DB-224 antenna's

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radioman2013

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There is a definite shortage of choices for commercial grade VHF base antenna's available now. I work in the Rail Road industry and cannot find a decent Super Station Master or Station Master style antenna's on 160mhz.
About 10 years ago I suggested we move to the DB products 222 and 224 series. We installed a few of the 222's and there have continued to work flawlessly. The experience with the 224's have been terrible, with 100% failure within 2 years. As it turns out the antenna's themselves were OK . but the phasing harneses went bad internally. Of course the first one had to be on a mountain top tower site in the middel of winter. What's interesting is the open bay antenna's only have a 1 year warranty, while all the fiberglass ones have at least a 10 year warranty. DB Products was more then happy to sell us a new harness, but I am not a glutton for punishment. So we went back to the Super Base Commander and that has worked well for about 9 years now. The only issue is thay are not made anymore.
Has anyone had any more experiences with the 224 series recently and can say they fixed the harness issue or should we find a different not as good quality fiberglass antenna in the 5db range.
I don't like the Katherine as they leak water into the raydome and the others out there look really cheap.
 

MotoBill

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I am surprised to hear of the failures you had with the DB-224 having installed many of them years ago with most still in service. However, I was never a fan of the exposed phasing harness and cheep metalized tape used to secure the harness to the mast.

We always added additional tape and UV rated Ty-Raps around the harness assemblies to keep them well secured to the mast, and to keep the metalized tap from working loose, possibly causing RF noise or PIM.

In later years we began to use the RFI BA80-41-DIN that are very well constructed, broadband, and have had an excellent performance record. You might take a look at them if you're looking for an exposed dipole array.

Here's a photo of one on the way up to get installed on the tower.


BA80-41-DIN.jpg
 
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Astro Spectra

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+1 on the RFI BA (binary antenna) series. Much better made and very durable. Get ready for the really thick walled alloy tubing. Available with indestructible DIN or the baby N connectors.


Some version resold by Motorola.


Available in 5 or 8 dBi versions.

Here's a better link for you:

 

TESTMODE

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The Sinclair SD-214 is another excellent replacement for the 224, which I am also kind of surprised to hear of failing so quickly. We still have some in service that are passing yearly inspections after hanging up there since the early 90's.

Like the RFI antenna, the Sinclair also has the phasing harness installed inside the heavy duty main tubing which helps protect it from the elements.
 

EM36

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These dB antenna phasing harnesses have always been crap. Whats worse though is the broken solder joints on the celwave/commander antennas. I've seen those go in as little as a few weeks. Stay away from Telewave those are not good radiators and their mechanicals are pure junk. I have personally tested 3-400 of these antennas in my life. I could open up a brand new tube and find cracks, poor solder joints, missing gelcoat, loose pieces inside antenna, all kinds of poor mechanical stuff. We sent a quality engineer out there once. It wasnt pretty. Those were ANT150F antennas and even their "2.5" db gain antenna is a piece of crap. I could get further loading wet linguine up.
 

Viper1-6

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The Sinclair SD-214 is another excellent replacement for the 224, which I am also kind of surprised to hear of failing so quickly. We still have some in service that are passing yearly inspections after hanging up there since the early 90's.

Like the RFI antenna, the Sinclair also has the phasing harness installed inside the heavy duty main tubing which helps protect it from the elements.
There are ham repeaters using 210-c2/310-c4's that have been on the towers for 30+ years. Still going strong.

Spend once, cry once. I just can't understand why db antennas are even a consideration, from a quality point of view.
 

Mars

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+1 on the RFI BA (binary antenna) series. Much better made and very durable. Get ready for the really thick walled alloy tubing. Available with indestructible DIN or the baby N connectors.


Some version resold by Motorola.


Available in 5 or 8 dBi versions.

Here's a better link for you:

It's very strange how the company doesn't show their pricing on their website. Maybe the products are free if they don't list pricing? Respectfully, I don't bother wasting my time with companies who don't advertise their pricing. It's like they have something to hide, or have the rejects from the Motorola sales prevention unit doing their marketing.
 

EM36

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I asked for a sample from these guys years ago and don't think I ever got it. Too bad cuz we bought $150k of these things a year. I think they distributed out of Illinois. Now it becomes more clear why with the motoconnection.
 
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radioman2013

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Thank you for all the replies and advice, and I was very disappointed with the 224 failure. I had used them for 30 years or more, especially down South where fiberglass antennas don't stand up well to the constant threat of lightning.
From what I learned it was the harness being made in Mexico was the issue and the US employees were not happy about loosing the work and basically to us to F.O.
Bad for them as I planned on ordering around 100 of them at the time.
I have dealt with RFI before and their lead time is insane. Also unless ordering from Tessco available stock lead times are in the months.
 

MotoBill

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I have dealt with RFI before and their lead time is insane. Also unless ordering from Tessco available stock lead times are in the months.
We are indeed living a world today where virtually everything is outsourced that ultimately causes delays in order fulfillment, and way too often in products of poor or marginal quality.
 

Cliffy

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Have you looked at Comprod antennas?


Used them when our county went narrowband, liked their construction, black adonized to keep ice off and internal harness. Great technical support, at least when I got them 4-5 years ago.
 

TRENT310

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It's very strange how the company doesn't show their pricing on their website. Maybe the products are free if they don't list pricing? Respectfully, I don't bother wasting my time with companies who don't advertise their pricing. It's like they have something to hide, or have the rejects from the Motorola sales prevention unit doing their marketing.
In the technology business there's lots of minimum advertised pricing policies, distributor/dealer/sales region supply chain relationships, and also generally sales people want to build up contacts with prospective customers. Sometimes MSRPs being over 100% marked up leads to "sticker shock" when the street or sold price is actually much less. Also quantity and volumes factor into pricing, you might get a better deal if you're buying 300 of them for a system build-out or upgrade project instead of 1.
Not everything in business and trade has to fit a retail store or e-commerce platform environment. Especially when some products are customized to order/tailored/bespoke specifications, which is certainly the case for many RF and transmission line components. To say that you would only ever deal with advertised pricing shows that you don't get involved with large capital or competitively bid projects and their procurement process. So you would discount and throw away an option for a high quality product, just because they don't have a shopping cart system on their website you can just add items and check out on.

Talk is cheap, most times I talk to sales at manufacturers direct or wholesale distribution the price goes down the more I chat with them. And in past years, I would always prefer making those interactions in person, if possible, rather than a phone call or email.
 

Mars

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I hear you man. But if they don't advertise the price(s) or quantity discounts, I'm not interested. For example, our amateur system which you are familiar with. Yes, we need a proper antenna. No, I'm not ordering 10, and no I'm not talking to some prick that's going to bug me and text me and email me every second day until I buy an antenna. Fuck off with that.

Sorry guys, but I cannot stand commission based sales people. There are annoying pricks. I hope they all die. Every last one of them, especially if they work at Motorola. Especially if they call themselves a "Platinum Channel Partner."

I am not naive. I do not think every business should be retail based. However, if an entity sells a product, and they don't list a price, they're fucked in the head. Like Motorola for example, they actually have an entire sales prevention unit. They operate like this. I don't have time for this crap. List the price, even a baseline price, or take a hike. I'm not signing up an account, sending an email to some prick who won't return it, leaving a voicemail, having people call me when I'm busy and can't answer the phone and they don't leave a voicemail and then play mind games thinking I'm ignoring them, so they will ignore me, etc.

Fuck the entire industry in the ass with a barbecue brush sideways. Get with the program. Hire people who have a clue. Advertise prices. That's how commerce works. There's this thing called volume based discounts. List your volume discounts. Nobody should get a better deal than the next guy. If your prices are too high and you can't compete with bids, then lower your fucking prices.
 
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radioman2013

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Yea I get it with commissioned sales force, but we are a state agency so it's off the yealry bid list or GSA (US) pricing list.
 

PSEhub

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Yea I get it with commissioned sales force, but we are a state agency so it's off the yealry bid list or GSA (US) pricing list.
Cooperative purchasing agreements really help i.e. NASPO, Sourcewell. If the manufacturer hasn't gone to the trouble to make it as easy as possible for their customers that already says something IMO.
 
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