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Should I add a grounding strap to the antenna mount.

Discussion in 'CB Antennas' started by CrashRecovery, Jun 30, 2020.

  1. Slowmover

    Slowmover Elmer

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    No, it’s a bad location.



    How well you want the radio to work is up to you. I generally can talk with a driver in the opposite direction for ten miles. Five in front and five behind.

    Your area is tough. Traffic volume, power lines and hills.

    A stake-pocket mount, starboard-rear would work great. 102” whip.

    (You may have “reasons” as to avoiding better mounts, but you’d be best off with some experiments.)

    Big AM aerials were the norm for almost fifty years on LEO vehicles. So they’re in no way an impediment to any work. Tie down when not used. .

    That antenna not as good a choice as a top load that will reach to 13’5”.
    Skipshooter an excellent brand for that.

    Antenna needs to be atop or AWAY from cab.

    Still,

    1). The rack has to be RF bonded to the bed. Both sides.

    2). The bed to the frame. All four corners and twice to the cab.

    3). The cab to the frame. All four corners.

    4). The hood also

    RF bonds are not DC grounds.

    You can buy premade woven copper braid straps. Need to be short, a foot or less. 1/4” screws & tooth washers. Scrape paint to primer not bare.

    Power should be fused POS to BATT and non-fused NEG to nearest sheetmetal. See Motorola instructions. Or Ford Upfitter Guide.

    A Motorola or Kenwood Public Service external speaker will help.

    See other threads here on the McKinley and the stock mic (or aftermarket). Keep a spare.

    An Apache 2800 or 3800 case to keep it safe. (Harbor Freight).

    FWIW, I’ve yet to hear acceptable radio performance with a rack mount antenna. As you have it, or off to side.

    By acceptable, I mean, stays in range long enough to take 3-4 questions and answers, at highway speed. I see the same very bad mount all over the USA.

    Roof-mount you’d practically be king of the hill. And, no, I’m not exaggerating. I’d have a Wilson 5000 Mag Mount any day over the rack mount.

    Glue some steel under the roof headliner.

    You can put in a 350W amp with $500 radio with that rack mount (improved) and I’d outtalk you (where all else was the same) with a Little Wil Mag Mount and a 35W Brand X radio.

    I know it because I’ve done it.

    An permanent-install roof antenna is the default choice.

    975C16D1-EB7B-4CE8-8241-1B7F727701FF.jpeg
    Chassis Punch: the clean & easy way.

    How far you hear (at present) is quite far off from how far you can be heard. Radio watts won’t change that favorably.

    Do what you will, but remember that moving an antenna around is pretty cheap. The vehicle is (literally) one-half the antenna system. Which is 10X the weight of the radio.

    Good luck!!

    .
     
    #16 Slowmover, Jul 5, 2020
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2020
    ForestRunner98 likes this.

  2. Alexis Mercado

    Alexis Mercado Well-Known Member

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    Illegal slowmower said, a rear bumper mount 102” whip would be ideal. When traveling in the woods you can fold the whip with a rope, like the military do with theirs
     
    Slowmover likes this.
  3. M0GVZ

    M0GVZ Sr. Member

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    He didn't say a rear bumper mount would be ideal. Too many ground losses, same problem of a lack of a ground plane under the antenna that the rack has, even more directional.
     
    Blackcat630, Slowmover and The DB like this.
  4. CrashRecovery

    CrashRecovery Member

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    I'm not worried about talking massive skip or long range. I like having it to know what's happening around me. I enjoy listening to all the skip and where it's coming from. Side band is super clean with the clearifyer almost not being used. I'm close enough that I can hear Mike from the CB repair channel on YouTube channel and his buddies.
     
    Shadetree Mechanic and Slowmover like this.
  5. Slowmover

    Slowmover Elmer

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    Simplicity can be deceptive.

    “We” aren’t making an argument for super-duper. Adequate is better than you think at present.

    RX fairly easy to establish. Stick any wire up in the air.

    TX not so much.

    If all you need is to listen, you’ve finished.

    If you need to transmit, you’ve sorta not started (if it’s farther than a quarter-mile).

    Very tall whip, stake pocket mount at starboard rear and longer coax. That’s NOT expensive OR difficult.

    Line of Sight (roughly) should enable 2/miles +/- where both are on level ground. True, measured distance. That’s a reasonable minimum experience knows to be true.

    Compared to solving some difficult radio problems this is Yes/No easy as a test.

    Consider it the “answer” to your first post. Just a simple comparison test.

    FWIW I see the rack-mount antennas all the time all over the country. They aren’t bad . : . they’re embarrassingly bad 95% of the time.

    The whip is just the tip (of the iceberg).

    .
     
    #20 Slowmover, Jul 5, 2020
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2020
  6. CrashRecovery

    CrashRecovery Member

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    The stake pocket route is not feasible because of how the magnum rack and rails mount. They use brackets inside the pocket to secure the rails and rack.
    I really want to say I DO appreciate the suggestions and help. I've been researching about this since my old setup shit the bed and burned out a final in the old radio (I think). I've never really messed with side band before but since picking up this radio I've been trying to learn more about it.
    I thought about using a ball mount and putting it on the inside of the bed. The issue with that is I have plans for a bed cover. So that idea isn't going to happen.
    The other thing I keep confusing is the 102 whip. I see ideas that the large spring has to be installed. Others say you need to make a insert for the bottom so you can adjust the size of the complete antenna. So what is the correct or better yet foolproof way of tuning the 102?
     
    Slowmover likes this.
  7. wjm1129

    wjm1129 Active Member

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    The 102 inch whip is broadbanded enough with an swr of 1.3 to 1.5 will work very well.
     
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  8. CrashRecovery

    CrashRecovery Member

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    The other thing I seem to see confusing information on is where an antenna should be mounted. What is considered optimal and what makes it so?
     
    Slowmover likes this.
  9. Slowmover

    Slowmover Elmer

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    BREEDLOVE MACHINE makes the nicest antenna mounts to be found.

    Decide where first. (Trade-offs)

    (My CTD Dodge will get one or two of theirs to go on the roof).

    Ball or not depends partly on where and what. Riser on how it tunes plus how you use it.

    A super-duper Brand X antenna with rave reviews still won’t outperform roof-center with a very ordinary antenna.

    It’s about being at the center of the mass of metal.

    Mounted to port, it will be strongest off into the roadside weeds. Mounted starboard, it’s easier to catch tree branches, but better with traffic the other direction.

    Mounted at rear, it will get out towards the front, less well to traffic coming up behind you.

    Roof-center is strongest in all directions. Think omnidirectional.

    Makes up (pretty well) for not using a 9’ antenna there while underway.

    All mobile installations suffer from antenna mount problems. (There are several categories of concern).

    The degree
    of problem can’t be overcome by bandaids applied later when a bad location and/or inferior mount are chosen.

    It’s pretty well the single most important choice.

    It’s where feelz trips up the thing. EVERY level of radio being installed by any level of expertise. Logic failure. (Pink pompoms rule!).

    Pink pompoms won’t get the job done when it matters. (Bad location and totally inferior mount CREATE problems). But it’ll look cool to the softball daddies.

    You’re headed the right direction. Keep on researching. Maybe on a Ford truck forum also.

    What’s “best” will show up.

    Look thru the site I linked. (K0BG) Many great pics; mainly of Ham operators with screwdriver antennas on their rides. You’ll see a level of dedication I personally find motivating.

    You won’t have to reinvent the wheel, but try discussing next idea here first.
    Someone may have already tried it.

    .
     
  10. Slowmover

    Slowmover Elmer

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    Link:

    www.K0BG.com

    .
     
    Shadetree Mechanic likes this.
  11. Beetle

    Beetle Sr. Member

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    I'd recommend bonding straps on each of the cab doors. Hinges represent sliding contact, which means zero contact as far as RF is concerned. Bonding doors to frame/chassis may improve things for you. Tailgates are also hinged and should be bypassed.
     
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  12. BammBamm

    BammBamm Instigators ...173 on the southside.

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    Ok. I had a similar experience and this is what I did to mine in a 2017 Ram. Using the top piece of your mount only bare the metal on the rack and mount it to it with self tapping sheet metal screws then run ground straps from bed to frame, rack to bed and this was my biggest help ground strap from rack to the screw on the 3rd brake light mount! You can easily touch up paint the rack.
     
  13. CrashRecovery

    CrashRecovery Member

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    Talk about confusing the noob...... I tried to read some it last night and had a brain meltdown.
    Now, I understand the need for most of the grounding and bonding that was discussed in that website, what I'm sort of lost on is why all of that is needed for a system that is inherently filled with garbage noise and what not. I used to do some simple electrical work on the fire trucks when I worked full time at the Air National Guard Fire Department, included in that work was installing new radio setups.
    I understand it will help me "talk" and "listen" better, but I'm not looking to run a massively overpowered radio. At the most it might see is an extra 100 watts if I decide to add some "heat". The only thing I have to do as of now is find a better way to run the coax into the truck. It's been too hot outside when I get off work to tear the cab apart in the driveway. I unfortunately do not have a garage to work in.
    I have no problem running a ground from the mount to the rack and one from the rack to the bed of the truck. Should I expect my swr to change if I do that? Its currently at 1.4 on ch20. I had to trim a little over 2 and a half inches off the whip to get the reading I have now. Should I trim a little more and see if the reading gets better? The whip is fully seated in the K40 base also.
     
  14. Slowmover

    Slowmover Elmer

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    Coax can run thru cab vent behind seats, OR, look for body plug to punch out in floor under/near rear seat. Cover with quality split loom. Grommet and secure every 6” or so.

    Grounds not optional. Truck is one half of antenna. Has to work as a whole, thetefore. That section not difficult to read. I covered it in a post above as a reasonable minimum.

    Belief that CB is noise & trash shows haven’t had any exposure to a first class setup.

    Is there noise? Yes, but doesn’t characterize. Much can be eliminated in terms of interfering with RX

    Trash. That’s a, “Yo, Mama”, question. With a high quality setup one can be something of a good influence. Clear, clean and ignores trash to say something else. A choice.

    4W is legal limit. Up around 50W ensures getting heard assuming the rig is up to snuff. It’s maybe 10% of what some run.

    Power to Batt, fused. Neg to seatbelt, unfused. ANCOR 14/2 Duplex with their terminations and FR split loom.

    Don’t cut or mess around. SWR is protection for radio TX section. Get the rest right first.

    Under 2.0 is adequate. 1.5 is fine.
    Check Channels 1, 20, 40 against each other.

    See BELLS CB Site for info on setting SWR.

    .

     
  15. CrashRecovery

    CrashRecovery Member

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    Ok I'll work on the ground and hopefully this heat drops off where I can do some work to the truck. I've got some upgrades for the steering system I need to mount as well. Laying on a blacktop driveway after its been baking in the sun all day is not fun.
    Like I said IF I run an amp in the future.... It's not a necessity right now.
    Another unfortunate/uncontrollable set of circumstances is where I end working. Most job sites are at locations where excessive rf noise is a common thing. Construction sites, chemical plants, fuel storage depots the list goes on. Sometimes its equipment on site or it's the power distribution to the sites that cause a lot of issues with the background noise on the radio. Even the FM based two way radios we have on some sites have issues with the background noise.
    I was just hoping that honestly the only thing I was missing when I finished the antenna install was a "dedicated" ground for just the antenna. This is the first "trucker" style I've owned. Otherwise it's been mag mounts and firesticks with a spring attached to a ball on a jeep wrangler. I wanted to make sure I wasn't going to destroy the new radio even though the SWR was on the low side.
     

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