What are the differences between the Wilson Drive OTR antenna and the RFI Q‑Fit® whip antenna?

Updated June 11, 2021

The Wilson Drive OTR antenna (311229) is the latest design in Wilson Electronics’ long line of mast antennas for commercial OTR trucks. The RFI Q‑Fit quick-release whip antenna (TS210701) has been used for years in the Australian Outback and has just recently become available in the United States.

Powerful Signal offers both of these antennas; this comparison will help you decide which one is best for your cellular reception needs.

Wilson Drive OTR antenna 311229 Wilson Drive OTR antenna
RFI Q-Fit 38-inch quick-release whip antenna RFI Q‑Fit quick-release antenna

Price

  • Wilson Drive OTR: $99.99
  • RFI Q‑Fit: $249.99

Because of its features and higher gain, the RFI Q‑Fit antenna is $150 more than the Wilson Drive OTR. (More on this below.)

How they’re similar

Some features of the Wilson Drive OTR and the RFI Q–Fit are identical or nearly identical. These include:

  • Antenna type: Omnidirectional mast
  • Operating frequency range: 698–2700 MHz
  • Works with vehicle types: Commercial/OTR trucks, RVs, service trucks, pickup trucks, and SUVs
  • Spring base: Included (use of the spring is optional on the Wilson Drive OTR)
  • Coax cable: Included (different cable types; similar lengths)

The Wilson Drive OTR and the RFI Q‑Fit are both capable antennas for the frequencies that will continue to be the backbone of cellular service for many years to come. Both may be used in similar types of vehicles.

Where they differ

Gain

Gain is how much the antenna increases the outside signal strength before sending it to the booster or the cell tower, measured in dBi (decibels over isotropic).

Frequency
Wilson Drive OTR
RFI Q‑Fit
RFI advantage
698–960 MHz
2.5 dBi
6.5 dBi
+4.0 dB (+250%)
1710–2170 MHz
3.8 dBi
4.5 dBi
+0.7 dB (+17%)
2300–2700 MHz
4.3 dBi
5.5 dBi
+1.2 dB (+32%)

The RFI Q‑Fit antenna has 2½ times the gain of the Wilson Drive OTR antenna in the lower bands of cellular frequency—the ones that travel the farthest and that you’re most likely to use in remote areas. The more signal the booster receives from the antenna, the more it can amplify. All other things being equal, the higher-gain RFI Q‑Fit antenna will give you stronger signal and a larger area of coverage inside your vehicle.

Construction

  • Wilson Drive OTR: ASA plastic (acrylonitrile styrene acrylate)
  • RFI Q‑Fit: Fiberglass

Both antennas are made of sturdy materials that withstand adverse weather conditions.

Antenna height

Wilson Drive OTR antenna mast extensions diagram The Wilson Drive OTR’s mast extensions allow you to choose your preferred antenna height.
  • Wilson Drive OTR: Modular (your choice of 13½″, 26½″, 31½″, or 41½″)
  • RFI Q‑Fit: Fixed (38″)

The Wilson Drive OTR antenna includes two modular extensions that allow you to set the mast to one of four lengths. This makes it more flexible for use with vehicles of different heights.

The RFI Q‑Fit antenna is a single, fixed piece. You need at least 38″ of overhead clearance above the spot where you mount it if you want to use it while you’re on the road.

Radiator Design

The radiator is the active part of the antenna that sends and receives signal to and from the cell tower.

  • Wilson Drive OTR: 7⅜″ × 2¾″ node at the top of the mast
  • RFI Q‑Fit: Entire 38″ length of the antenna

The Wilson Drive OTR has a node at the top of the mast that radiates signal. This allows you to connect the bottom of the mast below the roof line of your vehicle; the antenna will function as long as the radiator is above the roof line and has a clear line of sight all around it.

The RFI Q‑Fit antenna contains coupled Meander™ radiating elements that run the entire length of the antenna. These circuits provide stronger and more consistent gain, coverage pattern, and bandwidth. Because of this design, the RFI antenna works best when it has a clear line of sight from its base to its tip.

Mounting options

LTE Vehicle Antenna RFI Q-Fit Quick-Release 38-Inch Whip 6.5 dBi 698–2700 MHz TS210701 quick-release connector The RFI Q‑Fit quick-release connector. (Click to enlarge.)
  • Wilson Drive OTR: 3-way rail mount with ⅜″ × 24 thread (901104, included)
  • RFI Q‑Fit: 3-way rail mount with ½″ unthreaded hole (TS432110, sold separately or as an optional upgrade) or a fold-down “bull bar” mount (sold by phone); also includes a quick-release threaded spring mount

Both antennas use 3-way mounts that attach to a rail or ladder on your vehicle. The Wilson Drive OTR includes a standard ⅜″ × 24 thread CB mount, while the RFI Q‑Fit requires a mount with a ½″ hole for its threaded base.

The RFI Q‑Fit antenna has a threaded quick-release base that allows you to remove and reattach it easily. If you need to take down the antenna for low clearance areas (garages, drive-thru retail locations, etc.), the RFI antenna can be removed and set up in seconds, while the Wilson antenna is a permanent installation that can’t be removed without pulling out its entire length of cable.

Both antennas are compatible with the Top Signal MagMAX 3X magnet mount, if you have a steel roof or other surface on which you can mount it.

The RFI Q‑Fit antenna also has an optional “bull bar” mount that allows it to fold down instantly, parallel with the vehicle’s roof. (Contact Powerful Signal for more information.)

Coax cable

  • Wilson Drive OTR: 16.0′ LMR195
  • RFI Q‑Fit: 16.4′ RG58

Both antennas have similar lengths of thin, flexible coax cable that run to and connect to your cell phone signal booster.

The Wilson Drive OTR’s LMR195 coax cable has 25% less signal loss over its 16-foot run than the RFI Q‑Fit’s RG58 has over its 16.4-foot run. The RFI’s higher antenna gain compensates for that that difference, however, especially in lower frequencies.

Connector

  • Wilson Drive OTR: SMA-female (includes SMA-male and SMB-female adapters)
  • RFI Q‑Fit: FME-female (SMA-male and SMB-female adapters sold separately)

The cables on both antennas are terminated with connectors that can be threaded through a small 0.4″ (10 mm) hole.

The Wilson Drive OTR antenna includes adapters that will connect to cell signal boosters that use SMA or SMB connectors. If your booster has FME connectors, you’ll need an adapter (TS451036) to complete the connection.

The RFI Q‑Fit antenna’s FME connector can be adapted to SMA connectors (with TS451019) and SMB connectors (with TS387001).

Marine version

  • Wilson Drive OTR: none
  • RFI Q‑Fit: RFI Q‑Fit quick release marine antenna (TS210702)

RFI has a matching antenna in white with a marine mount for use on boats and ships.

Best uses

  • Wilson Drive OTR: When you need flexible antenna height
  • RFI Q‑Fit: When you want the best possible signal gain and/or easy setup and takedown

The Wilson Drive OTR is the better choice if you need a specific antenna height to meet clearance requirements, or if you can only run the antenna radiator 8 to 14 inches above the roof line of your vehicle. Wilson’s modular approach to its antenna design makes the Drive OTR the more flexible option for different setup needs.

The RFI Q‑Fit is the better choice is you want the best performance from your outside antenna and need to connect to the weakest and most distant cell towers. It’s also the best option if you need to remove your antenna for overhead clearance purposes.