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Old 04-14-2009, 05:18 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Ham Radio "Elmers", please advise antenna location...

I finally made my ham radio purchase, getting the Yaesu 8800 with the FT-60 for a handheld. To go with the 8800, I bought two Larsen antennas, one for the "open road/trail" and one for a "low ceiling", with the idea that I could carry them both with me at all times and simply swap them as necessary.

I have the Larsen NMO 2/70 B for the clear roads and the NMO 2/70 SH (shorty) which is half the size and with a spring incorporated into the base.

NMO 2/70 B


NMO 2/70 SH


Now for the pics of possible locations. I'd prefer to get some feedback before I start drilling 3/4" holes in my FJC. These mounting positions will only be used for the 2/70 frequencies, if I get into other ranges, I'd opt for another antenna/location, so please consider that with the feedback. Also note that the antenna is simply attached with masking tape and things will be straight and true with the permanent mounting.



1 - This is where I initially planned for the antenna. Right above the mirror mount, in the roof, easy to pull over headliner, down the pillar and into the rig for attachment to the radio. Problem, with the ARB rack right behind, it will not easily bend/flex when hit with a branch/bush/etc when I have the "short" antenna mounted. I think that this is a fair place when it comes to radio performance but I'll let the experts chime in on that.



2 - Thought of this positions when playing around with the antennas. Is almost invisible when looking through the windshield and won't interfere with the opening of the hood. My concern is RF interference running under the hood into the interior and effecting radio performance.




3 - Easy and simple, well protected but concerned with performance. Would slightly impact packing of the roof rack but not so severely that I couldn't manage.




Fire away and thanks for the feedback...
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Old 04-14-2009, 05:49 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Ham Radio "Elmers", please advise antenna location...

Congrats on the rig and antennae!

I myself would do a roof mount - center would be ideal but is not always practical; you could place it at the front or the rear of the roof with great results too.

The roof rack is a great place to mount the antenna as well - you have the height and multiple position choices along all 4 of the rails. Also, you won't have to worry about leaks through the roof. Check out RadioRobWalkers rig for roof mounted antenna ideas, it's for sale as well.

73, Mike
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Old 04-14-2009, 05:51 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Ham Radio "Elmers", please advise antenna location...

I too have the Yaesu FT60R, and am thinking of a 8800 or 8900 as well. I have a Diamond NR 770 2m/70cm antenna, I built a bracket that is attached to the roof rack. The base of the entenna is mounted here. The antenna itself stays in my rear door storage system until needed, I park in a garage at night.

I ran the coax along the rack to the rear of the FJ. There it joins the wires that run to the rear facing flood lights. All this is inside some split loom and goes on the hinge side of the rear door. I poked a hole in the rubber boot there and ran the wires past the jack and tools, then along the side to the suicide door/rear seat floor area, under the mat and to the center console. Then when needed I put the FT60 in the cup holder and hook up to the external antenna.

I am thinking of mounting a bracket that the radio belt clip clips to inside the larger square area on the console as well as a mic clip and external mic. But if I go with a radio like the 8800 then I won't need to do this.

Also I'm thinking of spending the $100 for the electric antenna raiser.

Here are some pics, hard to see but the antenna is stored horizontally on the rear door. Yes I know I need to get some black ty-raps instead of the ugly ones on there now.

I would think the roof would be the best place, gets the antenna above the steel body which would tend to block the signal.
Attached Thumbnails
Ham Radio "Elmers", please advise antenna location...-antenna-1.jpg   Ham Radio "Elmers", please advise antenna location...-antenna-2.jpg   Ham Radio "Elmers", please advise antenna location...-antenna-3.jpg  

Last edited by rotorhed1; 04-14-2009 at 06:20 PM. Reason: Add pics
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Old 04-14-2009, 07:29 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Ham Radio "Elmers", please advise antenna location...

Thanks for the feedback guys. I guess I didn't pose the question well enough.

I know the best place is in the center of the roof but I'm not taking off my ARB roof rack just to accommodate the antenna. I was looking for a choice, guess I should have made it a poll instead. As in A or B or C or none...
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Old 04-14-2009, 07:35 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Ham Radio "Elmers", please advise antenna location...

Jerry,

Of the three options you give, #3 would be my first choice. Any of them would function OK, but the higher you can get your antenna the better range you will have, so on the roof or roof rack somewhere would be better than anywhere else. The NMO mount is a great choice because as you already discovered, you can switch out antennas.

If you want a 4th alternative, I would consider an NMO mount that clamps on to the tubing of your roof rack. This would preserve virtually 100% of your rack space and functionality and still give excellent performance. Depending on how your rack is mounted, you may need to take extra measures to make sure the antenna is well grounded.

Also, as another trail antenna option - I bought a Flexi-Whip cop antenna and cut it for 2 meters:

Sti-Co: Custom Antenna Supplier and Manufacturer: Flexi-Whip Antennas

This thing works great for its size. You cut it down to 1/4 wavelength (about 20"), it is very flexible as advertized, and the performance and range is very near the same as my 5/8-wave steel whip. Trees or overhangs do not bother it at all. The only downside to it is that you can't buy one at any retail radio shop I've been able to find; you must buy them from a commercial radio shop that installs and services cop cars and etc., and then you must trim it yourself (preferrably with an antenna tuner) for 2 meters. But it is a great trail antenna, and really good enough to be an only 2m antenna. With your dual-band radio you could still carry one of your dual-band antennas and use it if there are not lots of trees, but your 2m band is still going to be the main one you use on the trail anyway.

Let us know what you decide abd how it works!
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Old 04-14-2009, 07:50 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Ham Radio "Elmers", please advise antenna location...

Jerry:
Great choice with the FT-8800 radio and the Larsen antennas. I think this location is the best since it should provides sufficient ground plane for the 2m to be effective (and also high enough to not worry about RF blockage). It also is a very convenient location to get to to swap out antennas. The cable run to the radio is also shorter so less RF loss through the cable (routing through the A pillar to get into the FJ cabin).
73,
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Old 04-14-2009, 07:52 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Ham Radio "Elmers", please advise antenna location...

Thanks for the feedback and suggestions Lee. That is the one thing I forgot to mention about option 3 is the potential for not having a solid ground. I'd hope that the mounts through the ARB rack ground into the chassis but I can't say for sure.

Option 3 is the least risky, I've got to decide before a trip with our TLCA club to the NC Outer Banks. I want to be able to use it then, even if its just for listening and getting to know how it all operates...
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Old 04-14-2009, 07:53 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Ham Radio "Elmers", please advise antenna location...

Thank Thong, we have 2 votes for number 3...
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Old 04-14-2009, 08:33 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Ham Radio "Elmers", please advise antenna location...

Of the choices you have presented, # 3 is by far the best.

# 1 will have more interference from the rack air dam, and a more directional ground plane sitting so far forward on the roof.

# 2 will have bigger issues - the front panel is fiberglass, affording virtually no ground plane, adding a stability issue (it's not very sturdy), and in some states a legality issue (being in the driver's field of vision above the hood).

# 3 is by far the best, IMO - more omnidirectional ground plane, higher elevation and less interference from other structures.

Good luck,

Larry

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Old 04-14-2009, 08:47 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Ham Radio "Elmers", please advise antenna location...

Thanks Larry for the feedback. I knew option 2 was marginal, just thinking "outside the box" so to speak.

We now have 3 for option 3, looks like an obvious choice so far...
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