Author Topic: Ham radio antenna mount  (Read 5941 times)

JFanaselle

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Ham radio antenna mount
« on: July 18, 2014, 12:02:36 PM »
Hey everyone,

I met Celt (Erik) in north county San Diego a few days ago which led to a discussion and some questions about how I have my HAM antenna mounted to the rear hatch of my Xterra. I thought I would slap together a little info about my setup and some photos.

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I am running two antennas on the hatch - one for CB and one for HAM. I take the CB one off while driving regularly and only put it back on the mount when I plan to wheel with someone else who only runs a CB.

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Both antennas are mounted to Diamond K400 or 412 series antenna mounts, which allow for tri-axis 360 degree adjustment so you can make them perfectly level and visually pleasing, regardless of where you decide to mount them. The mounts attach to the lip of the hatch lid and have set screws with allen heads to hold them in place.

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The mount on my passenger side is a Diamond K412CNMO http://www.hamradio.com/detail.cfm?pid=H0-000037, which I purchased for $59.99 from Ham Radio Outlet, and has a Diamond NR73BNMO 2M/440 dual band antenna mounted to it. The mount includes a pre-attached 6.5' length of teflon coated coax that is long enough to get you up the hatch and inside the vehicle. From there, you'll need an extension cable to run the length to wherever your radio is mounted. The mount has a "UHF Mini" style connector on the end of the coax, which is common in commercial applications. The purpose of using this connector is to allow as small of a hole as possible to be drilled anywhere the wire needs to run through without having to solder on a connector yourself. The mount includes an adapter that screws onto the Mini UHF connector and will fit a standard PL-259 fitting (like the ones found on a HAM or CB radio). The antenna side of the mount will hold any antenna with an NMO style base, but diamond makes this mount with a few different kinds of fittings for various antennas.

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I drilled about a 3/8" hole (might be 1/2") on the upper right side of the rear hatch door jamb. I installed a rubber grommet in the hole and ran my HAM antenna cable, XM antenna cable and GPS antenna cable all trough it. I then sealed it up with silicone. From there, it's just a matter of pulling the interior plastics in the vehicle to run your wires wherever you need them (which can be very time consuming, especially in the rear hatch area) and adjusting the angles of each axis on the antenna mount (which only required an allen wrench and is included with the kit).

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The bracket on the driver side of the vehicle is the K400-3/8C http://www.diamondantenna.net/k400-38c.html, which is a slightly larger footprint than the K412 for heavier antennas. That model number specifically is for a CB antenna 3/8x24 anteanna thread, and includes the same teflon coated coax cable with Mini UHF fitting (the same adapter is supplied to allow it to connect to a standard radio connector).

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One thing to note is that I purchased the Diamond branded Mini-UHF male to Mini-UHF female extension cable for an excessive price (I think it was around $30 or $40 for a 12 foot cable) and installed the included adapter with the mount kit on the end of that cable. In hindsight, I could have just installed the adapter on the end of the shorter length of cable and used a standard PL-259 extension cable for much less money, but oh well. Having the smaller connectors on the ends did make fishing the wire through tight areas a little easier, so you may still want the diamond branded one if you plan to run it to a tricky area. Another thing to note is that cable is likely to wear out over time at the point where it attaches to the mount, especially with prolonged exposure to sunlight, high temperatures and extreme weather. Take this into consideration when you install the mount and be sure the cable is routed in a direction that feels natural (no excessive bending or kinking of the cable) and that it is not too tight or does not have too much slack. Even with these precautions, you may break the wire off at the point where it attaches to the mount if you remove the mount from the vehicle and re-install it on a new vehicle several years down the road. This very thing happened to me and fortunately, Diamond sells a kit to replace the entire cable and connector, but I believe it was almost the same price for the kit as an entirely new mount.

Photos of the setup are attached. Feel free to ask me any questions you may have.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2014, 12:09:05 PM by JFanaselle »

knightrider

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Re:
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2014, 02:13:14 PM »
Nice.  I run the same nmo mount for my ham, I moved mine from the rear hatch to the rear passenger door so that its always upright while I'm camping.
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Celt

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Re: Ham radio antenna mount
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2014, 03:44:29 PM »
Knightrider, I might not be looking at the swivel mount properly but can't you put the antenna in the vertical position with the rear hatch in the up position?
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JFanaselle

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Re: Ham radio antenna mount
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2014, 08:14:09 PM »
You can, but you'd either have to adjust it to that position once you open the hatch, or it would always be sticking straight back until you opened the hatch. It's not hard to adjust (just uses an allen wrench), but it's not really designed to be constantly changing positions and I imagine it would wear out over time (or at least the wire would break off, as I mentioned. It really is designed to be cranked down and forgotten about.

I do like the idea of putting it on the back door if you plan to have the hatch open alot while camping. In my case, I open the hatch a bunch (several times a day), but I never leave it open for long periods of time or use the radio while the hatch is open.

knightrider

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Re:
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2014, 02:00:25 PM »
Yep like jf said, it is adjustable but not really made to do all the time, I like leaving my hatch open while camping so the hatch didn't work out so well.
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Ghost65

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Re: Ham radio antenna mount
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2015, 08:04:08 AM »
I've been so busy being a goof in other threads...excellent write up Joe!  Some good stuff in here.
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LBSlide

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Re: Ham radio antenna mount
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2015, 01:13:21 PM »
JFanaselle I like your idea for the roof rack and side light bars do you have any other pics of that set up? Or the parts used?


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JFanaselle

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Re: Ham radio antenna mount
« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2015, 07:06:54 PM »
I sure do! In fact, I did a whole write-up about it here: http://www.sccxterra.com/smf/index.php/topic,2480.0.html


RikRong

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Re: Ham radio antenna mount
« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2015, 10:26:23 AM »
I know this a little bit of a bump, but I'm glad I found this.  I'll probably look at getting one of these mounts to clean up my hood install.  Right now, I have hood channel mount, but I think this will clean things up a lot.  Thanks for this post.
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JFanaselle

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Re: Ham radio antenna mount
« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2015, 04:00:06 PM »
Are you planning on attaching this mount to the hood, or moving your antenna all the way back to the hatch? If your plan is to use this mount on the hood and keep the antenna where it is, I'd say you're better off to just keep your hood channel mount. This mount is bulkier and more of it shows from outside the vehicle, so it wouldn't look nearly as clean. Plus, the antenna would swing toward the windshield when the hood opens, and would fling around pretty bad when you close the hood, both of which don't happen with the hood channel mount. Just my $.02.

knightrider

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Re: Ham radio antenna mount
« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2015, 04:02:05 PM »
stevec has the same mount on his hood, he would be good to provide feedback.
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RikRong

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Re: Re: Ham radio antenna mount
« Reply #11 on: August 21, 2015, 05:11:30 PM »
Are you planning on attaching this mount to the hood, or moving your antenna all the way back to the hatch? If your plan is to use this mount on the hood and keep the antenna where it is, I'd say you're better off to just keep your hood channel mount. This mount is bulkier and more of it shows from outside the vehicle, so it wouldn't look nearly as clean. Plus, the antenna would swing toward the windshield when the hood opens, and would fling around pretty bad when you close the hood, both of which don't happen with the hood channel mount. Just my $.02.
Ah, that makes sense. I do plan on keeping it on the hood. The mount is pretty big, but I didn't see many pictures on Google with this mount on the hood.
stevec has the same mount on his hood, he would be good to provide feedback.
Hopefully he'll jump in here.

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steve c

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Re: Re: Ham radio antenna mount
« Reply #12 on: August 23, 2015, 11:55:34 AM »

Hopefully he'll jump in here.


I just suggested this hood mount for a dude on #SoExPo

How douchey is it to quote yourself?  Very.

Quote from: steve c
Put it on the hood with one of these contraptions

http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/800x600q90/540/aNgxFS.jpg
Ham radio antenna mount


http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/800x600q90/901/AYlEfJ.jpg
Ham radio antenna mount


http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/800x600q90/537/5xBgUz.jpg
Ham radio antenna mount


When I first installed it, I thought the antenna would drive me nuts being in my line of sight.  I don't even notice it anymore.

http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/800x600q90/905/fy6xAG.jpg
Ham radio antenna mount

Seems to work, I guess. 
I don't really ham outside of runs. 

I can go outside in the blazing heat and take some more photos, if you want. 
Steve - KK6OFL

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knightrider

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Re: Ham radio antenna mount
« Reply #13 on: August 23, 2015, 11:58:17 AM »
mor macro shots of your mount.
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RikRong

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Re: Re: Ham radio antenna mount
« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2015, 10:35:47 AM »

I just suggested this hood mount for a dude on #SoExPo

How douchey is it to quote yourself?  Very.

Seems to work, I guess. 
I don't really ham outside of runs. 

I can go outside in the blazing heat and take some more photos, if you want. 
No need to get more photos, those are perfect and thanks for posting them.
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