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Author Topic: Explorer Sport Trac suggestions?  (Read 427 times)
N0XAS
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« on: February 26, 2003, 11:21:38 PM »

Hi all,

I've got a new Explorer Sport Trac and am looking for suggestions on both radio and antenna mounting solutions.  I'll be mounting a TM-G707a, and I do have the remote mount kit with long cables.  My mount and antenna from the old car is a Diamond K400 trunk lip mount and a Diamond NR770HA.

Here are the challenges before me:
* The truck bed is all composite plastic.  No metal other than the tailgate, no bed stake holes.
* The hood is metal on top with a composite or fiberglass underside.  Very narrow metal lip around the edge on the underside.
* No holes through the firewall; all electrical onnections are by means of a big bulkhead connector, so there are no grommets to feed power and coax through.
* Drilling holes in the roof is not an option, sorry.  New mount and/or antenna is an option, but it's got to be dual band.
* The 5'10" tall vehicle (top of the bed is about 4-1/2' high) gets parked in a garage with a 7' tall door.  Do the math, the antenna can't be mounted all that high.  No Texas Bug Catchers on the roof, guys.
* I thought about a motorized foldover mount on the roof rack, but it's alo plastic.  
* I thought about a license plate bracket or trailer hitch ball mount, but need to be able to open the tailgate.  

On the plus side, there are nice power points on the fuse box under the hood, and plenty of room in the cab for the radio and the faceplate.  So far the best idea I have been able to come up with is to mount the antenna on the right edge of the hood about 8" or so forward of the BCB antenna, then run power and coax through a new hole in the floor with a grommet and plenty of RTV.  The face can be mounted somewhere on the dash, but I'm also thinking of putting it somewhere along the top edge of the windshield since the mike can be connected somewhere else.

Ideas?  Suggestions?  Better yet, actual experiences with one of these particular beasties?

73 es TU,
Dale - N0XAS
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K5LXP
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« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2003, 10:28:10 AM »

There are dual band antennas that would fit on your roof and into your garage without interference, if you're willing to give up the couple dB of gain of your longer Diamond antenna.  In practical terms, you wouldn't tell the difference.  There are other antenna technologies like the DRRR that are low profile you can mount on the roof as well, but aren't dual-band.  But with a diplexer you could install an antenna for each band and still enjoy simultaneous V/U operation.  I once knew a ham that gamma fed the luggage rack on top, there's always antenna options.

If there isn't a hole in the firewall for wires, make one.  Add a grommet and seal it with silicone when you're done.

How fond are you of those fiberglass bed covers?  One of those with some sheet aluminum contact cemented under it would be a great ground plane and allow a slightly longer antenna.  A pickup bed toolbox would afford similar options.  


Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
k5lxp@arrl.net
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K0BG
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« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2003, 02:15:46 PM »

About your only option is to mount the antenna at the front of the vehicle. Lots of hams use frame-extending brackets to hold HF and VHF antennas in order to clear Pickup bed campers. Other than that, it's a loaded half waves for VHF which don't require groundplanes.

Alan, KØBG
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N0XAS
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« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2003, 06:46:21 PM »

Well, I now feel like a complete idiot for not thinking of stub-fed half wave verticals by now.  I was just kind of fixated on figuring out how to mount the Diamond I had been using onto this truck.  Duh.  OK, dual band J-pole mounted to the bed somewhere is probably where this is going.  Now to pull the floor mats and see if there's a grommet somewhere I didn't see...  I just really don't want to drill if I don't have to.  Always so tough to take a drill to that nice, pristine new paint.

Anybody want to buy a really nice dual band antenna and mount?  8-)

Dale - N0XAS
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