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Discussion Starter #1
On our last trip, I seemed to have lost the 18" antenna that came along with the CanAm X3 kit that rugged sells. Looks like the set-screws loosened up on the spring and the antenna fell out. Anyway, I am looking for a replacement and thought that someone here may have some options since a lot of guys are running different products. I didn't lose the base or sprong just the antenna. I am running the antenna just on a flag mount tab so I didn't use the magnetic base provided but was curious if another type of antenna would provide better coverage. It seems with a 60W radio I should be able to broadcast and listen for quite a distance could a different antenna offer more range? To those running a Baofeng setup, what antenna are you using since they don't come pre-packaged?
 

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If you are using a Baofeng radio and utilizing both of the bands, a NMO mount dual band, no ground plane antenna would be your best choice. Look for one that is CENTER loaded for best results and be prepared to tune it to your radio or have someone who knows how to do it. Purchasing said product is best accomplished by getting it from a HAM radio supplier, either locally or online such as from antenna farm.com. A decent antenna isn’t cheap and you can select from various heights to suit your needs, although I recommend staying around 14-18 inches.
 

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The antenna described above covers only the VHF band and currently Rugged doesn’t offer an antenna that is true dual band coverage since they don’t offer a dual band radio other than a hand-held
 

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As is said; "everything in life is a compromise"...

Compromise as relates to this topic is my choice of Diamond's shortest (13.8" NR-72BNMO) dual band antenna mounted on the rear of my MavT machine. Despite the short length, it works quite well even when communicating with repeaters. That antenna is mounted on a Tram 1255 NMO L-bracket mount with DIAMOND C213S-NMO coax routed forward to the Baofeng/Btech dual band mobile unit (setup described elsewhere).

This image shows the antenna location and mount, noting the smaller diameter lead is actually the RG16 coax whereas the larger is ground lead terminated on an adjacent frame bolt. That antenna also utilizes set screws to retain the mast to the base, however it has stayed tight for nearly 3k miles. Image also shows the Yosh pipe installed a week or so ago but removed after just one day on the trail, which is on the block now as impractical in combo with mobile radio usage (too much of a "good thing" ;) )...

IMG_5522.JPG
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Still looking at options. I ended up purchasing this unit from Amazon.

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Then I stumbled upon this on the rugged website since they are having a sale. Wonder if its performance would be better. Anyone try this rugged antenna?

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Both are no ground plane which I would need since I dont have the metal roof.
 

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That antenna will only cover the VHF bands. Your Baofeng is VHF and UHF. The antenna from Amazon is so narrow you’re short changing yourself. You should be looking for a spring loaded NMO mounted no ground plane antenna that covers 140 and 440 bands basically from 136mhz all the way up to 520mhz to get the best out of your handheld. I suggest searching the Ham Radio sites, like “The antenna farm” and “Ham radio outlet”.
 

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That antenna will only cover the VHF bands. Your Baofeng is VHF and UHF. The antenna from Amazon is so narrow you’re short changing yourself. You should be looking for a spring loaded NMO mounted no ground plane antenna that covers 140 and 440 bands basically from 136mhz all the way up to 520mhz to get the best out of your handheld. I suggest searching the Ham Radio sites, like “The antenna farm” and “Ham radio outlet”.
That does take into account most guys who run these radios use the typical frequencies pre programmed. All are VHF and that antenna is fine for that.

Then add in the fact most use only 1 or 2 of those channels that their group prefer or have programmed in a VHF channel.
When I tuned my antenna to the frequency my group uses there was a large swing above it and below it, so being able to transmit with the most power on my groups frequency meant compromising the rest of the VHF spectrum.

A VHF antenna is what most guys who buy a Rugged or a PCI will use and tuning it to the most used channel will gain the most distance. The OP did ask what antenna will get him the most distance. The generic answer is, an antenna timed to the frequency you use most. To cover all the spectrums will be a compromise.

Tim
 

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While I can mostly agree with your response, a proper antenna tuned to the full spectrum of frequencies available offers almost no compromise. My antenna covers the entire frequency range and after being properly tuned offers a reflected power range from 1.1:1 to 1.3:1 across the spectrum. That is no-compromise and will serve the needs of the OP no matter what frequency his group or he wishes to use. Cost difference between antennas is negligible so why wouldn’t the OP choose the right tool for the job?

That’s the reason I responded - to educate and offer an experienced opinion.
 

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I would like to point out , the OP title says

"Rugged Radios RM60 Antenna Replacement"




The RM60 is a VHF radio, not dual band.

While he mentions a Baofeng radio at the end, I believe there is much confusion that the RM60 is a rebranded Baofeng like the handheld Rugged sells. When in fact the RM60 is a radio Rugged has modified from a TYT 9000D in VHF.

So the point being, using a VHF UHF antenna is not going to work there.

As to your point about the SWR. Your number are very good and will yield good results over the band.

I still prefer to tune my radio to the frequency my group uses. When I did the swing was 10 to 20 watts from frequency I tuned to on my 75 watt QYT.

If you can show me how to get the peak wattage across all the 136 to 174 range I would appreciate that. The frequency I use is in 157 range.

Tim
 

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Apologies, I focused in on Baofeng. To address your antenna issue, the antenna requires a tuning session to get it correct. On a good single band antenna like you’re talking about, you should have no problem getting reflected power readings below 1.3:1 across the entire band. If you have never done this before it’s not difficult, it just requires the equipment and some time. To start, take readings at the lowest frequency you have programmed (like say 140), then take readings at the highest frequency you have programmed (like say 167). Then take a reading on a frequency that’s in the middle. Those numbers will tell you whether you have to lengthen or shorten the antenna to get the best SWR.
 

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*** Agreed, however determining the corresponding frequencies to named "race radio" channel names might not be intuitive. I'm not certain those frequencies can be displayed using RR's RM60 controls as can programmed named frequencies FCC compliant Baofeng Btech mobile units. While RR and PCI seem to prefer to hide those corresponding frequencies (last I looked), UTVCOM.com ("The Com") actually links those within their product pages as can be seen here.

The reason I mention this is that I attempted to extract programmed frequency data from an RR RM60 in January to program several Baofeng HT units with RR race frequencies for a friend's group in prep for their several days ride on the AZ Peace Trail, but was unsuccessful with limited time sitting in the owner's machine. I ultimately pulled those names/frequencies from various internet sites including the one linked above. Not for me though - I'l only use only VHF/UHF within the FCC compliant band plan are programmed in my radios!
 

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*** Agreed, however determining the corresponding frequencies to named "race radio" channel names might not be intuitive. I'm not certain those frequencies can be displayed using RR's RM60 controls as can programmed named frequencies FCC compliant Baofeng Btech mobile units. While RR and PCI seem to prefer to hide those corresponding frequencies (last I looked), UTVCOM.com ("The Com") actually links those within their product pages as can be seen here.

The reason I mention this is that I attempted to extract programmed frequency data from an RR RM60 in January to program several Baofeng HT units with RR race frequencies for a friend's group in prep for their several days ride on the AZ Peace Trail, but was unsuccessful with limited time sitting in the owner's machine. I ultimately pulled those names/frequencies from various internet sites including the one linked above. Not for me though - I'l only use only VHF/UHF within the FCC compliant band plan are programmed in my radios!
They absolute can be displayed, they are not a secret. The radio is capable of showing either but why? Its much easier to say switch to BFGPITS and not to 153.395.

While Rugged has had to change the frequencies they program in to comply with laws, the older radios are capable of showing all the frequencies.

I am not even sure of the point of your post.

I have pulled the frequencies out and programmed more radios for guys on here than I can remember, I have not had any issues and I don't have the Jason Born secret decoder ring.

I did chuckle at your virtue signaling while telling us you will program radios that are not FCC compliant. Thanks for the chuckle. . :ROFLMAO:

Tim
 

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They absolute can be displayed, they are not a secret. The radio is capable of showing either but why? Its much easier to say switch to BFGPITS and not to 153.395.

While Rugged has had to change the frequencies they program in to comply with laws, the older radios are capable of showing all the frequencies.

I am not even sure of the point of your post.

I have pulled the frequencies out and programmed more radios for guys on here than I can remember, I have not had any issues and I don't have the Jason Born secret decoder ring.

I did chuckle at your virtue signaling while telling us you will program radios that are not FCC compliant. Thanks for the chuckle. . :ROFLMAO:

Tim
Jason Born secret decoder ring? Sign me up, I want one!!!
 

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While I’m not intimately familiar with the RM60 this is the main reason I have no interest in buying a radio from Rugged. They certainly have a right to proprietary technology but not being able to program them with CHIRP as all Baofeng radios use that program annoys me. In addition, Rugged pulled the link to their pre-programmed frequencies on their website a while back. Thankfully I have a comprehensive list of available race frequencies (legal or not) from both Rugged and PCI. If the frequencies aren’t “secret” then why not have them available? I will look over the frequency list I have and determine the low and high for VHF and then you can manually put them in for testing and tuning purposes then delete as you see fit. While no one will ever say that Rugged Doesn’t have some of the most outstanding customer service, it does however come at a price. I have several of their products but a radio will never be one of them. When I do decide to upgrade to a more powerful radio (right now I have no real need) I will find something dual-band to take advantage of the UHF repeaters and other such frequencies that are “legal”.
 

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Chances are your version of CHIRP (if that was what you were using) may not have been compatible. Your version of CHIRP must be the same or greater version than what was used to program the radio or there can be issues reading it. Same thing with the Baofeng factory software versions. The RT Systems also has some of the same issues. Just a little tech tip.
 

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Interesting comments - all. Too many subsequent to multi-quote...

Just to clarify what I did with those Baofeng HT units (I own several too, since they're essentially cheap enough to be considered "disposable"). The mentioned SxS group was going out several days on the dusty AZ Peace Trail. Some machines had RR units with default programmed race freqs - others had no radio comms at all. Figuring, "safety first" to avoid a machine missing a turn while distanced from dust, the group leader asked and I agreed to program a number of Baofeng HT units purchased for that purpose. No FCC simplex nor duplex repeater freqs were programmed into those, since no users were licensed. I remain convinced that decision was prudent. YMMV...

As to using CHIRP, I'm very familiar and do routinely update the latest version on the Dan Planet site (free plug) before extracting or uploading new files. On the mentioned RR RM60 unit, the machine it was installed it was way out in the boonies with very limited time to familiarize myself with that model vs the similar chassis Btech model morphed from. In the end, my Btech programming cable with laptop couldn't extract RR's programming data in the limited time I had. Multiple comments found online (plus lack of transparency on RR's and PCI's website WRT actual programmed frequencies led me to believe the information is intentionally suppressed, thus my provided link to TheCom with "Bottom Line" to provide race channel names / frequencies for those whom might benefit from this thread...
 

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While I’m not intimately familiar with the RM60 this is the main reason I have no interest in buying a radio from Rugged. They certainly have a right to proprietary technology but not being able to program them with CHIRP as all Baofeng radios use that program annoys me. In addition, Rugged pulled the link to their pre-programmed frequencies on their website a while back. Thankfully I have a comprehensive list of available race frequencies (legal or not) from both Rugged and PCI. If the frequencies aren’t “secret” then why not have them available? I will look over the frequency list I have and determine the low and high for VHF and then you can manually put them in for testing and tuning purposes then delete as you see fit. While no one will ever say that Rugged Doesn’t have some of the most outstanding customer service, it does however come at a price. I have several of their products but a radio will never be one of them. When I do decide to upgrade to a more powerful radio (right now I have no real need) I will find something dual-band to take advantage of the UHF repeaters and other such frequencies that are “legal”.
I feel as though I mentioned the reason they are NOT DISPLAYED anymore as they are attempting to comply with the FCC. Lots of us have the frequencies in a csv format. I lost all mine ( COMPUTER CRASH) and will be getting them from one of my radios.
Tim
 

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What many don’t realize is there are literally a dozen or so frequencies both VHF and UHF that are legal to use all over the country that wouldn’t violate FCC regulations that aren’t programmed into these radios. I would be willing to bet if they were more “publicly known” they would be more utilized legally and more widespread. There have been several movements in the off-road community to do this, especially with Jeeps and Overlanders but it just never really took root. With PCI and Rugged being the top providers for equipment for the majority of the UTV market, it would be difficult to get many onboard as most have no idea how to program the radios they have. It’s a shame really but it is what it is. I propose we use one or two of these frequencies among the Maverick community utilizing PL codes, different for different uses to get the movement started again.
 

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The issue is when in Glamis there 100,000 people or more on a Holiday weekend. Of which 20 percent have a radio. Two points , one is there are not enough frequencies with 200 or so " typical" frequencies. Point number two is Glamis there is not much else near to interfere, I suspect that's why the FCC doesn't bother anyone.

I really see this a pretty minor issue and I suspect most do also. If it were a big concern the FCC would be citing people in Glamis. If it gets to that then maybe people will get on board.

Until then it seems like a more of the Barney Fife / neighborhood watch commander looking for jay walkers.

Tim
 
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