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Author Topic: Mounting Options Involving Hard Tonneau Cover  (Read 4840 times)
KI4EKN
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Posts: 4




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« on: March 26, 2013, 06:08:58 PM »

OK, here's my dilemma:  I have a 2010 Nissan Frontier Crew Cab/short bed.  It came with a one-piece Undercover hard tonneau cover that is very solidly built.  You can have several guys stand on top with minimal flex.  It's that solid because of the double layer and x-pattern reinforcement underneath.  Now, I want to mount a Scorpion Shorty screwdriver ant, 30 inches retracted and 13 lbs weight.  The tonneau cover will support the weight and the windload, no problem.  Question is ground plane.  My thoughts are to have a 1 sq foot 3/16" thick aluminum plate on top of the cover (additional rigidity) that will be bonded to a 3' x 4' sheet of 1/16" thin perforated steel sheet installed directly under and attached to the underside of the tonneau cover.  The distance between the antenna and the 1/16" sheeting being 2.5 inches -- the thickness of the tonneau cover.  The thin sheet will, in turn, be bonded to the truck bed, bonded to frame/cab and everything else in the truck.  Other option is to mount the antenna on the truck bed 9" above the bed floor, using a welded steel mount bolted to the bed.  The antenna/mount being bonded as above to bed/cab/frame, etc., and having the rest of the of the antenna sticking through the tonneau cover.  My must have's for this install are to have a useable tonneau cover, permanent antenna install and optimized ground plane.  Doable or not, in terms of ground plane optimization?  Thanks in advance.  73  K4VBC, Jay
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WN2C
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Posts: 481




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« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2013, 01:41:40 AM »

Jay, check your email.  I sent 2 pics of an install that is very close to mine.  Let me know what you think.

Rick  wn2c
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W9MMS
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Posts: 121




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« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2013, 08:55:17 PM »

What's stopping you? Go for it, and let us know they results.

Pics would also be a plus.    Grin


((((73)))) Milverton.
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WN2C
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Posts: 481




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« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2013, 04:26:46 AM »

Jay, keep in mind the 680s weighs 13 pounds!.  You want a very sturdy mount with no flexing.  I asked Ron about putting my 680 on the front bumper of my Chevy truck and after it flexed just a little he said no not a good idea.  If you are (or already did) paying the price of this antenna, the last thing you want is to have a mount that may fail.  Oh, and wind up with a 3/4 inch hole in your Tonneau cover, broken antenna...etc.  Take a look at k0bg's website k0bg.com and look at the pics on it and also on the Scorpion website.  You will find a wealth of info there as to how this antenna should be mounted.

Rick  wn2c
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NZ5E
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Posts: 75




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« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2013, 06:18:15 AM »

Jay, take a look at my Toyota Tacoma HF antenna install on my QRZ page, about half way down the biography.  This is a prototype design that I made to experiment with this mounting configuration.  My current design resembles a tonneau cover, but denies access to the bed except from behind with the tailgate down.  I plan to use an actual tonneau cover in my next pickup that raises up to gain easier access to the bed.

I am getting excellent performance with Hamstick type antennas on 10 through 20 meters.  One day while traveling down the highway in an extended QSO with a DX station, my wife asked me why I need those big antennas for my internet remote base, when I can do the same thing with the relatively small Hamstick antenna on the back of my pickup.  That was a hard question to answer Wink

Terry, NZ5E
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KI4EKN
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Posts: 4




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« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2013, 02:25:29 PM »

Jay, take a look at my Toyota Tacoma HF antenna install on my QRZ page, about half way down the biography.  This is a prototype design that I made to experiment with this mounting configuration.  My current design resembles a tonneau cover, but denies access to the bed except from behind with the tailgate down.  I plan to use an actual tonneau cover in my next pickup that raises up to gain easier access to the bed.

I am getting excellent performance with Hamstick type antennas on 10 through 20 meters.  One day while traveling down the highway in an extended QSO with a DX station, my wife asked me why I need those big antennas for my internet remote base, when I can do the same thing with the relatively small Hamstick antenna on the back of my pickup.  That was a hard question to answer Wink

Terry, NZ5E

Thanks for sharing your truck cover mounting system, Terry.  That is a slick idea.

73
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WN2C
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Posts: 481




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« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2013, 04:56:10 AM »

Jay, what did you come up with?  Did you install the antenna?

Rick  wn2c
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W4KVW
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Posts: 508




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« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2013, 08:57:59 PM »

http://bellsouthpwp.net/b/r/breedlove1/page2.html

These folks can built a mount to fill your needs.  Grin

Clayton
W4KVW
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KI4EKN
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Posts: 4




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« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2013, 03:11:00 PM »

Update:  The Scorpion 680 "Shorty" arrived last week and I had a chance to physically try out a couple of ideas.  First off, the Scorpion is a work of art.  It looks like it could withstand a nuclear blast.  It is really something!  Anyway, I tested my theory that the tonneau cover could be made rigid enough, being reinforced with 1/8" steel plate top and bottom, to mount the S-680.  Problem was that it would rock quite a bit going over bumps and the whip on top would really flail around.  That was a no go for me as this is an off-road vehicle.  So, on to Plan B.  This involved welding up a steel mount that would bolt onto the truck bed and have the S-680 protrude through the tonneau cover.  I fabbed up the mount, using my TIG welder and some angle iron, braced it really well and then made some careful measurements before cutting a hole in the cover.  I agonized more than I should have at this point re cutting into the cover, but it turned out well.  Now the antenna is rigidly mounted to the bed with zero play, flex or movement.  Its rock solid.  I had to cut an oval shaped hole to allow for the lateral movement of the cover when swinging open.  I made a gasket type seal out of rubber mat to cover the oval opening and seal tightly around the antenna mast.  It lays flat on the cover when closed and slides up the mast when opened.  I just have to slide it back down the mast when closing the cover.  Small inconvenience.  I have the coax and control wires choked off at the entry point into the truck bed.   I am nearly finished with the RF bonding.  I have the antenna bonded to the mount, the mount to the bed, the bed to the frame and cab, tailgate to the bed, cab to the frame, doors to the cab, and hood to the cab.  Just need to do the engine and the exhaust system.  Its mounted so that I can see the mast in the center rearview mirror.  I placed thin strips of tape at the resonant positions so I can quickly move up/down the bands.  Its working very well at this point!  Now, I am on the lookout for a good tuner/controller. 
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