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MARC Technical Center Antenna Review
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TECHNICAL REPORT:  
          ANTENNA REVIEW - 2005
 
  

  
> Internet Special:  February 2005 
   by Ray Davis KD6FHN  


Because of the very design of a motorcycle, and the design of antennas for 4-wheeled vehicles, many antennas just can not survive on a motorcycle. We know for a fact that we didn't have any problems with antennas surviving while we had them mounted on the right side of our Gold Wings where the AM-FM antennas were mounted. However, the performance of an antenna mounted in that location was terrible because it was difficult to get a ground plane, and the radiation patterns were goofy with the antenna on an angle and no ground plane to the right.
 
After mounting the same antennas off the back of our trunk racks and grounding the trunk racks to the frame, we really started getting good performance from the antennas we had. Then came the hunt for the best antenna "all" things considered. We found it in the Comet SBB-7. It certainly out performed the dozen or so antennas from other manufacturers we were experimenting with, but we had a rash of the old FL67S's break off at the top of the lower phasing coil due to the vibration, mistreatment or what ever. We first cured that ailment by fiber glassing the lower phasing coil and the center coil. Later with the newer Comet SBB-7 Dual Band 2m/440, 55" tall antenna, we discovered we didn't have to go to all the work and mess of fiber glassing and now use a 20 Lb. test monofilament fish line tied to the center coil on the antenna to the front of the trunk rack to stabilize the antenna at highway speeds. This has worked on one of the Comet SBB-7 antennas on my 1500/1800 Gold Wings for probably 100,000 miles over the years.

Now if you want a dual band 2M-440 antenna that is indestructible take a look at the Comet HP-32, 3.0 dbi on 2M and 5.5 dbi on 440 and 35" tall. A thing of beauty it ain't, but it's tough enough to drive railroad spikes with, and would make a great personal defense weapon in a pinch. At $79.95, it will probably last longer than your motorcycle. The Comet HP-32 antenna was actually especially designed for use on motorcycles, period. It was designed after the owner of the antenna manufacturing company owner from Japan had me bring the old 1996 Gold Wing up to the Comet warehouse, show and explain to him why we were breaking so many of the antennas on motorcycles. He then went back to Japan and about 6 months later Comet got a prototype HP-32 to test on a motorcycle. Since the original HP-32 came out, it has since been improved even more. To this date, we have not broken a Comet HP-32 on a Gold Wing.

We had tested some Cushcraft, Diamond, Hustler, Larsen and MFJ antennas and got very little or NO help from them when we broke an antenna and wanted to return it or get it fixed. They just refused to listen to us because we were using the antennas on motorcycles. The reason we stay with Comet is simple. They are local, about 7 miles from my house and you can walk in and they will repair your antenna while you wait with little or no cost to you. They are friendly and very helpful, and they give us antennas to test that we can later give away as door prizes at our MARC breakfast meetings. We (MARC) get no cooperation what so ever from the other antenna manufactures.  

73s, Ray 
   

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