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Author Topic: antennas and car washes  (Read 509 times)
KD4KNR
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Posts: 32




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« on: February 04, 2005, 09:57:27 AM »

Got a question about antenna mounts and commerical car washes.

How danagerous are they to antennas? I'm running a diamond VHF/UHF NMO mount on roof of my pickup.I would remove the whip but what about the base (the base is about 6 inches tall)? Anybody have one ripped off by the machines?

Any suggestions/comments/horror stories

Steve
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KC0MDC
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Posts: 58




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« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2005, 10:36:02 AM »

Find a different car wash Smiley  In all seriousness, that's what I have had to do at times.  I usually have some sort of roof rack system on my jeep, so I'm very cautious about clearance at the car wash.  Most times I use the manual bays where it's not so much of an issue.

I do have a pair of glass-mount (not for ham, so let's not start the inefficiency speech) antennas that usually get their tips scrubbed when I go through the automated washes.  They are still in good shape after about two years.

My dual-band antenna is a Diamond NMO as well, but I'm able to fold the whip over to avoid any contact with the machine.  

Good luck & 73 de Tim
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K0BG
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« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2005, 11:21:01 AM »

If it is properly installed, an NMO mount will not leak even if the antenna is unscrewed from it. The only caution is to make sure the mount is dry before you put the antenna back on.

My dual band Larsen is trunk mounted and I have never had a problem. I have an HF ballmount, spring, and 4 foot mast (when the coil and whip are stored in the trunk) mounted on the left quarter panel, and I've never had a problem with it either.

Alan, KØBG
www.k0bg.com
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WB2WIK
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Posts: 20666




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« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2005, 11:43:46 AM »

Your NMO mount is 4" tall?

Something didn't make sense, there.  An NMO mount is nearly flush with the sheet metal it's mounted to, maybe extending 1/4" above the mounting surface.

If you've got something 4" tall when you remove your whip, sounds to me like you're removing only the "whip," and not the whole antenna.  Unscrew the antenna base from the NMO mount, and what's left is extremely waterproof.

I've gone through thousands of car washes with many, many vehicles having NMO mounts and have never had a single problem, ever.

WB2WIK/6
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N3ZKP
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Posts: 2008




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« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2005, 11:48:59 AM »

I agree with Alan, a properly installed NMO mount is waterproof, even without the antenna. If you are really worried about water, Larsen makes a cap to cover the mount for about $5.

I would remove the antenna base, not just the whip, just to make sure. But then, I don't run my vehicle through an automatic car wash; I use the do-it-yourself kind. The folks running the automatic ones tend to give me a hard time about the High Sierra 1800Pro mounted on the rear corner. Smiley

Lon
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KE6FGY
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Posts: 4




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« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2005, 01:52:33 PM »

I work for the city's communication dpt. and I can tell you that leaving so much as a 3 inch 800Mhz quaterwave antenna on the roof while going through a car wash is not a good idea. Many times i have seen the antenna along with the MBO riped out of the roof. Remove any antenna leaving the MBO and you will be fine.
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YEPSURE
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Posts: 114




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« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2005, 08:03:46 AM »

I would also recommend buying an NMO "rain cap" for your NMO mounts. I have three NMO mounts on my car and I simply remove the antenna and screw on my NMO caps if I'm going to go through a car wash. That's by far the safest, more sure way to ensure you don't get any leaks or damaged antennas or mounts.

I've found the Lsrsen brand rain caps are the best quality and offer a solid seal around the base. Well worth the money in my opinion.
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YEPSURE
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Posts: 114




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« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2005, 08:03:47 AM »

I would also recommend buying an NMO "rain cap" for your NMO mounts. I have three NMO mounts on my car and I simply remove the antenna and screw on my NMO caps if I'm going to go through a car wash. That's by far the safest, more sure way to ensure you don't get any leaks or damaged antennas or mounts.

I've found the Lsrsen brand rain caps are the best quality and offer a solid seal around the base. Well worth the money in my opinion.
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N3ZKP
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Posts: 2008




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« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2005, 03:01:55 PM »

One more good thing about the rain caps, is they are excellent protection for the mount if you need to take the antenna off for any length of time. They insure that the threads and the center contact won't be damaged if something hits them.

Lon
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W9RPE
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Posts: 30




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« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2005, 08:07:28 AM »

I use a Diamond motorized mount for my Comet super-gain 2m antenna.  Got it mostly due to the low ceiling in the parking garage at work.  Push the bitton to lower and car washes are no problem.  Probably the most useful piece of gear I own!!
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