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Author Topic: Dual-Band antenna mount on full-size van?  (Read 9856 times)
N5PVL
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Posts: 210




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« on: February 17, 2013, 08:40:05 AM »

Am looking for suggestions for mounting a dualband VHF/UHF antenna on my full-size Ford e-250 van.

The van has a noise abatement package which would make punching a hole for a roof-mount antenna mount problematical.

What would be the next best antenna/mount combination, and where would it go?

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AC4RD
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Posts: 1235




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« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2013, 09:16:33 AM »

I'm surprised nobody's answered you yet.   I'm a "little fish" where it comes to VHF/UHF, but this works for me:  Simple lip mount on the top of my passenger-rear door, quarterwave 2m/440 on top of it.  Fits in any garage, works OK.  Not nearly as nice as a permanently mounted gain antenna, for sure, but it's plenty for me.
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N6AJR
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Posts: 9906




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« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2013, 10:25:12 AM »

Oruse something like a MFJ 310, which is a device which rolls up in the window with a rubberduck or small antenna on it and a short coax to go to a HT. comes in sma and bnc.  Roll it up in the window and put a quarter wave 2m / 440  antenna on it.
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K3NPO
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« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2013, 01:31:03 PM »

Do you have a roof rack? I mounted my new antenna on my SUV's roof rack, very sturdy.
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73,
Cat, K3NPO
KJ4OBR
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Posts: 104




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« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2013, 08:12:06 AM »

L bracket in the hood seam. Like one of these:
http://www.theantennafarm.com/catalog/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=264_268_296

or fab a no drill bracket our of stainless stock like I did for my Jeep:

https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/108388273845581073968/albums/5693931148402558865/5702496111020372722?hl=en
https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/108388273845581073968/albums/5693931148402558865/5702496157289027106?hl=en





Am looking for suggestions for mounting a dualband VHF/UHF antenna on my full-size Ford e-250 van.

The van has a noise abatement package which would make punching a hole for a roof-mount antenna mount problematical.

What would be the next best antenna/mount combination, and where would it go?


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W5LZ
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Posts: 477




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« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2013, 09:23:58 AM »

Good question!  And here's a crumby answer.  It depends on the antenna you plan to use and the clearance you would normally expect to have.  Then it depends on how you feel about making holes in that van.  When you 'factor' all that together then you can get a reasonable idea of what's possible for you.
The suggestions so far are all 'reasonable'.  One that I haven't seen yet is that "drilling a hole" thingy in the side/back end of the van.  And while it may be 'problematical' would a hole in the roof really be that much of a problem?
I've drilled holes in almost every 'ride' I've ever had (new ones too), and if careful, they usually aren't a problem.
Good luck.
 - Paul
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N5PVL
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Posts: 210




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« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2013, 07:05:59 PM »

The van has a noise-abatement package... That is, insulation and plastic panels cover the roof and sides, along with a thick mat on the deck. Working through or around all of that in order to drill holes, route coax etc. would be a real pain.

If I had my druthers, there would be two holes drilled in the center-line of roof, one for 1/4 wave VHF, the other for 5/8 wave UHF...

But that is not possible without the services of a professional installer, and I live far away from such, out in the desert/mountains of west Texas.

Being a late model Ford van, the mirrors are plastic affairs, useless for mounting antennas.

At this point, I am considering mounting something not too tall on the roof gutters, maybe something like that. I have to be able to go under a railroad bridge that has 10' 5" clearance, and the van is 3/4 ton.

Here's couple of pics:

http://s239.beta.photobucket.com/user/arwatch/media/FV06.jpg.html

http://s239.beta.photobucket.com/user/arwatch/media/FV04.jpg.html

73 DE Charles, N5PVL
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KD4LLA
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Posts: 457




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« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2013, 11:04:30 PM »


But that is not possible without the services of a professional installer, and I live far away from such, out in the desert/mountains of west Texas.

So there is no mobile radio installer w/in miles?  Or a Best Buy type store that does stereo installation?  Even my local Verizon Wireless store does stereo installs...  A hole in the roof is nothing.  Yes, I have done it, it is not that big of a deal.

Mike
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N5PVL
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Posts: 210




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« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2013, 04:49:53 AM »


But that is not possible without the services of a professional installer, and I live far away from such, out in the desert/mountains of west Texas.

So there is no mobile radio installer w/in miles?  Or a Best Buy type store that does stereo installation?  Even my local Verizon Wireless store does stereo installs...  A hole in the roof is nothing.  Yes, I have done it, it is not that big of a deal.

Mike

It is true. - Just about anybody can work out how to drill a hole in a roof.

Doing it without boogering up the noise-abatement package I mentioned ( and provided images of  ) takes a bit more finesse, though.

I'm not interested in a "Bubba" installation. This is a nice clean van, and I intend to keep it that way.

And, as I mentioned, there are no professional installers located near to this desert community. The nearest Best Buy etc. is located several hundred miles away.

I thought about talking to the Ford dealer, who should be able to work with the noise abatement package but guess what? - The nearest Ford dealer is also located several hundred miles away.

That's why I am looking for an alternative to drilling through the roof, even though doing so would IMHO  give the best possible signal, and ( properly done ) look best, too.

I do not trust mag-mounts with the 80 MPH speed limits in my area, so I am looking for the best alternative that I can order on the internet, and mount without drilling holes, etc..

73 DE Charles, N5PVL
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KQ6Q
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Posts: 976




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« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2013, 02:01:22 AM »

an earlier post mentioned a hood seam mount. I use one. It works well enough, but I use a short 2m/440 whip on it becausea a longer one whips around in the turbulence and can be distracting while driving at speed. I keep a longer whip inside, to use if I'm ever in a situation when I need it. No holes drilled in my Honda Element at all - fabricated my own bracket, used antenna hardware and base from Comet.
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KJ4OBR
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Posts: 104




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« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2013, 09:49:02 AM »

That was me  Cheesy I have antennas on both sides of the Jeep that are tall (Larsen NMO 27 and a Maldol EX-510B). You are right, at first they were distracting, but now I don't notice them at all.

73
Dave

an earlier post mentioned a hood seam mount. I use one. It works well enough, but I use a short 2m/440 whip on it becausea a longer one whips around in the turbulence and can be distracting while driving at speed. I keep a longer whip inside, to use if I'm ever in a situation when I need it. No holes drilled in my Honda Element at all - fabricated my own bracket, used antenna hardware and base from Comet.
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K5LXP
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Posts: 4479


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« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2013, 06:29:13 AM »

Doing it without boogering up the noise-abatement package I mentioned ( and provided images of  ) takes a bit more finesse, though.

The noise abatement package appears to be nothing more than a jute-backed panel stuck to the roof with push-in fasteners, not unlike what I've seen in ambulances over the years.

It is possible to drill a 3/4" hole and run the coax between the panel and roof without having to pull the panel down.  Think of it as a thick headliner.  While I was at it I'd drill and install 2 or 3 mounts for future expansion.  A van roof makes a wonderful tall, unobstructed antenna location with a great groundplane.  I would consider this install no more difficult than any other van/truck/SUV with a headliner.


Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM

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KD5FPO
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Posts: 28




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« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2013, 12:28:28 AM »

If you think you might ever want to resell that van, then drilling big holes in it might not be the best way to go. But it's true, it does partly depend on your antenna. Some of the new "dual-axis" lip mounts are very heavy-duty, albeit pricey. The problem with lip mounts is that whenever you slam that particular door you send the antenna whipping around wildly, not good! 

Perhaps a better approach would be to buy, or make, a flat piece of steel about 2" x 3" x 1/8th" thick, drill the antenna mount hole in one end, and 3 or 4 small holes in the other, then bend that end to near a 90 degree angle. Mount this inside whichever door jamb you choose by drilling, YES DRILLING, 3 or 4 SMALL cooresponding holes INSIDE the door jamb so that the mount protrudes up at the correct angle. Basically like a lip mount but mounted to the BODY of the door jamb, NOT the door. You might have to make two bends in it. These brackets are about $6.00 or 7.00 on Ebay. It's better to drill a few 3/32" holes than one 3/4" hole in my view. I mounted a big, heavy mobile J-pole on my 1980 VW Vanagon this way years ago, it never gave me any trouble. I chose to mount it at the top upper right corner of the drivers door, and I used a fold-over adapter to lay the antenna down to get into the garage, underground parking structures, etc.  Hope this helps. 73
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N6AJR
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« Reply #13 on: March 08, 2013, 03:53:07 PM »

I see several other options are an MFJ 310, which rolls up in the window and you mount your antenna off the window and it sticks up over the roof line.  another is to install a trailer hitch and use that, or weld a plate of steel under the back and have it stick out on the rear as a mount. Stay away from the mag mounts. can you mount a small mount on one of the doors   just figure out what you want, and remember if you have a garage clearance problem, they make a electric tilt over mount too.
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K7RBW
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Posts: 390




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« Reply #14 on: March 09, 2013, 08:09:32 AM »

I'm going to vote for the hole-in-the-roof option. Putting just a 1/4-wave whip on the roof will be much better than a fancy antenna anywhere else (as long as you avoid parking garages).

Using an NMO hole saw, you can do most of this without dropping the headliner. The NMO hole saw doesn't penetrate more than about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch. The mount fits the hole perfectly and seals the hole with an o-ring. When it comes time to sell, just take off the antenna and put on a black plastic cap. It now looks like the Sirius XM, On-Star, GPS antennas that all the fancy cars have. No one will even mention it (if they could even see it up on top of the van).

The keys to this are: find a good place before drilling (e.g. pull down the dome light and peek up in there). Measure twice (and drill once). And use a real NMO hole saw designed for the task. The end result was MUCH neater and cleaner than any of the other options.
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