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Author Topic: Mobile mounts and body damage  (Read 673 times)
NQ4S
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« on: April 22, 2002, 07:18:43 PM »

I'm getting close to the point of putting a UHF/VHF mobile radio into a Ford Escape I purchased a few months ago.  The biggest problem right now is figuring out how to mount the antenna.  The big problem for me is that I go into a garage every day for work with a clearance of only 7'2".  That pretty much eliminates any roof mount antennas being that the top of the vehicle comes out to about 6'7".

The two best options I'm left with are a glass mount and a lip mount for the edge of the rear hatch.

For glass mounts, I've heard stories of them falling off while going down the road and loss in the coupling interface.  Unless someone can really, really speak well of it, this option is probably out.

For the lip mount, I have other concerns.  How much damage are they likely to do to the vehicle body?  Has anyone had one of these on for five or six years, and then taken it off to sell the vehicle?  How was the condition underneath when the mount came off?  If it didn't do a lot of damage, what brand and model did you use?

Thanks.

de NQ4S (Del)
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N8EMR
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« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2002, 11:18:24 AM »

How about a foldover antenna. There are manual and even a motorized mount to fold over the antenna. This way you can mount the mount on the luggage rack and put a "good" antenna on the roof. Fold it down when your done. There was a thread here a few days ago about this topic see.
http://www.eham.net/forums/MobileHam/1002 for details.
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2002, 01:55:04 PM »

If you've only got 7" total to work with above the vehicle roof, even locating a glass mount or a door lip mount a bit below the roof line is going to be a problem.  These whips are 39" long minimum.  If you locate one 6" below the roofline, you're going to have 26" worth of interference between the parking structure access and the whip -- that's enough to badly stress any kind of whip, and something's going to break.

Glass mounts, when stressed, can certainly become detached.  Clamp-on mounts do certainly create visible damage to the car's finish.  Prolonged and repeated use of a magnetic mount damages the finish, also.

In your particular case, I'd probably opt for a permanent fender mount installed towards the front of the car, alongside the windshield.  There's always "someplace" to do this, and just enough sheet metal to make it possible.  The resulting antenna pattern won't be omnidirectional, as the vehicle body will block radiation a bit in some directions, but at least you can have a neat, professional installation with hidden cable and a mount that will not damage the finish in any way.  When you go to sell the vehicle, just leave the whip mount there -- maybe even leave the whip, too.

I've done this with numerous (dozens of) cars and always received full "blue book" value or higher on every car I've sold or traded in.  Rarely has anyone ever mentioned the antenna.  If it's a professional installation, it will look like it came with the vehicle.  Since I routinely pop a hole in the center of the roof of every car I buy or lease, that's an even easier one to explain, should anyone ask: I leave the low-profile (NMO) mount, remove the whip, and tell them the mount is for a high-performance cellular telephone and the cable's already installed.  They can go to Motorola and buy the cellular antenna, screw it in, and have greatly extended telephone range.  

It works every time.

WB2WIK/6



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NQ4S
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« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2002, 05:54:37 PM »

OK, goof I my part.  I meant to say the vehicle roof is at 5'7", so it is about 19" below the clearance for the garage.  With that, and leaving room for a little bounce, I can get away with up to about 15" of antenna above the roof line.

Sorry for the misprint.

de NQ4S
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AB8LQ
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« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2002, 09:59:25 AM »

I have a similar problem with my Toyota 4Runner -- and even less space than you do above the truck going into the garage.  What I ended up with is a Comet SBB-1NMO.  It's a small 2m/440 antenna -- essentially a "rubber ducky" with a mobile mount.  It hits the garage door every time I go in or out, and both the antenna and the mount seem to be holding up well after about six months.

I used a lip mount, but my truck's got a sort of spoiler above the back window which I used for the antenna mount.  The mount I used has protection for the car body, but I don't know what it'd look like after five or six years.  My guess, though, is that as long as the mount didn't move -- that is, it was good and tight with no movement -- the body would look fine.

Sean.
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