There are several factors to consider when buying an antenna to ensure you purchase the right one for your needs. The terms “gain” and “dBi” may seem confusing, but they are crucial in selecting the appropriate antenna. The gain of an antenna is a measurement of its ability to concentrate or direct radio frequency energy into a specific direction or pattern.
You can determine the suitable gain for your application by asking a few simple questions. First, where do you intend to use your antenna? Does the terrain consist of flat, expansive land or is it hilly and rugged? Is it intended for 4WDing or primarily for on-road driving? These questions will help you choose the right antenna for your vehicle.
High-gain antennas (8.2 dBi), which radiate the signal in a narrow, tight pattern along a straight plane, are ideal for flat terrain. They work best when the terrain is flat and there are few obstructions in the signal’s path, such as during a tour across the outback. GME’s AE4706/B or the AE4006 are high-gain antennas with a rating of 8.1 dBi and can be suitable options.
A medium-gain antenna (6.6, 5.11 dBi) has a wider, more rounded pattern. The signal is less likely to be blocked by objects such as trees, buildings, or mountains. This makes a medium-gain antenna a good choice for suburban and rural areas. GME’s AE4705/B and AE4018K1 are among the most popular medium-gain antennas.
A unity-gain antenna (2.1 dBi) is an antenna that outputs the same signal level as it receives. Its broad radiation pattern is less likely than other antennas to be blocked by hills, buildings, and bushland. A unity-gain antenna is the best option for rugged terrain. The AE4704/B antenna is ideal for rough terrain encountered during 4WDing. The AE4704B can also be purchased in a 4WD pack that includes GME’s venerable XRS 370C CB radio (XRS 370C4P).
This post was written by Justin Tidd, Director at Becker Mining Communications! For over 15 years, Becker Communications has been the industry’s leader in Mine Radio Systems and electrical mining communication systems. As they expanded into surface mining, railroads, and tunneling they added wireless communication systems, handheld radios, tagging, and tracking systems, as well as gas monitoring.