So we have been on the lookout for a reasonably priced antenna for the C5c, we use several different antennas, but we needed a replacement for our Blunder on the AirFiber front. (Bad research, things are setup at 45 degree slant making the antenna worse then a C5). Basically it filled in the range of 2.5 and 4 mile shots that were too hard for a C5, but not quite worth a $350 radio + antenna install.
The trouble is that we wanted an entire package, ~23 DB Gain, Dish (Flat Panel antennas were not isolating enough), Under $120 and an all important Radome (wind and hail kills more of our antennas then most anything else). Not many options, especially because higher then 23 DB and the Radome comes separate and increases the cost.
After months of fighting and hunting, I came across this little bugger.
For the low low price of $60, less then the AirFiber, we are getting a simple antenna that hits all the bullet points. At least in theory.
Here is what we have seen after setting up 2 of them.
Assembly: Rating: 2. There are no instructions and the only part that is assembled it the horn, it’s not too complicated to figure out where everything goes, but it defiantly takes trial and error. Hint: rotate the horn 90 degrees in any direction from vertical and your life will be easier.
Look and Feel: Rating 1. I knew I was ordering cheap antennas, but geez, if you like your antenna connectors to be protected (especially the RP-SMA connectors on the C5c) this is not the antenna for you. We are fiddling with various ideas for adding protection, but at the moment we are relying on a liberal use of mastic tape. Overall this is a cheap antenna and one of the dishes arrived pretty well banged up (superficial, but we are still unhappy). We are looking at RMAing it, but are not terribly hopeful.
Alignment: Rating: 3. I have spent a good portion of my life playing with radios, aligning antennas is one reason I know I wont ever be fired. This is better then many Ubiquiti antennas I have had to deal with, but no where near a nice alignment job.
Performance: Rating: 4. So far we are seeing 10 - 15% better RSSI on antennas that we replaced an airFiber antenna with one of these. We have a 3.4 mile new client who we connected at -61 and so far all has been good.
Overall, a 10/25. For the price it is hard to expect better, but if you need the extra bit of isolation and gain over the C5 then this is probably the antenna for you. Otherwise, don’t be a cheapskate like us.
We have had these antennas up for ~2 weeks so far, if stuff hits the fan I will do a followup post, but I think we have a new ~3 mile antenna.