Call Search
     

New to Ham Radio?
My Profile

Community
Articles
Forums
News
Reviews
Friends Remembered
Strays
Survey Question

Operating
Contesting
DX Cluster Spots
Propagation

Resources
Calendar
Classifieds
Ham Exams
Ham Links
List Archives
News Articles
Product Reviews
QSL Managers

Site Info
eHam Help (FAQ)
Support the site
The eHam Team
Advertising Info
Vision Statement
About eHam.net

   Home   Help Search  
Pages: [1]   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Rugged Jeep Antenna  (Read 5708 times)
KJ4VPJ
Member

Posts: 7




Ignore
« on: June 06, 2011, 08:39:31 AM »

I'm fairly new to a lot of things. A midlife crisis perhaps. Wifey and I went camping and off roading this weekend with some friends. It was tons-o-fun. Most in the group have CBs, so I bought a cheapie radio and a cheapie mag-mount CB antenna for my Jeep Cherokee.

On the way up to the campsite, I had the best reception and transmission compared to anyone in the convoy (7 vehicles). I'm thinking it may be because I had a good ground plane, as I stuck it in the center of the roof. Everyone else's is on a permanent bracket attached to the side of their vehicle.

I had planned to remove the antenna before going into the woods, but forgot. Now I have a nice feedline running through my truck. Oops. I'm glad the antenna was cheap.

I'd like to get something permanently mounted to my truck that is rugged enough to go through the trails. If I'm going to pay up for it, I'm thinking of one that can take several antennas. My old Icom 720a is portable enough to throw it in the truck, so building up a selection of antennas from 10M to 40M would be nice. CB would have to be one of them. I don't mind switching antennas. I don't mind switching between and using 1 radio at a time (CB vs HF rig).

So... 1) Do you think I'll get poor performance from a mount that is mounted on the side of my truck instead of on the roof? 2) Is there perhaps a setup that I don't know about that is perfectly suited for my application?

Thanks in advance,
KJ4VPJ
Logged
K0BG
Member

Posts: 9886


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2011, 09:47:23 AM »

About as rugged as you can get is a standard old CB whip, mounted on a decent ballmount like on from Breedlove. No matching required for CB, and a simple auto-coupler like an AH-4 to match it to 40, and up amateur bands. Not the most efficient to say the least, but it is rugged.
Logged

WX7G
Member

Posts: 6218




Ignore
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2011, 10:03:38 AM »

Yes side mounting will compromise electrical performance.
Logged
K1CJS
Member

Posts: 6055




Ignore
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2011, 01:43:12 PM »

Just about any mount that will accept a 3/8-24 threaded stud.  There are hamstick antennas that will fit that kind of mount, and for the others, you can cut a stainless steel whip to size for 2 meter and 6 meter use.   
Logged
W8JX
Member

Posts: 6477




Ignore
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2011, 05:28:04 PM »

Yes side mounting will compromise electrical performance.

I used a bumper mount and ham sticks for 15 years on my suburban that I bought new. Never had any problems with antenna performance. I ran 40, 20 and 17 and 15 meter sticks over the years on a quick release mount.
Logged

--------------------------------------
All posted wireless using Win 8.1 RT, a Android tablet using 4G/LTE/WiFi or Sprint Note 3.
KI4SDY
Member

Posts: 1452




Ignore
« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2011, 12:30:42 AM »

I would install two bumper mounts, one on each side of the bumper. One for a stainless CB whip with a stainless steel spring. That will get you good performance on 10, 11 & 12 meters without a tuner. Without the spring (the rod acts as its own spring anyway) the antenna is very good for 10 & 11 meters CB. You can add 15, 17 and 20 meters with an inexpensive used manual tuner. Bend and tie the antenna down for low clearance when necessary. I have been using mine in the woods for over 40 years with no problem and excellent performance. If nothing else, start with this antenna and an antenna switch for your CB and ham radio. Smiley

For lower bands down to 40 meters, I would use ham sticks with a spring installed at the base, on the other side of the bumper. Carry a small crescent wrench in the Jeep if you plan on changing bands or if you need to take the antennas down for some reason. Also use the wrench to make sure the studs are screwed in tight on both antennas periodically. The studs are often made of brass and the threads will prematurely wear if they are loose. They do make hamsticks for bands lower than 40 meters, but they are not very good performers.  Wink

Also, make sure that you get good quality stainless steel springs. Don't use cheap chrome plated springs. They will rust and deteriorate the performance of your antenna. Stainless steel springs are forever!   Grin

For VHF and UHF, just get one of the inexpensive dual band flexible magnetic mounts from MFJ and stick it on a front bumper (opposite of the AM/FM antenna) to prevent damage in the woods. On the road, move it to the roof for maximum range.  Cheesy

By the way, I have had very good results using the aluminum flat bar type bumper mount, that uses a single large bolt through the bottom of the bumper and a hole on the other end for the antenna. These mounts are very cheap and come with the female antenna stud. Look for the ones that have a SO239 connector on the cable end of the stud. Most bumpers have holes on each side for this mount.  Wink
« Last Edit: June 07, 2011, 08:01:59 AM by KI4SDY » Logged
W8JX
Member

Posts: 6477




Ignore
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2011, 10:49:03 AM »

I would skip spring mount for ham stick and remove it in bad area. The mass of it could cause it to oscillate and smack vehicle on a spring mount.
Logged

--------------------------------------
All posted wireless using Win 8.1 RT, a Android tablet using 4G/LTE/WiFi or Sprint Note 3.
KI4AX
Member

Posts: 113




Ignore
« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2011, 12:27:02 PM »

The best CB installation I ever had was a cheap Radio Shack mobile radio terminating into a steel whip mounted right in the center of my Ford Econoline van roof. The steel whip was mounted on a pretty standard ball mount bolted down on the roof. I had people from 20 miles away say that I sounded like a base station. All I can figure is that I was getting a nice ground plane off the roof of the van (large flat metal). I know it would suck to cut a hole in the roof of your Jeep... but that would probably make the best installation as far as making a good radiator. Take it for what it is.

Dan KI4AX
Logged
KI4SDY
Member

Posts: 1452




Ignore
« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2011, 07:21:07 PM »

Antennas are supposed to "oscillate" when the receive and transmit radio signals!  Shocked

All joking aside, the spring on the base of the ham stick will allow you to tie it down, like the stainless whip, when driving through low limb country. Adding a length of black rubber tubing where the antenna hits the vehicle on both, along with a strip of black scuff resistant tape from Pep Boys, will save your paint. If you run into any other problems don't hesitate to ask. I have actually used this equipment under the conditions you are describing for years and worked through all the problems.  Grin

An antenna mounted on the roof will perform great, but as you already learned, it won't last long.  Cry
« Last Edit: June 07, 2011, 07:23:20 PM by KI4SDY » Logged
W8JX
Member

Posts: 6477




Ignore
« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2011, 08:10:10 PM »

I used quick disconnects on mine and would simple remove antenna when clearance was a issue
Logged

--------------------------------------
All posted wireless using Win 8.1 RT, a Android tablet using 4G/LTE/WiFi or Sprint Note 3.
KJ4VPJ
Member

Posts: 7




Ignore
« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2011, 11:40:29 AM »

Thanks for all the replies.

I ordered a custom mount from a guy who manufactures them on his own. It mounts along with the tail light, and provides a small platform for the standard connection (3/8", 24TPI).

The 102" CB whip will be first, and I'll see how the SWR is on it for 10M.

My favorites are 20 and 40 meters, so perhaps I'll go the Hamstick route. When I do, I'll probably add the spring. I'll install them when at the campsite, and use the whip when tromping through the woods.

More news as it happens...
KJ4VPJ
Logged
AF6AU
Member

Posts: 40




Ignore
« Reply #11 on: June 17, 2011, 03:19:13 PM »

You might want to consider 2 mounts, the low mount you like for when your are wheeling, but have a strong through-the-roof 3/8-24 mount as well. Then when going looking for low branches you use the low mount. Traveling as a group, you don't need the range and better gain of the high mount.

However you cannot beat the roof mounted full whip for range. and with a matcher, you can run a lot of HF frequencies through it. Great for the campsite, running in the desert, or stationary. If you use good coax to the roof mount, you could use a 18 inch whip for mobile 2 meters.

Years ago, I ran a roof mount Fire Stick 5 footer, with a spring. I had to superglue the vinyl cap on, but it held up well with trees, drive-thrus, and garage openings.

Take the time, do both. Then when the time comes, you hit 20 meters when parked on a high hill, and show the CB'ers what your license allows you to do legally.

AF6AU

Logged
ZENKI
Member

Posts: 980




Ignore
« Reply #12 on: June 22, 2011, 04:37:13 AM »

Buy one of these Codan Antennas.

http://www.codanhf.com/OurProducts/Antennas/3041AntennaTunerMilitary/Features/tabid/1224/Default.aspx

There are several auto antennas in their range. When I traveled in Australia, I saw them on all sorts of vehicles in the outback. Police, 4wd off roaders, trailers, trucks, police and everybody who used HF for phone and emergency on HF. Nobody  that I spoke too complained about them, they all said they worked 1000% When I did my second trip, I hired the antenna and radio just for curiosity. The guy who owned the hire service was a ham and he also indicated that they worked well and were very rugged.

You can buy adapters on Ebay from hams in VKland who sell them for various ham transceivers. They are not much more in dollar terms than a Scorpion screwdriver. You certainly wont break them.  These are professional antennas that meet Mil spec standards. They used all over the world by various aid agencies, UN, Red Cross and most professional mobile HF users.

On receive it has a broadband  RX preamp allowing ALE scanning.

While it wont beat ham center loaded screwdrivers and homebrew whips, its better than most  screwdriver contraptions sold to hams.
My experience using them on the lower HF bands while in Australia impressed me enough. I worked back to home on long path Europe without any problems. I have nothing to do with this company and will  say that it could be 6db down from a good HF being a base loaded antenna. However most hams run HF mobile antennas that are below the extreme HF mobile installations and the Codan antenna will keep up with these types of average installations
Logged
W4DRH
Member

Posts: 3




Ignore
« Reply #13 on: August 08, 2011, 10:08:18 PM »

I have an 05 Jeep Rubicon Unlimited. There is a fellow goes by Arizona Rick. Makes some nice antenna mounts that fit behind tire carrier. Also some mounts that go across roll cage to mount radios overhead (Rick@ArizonaRockyRoad.com). Do a google search. I like his stuff. Be glad to send you some picts if you like. Good luck
Hugh Sammons
SouthCarolinaDolphin@gmail.com
Logged
Pages: [1]   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!