TRAM 1480 Dual Band Antenna

I was looking for an inexpensive dual band VHF/UHF antenna to use with my go box radios.  I came across a dual band antenna from TRAM on Amazon that was half the price of similar Diamond and Comet dual band antennas.

The specs for the Tram were advertised as follows:

Gain:                                    6 dB on 2m or 8 dB on 70 cm

VSWR:                                Less than 1.5:1

Frequency Range:             144-148 Mhz and 430-450 Mhz

Polarization:                      Vertical

Impedance:                        50 Ohm

Configuration:                   5/8 Wave 2 Element (2m) and 5/8 Wave 4 Element (70cm)

Power Capacity:               200 Watts

Connector:                         UHF Female

So I ordered one and in a few days I had it in hand.  It was 48 bucks and it was free shipping.  Not a bad price at all.

The antenna was packaged nicely and arrived in good condition.  The antenna was shipped in two pieces that were less than 54 inches long.  Assembled the antenna is just over 8 ft. at 98 inches long.  (Click on the thumbnails to enlarge the photo)


The antenna is very similar in design to the Comet antennas and uses the same mounting system as the Comet antenna with a aluminum sleeve at the bottom of the mount with extruded aluminum brackets and stainless steel U-bolts.  It was all neatly packaged and all the parts were there.

tramdualband-2The antenna requires assembling the two sections using a Allen setscrew.  The required Allen wrenches are supplied with the antenna and the assembly is very easy.  With a pair of needle nose pliers you pull the center radiator out of the top section and connect it to the pin on the bottom section.

The two sections are shown here, the bottom on the right and the top on the left.


Shown here with the two sections joined with the setscrew.


Then slide the innards back into the antenna and tighten the coupling nut that seals the two halves of the antenna.


Then add the radials, the mounting sleeve, and clamps and attach it to your mast.


The TRAM Dual Band Antenna assembled and ready for SWR testing.

I mounted the antenna on a tripod and attached a 50 ohm coax cable and the MFJ Antenna Analyser.  Below is the VSWR I measured at several frequencies across the bands:

Frequency SWR Note
144.0 2.3:1
144.5 2.1:1
145.0 1.8:1
145.5 1.6:1
146.0 1.4:1
146.5 1.3:1
147.0 1.3:1
147.5 1.2:1 Low SWR @ 147.4 mhz
148.0 1.3


Frequency SWR Note
440 1.4:1
441 1.3:1 Low SWR @ 441.4 mhz
442 1.4:1
443 1.5:1
444 1.5:1
445 1.6:1
446 1.7:1
447 1.7:1
448 1.7:1
449 1.7:1
450 1.6:1

Well, so much for the VSWR Spec!  The SWR reads a bit high on the MFJ.  The FM portion of the 2 meter band seems to be pretty useable and the lower section of the UHF where one transmits seems to be usable.  In a functional test with a FT-8900 there was no problems.  I could hit the repeaters just find and I could get into the 2 Meter packet nodes with no problem.  The rig didn’t show any issues with the antenna and it performed nicely.

All in all, not a bad antenna for 48 bucks.

3 Comments so far

  1. Agin Cajun on December 9th, 2018

    This review will be as useless to you as all other reviews about the TRAM/Browning 1480 antenna.

    Bottom line: It has served me very, very well for over 7 years, withstanding several hurricanes and inclimate south central Louisiana weather.

    The reviews I have read are full-spectrum; from extremely satisfied, proud owner to disgusted, vile miscreant dissatisfaction. Some even blame Tram for using radials of such high quality metal that they are difficult to bend back straight after the “expert” allowed his/her antenna to collapse. Strange! When I am in doubt, I take my antenna down from the mast and voila! – never bent a radial.

    Look, if you want to get on 2m, 70cm on a budget, you can do alot worse than this model. The evidence of that is that is is now being marketed by several other companies like Diamond, Comet, Workman and who knows who else. Realize that every ham thinks he/she knows everything about anything dealing with electromagnetics, yet are hard-pressed to set SWRs. Do your own research, read the assembly manual BEFORE assembling, put it as high as you can and go for it. Get it in the air ASAP and if it doesn’t work out for you, return it; but don’t use a broad-brush to paint a model with a negative color. 73

  2. David K7GYB on December 5th, 2019

    I have used this antenna for 4 years. Its performance in my case is contingent on weatherproofing. I had better VSWR readings when new only to find they go up if moisture incursion is not addressed. I took it down off the mast and dried it out by disassembling it, letting it dry thoroughly and then assembling it using silicon tape on the hardware connecting the multi-sectioned raydome, covering that with electrical tape and then polishing the fiberglass with auto polish to help protect it from the elements. Worked fine until my house burned down. Plan to get another with the caveat of making sure it is completely invulnerable to the elements especially if you live in an area where there is high amounts of rainfall.

  3. Re Rose on May 2nd, 2020

    I have a Tram 1480, and it is serving me very well for a year now, but note the previous Tram 1480 stopped working after about 6 months. My SWR (measured with an MFJ antenna analyzer) went from between 1.3 to 2.0 across both bands to over 19. UNclear what was wrong, I took the antenna down and tested every part of it using a dummy load when necessary. Turns out the connector at the bottom of the Tram (at the feedline point) was bad – it had loosened. Happily, the dealer replaced the antenna, the replacement has been rock solid. IMHO, I think Tram does less quality-control and so some of their antennas may have poorly-made connections or components. So, you may have to do some analysis if things go wrong, and in many cases, things go right 🙂