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PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2011 9:53 am 
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Just out of curiosity... has anyone out there experimented with a mast antenna on a Plate Carrier?

I believe there will be a small trade-off in reception since my body would block part of the signal, but I dont think that level of interference will be a problem for the application I have in mind. (I am currently using a Vertex VX-150 as a 2m HT and get a little peeved when the rubber ducky antenna gets in the way/ hung up in my kit.)

This is one vendor that is pretty widely used, but if you know of others, feel free to share!
http://www.tacticalcommandstore.com/tci_mast_modular_antenna_system-tactical_antenna_relocation_kit.aspx

Any input is welcome... thanks!

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2011 9:59 am 
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Thats the only one Ive ever seen for commercial sale, but I made my own last year out of a project box and some BNC connectors, and it works great.

I used a shrinkwrapped metal measuring tape for the mast so it was collapsible when I ran into stuff.

It also had modular counterpoise radials coming out of the sides.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2011 10:12 am 
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crypto wrote:
I used a shrinkwrapped metal measuring tape for the mast so it was collapsible when I ran into stuff.


Dude.
That's brilliant! How long is your mast using that method?

AUGh... And I had a spare tape measure sitting in my workshop that I threw away because I... ummmm... tactically shortened the length of it.

(Confession: I was using a 10" chop saw and measured a 2x4. I was in a hurry, so I moved the tape measure closer to me, but left it extended rather than pulling it back into the tape measure housing. I then proceeded to cut the wood.. shortening my tape measure by about 18 inches. :-D)

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2011 2:50 pm 
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Wow, 50 USD for the mount, 25 USD for an adapter (about 8 USD here in AK, BTW)

MFJ makes this
http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/ ... /3757.html
Image

For a paltry 20 USD, BNC or SMA.

I've had one for years, works great.

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Last edited by TacAir on Mon Oct 10, 2011 3:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2011 3:00 pm 
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AlasBabylon wrote:
crypto wrote:
I used a shrinkwrapped metal measuring tape for the mast so it was collapsible when I ran into stuff.


Dude.
That's brilliant! How long is your mast using that method?

AUGh... And I had a spare tape measure sitting in my workshop that I threw away because I... ummmm... tactically shortened the length of it.

(Confession: I was using a 10" chop saw and measured a 2x4. I was in a hurry, so I moved the tape measure closer to me, but left it extended rather than pulling it back into the tape measure housing. I then proceeded to cut the wood.. shortening my tape measure by about 18 inches. :-D)



My mast is a few feet long, its 1/2 wave with 1/4 counterpoises. It works well enough. The one problem I learned is that you shouldnt use BNC connectors for this, as they are susceptible to both coming loose, and water/snow ingress.

I made a thread about this project about a year ago in this sub-forum.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2011 5:27 pm 
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AlasBabylon wrote:
I believe there will be a small trade-off in reception since my body would block part of the signal,



Be advised that this is going to be an improvement over just having the antenna on top of the radio, in any event, because you're raising it higher and putting less of your body in the way. Nominally, you'd want to raise it as far up on your body as you can while retaining vertical polarization, but I'm sure you know that.

The only way its a compromise is compared to a stationary mast.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2011 8:04 pm 
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TacAir wrote:
Wow, 50 USD for the mount, 25 USD for an adapter (about 8 USD here in AK, BTW)

MFJ makes this
http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/ ... /3757.html
Image

For a paltry 20 USD, BNC or SMA.

I've had one for years, works great.



TAC-AIR The MFJ lacks the cool-lio factor. Paint it coyote tan, and we can charge more. I like the concept of getting the ant up and hig, but save the dough, buy some rice and beans!

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2011 12:43 am 
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I have a TCI MAST, its well made and I would consider $49 a bargain for its intended military audience. The connectors are blacked out and have molded strain reliefs and in contrast MFJ doesn't get the nickname "Mighty Fine Junk" and other versions of that for nothing.

Some time before the TCI MAST hit the market I designed a similar unit for the MBITR radio but with a 1m long dangling counterpoise wire. It was range tested from 30 to 90MHz using the MBITR 1m blade antenna comparing a chest mounted MBITR radio with antenna on the radio to the antenna remotely mounted high on a backpack.

I don't have the range data handy but remember the remote mount with counterpoise was an improvement at all frequencies and substantially better at some freqs. I built a few prototypes and shipped them to a couple of commo guys in Iraq and A-stan and got very favorable reports back, then the TCI MAST showed up but without a counterpoise wire.

Unfortunately the military is full of back woods commo "experts" and many guys are stripping the braid off about 10ft of RG-58 coax and zig-zag weaving this through backpacks and vests thinking the extra amount of wire is going to magically make the radio work better.
Radio Guy


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2011 12:43 pm 
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Just as a quick follow-up on this. After exchanging a couple emails with Crypto, I am going to try an experiment as soon as I get a chance. (Hopefully within the next month or so.)

The idea is to use a 1" metal tape measure as a Mast antenna, spray it with primer, then spray it with FlexSeal. It could then be painted with Krylon to blend into your AO.

FlexSeal is the main part of this experiment. I am sure you have seen the infomercial with the crazy "It's like rubber... in a Can!" guy. In the commercial, they sprayed a screen door, then replaced the bottom of a boat with that door and it didn't leak. The product may actually be crap, I dont know... but for $20... I figure it's worth an experiment.

I am theorizing this rubber coating would protect the antenna better than shrinkwrap for anyone interested in extended outdoor use, BUT, still enough provide flexibility that the tape measure could bend freely.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2011 1:40 pm 
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Radio guy wrote:
I have a TCI MAST, its well made and I would consider $49 a bargain for its intended military audience. The connectors are blacked out and have molded strain reliefs and in contrast MFJ doesn't get the nickname "Mighty Fine Junk" and other versions of that for nothing.

Some time before the TCI MAST hit the market I designed a similar unit for the MBITR radio but with a 1m long dangling counterpoise wire. It was range tested from 30 to 90MHz using the MBITR 1m blade antenna comparing a chest mounted MBITR radio with antenna on the radio to the antenna remotely mounted high on a backpack.

I don't have the range data handy but remember the remote mount with counterpoise was an improvement at all frequencies and substantially better at some freqs. I built a few prototypes and shipped them to a couple of commo guys in Iraq and A-stan and got very favorable reports back, then the TCI MAST showed up but without a counterpoise wire.

Unfortunately the military is full of back woods commo "experts" and many guys are stripping the braid off about 10ft of RG-58 coax and zig-zag weaving this through backpacks and vests thinking the extra amount of wire is going to magically make the radio work better.
Radio Guy


Ya, MFJ is no Collins equpment, but for the price point it is ok. The ant I posted is a bent piece of metal and set of attachment points, so over the last few years, it has worked just fine. I have an MFJ ant anaylizer, works well for tuning up a turner, so good enough for the dough.

The radios seem to run hot or cold (good or bad) - I see the latest in their stable is rebranded China Comm multiband radios.

I guess the backwoods commo types think "If a little is good, gobs is great", eh?

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My books, some with a different view of the "PAW". Check 'em out.
Adventures in rice storage//Mod your Esbit for better stability


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 2:07 pm 
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Sorry to necropost a somewhat older thread, however we use Image

They're replica AN/PRC-148 Blade Antennas and work reasonably well. If you mount your radio on the back of your plate carrier or chest rigs anyway, by default your body is interfering with the radio transmissions. This allows you to run it up your back and over if you need to. The flatness of it prevents it from getting tangled. For 26 bucks, ya can't go wrong.


Last edited by Zombat on Thu Nov 17, 2011 11:44 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 9:21 pm 
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For emcomm and public service events I picked up a remote mic with antenna connection on eBay a while back. It connects up fine with my FT-60 (had to whittle some plastic off the mic plug for a good fit) and gets the antenna up higher on my body (over my head with a 1/2 wave duck).

The remote mic cost, as I recall, a whopping $8.00 plus about $4.00 shipping from Hong Kong, and included a 440 rubber duck on the mic. For the price I was expecting junk, but ended up impressed with the quality. Not commercial grade, but not far below it. I gave away the duck that came with it and replaced it with a Nagoya dual band duck that's about 27" long and 1/2 wave on 2m. With the mic clipped to the mic tab on my vest the end of the antenna is over my head, and my signal reports average about two S units higher than using the HT handheld with the Nagoya duck (model 771) I usually have on the radio. And about four S units higher than the stock antenna the HT came with (handheld, not on my belt).

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Last edited by Gone or something on Sat Nov 12, 2011 6:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 10:42 am 
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For a NATO NSN numbered item $53 bucks isnt bad. You can make them for a lot less. Its just a male/female extension cable and some mole holder.
Depending on the environment you going to deploy in, it might just be easier to build your own. other wise shell out about $60 to get one to you door.
Personally I would perfer to get the antenna higher than any of the examples show. On your back is not much better than on your waist. Get it to the top of the shoulder strap on you rig at least if not up to the helmet.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 4:04 pm 
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I have ran pretty much every antenna on the planet at one time or another for my kit. I have spent more money on combo crap than any other kind of kit. I am not a huge fan of mast antennas nor the blade antennas both of the seem to hang on very thing. Blade antennas want to unfold at un opportune times and hit you in the face. I also don't like running my radio on my team radio on my back. most teams hop freaks, casevac freaks are or different freaks than you are on, you support is on another freq, change power settings to minimize signature or raise it to get further out act. So my radio stays on my front. My preferred antenna is a body antenna. I am not sure on the specifics of them or if you can buy them. mine was made buy a 18E buddy of mine. i just wrap it around my neck and tuck it in my shirt very small and non-obstructive. works great. but that is just my pinion


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 10:59 pm 
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There are some commercially made body antennas that hang on your body like armor and they work very well over the 30 to 512MHz range but cost a fortune. Lots of engineering in those.

However, there is a POS body worn antenna thought up by a so called military commo guy that is a length of RG-58 coax with the braid removed from about 3/4 of its length and shorted at the far end. Then its woven through a pack or vest in a zig-zag pattern that is not conducive to good RF radiation. This thing is not an antenna, its a cluster fuk thunk up by an idiot who has no clue what an antenna is or how it works.

The "inventor" claims its a "full wave" antenna and he obviously has no clue what that is. It might be a full wavelength at some frequency but not over the 30 to 512MHz range of the MBITR for which is was "invented", or thunk up for.

The antennas supplied with the MBITR have broad band matching circuits that provide a reasonable match across the entire operating range of the radio, where the cluster fuk antenna is just a length of wire woven through a pack or vest and provides a horrific match on most frequencies the MBITR operates on. What a terrible thing to do to a nice radio like the MBITR.

I've tested the TCI style remote mount and when placed high on the body or pack or vest with the stock 1m blade antenna and used with a dangling counterpoise wire it provides quite a bit of gain over the same antenna attached directly to the radio. I have a gain plot over 30 to 512MHZ for both configurations somewhere around here and will post if I can find it.
Radio Guy


Priest0817 wrote:
I have ran pretty much every antenna on the planet at one time or another for my kit. I have spent more money on combo crap than any other kind of kit. I am not a huge fan of mast antennas nor the blade antennas both of the seem to hang on very thing. Blade antennas want to unfold at un opportune times and hit you in the face. I also don't like running my radio on my team radio on my back. most teams hop freaks, casevac freaks are or different freaks than you are on, you support is on another freq, change power settings to minimize signature or raise it to get further out act. So my radio stays on my front. My preferred antenna is a body antenna. I am not sure on the specifics of them or if you can buy them. mine was made buy a 18E buddy of mine. i just wrap it around my neck and tuck it in my shirt very small and non-obstructive. works great. but that is just my pinion


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