Harris Race Radios

NZ and AU leading supplier of Motorsports Communications


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Harris Motorsport Arial Antenna

Motorsport Arial Antenna.
Motorsport Aerials- Antennas are a total science unto themselves. they are one thing that can make or brake a Motorsport Communication system. The correct motorsport Arial is the most important factor, Harris Race Radios have the tools an knowledge to make sure you get the correct antenna. Not all antenna’s are created equal, a Motorsport Arial is not the same as used on a longhal truck.
Length and type of Motorsport Arial can make a huge difference to your radio systems performance. 

It is important when purchasing a Antenna that the frequency being used by the radios matches the design frequency of the antenna. This can require the assistance of a Radio Engineer, Harris Race Radios are your professional Radio Engineers. We are RSM Approved Radio Engineers.

Harris Antenna on a supercar

Antennas are used to send and receive frequency signals. Very high frequency (VHF) and ultrahigh frequency (UHF) antennas are designed to transmit and pick up different ranges of frequencies in the broadcast spectrum. … VHF antennas do not transmit and receive the same channels as UHF antennas. They can not be mixed.

A VHF antenna will not work on a UHF radio and summarily a UHF arial will not work on a VHF radio.

Harris Race Radios are qualified Radio engineers, if you don’t know what is needed get the help of an expert. Ask one of our qualified radio engineers to check you aerial installation with our special Motorola Wattmeter, Bird SWR meter, and HP Spectrum analyser.

Radio spectrum analyzer
Harris Racer radios HP Spectrum analyzer allows us to certify that everything has been set up correctly.
Harris Race Radio Engineers Motorola watt and RSM meter.
Harris Race Radios inline Watt and VSWR Meter, allows us to tune your antenna for maximum efficiency.

These are just some of the tools we use to check the performance of your radio systems & Motorsport arial.

 Questions If your not sure ask one of our radio engineer, at Harris Race Radios, advice is free. 
Question: What is the difference between UHF & VHF.

Answer : The VHF wave length is longer and works in and around objects such as trees, hills, etc. UHF has a shorter wave length and works best in line of sight but passes better through buildings etc.    VHF is usually used in aviation, marine, Rallying and off road environments. For road racing, UHF has a better ability to travel through things, i.e. metal, concrete, etc., it is also less susceptible to interference.

Question : Are VHF and UHF Antennas different ?

Answer : VHF and UHF antennas are different, if you use the incorrect arial the system won’t work very well. 

Question : For Motorsport Racing, Do I Need An External Roof Mount Antenna? if your not sure Contact Harris Race Radios.

Answer : Yes an External arial will work best. There are (2) different types of systems.

1/ If you have a tin top car, you need the standard coax Antenna which uses the roof as the ground plane. 2/ If you have a fiberglass or carbon fiber car you will need to use a ground plate under the antenna or a good Ground plane independent arial system, so make sure to order the correct Antenna system If you have any problems call Harris Race Radios. General rule of thumb for any radio is, the higher the antenna position, the longer the distance that can be covered. That being said, unless done properly an external antenna may not be better than the existing Antenna on the Radio. For tin top cars, the top of roof is a great location. Some cars can sometimes get away with the antenna on the radio as long as the Radio is positioned high enough with the Antenna pointing up.

As a general rule of thumb use a Harris Race Radios professional ground plane independent external antenna they are specially designed as a Motorsport arial. 

Question : What should I do if I have Extra Coax cable?

Answer : Get a radio engineer at Harris Race Radios to make the cable the correct length.

NEVER NEVER NEVER take the extra coax and wrap it up with a zip-tie (Antenna Loop)! Run it around in the car and away from power sources. Keep cable ties loose, a tight cable tie will damage the arial cable.

Question : An often asked question “Our team radios work perfect in the pits but not when the car is on the track” why?” 

There are 2 usual causes of poor performance on the track 1/ there is a faulty or incorrect antenna fitted.  2/ the in car noise is not being canceled when the car is on the track, so you just cant understand what is being said.

See above (coax loop is the #1 issue we see). Next, make sure the antenna ground is good and you are running the correct antenna setup (tin top vs. fiberglass and UHF vs. VHF).

Check the mic location in helmet kit and crew headset (see Helmet Install). Again, we see this over and over… The mic must be touching your lips!

Check to see if the coax is broken (Ohm Meter) from the Gold tip at the BNC in the car to the roof top removal connection.

Question What Is VHF used for ?

Answer : VHF is more used in Off Road and Off Shore racing and has a greater range over water and through trees, but not so good through buildings and cars.

Question : How close can we mount two antennas?

Answer : With most questions of this nature, there is an easy answer and a not so easy answer. The easy answer is that you mount them as far apart as posable, you should maintain a minimum mounting distance of at least 1/4 wavelength ( about 1 x arial length ) apart for the lowest frequency antenna within the same horizontal plane. For VHF antennas, that translates to roughly 19 inches. In Motorsport on racing cars there is often pressure to mount close as possible, as a rule resist this pressure and consult a radio engineer, Harris Race Radios.

At Harris Race Radios we have developed a special ground plane independent (no need for copper plate), Motorsport arial especially suited for use with Digital Motorsport radios. 

What is an antenna ground plane?

As the name indicates the antenna ground plane acts as a simulated ground. It is found that for a monopole antenna like a quarter wavelength vertical, the ground acts as a plane to reflect the radio waves so that an image of the top half of the antenna is seen in the Earth. It is possible to simulate this function by replacing the real earth with a conducting plate. To function as an antenna ground plane, the conducting (copper plate )surface must extend for least a quarter wavelength from the base of the antenna.

Vertical antenna (monopole) with solid ground plane
Vertical antenna (monopole) with solid ground plane

In reality it is not necessary to have a full circular conducting plate for a ground plane. This could be difficult to manage but the closer you get the better it works.

A bad coaxial cable or an improperly mounted antenna can restrict two-way radio range from miles to feet. 

Mounting your antenna properly determines the range of your two-way radios. Radios transmit the most range with a ground plane and our 3db gain racing antenna. An aluminum roof with an antenna mounted in the center – with no obstructions (roof rack, light bar) 18″ in every direction will provide the farthest range.

If you have a roof rack, light bar, you are mounting to a tube or roll cage and will not have a “ground plane” for your antenna – you need to exchange your 3db gain racing antenna for a “No Ground Plane Antenna.”

If you have a roof rack – always mount your antenna at the highest point of the roof rack and use our No Ground Plane Antenna.

No Roof? Pick a spot in the middle of the vehicle. The intersection of tubing can help act as a ground plane. Mounting the antenna to a corner triangle tab, using our No Ground Plane antenna will work best.

Do not run radio coax and intercom helmet cables in the same wire loom. RF can bleed over when transmitting, putting noise into the system. Never run coax or radio power cables near MSD or other ignition equipment. They create noise! If the coax is close to the MSD, the RF bleed can be so powerful it can actually turn the vehicle off!

When tie wrapping the coax to the frame, be gentle! Do not crush the coax. If your coax looks flattened, kinked, frayed or worn, replace it. A $29.95 part can ruin thousands of dollars you have invested in a great communications system, don’t ruin it.