Vehicle antennas for mobile broadband and mobile phone reception are made up of two general types – those which mount outside the vehicle such as on the bullbar, bonnet, ROPS, or roof, and those which can be installed neatly inside the vehicle to rebroadcast the repeater phone service.
For the external vehicle antenna, choosing the appropriate model is firstly about practicality – what mounting options exist for my vehicle. This governs the size and shape of antenna that can physically be installed. Once we know this we can then think about antenna gain.
No matter whether you’re driving a truck, car, campervan or bus, vehicle antennas are omnidirectional and have a gain between about 3 and 7 dBi. This gain pattern provides the optimal spherical shape in which the antenna can transmit – flat enough that most energy is directed towards the horizon, but tall enough to not lose signal when travelling through hilly areas.
The most important frequency for vehicles particularly when travelling in regional areas is that it is tuned for the low band 700 to 960 MHz. This lower frequency band travels much further and is much easier to pick up between hills and is the main band used for phone calls and internet.