GME vs ZCG Scalar

Submitted: Saturday, May 04, 2013 at 09:52
ThreadID: 102005 Views:6175 Replies:7 FollowUps:16
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Looking at gme AE4075 (1.2m) and the zcg scalar heavy duty 1.2m antenna. And is there any performance gains by getting the 2.1m 8.1 dbi gain antenna?

Thanks
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Reply By: Member - Boobook - Saturday, May 04, 2013 at 10:13

Saturday, May 04, 2013 at 10:13
Neither, ( and do you mean AE4705?)

Get a 6.5db whip from either of those or RFI and put it on the roof if you are really serious about decent performance. The ones you state are too heavy for that. Preferably put it in the middle of the roof, but anywhere up there will be a lot better than on the bull bar.

Stick ( or any) antennas on the bullbar are more show than go. The bullbar is a stupid place to mount an antenna. It simply will not perform well. If you have tinted windows it is even worse as they act as a shield.

Height is might. Bar mounted antennas are a bull bar company initiated design, not a Radio company design.

AnswerID: 510292

Follow Up By: Scoop - Saturday, May 04, 2013 at 10:24

Saturday, May 04, 2013 at 10:24
Yes I meant the AE4705. I drive a hilux extra cab with a tray, would the top of the tray be a good spot?
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Follow Up By: Rockape - Saturday, May 04, 2013 at 19:46

Saturday, May 04, 2013 at 19:46
Boobook,
are those black things on your bullbar guides or show pony aerials.

You have really lost me because if I put them one on my roof I will break it on a tree.

Life is not perfect. Guess I am a show pony.
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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Sunday, May 05, 2013 at 05:23

Sunday, May 05, 2013 at 05:23
Well spotted Rockape. One is a phone antenna and the other a UHF. That is an older photo from before I changed the position. The new roof mounted antennas work tons better.
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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Sunday, May 05, 2013 at 05:24

Sunday, May 05, 2013 at 05:24
Scoop get it as high as you can and clear of the cab. There are gutter mount options if that helps.
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Sunday, May 05, 2013 at 08:46

Sunday, May 05, 2013 at 08:46
I have to agree with Boobook...the whole big white stick thing is one step short of an outright con.

The bullbar has to be one of the worst places to mount an antenna for a variety of reasons.

First it is on most cars a clear 3 feet lower than a gutter or roof rack mount and that disadvantages a line of sight UHF aerial from the get go.

Second the bullbar is rigidly attached to the extreem end of the chassis and all that rough road pounding, puts an extrordinary amount of wear on antennas

Third....if you want to break something in the bush...stick it right on the front of ya car..... yeh, right on top of that rigidly attached to that big heavy thing you fitted to protect the ya grill and the front of ya car.

Most of the big white sticks produce no more gain and perform no better than much lighter and cheaper antennas that cost much less.

Guess why the salesman wants to sell you a big white stick.

The cheaper and lighter aerials are viable to mount in other places, the big white sticks are not.

Now if you are concerned that your modest but effective light aerial will get damaged when mounted "high and clear", you have two options.

make a simple knock down mount out of two angle brackets, a couple of washers, a nut and bolt.......mine is good for 110Kph pluss and knocks straight over if struck

OR

sacrifice a little bit of gain and go for one of the rubber ducky antennas that are sooo very popular in the earth moving undustry

recommendations
The best bang for bucks aerial is the ground independent 6.5dbi elivated feed type like the GME AE4017K2 one of its brothers or cousins.
GME now package about 8 electricaly identical different versions of this aerial, and almost every aerial manufacturer offers one similar
there are good reasons for this.

If you want a tough little aerial look at the AXIS 477P, it only gives about 3dBi, but if you can break one of these you are trying way too hard...so you can mount it high and clear with no dramas.
There are several other manufacturers who offer a similar low gain flexible.....they are very popular in applications where the drivers do not give a $&%t or prone to breakage situations like earth moving and commercial two way.

I have had the same antenna (AE4017K2) mounted on the bullbar and high and clear on the roof rack and the difference is substantial.

cheers
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FollowupID: 788437

Reply By: olcoolone - Saturday, May 04, 2013 at 10:14

Saturday, May 04, 2013 at 10:14
Both antenna brands have been around for years and are both good quality, GME don't make their own antennas whereby Scaler do..... Scaler is an antenna company that sells other gear and GME is a radio company that sell other gear.

The GME antennas would be made by one of the other antenna manufactures like Scaler and rebranded GME.

You will get a good run out of both and performance would be top notch...... however I would prefer GME as there antennas are more readily available and supported by more retailers Australia wide.

As for the 2.1m 8.1 dbi gain antenna..... you know they are only sold in pairs and they are not real antennas...... but the look so cool!...... you also get a 40% discount if used on a ute with an extremely large bull bar.....

Seriously the advantage over gain is often over exaggerated in a mobile situation as the terrain often changes, the downfall of that antenna would be the length limiting access to many places and the increased chance of damage plus if you had to remove it trying to fit something 2.1m into a vehicle is not the easiest thing.

The other two would be a better choice for practicality, reliability and would out perform the bigger antenna in most applications.
AnswerID: 510293

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Sunday, May 05, 2013 at 09:00

Sunday, May 05, 2013 at 09:00
Sorry but people are pushing this crock about GME not making its own stuff.

GME do still all their own design work and manufacture some of their stuff here in Australia.
Sure GME will be having some stuff manufactured over seas, but who is not these days....they are certainly not just buying from other manufacturers.

Scalar like so many others including GME used to be all manufactured in Austraila and where selling CB aerials back in the 70s'. ZCG Sinclair was another well known brand of quality aerial that has been around a very long time ....now have "ZCG Scalar" so who knows what is going on there now.

There are some about that seem intent of spreading all sorts of stories about GME...it remains one of the strongest and best supported independent radio communications brands in the country.

cheers
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Follow Up By: olcoolone - Sunday, May 05, 2013 at 10:05

Sunday, May 05, 2013 at 10:05
GME make communication devices but they don't make antennas, there is this thing in business called core business activities and this is what GME do, they are leaders in communications devices but not the antennas..... so why put resources into an area of a business that isn't your core business.... hence why they outsource their antenna manufacturing to a specialist.

Didn't say anything about GME not making ANY of their own stuff, they make heaps of gear for themselves and others to rebadge here in Australia..... but they don't make their own antennas

A press release about ZCG Scaler...

http://www.darrenchester.com/media-room/69-august-2009/886-zcg-scalar

There are still a number of Australian antenna manufacturers...... Mobileone, Laser, ZCG Scaler, Moonraker, Codan, Bushcom, TET-Emtron, Rojone, Pacsat and many others.

I'm sure just like GME they would source parts from overseas manufactures.

What happens in the communications world is no different to any other industry whereby they share, rebrand and buy from one and other...... car manufactures have been doing it for years, if you know who made what for who you would be surprised...... Toyota manufactured parts in a Holden, Holden manufactured parts in a Ford, Ford and Holden manufactured parts in a Toyota..... When Mitsubishi closed the car manufacturing plant in SA they were the only ones in Australia who could do some of the steel pressing for the other three car manufactures and there was grave concerns shown by all three.
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Sunday, May 05, 2013 at 10:53

Sunday, May 05, 2013 at 10:53
you said

The GME antennas would be made by one of the other antenna manufactures like Scaler and rebranded GME.

That is a pretty specific statment and make some specific inferences.

It infeers that GME do not design their own antennas.

I think you will find that like many of the other companies GME outsource manufactuing of some components or whole items to companies in Asia or China or perhaps even locally.

But that is a very different thing to wholesale rebranding.

What is happening in the communications world is very different to what is and has been happening in the automotive world for many years....
There is not the level of cross ownership in communications as there is in automotive, and the scale of the enterprise is completely different..

Unless you have specific information that GME are purchasing antenna product directly from its competitors like scalar and rebranding it, you have to admit the statement is not true.

cheers
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Reply By: Member - bungarra (WA) - Saturday, May 04, 2013 at 10:22

Saturday, May 04, 2013 at 10:22
Thats a question that cant be answered simply. Antannae choice is all about the terrain, your need and your expectations.....by way of explanation

The lower the gain the greater the chance of signal in hilly/undulating terrain
The higher the gain the greater distance signal will travel and be sent/received but the terrain needs to be much flatter.

A low gain antannae radiates in a ball pattern. A high gain antannae radiates more like a football shape.......Look at this link ..easier to understand

http://www.zcg.com.au/antenna-gain-explained.html
Google will find others as well

My standard antannae is the GME 4705 with 4.5db....a very good all rounder. Mounting position also affects performance...bullbar mount can at times be sheilded by the vehicle body in a straight line if you are trying to talk to a vehicle strainght benhind you...get a few bends or corners in the road and all ok

Roof mount is the best but their survival rate off road is not the best!

cheers
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AnswerID: 510294

Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Saturday, May 04, 2013 at 11:24

Saturday, May 04, 2013 at 11:24
Practically speaking I would go along with this post.

We also run a 4.5db but not on the roof. Our antenna is on the right hand mudguard. I have lost enough antennas off the front and left of the car not to use those places again.

I didn't bother about a roof antenna because the car only just fits in the garage as it is and I don't feel like jumping up and reaching into the center of the car and tilting an antenna up and down every time the car exits or enters our garage or a supermarket under cover car park. A spring mounted one would damage the garage lights.

Phil
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Sunday, May 05, 2013 at 07:53

Sunday, May 05, 2013 at 07:53
Sorry the GAIN V TERAIN argument in my opinion is a complete an utter crock.

The real published radiation patterns do not reflect the advertising department BS.

The radiation pattern will not be dependent on gain, it will differ depending on the particular configuration used in making the particular aerial.

some of the relativly high gain aerials have radiation patterns so close to a unity gain stick it does not matter.

AND...UHF being pretty well line of sight the flatter the radiation pattern the better in almost every case...particularly considering NONE of the radiation patterns flatten out as much as the do in the diagrames "explaining" the gain V terain thing.

The aerial with the most gain wins in almost every situation in almost every terian.

The other thing that works and is a standard and proven radio principle is...any aerial will work better mounted high and clear.

cheers
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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Sunday, May 05, 2013 at 09:13

Sunday, May 05, 2013 at 09:13
LOL I love those marketing radiation patterns. Nuthin like a real pattern even in a lab, but even a lot of those will depict that a 4.5db antenna has more radiation than a 3db at an angle of 40 degrees from horizontal, more than a typical 4wd would ever see, even to a vehicle several km ahead of it in the high country so they screw their own ( exaggerated) story.

If you ignore high gain yagi's etc the lobe spread angle is irrelevant in 4wding, especially if you look at the real shapes of the lobes, and then put an uneven lump of car next to it.

Sure you see lots of emergency vehicles in the city with low gain antennas ( on the roof!) but their system is different. They use high up repeaters on buildings, towers etc across the area that are regularly at a high inclination from horizontal, AND are close by with 40 - 50 watts on board. This situation simply never exists in 4wding. Even if you use a repeater, chances are it is a long way away and not at a very steep angle.

Oh, but this version doesn't sell antennas. Doh.









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Reply By: Warb - Saturday, May 04, 2013 at 11:58

Saturday, May 04, 2013 at 11:58
As described by bungarra in the previous post, a higher gain antenna has the effect of "focussing" the outgoing signal. In simple terms, instead of sending some signal straight up (towards the sky), some stright down (towards the ground) and some at every angle in between, a higher gain antenna focusses the signal more tightly around "horizontal".

If you imagine a ball of clay skewered on the antenna as being "low gain", you will notice that no matter what angle you tilt the antenna the signal will still reach a receiver that is within the diameter of that ball. For a high gain antenna, imagine the ball is flattened to a disc (like a dinner plate). It is the same volume of clay, has a much larger diameter than the ball, but is very thin. If the antenna is tilted backwards then the "dinner plate" also tilts, and a receiver in the same place as in the "ball" scenario may now be above or below the thin slice of signal (dinner plate) and so will not receive the signal. However when the antenna is vertical, because of its larger diameter the "dinner plate" reaches receiving antennas that are further away.

The power going from the radio to the antenna does not change, but a high gain antenna concentrates that power in a horizontal disc which therefore extends further than the spherical signal from a low gain antenna. But when the high gain antenna tilts, that narrow slice of signal tilts above or below the receiving antenna. So in flat country, or for base stations where the antenna is stationary, a high gain is great. But if the antenna is mounted on a vehicle that is constantly changing angle (side slopes, up and down hills or even two wheels in a gully), then a receiving antenna can lose the signal very easily as the "disc" of signal changes angle. This effect is worsened by the distance between the two antenna, the angle of tilt, and the degree to which the broadcasting antenna flattens the signal (i.e. the gain).

So as has been stated, in flat country a high gain antenna will perform better, but in hilly country that same high gain antenna might not let you talk to a vehicle 100m away!

This is why some companies sell antenna with a spring base and interchangeable whips - you can change whip to suit the terrain, or the car wash!

Antenna height is important, but roof mounts are exposed to damage from trees and you have to find a way to run the cable up to them! Bullbar mounted antenna are less exposed to trees, easier to mount and, if chosen on length, can give a good guide as to whether the roofrack will hit the garage roof, tree, carpark etc......
AnswerID: 510295

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Sunday, May 05, 2013 at 08:14

Sunday, May 05, 2013 at 08:14
Sorry Warb, but that is the crock everybody is being fed.

the reality is.

High gain co-linear antennas, like almost all the UHF sticks are, work by stacking extra antenna elements one on top of another end on end.

The result is an antenna array with improved "Radiation Efficiency" and increased "Effective Radiatied Power"...AND....REAL GAIN
This is where the majority of the improvment comes from not the concentration of the beam.

In some antennas there is some compression of the radiation pattern, but it is nowhere near as much as the advertising people try and tell us.

In fact some of the aerials in the 4.5ish dB gain over a quarter wave (6.5 ish gain dBi) bracket have near spherical radiation patterns.


Its not until you get up in the 8 to 10 dB gain over a quarter wave, that the radiation pattern starts to flatten out and get at all beamy and dinner plate like and then more like a fat doughnut than a pancake.

Sorry but this whole gain for terain thing while explained in detail by many, simply is not shown in the published radiation patterns or in reality....At least not to the extent that it is sold.

cheers
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FollowupID: 788429

Follow Up By: Warb - Sunday, May 05, 2013 at 09:14

Sunday, May 05, 2013 at 09:14
"It is not until you get to the 8 to 10 dB gain..."

The original question was whether there was any benefit to an 8.1dB antenna. Such an antenna is verging on the "high gain" realms where flattening does indeed happen.

I live on a farm in a small valley (less than 2km wide) surrounded by steep hills >250m above us. I have low gain (2.1dBi) flexible rubber antennas on all my farm equipment and utes, and a rather higher gain antenna on the roof of my house. I never have any problems communicating between any of these radios, whether they are on the valley floor or on the hills. On my (wifes) Prado I have an interchangeable antenna, and swap between a flexible rubber whip and a 6.6dBi fibre glass unit. I also had an 8.8dBi fibreglass whip. These are, I suspect, the exact same ZCG units the original poster was asking about. My experience was exactly what I described in my previous post - with the 2.1dBi whip I can ALWAYS communicate with the base station as long as I am in the valley or the "inside" of the hills. I would say the same applies with the 6.6dBi whip, I certainly haven't noticed any problems though of course I don't check signal strength as long as I can communicate! However with the 8.8dBi whip, which worked fabulously in flat areas, it was quite noticeable that on the steep hills my ability to communicate with the home base station was sporadically reduced. Because of this I sold the 8.8dBi whip - but if my farm was at Hay, or some other place where you can drive for what seems like hours without seeing anything higher than a fence post, I would have the 8.8dBi unit fitted permanently.

This is, of course, just my personal experience and may be different to that of other people.
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Follow Up By: olcoolone - Sunday, May 05, 2013 at 10:30

Sunday, May 05, 2013 at 10:30
All this db stuff is talk for men in white lab coats...... in a mobile situation the terrain and conditions vary so dramatically so quickly that you would no matter what antenna you used you would never have the right one.

The other factor is the others antenna who you are communication with.

If you were using antennas between two fixed bases then antenna design can come into play, we use to use a keyhole array that helped us hit a repeater 90k away.

It's funny people compromise with highway, all terrain and mud tyres or long range and spread driving lights and a rift of other things but when it comes to UHF antennas there is so much discussion and everyone want it perfect to the 8th degree.

UHF antenna gain debates are fastly overtaking fridge, vehicle make and dual battery threads.

Use an antenna between 4.5 -6 dbi gain and be done with it.... none of this you should use a ##dbi antenna as it will give you a 0.045667888299374 advantage... come on guys is it that serious what antenna you use and where it goes.

All I want to do is talk to the person I want to talk too and if I can only get 8 kilometers with my antenna and he's 9 kilometers away thats fine, i can wait for him to come back in range.

Wouldn't it be fantastic if we lived in a perfect world surrounded by perfect opportunities and solutions.

Scoop...... my advice to you is use whatever antenna you like that fits into your budget and mount it where you want to and be happy with that...... OR buy 14 different antennas and mount them in 5 different spots and spend all your time worrying if it's working to the optimal best it can and if it's not stop and fix the problem, you might have to do this every couple of kilometers and sometime less.
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Sunday, May 05, 2013 at 10:42

Sunday, May 05, 2013 at 10:42
Note that I said "8 to 10 db gain over a quarter wave", not a ficticious isotropic radiator.....that would be 10 to 12dBi

there is quite some variation in how different manufacturers express their antenna gain......anybody who wants to be honest will express gain of a mobile antenna compared to a 1/4 wave on a ground plane....at the same height......because that is the standard basic mobile antenna and situation....but if experessed compared to a ficticioius isotropic radiator the gain figure will be about 2dB higher.

There are also other ways of fiddling the figures, by placing the aerial in "free space" or on an actual vehicle or other situations.

Then only a very few will give gain figures for both receive and transmit seperately......on some antennas they will be different.....only one manufacturer acknowledges that their 6.5db elivated feed antenna has more gain on transmit than on recieve.

It is very interesting to see how a variety of different manufacturers can get a range of figures on what amounts to an identical antenna.
If ya interested go cruse the antenna sites and look at the differences on their version of the same 6.5dB elevated feed aerial.

so the BS is comming thick and fast from source.

AND
while radiation patterns will vary from antenna to antenna.....it has more to do with the particular way the eliments in the antenna have been arranged than the actual gain figure.



I keep comming back to the 6.5 dB elivated feed units...there is a very good reason they are possibly the most popular UHF aerial made across both CB and commercial.

Some of the big white sticks actually perform quite poorly..in comparison to lower gain items.

It may be that a particular antenna may have been designed to produce a certain gain figure rather than produce a useful result.

I would put the lack of performance in your situation down to the design of the aerials rather than the gain figures only.

It is quite reasonable to expect that certain lower gain aerials may actually work better than those showing higher figures..even when those are apples for apples figures.

like so many other things you cant buy on the published figures alone.........simple gain figures are for antenna sales what unqualified power handling figures are for speakers...deceptive at best.

going back to the original poster...a 2db difference in gain is a minor detail......there are more important things I want to know and do.

The lower gain aerial may indeed work better......mounting high and clear may easly pick up 2dB of advantage in many situations.

cheers
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FollowupID: 788457

Follow Up By: Warb - Sunday, May 05, 2013 at 11:18

Sunday, May 05, 2013 at 11:18
There is BS is everything these days, and masses of bad information spread through the internet and requoted as gospel. We even have wikipedia where the view with most public support becomes the truth, whether those people "voting" for that view have any knowledge in the subject or not. The results of "scientific measurement" are determined by the person who is paying.

I am not an expert in radio communications, I simply use UHF as my everyday communication medium (we have no mobile phone coverage) in a hilly area, and I know what I have experienced. Using the exact same spring base on the same vehicle I see different results depending on terrain and whip used. There may be any number of reasons why a 2.2m 8.8dBi antenna fades in and out as I drive around the hills, whilst a 1.2m 6.5dBi on the same base appears not to. But the 8.8dBi antenna is from the same manufacturer, so I would imagine the same measurement/marketing system would be used to describe it's "gain". And it is 1m taller which should, according to all theories, improve its range. And on the hills surrounding me, it performs less reliably than the lower gain whip. Out on the flat it seemed to give as good or better performance but this judgement is made only on the basis of a couple of two vehicle trips. Therefore the BS supplied by the manufacturer exactly matches what I see in everyday life, and that in itself is a rarity!

My advice to the OP therefore remains the same. From my experience a high gain whip does indeed work well in a flat area, but not so well in hills.
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FollowupID: 788464

Reply By: Member - Peter M17 - Saturday, May 04, 2013 at 17:49

Saturday, May 04, 2013 at 17:49
Hi Scoop,

Just to add to your confusion - I had a UHF antenna (6.5db) on a spring mount on my bull bar for a trip across the Savannah Way (i.e. corrugations) - On the trip I had two flick themself off at the base - So I tied it back for the rest of the trip so as to dampen the spring. - My current vehicle has a poly bar (smartbar) and it does not vibrate near as much on corrugated road

My Next G antenna (6.5 db) is mounted on my snorkel on a bracket I made myself - I have no trouble with it

Reading previous comments suggested taht I am on the right track with my snorkel mount - Before my next trip I might try to put my CB antenna on the roof rackbut that would be too high around town for underground carparks etc

Regards
Peter


AnswerID: 510312

Reply By: Rockape - Sunday, May 05, 2013 at 20:48

Sunday, May 05, 2013 at 20:48
Scoop,
Yes! you can mount a small aerial on your roof but I know I won't. Reason, hole in roof, and you have to get the coax out of the vehicle as well. Top of snorkel is feasible but again you have to get coax there without drilling any holes. Again this can be done but not for me.

Here is a photo of my work ute's dash. All the aerials were mounted on the Backboard behind the cab and once a month they would be replaced as they got wiped out.

Yes you will get further with a roof mounted aerial but at what cost. I have a bar mounted aerial and I don't have any problems getting between 18 and 20 k which I find acceptable.

Aerial wise, either of them will be fine. I like GME because I have never had any problems with their gear, be it in trucks or vehicles.

The vehicle dash shown ran on main roads, rural roads, tracks, surface mines and underground so it was used everywhere in all conditions.



AnswerID: 510390

Reply By: Scoop - Friday, May 17, 2013 at 22:00

Friday, May 17, 2013 at 22:00
Would I get a noticeable difference by mounting to antenna to the top of the backboard rather then the bull bar? If the backboard is a better spot do I go ground dependent/independent?
AnswerID: 511278

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