Posted on Apr 20, 2015
SSG Signal Support Systems Specialist
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What is better to use a OE-254 or COM-201 antenna?
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1LT Executive Officer
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I know this question is ancient, but I'd like to weigh in for future Google results!
Bottom line: The OE-254 does much better than the COM-201 when you're using it for SINCGARS or other VHF applications.

https://www.logsa.army.mil/psmag/archives/PS2010/686/686-46.pdf

The Details:
The COM-201 was designed to be a relatively broadband antenna, but is typically tuned for the 30-88 MHz VHF spectrum. There are versions from RAMI that can be tuned for the UHF range of the PRC-117/VRC-103, but most COM-201s are fielded as VHF antennas.

The COM-201 is dramatically more simple to set up than the OE-254. Where it takes an average of 15 minutes per OE-254, a COM-201 on a QEAM (Quick-Erect Antenna Mast) can be put up in 5 minutes or less. It has fewer parts, and the parts are easy to assemble and disassemble. The OE-254 antenna segments tend to get stuck or bound together after being emplaced for long periods, or exposed to high winds. Similarly, though, COM-201 ground plane tripod legs tend to detach from the body of the antenna in extended high winds, and become unusable after falling 35 feet to the ground.

The OE-254 has the COM-201 beat in terms of actual signal performance, though. The Biconical design gives you both line-of-sight and ground-wave propagation, where the dipole-design COM-201 is strictly line-of-sight, as the ground plane that makes up the bottom half of the antenna reflects radio waves and contributes to the horizontal propagation strength. The angle of the OE-254's radiating elements does a good job of receiving unusual polarizations of signals, like diffracted or reflected signals from the atmosphere or obstructions.

My unit is equipped with both OE-254s and COM-201s. My retrans teams used almost exclusively COM-201s during an NTC rotation, and were generally successful, but when compared to network performance during various battalion and brigade FTXs using OE-254s over similar terrain and distances, the speech quality was reduced when using the COM-201s.

The COM-201 is a decent antenna for an expedient TOC or TAC where you're trying to make quick comms and need to put up an antenna in a hurry. It is simpler to put on buildings and vehicles to increase the height, and gives passable performance inside a 15 mile radius on a QEAM.
If you really need to pass traffic, though, and you're a long ways off, an OE-254 will get you there. You can even make your life simpler and put the OE-254 antenna on a QEAM mast (just make sure you use the strain relief!).

The COM-231 is simply a vehicle-mounted COM-201, where the ground plane is the aluminum or steel frame of the vehicle, connected by a grounding strap. The AS-3900 VHF whip also generally outperforms the COM-231 in open terrain, though it is much more cumbersome in urban environments. The COM-231 is low-profile, and doesn't add significant height to Bradleys and MRAPs that may encounter power lines or other hazards.

I hope this clears some things up!
If you have any other questions or issues, feel free to ask! I don't know everything, I'm always learning, but I'm happy to share what I know!
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SGT Writer
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I don't remember much about the differences except while the COMM201 was easier to set up, it reportedly had less range and arguably durability. I'd say it's good to have both though. This would've gotten more attention if it had more tags.
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