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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

Mount an Antenna on Almost Anything

tom lish II (N6AJR) on April 14, 2002
View comments about this article!

I have found probably the easiest way to mount an antenna on almost any vehicle, car, truck, motorhome, almost any vehicle. This idea with a variation will probably work on motorcycles also. It is one of those " that is so easy I should have thought of it" kind of ideas. Here we go folks.

Weld or bolt a plate to the underside of the vehicle. Have it stick out only a couple of inches past the bumper / corner of the vehicle. Make this plate as strong and rugged as you need for the type and size of antenna you are going to mount. Just a plate of steel or aluminumin a couple inches wide and 1/4 to 3/8 inch thick will do it for most. Drill a hole near the outboard end and somewhat centered. Presto!: an antenna mount.

You can do this on your 69 Camero, or you 56 Ford step side, or even on that pretty new 2002 T-Bird. You can do this on your motorcycle and hang the license plate below it and the antenna above it. Don't want to mess the paint on your limo with a mag mount, go below. Thats it folks, the whole enchalada. Long plate, drill hole for antenna mount, bolt or weld under the car in rear. TA DA!!! (Volkswagon bugs, mount to the big bolt that holds the engine in on the bottom , you'll have to bend an "L" at the mount end and drill a hole for the bolt).

A couple notes here too. Try to make sure you get a good ground to the vehicle, If you are bolting this to the underside of the spare tire carrier on a 66 'vette, you will probably want to run a ground srtap to the frame someplace as you bolted it to fiberglass. A good RF ground solves a lot of problems for RFI and static and feedback loops if not there. Give your antenna something to work against, ground it.

Get fancy, and drill a couple of little holes in the mount to put some clips on to hold the wire. Add your favorite mount(even a mag mount, as long as the plate ain't aluminum) and be on your way. If you want to put a 2 meter 1/4 wave on ther add a piece of pipe vertically to give it a little height like the old time halo's used to do.

Shoot it with some black or matching paint, to your taste. I reccommend usng a quick mount (quarter turn on, quarter turn off) mount of some sort. Then when you park , take the antenna off and throw it in the car, trunk, cab or what ever. That way you don't advertise to the criminal element which car has something of value in it.

There are a ton of varations on this one so have fun. I reccommend the rear of the vehicle on the drivers side, as it is away from the sidewalk, and curious hands and children. and is also harder to "accidently" bump into for most folks. There is no reason why you couldn't put one on each side and run 2 different HF bands or a set of well spaced co-phased antennas. Any Ideas yet?

There ya go folks, and when you sell the vehicle, leave them on for the next Ham or go after them with a hacksaw. You never know you might just sell your car to. I will attempt to load a diagram with this explanation but if not then email me for the art work. 73

tom N6AJR

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Mount an Antenna on Almost Anything  
by KA9LDD on April 14, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
I think that is a good idea ,I will have to try that on my wife's pontaic transport(all plastic or fiberglass).
Jim
 
RE: Mount an Antenna on Almost Anything  
by KC8TAD on April 14, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
Haha my mom has the same vehicle.. pontiac transport.. its a 1992.. oh man i hate that ;)
 
RE: Mount an Antenna on Almost Anything  
by N3BIF on April 15, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
Be aware that many states have laws in thier vehicle codes regarding things that protrude beyond the plane of a veh. I would also make sure you round off the edges so that when some one rubs against it they dont have grounds for a suit, if it gashes thier leg....love the idea though ( the mount, not the gashed leg )
 
Mount an Antenna on Almost Anything  
by VK2GWK on April 15, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
Be aware of the fact that any protrusions - other than standard - at the front or the sides of the vehicle may be illegal in some countries (like Australia).
Here the authorities tell us how to mount antenna's on bull bars.
 
RE: Mount an Antenna on Almost Anything  
by N3CS on April 15, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
Hi Jim:

My wife had a Transport too! What I did was make-up a replacement bar for one of the luggage racks onto which I mounted a PL-259-to-3/8" antenna mount (U-bolt type.

Using 1"x1" square steel bar stock (hollow), I cut it a little longer than the luggage rack bar. I then used simple corner braces to connect the bar to the luggage rack track.. I twisted them around a little to align with the track which had the sliding nuts inside (they are metric, but available at Trak Auto). I painted the whole thing black and even bolted on a little steel plate for a mag mount area. The track is apparently gounded well enough.

Only problem is this is not appropriate for highway use as it's very high (on the roof). Works great portable though.

Now that we sold the Transport, I have no use for it, so maybe you're interested?

Chris
N3CS
 
Mount an Antenna on Almost Anything  
by N6JSX on April 15, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
Here is my variations.

Back in 1992, I installed two dog ears to my Class A trailer hitch assembly on my Astro van. The dog ears stuck out (right and left) about 5" either side of the rear bumper and inside the maximum width my mirrors (that establishes the legal limits). I had a HAM (in San Dimas, CA) that owned a machine shop cut me two pieces of "L" angle and we inserted/bolted the pieces into the 2" square trailer assembly just under my rear bumper.

That Astro van is now long gone replaced by a Taurus wagon that (of course) has a trailer hitch assembly. Another HAM (in Two Rivers, WI) that owns his own welding shop, welded on two pieces of "L" angle onto the hitch supports under the rear bumper making the same dog ear arrangement. One side sports my Huslter combo 4 band HF antenna and the other side a M2 2m loop and a home made CB whip 2m/440 "J" antenna.

The requirement to both of these vehicles was to allow me full access to the rear doors/hatch. The antenna posts are just around the corner of the car - even heavy winter snow/ice has not caused a problem. The only issue I found was the PL-259 connection to the antenna needs replacing every spring. No matter what I do I cannot keep moisture from migrating into the connector/coax and still keep it removable.

The other moral to this story is - make HAM friends that can help you - it's cheaper this way. I work on there radios, antennas, computers, and repeaters and they help me on machining or welding. >>>>> The HAM barter system works well! <<<<<<
 
Mount an Antenna on Almost Anything  
by WA9PIE on April 15, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
I've actually done this - with an '86 Honda CRX... had the Hustler arrangement with five elements on it... bigger than the car.

Sometimes it outperformed my home station (the ground is key).

Question is - my biggest problem in that scenario was rusting... the piece of metal that I bolted on began to rust.

What are some metals that can be used for this purpose that won't rust?

Mike, WA9PIE (now with '94 Firebird with ATAS-100 on it).
 
Mount an Antenna on Almost Anything  
by M0BOL on April 15, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
Would you believe that in this country (UK) they've made the "Bull Bars" illegal !!!!
 
RE: Mount an Antenna on Almost Anything  
by N7FZ on April 15, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
Two quick comments here:

For N6JSX, try filling the connector with dielectric grease. Make darned sure it says dielectric on the package. Or use the filler compound from AES that's made for the same purpose. Works well for me in Oregon.

For WA9PIE, there are several metals that will work. Aluminum, of course, but it's not easy to weld or machine with common tooling. There are several types of stainless steel, some will rust and some won't, downside is that this gets expensive. Brass or bronze is used in marine applications, this is also expensive, and hard to find. My suggestion is to use Rust-o-leum or other rust-proofing product before and after installation. Clean VERY thoroughly first, in alcohol or acetone and handle with gloves (no oil from skin) until the first coat is dry. The spray galvanizing sometimes works, too, but I've had durability problems with that. And also try installing mud flaps, they'll keep most of that road spray from reaching the bracket in the first place.

Good Luck.

Good article, Tom.

Chuck
N7FZ
 
RE: Mount an Antenna on Almost Anything  
by WB5OAU on April 17, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
Illegal to mount anything that extends beyond the vehicle plane? Must make mounting a trailer hitch
tough, or a spare tire carrier for an SUV, or a bike
rack, etc etc etc.

The best thing to do with idiotic laws like this is to just ignore them.

John wb5oau
 
RE: Mount an Antenna on Almost Anything  
by WB5OAU on April 17, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
Yes I would believe that, given your Governments position on guns and other personal liberties!
 
Mount an Antenna on Almost Anything  
by N6JSX on April 17, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
I forgot - if you want to see a dog ear setup it can be seen on a picture I posted here last year. Look up my "simple Copper 2m J Antenna" article that was posted here on eHAM last year. The first picture is my Taurus wagon with my welded on dog ears in my driveway at my old home in Wisconsin. 73, Kuby, N6JSX /8
 
Mount an Antenna on Almost Anything  
by KC2CAG on April 17, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
I tried something very similar on my Ford Ranger pickup based in Western NY. After one winter, the antenna connections (protected by a sticky weather sealing tape) were so corroded that it was impossible to remove any of the antenna mounting hardware. It seems like it would be a good application, however, for vehicles which are not driven in an environment with high usage of road salt. Regards! TK
 
Mount an Antenna on Almost Anything  
by M0BPQ on April 19, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
A slight modification that I have used is to remove the rear light unit (tail light for US readers) from the car and then sandwich the antenna mounting plate between it and the car body when I put it back. This raised the antenna a few inches higher and therefore cleared my hatchback better than a bumper style mount. Naturally you must ensure that the light is still visible for the traffic laws.

As for bull bars, there is a complete absence of bulls, 'roos or other large mammals that ruin your car in most of the UK (compared to NA or Australia for example). As most people just drive their 4X4s around town and are involved in the inevitable traffic accidents, anything that reduces the maiming of pedestrians is a good thing IMO. As hams we will just have to forgo that antenna mounting option and use something else ! As for guns (as opposed to racks), I am unaware that they have been used as mobile antenna mounts.... anyone care to correct me ? (tongue firmly in cheek)

73 Steve
PS nobody has mentioned the code requirement yet in this topic.... I need to lie down for a while to get over the shock. SB
 
RE: Mount an Antenna on Almost Anything  
by N0VLR on April 19, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
I have a Chevy Lumina and I have had some sucess running my FT-100 with ATAS-100 antenna but would love to see your design for the luggage rack. ideally, I'd like something that I can fold down to get in/out of garages.

73

Paul, N0VLR
 
Mount an Antenna on Almost Anything  
by G0WRT on April 20, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
A lot of cars these days have concealed towing sockets. There is a length of threaded rod in the boot with the towing eye attached. I've had an identical length of threaded bar made up with a small circular drilled plate welded on. When I want to operate I just push out the plastic cover below the bumper line and screw in my threaded bar. The socket is welded to the chassis so I get a good 'earthing' to the car.
I even use a Texas Bugcatcher in this mode and clip on a counterpoise for 40 & 80mtrs (when stationary of course!)
Paul.
 
Mount an Antenna on Almost Anything  
by AA4PB on April 21, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
I recommend using stainless steel bolts on any exposed antenna mounts. A boating supply store is a good source.
 
Mount an Antenna on Almost Anything  
by KD5PEK on April 21, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
Here in Texas we have plenty of bull, bars and bull bars. Be that as it may, I've mounted my mobile antennas to the tail light version of bull bars. It's higher than mounting on the bumper, or under it, and is perfectly situated on the corner of the vehicle. As previously noted, a good ground strap is essential.
 
RE: Mount an Antenna on Almost Anything  
by WW5X on September 2, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
I know this conversation ended many months ago - but I had an idea. I'm no chemist - but wouldnt adding a metal block to the mount that is made of another "easier to corrode" metal - like Zink (i.e. sacrificial anode), reduce the corrosion of the whole apparatus - just like on a bridge or a boat (for the metal props)?

And I think it is a mistake to remove the code requirement from any but an introductory ticket.

Bill - WW5X
 
Dual purpose mount  
by N8IWK on May 22, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I have attached an inverted "L" bracket to the top of a hitch mounted bike carrier and mounted a 3/8-24 mount to it and use a 20 meter hamstick. The antenna and mount is up high and still have space below it to carry bikes. The bike rack also pivots down away from the rear hatch to be able to open it on a mini van.
 
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