1. In celebration of the launch of the new redesigned site, we just gave away a FREE antenna! Click Here to See Who Won!

Review: Battle of the Base Load Mobile CB Antennas

Discussion in 'CB Antennas' started by Robb, Nov 13, 2009.

  1. Robb

    Robb Yup

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2008
    Messages:
    8,153
    Likes Received:
    995
    I acquired a Sirio Z-180 for this test from a new member to the forum - "Russ". Russ is no newcomer when it comes to CB's. He has a bevvy of some of the finest current/past mobile DX or CB radios. In some cases - in triplicate! He will be writing the review from his end to follow - as to the quality of how well this antenna transmits to his receiver. The 'other' antenna in the 'battle' is the highly-acclaimed Wilson 1000. So; let it begin here...

    After reading a similar article on http://www.worldwidedx.com/cb-antennas/36834-best-mobile-citizens-band-radio-antenna.html on this forum, I had the opportunity to see just what all they hype is about. The Sirio is a base load-type antenna - as is the Wilson 1000. So don't get your nickers in a bunch if the 10k Predator or a 102-inch steel whip isn't mentioned here. This is about current and somewhat available base load antennas. The Wilson 1000 is readily available; whereas the Sirio Z-180 had been discontinued last year. Sirio has another antenna like the Z-180; it is the Sirio 5000 and it is currently available.



    I first became aware of the Wilson when I was still using a K-40, and I was never really impressed by the K-40. It was just 'OK'. I also got my Wilson from Russ. All it needed was some small repairs and a whip - which I ordered. When I put the Wilson on - I could instantly see a major difference in both TX AND RX. Blew the K-40 completely away. To say that I was impressed with the Wilson - is an understatement. Talking skip - no problemo...

    I used the same magnetic base for both antennas; the 5-inch diameter Wilson 1000 magnet mount. Neither Russ or myself are running linears for this test. I used a stock Galaxy DX99V with a Astatic D-104/M6 handheld mic. My vehicle is a '08 Honda CR-V. One might consider that although the S-units shown don't appear to be large, impressive numbers - it is because both Russ and I have continuous urban sprawl between our two locations. We were both transmitting from ground level with gobs of intereference between us...

    At first glance, the Sirio is about 12 inches taller than the Wilson. The base section uses up three of those 12 inches. It is light grey - and looks like the Avanti base load of older days. The stainless-steel whip diameter is MUCH greater than the Wilson; making the Wilson whip look flimsy by comparison. Overall height difference became apparent before too long. While driving around with the Sirio; I seemed to find more low branches on trees than the Wilson did. But it is sturdy in its construction; looking simple and all-business.

    I checked the SWR when I first put the Sirio on the mag mount. On channel 20, I got a 1.3 - and didn't feel the need to get it better. The Wilson had the same SWR; so it was pretty much equal before the contest began. They will both adjust whip height by selecting the proper Allen wrench and moving the whip upward/downward to fine adjust the SWR - if need be. The test was taken on last Tuesday, on ch 20. I did not test it for 10 meter operation; but I may add that test to this thread a little later on...

    I think it was at 2:30 PM/PST that we started the test. It's a good thing that we chose this time; as just three hours earlier skip was present and would have messed with the results. On the other hand; I know my Wilson had always been an outstanding performer when it comes to shooting skip. I would have liked to see how the Sirio would have done in that department. Russ began to speak and asked me which antenna I had put on - I was running the Sirio first. He hit me at 1 to 3 S-units -swinging- at a distance of about 9 miles from his driveway to my driveway. I then switched to the Wilson and got 1 to 2 S-units. Then, I repeated the switching of antennas a second time to make sure it was consistent. I also noted that the Galaxy was showing more watts swinging when I transmitted. I'm not quite sure what that means yet. Was it throwing more power out of the radio due to being more resonant? Or - was it because it was stifling the power? Hmmm...

    It swings. The Sirio has a bit more swing. 1 S-unit gain of RX is nothing to sneeze at. Although that gain was in the swing S-units, I knew that my sensitive and stingy Galaxy meter wasn't lying (Note: for these reasons, I chose the Galaxy above the other radios I own for this test. The Galaxy's receive is exceptionally sensitive - while the meter is stingy - but very accurate). When one considers that the Wilson has always been the most popular base load antenna; I realized the Sirio is all that it had been cracked up to be - just a touch better. This Sirio also appears to be of a very sturdy build quality - not a wimpy thing. Not fantastically better - but better all the way round. I thought they would have been the same. Nope! The audio seemed a bit clearer and louder with the Sirio. But not by very much...

    I think that the Sirio would be better off using a 7-inch magnetic base. The Z-180 is taller and heavier than the Wilson and needs to have better magnet support than I was providing with the 5-inch base. It is more top heavy because of the thicker-guage whip portion - which I consider a plus. I'm sure a tri-mag base would fill the bill - or perhaps be a bit overkill. The Wilson 1000 had 'wowed' me in the past as I drove across country this year. I talked skip and was extremely quiet when out in the boonies. Even around town; I felt the Sirio may have been a little bit more noise-sensitive than the Wilson. But not by a lot - very little if any. If skip would have been available; well...

    If you have a Sirio Z-180; then I think you have a slightly better antenna. I think that one can also be very satisfied with the Wilson - 'bang-fer-buck'. When new, the Sirio cost was about $65-70 - w/o the mag mount portion. A complete Wilson 1000 mag mount antenna sells for $65 new from Sparky's CB Shack - plus shipping. It really wasn't so much a 'battle' as it was a close horse race. If I had the chance to pick between these two before I got the Wilson; I may have well gone with the Sirio. If you have a Wilson; I wouldn't upgrade to the Sirio - unless it's a deal you cannot refuse. If you cannot afford a Sirio 5000; then a Wilson 1000 will serve you well. As it has for me; time and time again...
     
    #1
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2009
  2. Robb

    Robb Yup

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2008
    Messages:
    8,153
    Likes Received:
    995
    I talked to Russ this week; he has been too busy to reply to this thread - if you've all been wondering. He's gotten very busy at work, and has a family that comes first. So, we discussed the particulars of his end of this antenna match-up so that I could fill in the blanks for him now.

    Russ drives a late-model Dodge Caravan, it is a shiny sapphire blue. But it is better described as a rolling base station. He uses a Predator 10k for the antenna with premium RG-8 coax. A very clean install; the antenna is mounted square in the top/center of the vehicle. His preferred mic is the Astatic D-104/M6 'Minuteman' handheld; but occasionally uses a Road Devil, Sky Thumper, or a Turner Road King 56 from time to time. He also has a Texas Star 400 in there as well. But for the purposes of this test - it was shut off. The radio he used in this test is a barefoot Galaxy 949; a Sparky CB Shack-tuned radio.

    As I said earlier in the first post: Russ has been using CB's - since dirt was new. He prefers AM usage on the regular 40 channels - but from time to time also works SSB when skip is in and AM is too busy. He has a huge collection of mobile CB radios, most of them worked on by Doug at Custom CB. Sparky, and even Preacherman. All of these radios are excellent, and he expects excellence from the shops he does business with. And gets it; as he is a top customer.

    The Sirio was swinging his receive greater than the Wilson had done. At least 1/2 S-unit better on a dead key than the Wilson. The Sirio also had an extra S-unit better of swing than the Wilson. He also believes that the Sirio is the better performer - clearly.

    I talked skip in my mobile today, and made contact with WorldRadio148 in Anchorage Alaska on 38/LSB. Just like he was in the neighborhood; our conversation lasted five minutes and ended when I arrived at my home base. But this contact was made with the Wilson 1000. I plan on using the Sirio tomorrow in the mobile for skip conditions. If skip is in tomorrow, I will give further comments on its skip performance. I am quite curious to see if it matches up to my expectations; as I am very pleased with the Wilson's past and recent performance as far as skip talking is concerned.
     
    #2
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2009
  3. TonyV225

    TonyV225 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2005
    Messages:
    5,745
    Likes Received:
    251
    Ya know I also have several antennas here mostly Wilsons there just all around good antennas I had a 10K but it was the I believe 25 in shaft which was way to big I have a nugatron and a solarcon in the mix Ive ran them and always go back to the simplified less bulky wilson 5000 on the van and my wife runs a wilson 500 on her work car she uses it on 10-11 meters without a problem (with a tuner on her Kenwood TS-50).

    Ive read the claims of that sirio being an all around better antenna choice but in the few years they were available in the USA your the first person to actually test one. (y)
     
    #3
  4. Moleculo

    Moleculo Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2002
    Messages:
    8,427
    Likes Received:
    569
    Nice write-up. One thing about doing testing under skip conditions is that you pretty much have to do the comparison between antennas at the same time. If you wait until the next day, the conditions just change too much to give a fair comparison. You almost need to have both antennas ready to go on a coax switch and flip back and forth between them. When doing this with a mobile mag mount, try to get a buddy to help. When you flip the coax switch, have him take one down and set it on the ground and then put the other one in the same place. Make sure he's well clear of it when you key up, though :eek:.

    Where do you find these Sirio mobile antennas? I can't say that I've seen many of them around. Can you post a good pic or two of yours?
     
    #4
  5. Needle Bender

    Needle Bender Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 15, 2010
    Messages:
    927
    Likes Received:
    104
    I bet that Sirio has a better reactance product than that Wilson, and that's why it liked to output more overall swing.
    Most of those circuits have some rollback when the transmitter is unhappy (the more you output, the more it rolls back) and swr isn't as important as reactance, but you need a good MFJ-259B to test for it, even if the swr reads flat.
    If your antenna has a bad reactance and you tune it until the swr is low, then you have actually DE-tuned it for performance and instead now made it a servant of the swr meter not the wattage output.

    With it's shunted base coil the Sirio is a better bet for performance over even the Wilson 5000.
     
    #5
  6. since russ owns the sirio but uses a 10k on his mobile is it safe to say he feels for his install that the 10k is better than the wilson or the sirio ?
     
    #6
  7. Highlander_821

    Highlander_821 Amour d'Ecosse

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2005
    Messages:
    1,068
    Likes Received:
    14
    Who has these antennas for the best price/reasonable shipping?
     
    #7
  8. Robb

    Robb Yup

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2008
    Messages:
    8,153
    Likes Received:
    995
    Actually, I just swapped my Xtreme2018 mic for Russ's Sirio. Russ wanted my mic; and I wanted that antenna. I interchange between the Sirio and Wilson if I am going storm chasing. The Wilson offers less wind resistance and is less top-heavy. But the Sirio is really an excellent antenna - just better than the Wilson.

    Russ will switch from the Predator to a few other antenna he has in his arsenal. He also uses a Wilson Silver Load, a Wilson 2000, or even the Wilson 1000. Surprisingly, that Wilson SilverLoad can keep up with the best of them from what I hear from my end. He doesn't even run any Sirio at this time. He runs with the Predator about 80% of the time. That, and his 2m/440 antenna too.

    http://www.sirioantenne.it/antennecat.php?idg=1008171169&idc=1008171255
     
    #8
  9. W5LZ

    W5LZ Crotchety Old Bastard

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2005
    Messages:
    6,834
    Likes Received:
    726
    Reactance is very handy if it's in the right place. An antenna is not the place to have any 'unneutralized' reactance if you can help it, it just does not do anything good there. That does not mean that you can't have no reactance and a low SWR, that's just a well tuned antenna. Both resonance and impedance matching are required for a well tuned antenna. Resonance deals with reactance, impedance matching deals with SWR.
    - 'Doc
     
    #9
  10. jazzsinger

    jazzsinger Bullshit Buster

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2008
    Messages:
    1,710
    Likes Received:
    259
    Not sure exactly which model the z180 is,but i'm thinking its a renamed european version for the us market.possibly hp4000 or megawatt 4000,both of which i've used extensively for dx,both static mobile and mobile.

    i wouldn't swap them for any other mobile antennas as they work superb,they may not be as well built as wilsons or k40's but outperform both,only mobile antenna it won't outperform available here is the quarter wave steel whip,possibly the predator 10k from what i've heard from a reliable source,but not having used a 10k myself it would be unfair to pass judgement on it.

    For the money they are first class antennas,albeit they have seriously over exaggerated power handling claims,i would think about 300 odd watts is close to their limits.As for stated gain thats just ridiculous in a loaded whip,which i notice sirio have stopped doing on their website,wasn't that long back sirio catalogues were quoting them at around 5dbi gain,not sure what drugs the printers were smoking but i'd sure love to know their supplier.

    As long as you have realistic expectations of them you certainly won't be disappointed.if your a mobile station running a couple of hundred watts then they are well worth considering,i've worked australia on 18w pep from a barefoot pres jackson on them and s.america/s.africa too many times too recall as well as numerous trips stateside and into canada,always with very high s reports.they ain't the best mobile antennas but are far from the worst,and are just about the right physical size to use whilst mobile unlike the quarterwave whip which is a bit extreme whilst moving but ideal static.they are also very reasonably priced which is a big selling point of them,although recently imports from europe have increased in price thanks to our government and the us government amongst others playing a major role in f@cking up world economy.
     
    #10
  11. Highlander_821

    Highlander_821 Amour d'Ecosse

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2005
    Messages:
    1,068
    Likes Received:
    14
    I'm having a bother trying to find them for sale new in the states.

    It seems like someone has maybe made off with my Wilson 1000. If I have to replace it, I'd rather go with the Z180 if I can find one for a reasonable price.

    Otherwise, I'll just get another W1000....
     
    #11
  12. bob85

    bob85 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2005
    Messages:
    2,159
    Likes Received:
    200
    has anybody got an actual pic of the z180 so we can see which sirio it is?
     
    #12
  13. Robb

    Robb Yup

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2008
    Messages:
    8,153
    Likes Received:
    995
    Here is a picture of the Z-180.


    The whip length is 6'2" to 6' 4".
    The diameter of the whip is about 25% larger than the Wilson 1000/5000
     

    Attached Files:

    #13
  14. bob85

    bob85 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2005
    Messages:
    2,159
    Likes Received:
    200
    thanks rob, never seen that antenna before, its similar to a sirio hp4000 but not the same.(y)
     
    #14
  15. #15

Share This Page