Gear Review: GME UHF Aerial Radio Antenna

John Ford — 15 August 2022
A quality UHF radio might be the best accessory any caravanner could buy.

Keeping in contact with other road users, especially truck drivers, to communicate your intentions can save a lot of aggravation out on the open road. Calling a faster truck around to overtake is good road manners and the safe thing to do.

We have had a GME radio matched to an AE4705B aerial whip on most of our vehicles over the years, but the one on our current Landcruiser suffered a nasty stone impact and was almost cut in half. However, the internal electronics seemed to be still intact, so I managed a temporary fix out on the road with a short length of threaded rod and some gaffer tape I had with me, and the radio seemed to work okay, but a new one was in order.

GME makes the aerial at their western Sydney factory, and they are as tough as you can get for rough outback roads. Corrugations play havoc with anything bolted to the vehicle, so accessories must be bulletproof. 

The AE4705 system uses a hefty duty base with an elevated feed built into the aluminium base, meaning the aerials are ground independent and can be mounted anywhere suitable. However, most owners seem to opt for mounting on the bull bar. The whips are A Radome construction with the radiating element inside a robust fibreglass shield. 

The AE4705 base allows for different whips that can be unscrewed and swapped between three different lengths depending on the travel conditions. The forward gain in relative decibels rates aerial whips, and in simple terms, each is rated by dbi. This measurement reflects the antenna's beamwidth characteristics, and the higher the gain, the narrower the beamwidth. A high gain antenna will transmit and receive further, but it will have more interference from any physical barrier. 

The radical-looking 2.1m, high gain AW4706B at 8.1dbi will be effective in open terrain. However, in mountainous terrain or close distance transmission, the low gain and more unobtrusive 58cm AW4704 at 2.1dbi might suit better.

We replaced the broken mast with the general purpose 4705B whip, which, at 1.2m long, is rated to 6.6dbi. 

Installation was simple. The aerial screws into place, and an Alan key locks it into the base. 

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