Super-M Ultra Ham Radio Antenna Review By Monitoring Times
In an extensive review conducted by Bob Grove of Monitoring Times Magazine, the MP Antenna HAM Radio Antenna was put to the test against four popular competitors antennas. Monitoring Times Magazine reported that the MP Antenna HAM Radio Antenna outperformed or equaled the competition seven out of eleven times across the entire spectrum with a listenability factor equaling or outperforming the competition ten out of eleven times. Both the Super-M Ultra Mobile and Base Station models were also found to have excellent performance over the 140-160 and 420-466 MHz ranges. Click here to read the entire review:
The Super-M Ultra Mobile Antenna
The new MP Antennas Super-M is a unique design. The original Super-M had three straight elements, equally spaced, and angled slightly outward from the base. This new model, however, has more elements for an expanded, continuous frequency coverage. The manufacturer claims extremely wide- band receive coverage – 25-6000 MHz (6 GHz)! For transmitting, it can accept up to 200 watts of RF power up to 512 MHz, and 100 watts above that frequency. Impedance matching for normal 50 ohm coax is best above 120 MHz, providing an average 1.6:1 to 1.8:1 VSWR continuously through 6000 MHz. Maximum height is 19 inches, with the top of the cluster of elements flaring out to a 12 inch diameter. Weight (minus the base) is a mere 5 ounces, yet the sturdy stainless-steel elements, firmly locked in place with set screws, provide reliable ruggedness with their low wind load at high road speeds. The standard NMO mount makes it a ready replacement for professional mobile whip ap- plications. A special magnetic-mount accessory is also available for no-hole attachment to a vehicle. The new, mobile-mount antenna is sure to draw attention; on a recent vacation trip, it was very clear the folks passing me on the interstate were sizing up the rooftop antenna. It was even more clear – when I parked for shopping, motels, or even at tourist attractions – that this antenna would draw attention and a lot of questions!
So how did it perform? Very well, indeed. The accompanying chart shows the relative signal strengths when measured on an ATTEN5011 spectrum analyzer. Signals do fluctuate, so these results are within +/-2 dB after three complete runs through the spectrum. The competition was shared among five magnetically-attached mobile antennas – the new MP Antennas Super-M Ultra Mobile antenna, the well-designed Austin Spectra, Austin’s revered Condor flex antenna, a generic multi-band VHF/UHF flex whip, and a simple 18” whip.
Interpreting the Results
So what do all these numbers tell us? The numbers are actual signal levels in decibels for various signals received at the frequencies shown. The highlighted readings show the strongest responses and the antenna(s) that provided them. the discriminating ear, even on the weakest signals. However, when a signal is mostly buried in noise, ringing it up several dB can make a difference.
In our test, the new MP Antennas Super-M outperformed or equaled the competitors seven out of eleven times across the spectrum. On two more frequencies, it was within 2 dB of the closest competitor hardly noticeable, if at all. So, in a practical sense, the “listenability factor” equaled or outperformed the other antennas ten out of eleven times.
The Super-M is also available as the Ultra Base for fixed installations. This sturdy yet lightweight (2.1 lb) model includes a drooping ground plane array making the maximum tip-to-tip antenna height 44 inches. The ground plane elements flare out at its base to a 33-inch diameter. The stainless steel wire elements provide a good combination of low wind load and rugged weather durability. It utilizes an NMO mount with a female N connector for the attachment of coax cable.
The clever design is essentially a modified discone with a top cluster of various-length elements to enhance harmonic response, thus dramatically increasing the bandwidth of the antenna over a continuous 100-6000 MHz swath of spectrum. Our transmit test showed it to have excellent performance over the 140-160 and 420-466 MHz ranges. The manufacturer’s lab tests show a VSWR averaging 1.2:1 to 1.6:1 over the entire advertised frequency range, with a minor 1.9:1 spike at 200 MHz, and only reaching 3:1 at 50 MHz.
MP Antenna, LTD. (http://www.mpantenna.com) is the exclusive developer and manufacturer of advanced Multi-Polarized antennas that are well-suited for a range of applications including public safety, wireless broadband systems, WiFi, WiMax, video monitoring systems, 3G, CDMA, GSM, PCS and LTE. The company’s product line improves signal penetration and connectivity in obstructed deployments providing increased data throughput, enhanced voice clarity and multi-path mitigation. MP Antenna’s products are protected under numerous US patents with many US and foreign patents pending. MP Antenna is privately held and designs and manufactures its products at their headquarters located near Cleveland, Ohio, USA.