What are the differences between the Wilson Drive OTR antenna and the RFI Q‑Fit® whip antenna?
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.
This comparison includes the 38″ RFI Q‑Fit antenna. This antenna is also available in a 29″ model with less gain.
- Wilson Drive OTR: $119.99
- RFI Q‑Fit: $249.99
Because of its features and higher gain, the RFI Q‑Fit antenna is $130 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 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).
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.
- Wilson Drive OTR: ASA plastic (acrylonitrile styrene acrylate)
- RFI Q‑Fit: Fiberglass
Both antennas are made of sturdy materials that withstand adverse weather conditions.
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.
- 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.
- Wilson Drive OTR: SMA-female (includes SMA-male and SMB-female adapters)
- RFI Q‑Fit: SMA-male (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’s SMA-female connector includes adapters that will connect to cell signal boosters that have SMA-female or SMB-female connectors. If your booster has FME-male connectors, you’ll need an adapter (TS451036) to complete the connection.
The RFI Q‑Fit antenna’s SMA-male connector connects natively to boosters with SMA-female connectors. Adapters for boosters with FME-male connectors (TS451036) and SMB-female connectors (TS451039) are available for purchase separately.
- 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.
- 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 vehicle heights.
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 the ability to remove your antenna for overhead clearance purposes.