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UHF/VHF pickup truck mounting recommendations

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio Antennas' started by KD8KSX, Mar 2, 2010.

  1. KD8KSX

    KD8KSX Member

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    Hi -

    I have a pickup ('01 F150) and I want to mount a UHF/VHF antenna. I have a repeater friend who's considering selling me his FT-857, and if that doesn't happen, I'll be getting an FT-7900. Even if I do buy the 857, I will want to run separate U/VHF and HF antennas.

    As with a lot of fairly new hams, I'd rather not drill a hole in my truck's roof. The two primary options I see are a stake hole mount and an "L" shaped bracket mount attached to a 27x71x18 aluminum tool box (which will also be bonded to the bed, which will be bonded to the frame). If I go with stake hole mounts, I'll probably put them in the middle holes so they're out of the way of the tailgate when I load stuff.



    Does anyone have an opinion of which sort of mount would be preferred?

    Also, if I get the FT-7900R I was considering the Diamond SG7900A antenna. Thoughts on that selection?

    Thanks,

    Bruce
     
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  2. W5LZ

    W5LZ Crotchety Old Bastard

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    Bruce,
    A VHF/UHF antenna will be 'small' enough to go just about anywhere. A mag-mount will certainly work, and so will using either of the type mounts you mentioned. I do understand about the hole thing, but that really is your best bet.
    If you do the HF mobile thing, get ready for a fairly 'hefty' antenna mount. Of course that will depend on what band(s) you want to cover. The 'hamstick' type helically wound antennas do okay down to about 20 meters. Any lower than that and they really start loosing efficiency. If you think about 40 and 80 meters, thing BIG. It's fairly commonly thought that the 'Hustler' antennas are good for HF, but that's just not really all that true at all. They have mechanical problems, even their 'heavy duty' ones. Oh well, nothing's perfect. I've used both the 'bugcatcher' type and the screw driver type antennas. Neither are small, and the 'bugcatcher' is a B@#%@R& to tune the first time. But after that first time, it's not bad at all. The screw driver type antennas are really nice, easy to play with. But you do pay for that ease of use! Also think REALLY BIG for mounts. It's fun though.
    - 'Doc
     
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  3. KD8KSX

    KD8KSX Member

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    Doc - Thanks. I currently use a mag mount with my HT, but don't like how the base is leaving little abraded circles in the blue paint of my car. I try to get a coat of wax under there at least monthly and that seems to help, but for the car, a lip mount will happen sooner or later.

    Haven't heard back from my friend about his 857. If he sells it, it will be with an ATAS120, so I'd use that on a beefy mount of some sort. But I have the feeling that I'll be getting the 7900 sooner rather than later.

    Back to the HT, though... as mentioned, I currently use a Comet M24 mag mount with it. Given that the HT has a max Tx power of 5W, would a 1/2 or longer wavelength antenna provide any 'real' gain in tx/rx ability?

    Thx,

    B
     
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  4. W5LZ

    W5LZ Crotchety Old Bastard

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    About mag-mounts.
    That abrading is something you pay for having the convenience of a removable with no holes antenna. You can lessen how much abrasion you have, but you'll never eliminate it. It just a matter of particles in the air and there's no way to prevent them from getting on/under anything that's 'move-able'. And just for grins, cuz it isn't going to affect that mag-mount to any degree, almost all car waxes are conductive to some variable extent. You might keep that in mind when waxing around insulators.

    Any 1/2 wave antenna will have 'gain' over a 1/4 wave antenna, and any 5/8 wave antenna will have some 'gain' over a 1/2 wave antenna. If your present antenna is working on that HT it will work to the same degree with any other radio (if the connectors are compatible naturally). How much difference would there be between any of those sizes/brands? Beats me, at least some. No idea if the difference in cost or convenience would be worth the cost, probably, maybe. A multi-element, automatically rotating beam would be even better! But they are a little harder to 'live with' and put on a car, sort of.
    I think I'd give your present antenna a shot first, then decide. You also have to keep in mind that 2 meters (any VHF/UHF band) has limitations, don't expect to hear 'B.F. Egypt' on any antenna. Maybe, but not very likely, sort of.
    It's fun. Find out what you can do, then try everything at least once! (Till the 'significant other' puts 'The Foot' down...)
    - 'Doc
     
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  5. Moleculo

    Moleculo Administrator Staff Member

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    Have you seen these mounts?

    Diamond® Antenna ~ K400C Trunk/Hatchback Mount

    There are different sizes depending on the type antenna you want to mount. They attach to the gutter, trunk lips, etc. You don't have to drill and they're very strong.
     
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  6. KD8KSX

    KD8KSX Member

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    I have. For the car, I'll use either this, or the K600. I can't figure out how I'd use that kind of mount on a regular cab pickup truck. I thought maybe put it on the lip of the toolbox lid, but then I'd have to drill a hole in the back to route the cable back out. Plus I'd have the antenna going up and over the cab whenever I open the lid. Seems like an "L" shaped bracket is simpler if I mount on the lid.
     
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