Is an Open Coil Antenna Better?
For most applications in a big truck, a center loaded antenna is preferred. Like the Wilson 2000 or the K40 Trucker. These are all closed coil antennas. In other words, the windings of the antenna are enclosed in plastic. You must remember the perfect antenna is 102-inch steel whip on a 5-inch spring. Every other antenna, no matter what it looks like, is a simulation of the old steel whip.
The windings to achieve this effect are either open or enclosed. Now, to answer the question: Which is better? I prefer the closed coil antennas. Right now dealers are pushing the open coil antennas like the Black Widow and the King Coil. These antennas all have the same basic design. The coil is made of aircraft aluminum. Flat stock is welded to two pipes with plastic holding them apart.
Big, ugly and gaudy. You can see the antenna from one mile away. The advertising says that you can run 10,000 watts through them. Big numbers impress the drivers. Big price tags also make them sound great. They do work well, but here is the rub.
Your Cobra or Galaxy will put out from 5 watts to 150 watts. You will never get the antenna hot enough for the open coil to need air cooling. If the coil changes shape even a little bit, the SWR will change. Whereas in a closed coil antenna, the coil is rigidly held in place.
Open coils of aircraft aluminum will vibrate in the wind. Some drivers refer to this as singing in the wind. Snow and ice collecting on the coil will greatly affect the performance of the antenna. And lastly, these big antennas are stressful on the stud (you remember that connector that mates the coax to the antenna to hold it in place).
There is one rule for choosing an antenna for your truck. The simpler the better.
Next month, because there are more women drivers, I have asked Tina, my wife, to do an article for women drivers. So, ladies, send in your questions.
Written By: Stan Wells