Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Diamond V2000a 6M 2M 70cm vertical

Looking at improving communications here at radio station W7DTG, and one option that I have is picking up a Diamond V2000A tri-band vertical antenna. I had one of these before and it was a great antenna for working local 2M/440 communications. Even with a low power radio like a Baofeng UV-5R and the proper connectors the Diamond V2000A has a great signal for FM work on the VHF/UHF bands.

According to the Diamond page, it is a ½ w lopsided dipole on 6m, a 2X5/8 wave on 2M and a 4X5/8 wave on 440 MHZ. With 6.2 Dbi on 2M and 8.4 dBi on 440 it has potent signal for punching through anything in it's way.

The Diamond antenna that I owned before was mounted on a 6ft pole in front of the house, and I was able to easily work repeaters and simplex stations 20 miles away with good signal quality. Now that I live even farther away from town I need a way to get back into 2M activity. I am currently using a dual band j-pole on a 20ft pole that works ok with marginal signals into the repeater.

From the diamond page over at TheronAtPlay.

The Diamond V2000A: a no-compromise compromise antenna

Although it is a compromise antenna the Diamond V2000A will still deliver a potent signal on 6M in the 52MHZ to 54MHZ range and also covers the 2M and 70cm amateur radio bands. the threads for the radials are 10/32 inch, making it easy to replace or modify using standard threading. Some have experimented with changing stock radials for radials made for 6M with very little change on the 2M and 70cm bands.

From my own personal experience with this antenna I know that it performs well and has a tri band capabilities on 6M/2M/70cm. Even mounted on a low pole it worked well for me.
One other option is to experiment with wire designs that are similar to the Diamond V2000a. Although it wouldn't be as pretty it should work OK.

Now where did I leave that antenna book.....

V2000A Base antenna available at AMAZON!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Prepper Communications and the antenna system

Choosing the right antenna system

As communications become more important to the prepper survivalist, one area that is often neglected is the antenna system. There are a lot of options when it comes to the antenna system for your specific needs. Whether you are doing VHF/UHF of HF communications, the antenna is the most important part of the system.
Keep in mind that you are better off spending more time and money on your antenna system and purchasing an adequate radio, than spending all your money on a 10K radio and some crummy antenna.

What do you mean VHF/UHF and HF.

When you start to put your radio communications system together you will have to decide what range you will need to talk with other preppers/ survivalist groups. Of the three types of systems, VHF and UHF radio's offer clean FM communications for your local group using FRS radios or GMRS. When used between a good base station and mobile units, you can expect a range of 25 to 50 miles. This would be with high power (50 to 75W) mobile gear. And although it is always nice to have a fancy state of the art radio, without a decent antenna system you might as well turn the radios off and send smoke signals.
VHF and UHF communications are line of sight from antenna to antenna. Any obstacles will decrease and sometimes block the signal entirely. This can be hills and trees if you live in a wooded area, or tall buildings and structures in an urban environment.
VHF: Very High Frequency (really, it does). 30MHZ to 300 MHZ
UHF: Ultra High frequency. 300MHZ to 3000MHZ (3Ghz)

HF: High Frequency. 3MHZ to 30MHZ CB and Amateur radio
VHF/UHF Amateur and FRS/GMRS

Which type of radio is right for me.

Of the FRS (Family Radio Service) radios that make false claims of power output and distance, you can realistically expect 1 to 2 miles with these. You are limited to ½ Watt (500 MW) and no external antenna. You are stuck with that little nub sticking out of the top of the radio.
GMRS radios have a higher output power and no antenna limitations but require a license. These can be obtained per household making them a bit more expensive but more practical for longer range communications. FRS and GMRS work in the UHF range.
Amateur radio is another option if you need local, regional and international communications. Amateur radio requires a test and a call sign from the F.C.C. (Federal Communications Commission). On the bands that are allocated to ham radio, you have a wide choice of frequencies to choose from, different modes that you can operate and higher power output (up to 1500W). There are also no limits on antenna systems, other than what the HOA may decides.
CB radio is a good choice for local AND regional communications. You are limited to AM (Amplitude Modulation) of SSB (Single Sideband). The CB band is also somewhat sporadic. At times you will hear stations from all over the country when signals start bouncing off the atmosphere (Some refer to this as “skip”). When this happens local communications can be lost in the noise.
One other consideration for CB radio in the HF spectrum is antenna size. As you go down in frequencies the antennas get larger.
Antenna systems like the Diamond V2000A are a good compromise antenna that offers good performance, tri-band operation and decent gain. It works from 50MHZ up into the VHF/UHF range. It is designed for ham radio operators but can be used for GMRS. At just 8ft tall it provides a lot of punch.

Which antenna system should I get.

When using FRS/GMRS you should decide on what range you will need to maintain communications with everyone involved in your group. If you go with FRS/GMRS radios, you have smaller antenna systems that are available but the range is shorter. It is really worthwhile to put more money into your antenna and purchase radio equipment that may be used, than to buy a 10K radio and put up a crummy antenna. Some antenna's work on more than one band, but they are a bit of a compromise on the performance. The benefit of these types are that you only need one antenna up in the air. There are many choices for VHF/UHF multi band antenna's, and even some for HF/VHF/UHF.
Even if you are not a Survivalist or hardcore prepper, it is always a good idea to be prepared. DO not neglect the antenna system in your radio communications gear. Find out what your needs are, what ranges you require as well as mode, and put together the best antenna system you can. You will have much more effective communications that way.

73 es see you on the air.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Diamond V2000A tri band antenna

The Diamond V2000A 6M/2M/70cm base station vertical.

Been looking at getting another 2M/440 base antenna to replace the dual band j-pole that I am using now. Living in a hilly area 25 miles from town I have a marginal signal into the local repeater. I have used a Diamond V2000A before that worked well for what I needed at the time. Mainly repeater and simplex work. Although I do not have any 6M gear in the shack, I do have a dual band 2M/440 radio. the overall performance of the Diamond antenna was outstanding.
If you plan on using the Diamond V2000A with a Baofeng UV-5R be sure to get the correct connectors. The Baofeng radio's have a reverse SMA adapter.

Diamond V2000A notes.

The Diamond V2000A is a tri-band vertical antenna capable of delivering a potent signal on the 6M, 2M and 70cm amateur radio bands. It is made for US hams that need FM communications. It is an excellent antenna for those needing tri band operation. With it's small footprint and low profile it is a great choice for those that have antenna restrictions. It is a two piece fiberglass pole that has high quality connectors to put the antenna together quickly with no guesswork.
The Diamond antenna company has been making Amateur and commercial radio antennas and accessories in the HF/VHF/UHF range for many years now with a full line of antennas from hand-held VHF/UHF radios to mobile antennas and base stations.

V2000A Base antenna available at AMAZON!

Diamond V2000A specs

According to the Diamond V2000A manual, the antenna is:
1/2 wave on 6M 
2X5/8 wave on 2M
4X5/8 wave on 440
  • 2.15 dBi of gain on 6m, 6.2 dBi on 2m, 8.4 dBi on 440
  • 50 ohm
  • SO-239 Female UHF connector
  • Mast acceptance 1.2 to 2.4"
  • Max power: 150w
  • Wind rating: 112 mph
  • Length is 8.3 ft
  • Weight is 2.6 lbs
On 6M it is a lopsided inverted V antenna that favors the direction of the 6M radial.

The Diamond V2000A: a no-compromise compromise antenna

Although it is a compromise antenna the Diamond V2000A will still deliver a potent signal on 6M in the 52MHZ to 54MHZ range and also covers the 2M and 70cm amateur radio bands. the threads for the radials are 10/32 inch, making it easy to replace or modify using standard threading. Some have experimented with changing stock radials for radials made for 6M with very little change on the 2M and 70cm bands.

The Diamond V2000A does not always play nice with other antenna's.

One other thing to keep in mind, like most other vertical antenna's is to keep the antenna away from other objects. The ground radials tend to detune the antenna ground plane when in close proximity to other metal objects. Even the pole that you mount the antenna on can in some cases cause the tuning radials to not work properly.

V2000A Base antenna available at AMAZON!

People seem to either LOVE this antenna or absolutely hate it. Most problems can be related to RF screwing up the SWR. This can easily be cured by making an small RF trap at the base of the antenna. Usually 8 turns of coax tightly grouped together. This also keeps the coaxial from radiating and detuning the antenna system.

Other complaints come from high SWR on 6M band. This antenna is made for 6M FM repeater use mostly in the 52MHZ to 54 MHZ portion of the 6M band.

Attack of the clones.

Their are clones on the market that are similar in design to the V2000A but do not work nearly as well. Out of all the clones, some are one piece and others are two piece antenna's like the V2000A. You can expect these antenna's to give poor performance. The Diamond antenna's incorporate high end parts in all of there antennas and Guarantee them. If something breaks you can get it replaced quickly.

Great info at http://ea4eoz.blogspot.com/2012/09/modifications-to-diamond-v2000-and.html

V2000A Base antenna available at AMAZON!