Workman Magnetic Mobile Antenna (KRDB)

I originally purchased several of these back in 2013 based on some good reviews that the antenna had gotten. When I first started to use it I thought it looked a little “boxy” and “put together with parts” vs. “designed and built.” But, I thought I would give it a try. Oooppppssss…

Now you're talking!

Now you’re talking!

About a year ago I noticed that one of the units had a broken piece of plastic on the base. I thought I might have damaged it in some way. I knew it wasn’t due to exposure to the elements because it has been stored for use when needed. That need hasn’t developed yet. I was disappointed to be sure and I set the antenna aside to work on it at some later date.

Today I went to do some antenna testing of the Baofeng UV-5RA radio vs. the Baofeng UV-5RMHP radio. I got a variety of antennas to compare SWR and power to see which radio was more efficient. When I retrieved the magnetic mount Workman KRDB antenna I saw that it had a broken piece no the base as well. I got the original Workman, and sure enough, the Antenna Workman mobile antennabroken pieces matched each other. I had one more of the Workman antennas and it too had the same broken piece.

This antenna is made by Electronic Products, Inc.. The company is listed as being located in Delta, Ohio but the antenna is made in China. Yeah, big surprise there!

Now that shows a clear design and engineering flaw as well as very poor quality materials. So now I have to look for a way to not lose my $105.00 worth of antennas. I am working on a “fix” and will keep you posted.

Piece of the base breaks off to expose the entire insides of the base.

Piece of the base breaks off to expose the entire insides of the base.

Based on just the design, engineering, quality of materials, and the fact that 3 out of 3 have broken…yeah, no doubt about it.

The piece that broke off on all 3 of the antennas is almost exactly the same.

The piece that broke off on all 3 of the antennas is almost exactly the same.

“Do Not Buy!”

Thumbs Down ReviewNote: I will provide the “fix” article tomorrow.

 

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RIGrunner 4005H Power Distribution Unit

note: article first appeared in May 2016

Sometimes you just stumble onto a great piece of equipment. Sometimes you do it completely unaware of you needing that piece of equipment. Sometimes you are pleasantly surprised at the quality of that piece of equipment.

“Yes!” to all three of those when it comes to the West Mountain RIGrunner 4005H.

Over the last year and a half I have been working a whole lot on some great power projects. Correction, sometimes they have been radio projects but those too needed power. Years ago I standardized on Anderson Powerpoles for connecting all things power when it came to my radios. It seemed that every mobile radio I purchased had a different way to connect to a power source. And as you know, I like standardization…a lot.

Why? Because it makes things more inter-operable. And that applies to MOLLE tactical vests and pouches or radio rigs and power supplies. The solution became obvious to me early on that Anderson Powerpoles made the most sense.

Especially considering it makes it virtually impossible to cross-polarize your power. I like “dummy-proof” systems!

Using Anderson Powerpoles gives me a solid connection every time and makes it clear when connecting positive to positive and negative to negative. Gone! Were the scrambling around to figure out how to connect this or that radio to this or that power? They all had Anderson Powerpoles and naturally connected effortlessly.

To generically distribute power in my Power-Box project I used a simple Powerwerx PD-4 unit. Any one set of the Anderson Powerpoles going in supplies the power, three sets distribute the power to whatever device needs it.

Two drawbacks –

  1. There are only three outlets for devices to hook to for a power supply.
  2. There are no fuses to protect the devices from any power problems.

The West Mountain RIGrunner 4005H solves that problem very easily and rather gracefully. Yeah, I just used the term “gracefully” when talking about electronics. But, I am serious, this sweet little unit just matches that terminology to me. It is simple, clean, effective, efficient, and looks great.

But, notice I have yet to state the mission? Almost criminal on my part based on my long-standing advocacy of always having a mission for any piece of gear or equipment. So here it is –

“A cost effective method of distributing fuse protect 12vDC power to a variety of electronic devices using standard Anderson Powerpoles.”

Once again, I did my background research pretty well. I looked at available options, their features, and reputation. It was clear from the get-go that the RIGrunner was the choice.

This is the second product I’ve purchased from West Mountain Radio. I purchased the PWRgate PG40S Auto-Switch previously so I had a good feel for the overall quality of West Mountain Radio products. West Mountain didn’t disappoint me.

Let’s look at some information directly from their website…

Manufacturer Description –

RIGrunner is the most convenient and safest way to connect all of your DC equipment to a power source. It uses the excellent Anderson Powerpole® connectors, standardizing all of your DC connections. This RIGrunner can deliver up to 40 amps total through 5 outlets and is available with side mounted Powerpole® connectors. Side mounted connectors enable horizontal mounting. Works equally well for 6V, 12V, 24V and 48V systems. Operates at 40 amp continuous duty with 5 outlets in operation. 

Specifications –

Overall Dimensions (maximum, w/o cables):  1.4″ H x 7″ W x 3.0″ D
Weight:                                                             6 3/4 oz.
Voltage:                                                            Positive up to 48 VDC
Maximum total current:                                    40 amps
Maximum single individual outlet current:        40 amps (fuse protected)

Construction

  1. Built in USA to IPC-610 commercial manufacturing standards by an ISO9002 facility.
  2. Printed circuit board .062 FR4 material, extra heavy 3oz. copper, with greater than 1″ wide high current traces.
  3. Double sided, plated through holes, solder mask over bare copper, silk screened commercial grade printed circuit board.
  4. Enclosure: .062 aluminum, with attractive and extremely durable powder coat painting and clear silk screen labels.
  5. Power connectors: exclusively Anderson Power Products®Powerpole®.
  6. Connectors are arranged according to the ARES/RACES standard (see our links).
  7. Fuses installed are standard ATC/ATO automotive fuses available in 10 values from 1 to 40 Amps.
  8. Stainless steel hardware with PEM™ threaded mounting standoffs.

So, since the real meat of this unit is on the inside…naturally I had to open it up.

This puppy was a clean and graceful on the inside as it was on the outside. But, let me give some details –

  1. The case is solid and of a sufficient weight/strength/thickness to protect the sides from damage under any reasonable conditions.
  2. Two screws hold the case in place and can be easily removed to access the inside.
  3. Once inside the first thing I noticed was the quality look to the board. By quality I mean the board was clean, obviously well made, and the solder was first rate.
  4. I started poking around at the various components and they were all tight and securely soldered to the board.
  5. The Anderson Powerpoles themselves were tight and solidly connected to the board.

And then I noticed this…

The folks at West Mountain put their actual call signs on the board to show who it was made by. Now, that may not be a big thing to you, but to me knowing that Hammers were behind the design and manufacture of this unit just gave me a sense that it was done right by people who know.

The unit was easy to put back together and gave me that quality “feel” once again. This unit is made for real-life field operations.

So, was there anything that could be better about this unit? You know…the “Cons” side of things. Yes, two –

  1. The unit is not weather proof, not even weather resistant. This unit must be installed where it is protected from the elements. Rain, dust, snow, etc. can relatively easily enter the case and reach the board. I suppose you could silicone seal around the blade fuses and the Anderson Powerpoles to make it almost weather tight. So that is something to take into consideration. However, my applications do not require “weather-proof” or “weather-resistant” ratings so this is no big deal to me.
  2. Let me show you how picky I can be. The power outlets are clearly marked “1” – “5” with no problem correlating the fuse to the outlet. But, then I noticed the “DCIN” label. I was not really paying attention and trying to figure out what “DCIN” meant. About a second later, and a darkening red face, I realized that was the DC power inlet fuse. Yeah, sorry, mini-bran fart on my part. So I would rather see “DC IN” vs. “DCIN” and yes, I know it is extremely picky.

Occasional Issue –

I never have experienced this myself but I did read where a couple of folks made the comment that on the rare occasion the Anderson Powerpoles separated from the unit. Not the ones mounted to the board, but the Powerpole (from the cable) plugged into the unit’s Powerpole seperated from the box connection. I tried like heck to get mine to separate by pulling on them and no success. OK, well that isn’t entirely true. They did separate but only as designed after apply considerable separating force to do so.

However, I wanted to make sure I included a “fix” just in case you might worry about that occurring in your set-up. So step-by-step…

Standard Anderson Powerpole connection example.

 

Used my punch and removed the roll pin from the connectors.

 

Got out one of my retention clips to stabilize and reinforce the connection.

 

The final product with the retention clip securely holding the connectors together.

Now, if you were still really worried about (i.e. obsessed) the connection, you could put a spot of Superglue on the retention clip. That would hold those puppies together through anything! Alternatively, you could wrap a piece of electrical tape around the retention clip a couple of times and that would hold the clip in-place as well. Problem (if there ever was one) solved!

Summary –

This is a great piece of equipment that functions flawlessly. On top of all that, it is solid, and will do the job for you. This product is an unquestioned

                          “BUY!”                              

< click here to go to West Moiuntain website RigRunner page >

 

Related Articles –

  1. Super PWRgate PG40S Auto-Switch

 

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No reproduction or other use of this content 
without expressed written permission from AHTrimble.com
See Content Use Policy for more information.