Recently I spoke with Jim Wilson and he told me that Wilson Antenna is in the process of doing comparison tests between their Truck 5000 antenna and open coil as well as other trucker style antennas. They have been and will be testing the “Q” of the coil in these antennas. He tells me that this is the most accurate way to measure their efficiency.
The “Q” of the Trucker 5000 is around 900. This is quite impressive because according to Jim a “Q” of 1000 is considered near perfection, with no losses and obtainable in laboratory conditions. He went further running some numbers by me. I was surprised at the difference between the Trucker 5000 and its nearest competitor. Antennas that I thought quite highly about didn’t do as well as I expected!
Some of those open coil antennas look impressive and the advertising claims seem to make sense. We can’t always judge antennas on looks or advertising hype. Only the ability of the coil to radiate what’s put into it with minimal wasted power is the important factor. After all, the coil electrically lengthens the antenna allowing the antenna to be physically shortened from a quarter wave. Wilson’s goal has always been to make an antenna that is as close in performance to a quarter-wave antenna as possible.
An increase in sales of the open coil type antennas has made the Wilson people poll their dealer base. A great number of dealers told them their customers report better results, with this type of -antenna. Being concerned, Wilson decided to do a true comparison test. Some or most operators have been lead to believe that the match is the most important feature of an antenna, it isn’t, the gain is the top factor.
I can see how the misconceptions start because I’ve heard operators doing comparisons over the air. They didn’t always use the same radio at one end or the other. The location of the vehicle or antenna location on the vehicle wasn’t exactly the same. Also, who can say if the atmospheric conditions are the same from one day to the next? Tests of this type aren’t accurate no matter who comes out on top.