio (along with some additional steps).
 

PaulW

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Yes the US government does not allow the HAM and commercial bands together, but the radios made global market so they are all capable of all the bands. The manufacturer just adds an internal component to choose the band for USA use.
 
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