I was keen to get my hands on a set of the new Uniden Heavy Duty ATX range of antennas to see how easy they were to install, how well they matched up to my UHF and finally how good they were when I was out and about. When a marketing consultant emailed me about the new range, I was quick to find out if they would be happy to send me the ATX twin pack for me to try out. I’ve had one or the other mounted on my bullbar for the past 6 months now and thought it time to let you know my thoughts.
Installation was simple as far as the antenna base went and running the 4.5m low loss coax cable through my firewall was a doddle as well, mainly because I’ve done it so often and the grommet has a load of holes in it already. The only difficulty was due to the bash plates on the ARB deluxe bar. It would be nice if ARB could insert ‘nutserts’ that the bolts screw into instead of having to use two spanners in tight spaces to remove the nuts and bolts. Once the aerial cable was screwed into the UHF, a radio check was answered quickly. Job done.
I was sent the ATX970 Twin pack that contained dual removeable fibreglass raydome whips with a stainless-steel spring mount. The antennas are ground independent with one being 1.2m with 6.6dBi gain and the other a shorter 725mm with 3.0dBi gain. The taller 6.6dBi antenna is a good all-rounder, offering good coverage in flatter country and ok coverage in mountainous regions. The 3.0dBi antenna is perfect for hilly terrain or in the city as the aerial pattern radiates in all directions equally, albeit a shorter distance.
On a trip to Murray Sunset National Park the 6.6dBi was installed and I set the UHF to channel 40 to see how much chatter could be heard from the trucks travelling the Sturt Highway, over 40km away. I was suitably impressed with what I could listen to from around the Shearers Quarters Campground and even more so when the truckies could hear me when I asked for radio checks. On the corrugated tracks, I was a little disappointed with the amount of wobble on the spring mount and it became a distraction at times. When travelling the highways and byways, transmitting and receiving was clear over long distances as was expected.
In the Victorian High Country, while the 6.6dBi was capable, the 3.0dBi took the chocolates, proving its strengths in this type of terrain. As the leader of a convoy, even tail end Charlie was able to hear my chatter and me, his, even if I was at the bottom of a steep hill and he was at the top.
My final thoughts are that the ATX twin pack is a great option as it allows you to have the best opportunity to enjoy clear communication via your UHF in several varying situations. The only thing that annoyed me was the amount of antenna wobble in rough conditions and maybe the spring mount could be wound a little tighter, however the way a bullbar moves around on a Prado probably contributed as well.
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