Today I upgraded my trusty Arrow Jpole (OSJ 146/440) with a brand new Tram 1481, which I purchased from Amazon for 79.99 shipped. Wow, this is a BIG VHF/UHF antenna. It looks like a small CB antenna, much like the Antron 99. It has 3 small steel radials at the base, which aren’t too noticeable. It’s supposed to be fiberglass, but it sure seems to be PVC (?). It was easy to mount for the most part, although the supplied brackets wouldn’t hold to the aluminum mounting tube while the lock washers were attached as the screws were too short. removing the washers and adding thread locker fixed this.
Here is the spec per the documentation:
- 8.3Dbd gain vhf 144mhz-148mhz
- 11.7Dbd gain uhf 430mhz-450mhz
- Heavy-duty fiberglass construction
Before mounting I tested a few far-off repeaters on VHF and UHF and recorded their signal reports. I also monitored various marine frequencies, presumably from nearby Dana Point. With the J pole antenna I can only faintly pickup just a handful of marine channels.
I installed the 17′ antenna on a 10′ 1.25″ piece of steel conduit that I painted white, to match the antenna. The push up pole is mounted atop our back yard trellis, which is ~10′ tall. Ground to the antenna base is about 19′ up, and ground to antenna tip is about 36′. No guy wires necessary as the steel conduit is very rigid.
Now to the on-air results! I was very pleased to find both VHF and UHF reception increased markedly. I’m only using the digital bar meter on my FT-7800R to compare, but VHF jumped from 5 to 7 ‘bars’ and UHF went from 4 to 6 bars. Additionally, I can hear a whole host of new chatter on the marine frequencies. SWR is either good or perfect across 2 meter and 70cm. The highest SWR was on the bottom of 2 meter and reached a peak of 1.7:1. The middle to top of the band was 1:1.
So far I’m pleased. I’m a bit skeptical, however, because the reviews on eHam are a mixed bag. Southern CA is very dry by nature, so hopefully the moisture issue that’s plagued many others won’t be such an issue here. I’ll be sure to keep my SWR meter connected to make sure I don’t miss a problem!