Ham Antenna Mount/location

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Patriotoverlander

Rank I
Member

Member I

173
Lancaster, PA, USA
Member #

12633

Ham Callsign
KC3MRS
Hey all I am looking at getting the Diamond NR-770HB or NR-770HBNMO. My question is which mounting tip do you prefer and were is best location to mount it on the vehicle. I have a 2013 JKU 4 door. I am new to the HAM radio and just got the license, already bought the radio and now working on the antenna. There are just so many options and I would love some feedback on what you all are using and what you found to work
 

WW7PDX

Rank V
Member

Traveler I

2,571
Catoosa, OK, USA
Member #

11831

Ham Callsign
WW7PDX
Hey all I am looking at getting the Diamond NR-770HB or NR-770HBNMO. My question is which mounting tip do you prefer and were is best location to mount it on the vehicle. I have a 2013 JKU 4 door. I am new to the HAM radio and just got the license, already bought the radio and now working on the antenna. There are just so many options and I would love some feedback on what you all are using and what you found to work
I believe the radio community tends to prefer the NMO connection when passing through surfaces, and PL-259 otherwise.

I originally installed the NR-770HA (silver version) when I got licensed. Great antenna, and the fold over feature is a great thing to have.

With radio, higher is better, and most work best when they can radiate from a ground plane (meaning center of roof). Also, most of what folks struggle with is transmissions, not reception.

Depending on your needs, it may not need to squeak every inch out of your transmissions. Such as vehicle to vehicle vs vehicle to repeater...

If you need to compromise, I could recommend mounting to a tire carrier, hood, or bumper for ease of access and vehicle to vehicle, and then purchasing one of those roll up antennas that you can sling up into a tree if you have an emergency and need better range. The roll up will likely have better reach vs anything vehicle bound if you can get it up.

For an idea of the roll up antenna, check this out: https://countycomm.com/products/dual-band-roll-up-antenna-government-pack
 

Patriotoverlander

Rank I
Member

Member I

173
Lancaster, PA, USA
Member #

12633

Ham Callsign
KC3MRS
I believe the radio community tends to prefer the NMO connection when passing through surfaces, and PL-259 otherwise.

I originally installed the NR-770HA (silver version) when I got licensed. Great antenna, and the fold over feature is a great thing to have.

With radio, higher is better, and most work best when they can radiate from a ground plane (meaning center of roof). Also, most of what folks struggle with is transmissions, not reception.

Depending on your needs, it may not need to squeak every inch out of your transmissions. Such as vehicle to vehicle vs vehicle to repeater...

If you need to compromise, I could recommend mounting to a tire carrier, hood, or bumper for ease of access and vehicle to vehicle, and then purchasing one of those roll up antennas that you can sling up into a tree if you have an emergency and need better range. The roll up will likely have better reach vs anything vehicle bound if you can get it up.

For an idea of the roll up antenna, check this out: https://countycomm.com/products/dual-band-roll-up-antenna-government-pack

Thanks! So can I ask a few more questions then? Would you mount it on the hood and use a truck lip mount. Or, I’m currently running a Gobi roof rack with ladders on both sides. I considered buying a mount that I could mount on that ladder. I’m assuming I don’t need a ground w that antenna
 

WW7PDX

Rank V
Member

Traveler I

2,571
Catoosa, OK, USA
Member #

11831

Ham Callsign
WW7PDX
Thanks! So can I ask a few more questions then? Would you mount it on the hood and use a truck lip mount. Or, I’m currently running a Gobi roof rack with ladders on both sides. I considered buying a mount that I could mount on that ladder. I’m assuming I don’t need a ground w that antenna
Again, it depends on your transmission needs (mainly because your power is almost always less than a repeaters).

If you are going vehicle to vehicle and have concerns about antenna theft, the hood might be more accessible which is a good thing so you can toss it on and off, but also easier to snatch.

Also, do you plan to fold it over when not in use to lower your profile? It might not work well over your hood when it starts tapping your windshield or thumb wrestling with your wipers. :)

If it's up on your rack, will you be folding it over or removing to deal with garages and other needs. Keep in mind the fold over design is for planned activity, not for branches etc.. you will want a spring loaded system if that's your plan (or for trail use?). I would look at the Comet 2x4SR if you want spring forgiveness.

As for ground planes, 1/2 wave should be fine, but you still lose some from obstruction if on your hood or spare mount due to the cab area. Again, likely not a problem if just going vehicle to vehicle or reaching base camp etc...

Hope that helps.
 
Last edited:

ru108

Rank VI
Member

Traveler I

2,986
Prairieville, LA
Member #

12189

Ham Callsign
K5TIN
Hey all I am looking at getting the Diamond NR-770HB or NR-770HBNMO. My question is which mounting tip do you prefer and were is best location to mount it on the vehicle. I have a 2013 JKU 4 door. I am new to the HAM radio and just got the license, already bought the radio and now working on the antenna. There are just so many options and I would love some feedback on what you all are using and what you found to work
Its been a while since I've owned or played with Jeeps, but it'll mostly depend on how much you care about aesthetics and the amount of time you spend running topless. The NR-770 is a 1/2 wave antenna, so its not as dependent on having a ground plane as a 1/4 or 5/8 wave and you should have good results with it overall. As stated above though, height is might as far as VHF/UHF antennas go, so you'll want to have it as high as possible for the best transmit range.
If you have a roof rack or basket on your hard top, I'd suggest using this:

https://www.gigaparts.com/diamond-antenna-k515snmo.html?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI7NjZnP624AIVko3ICh35eAcFEAQYAiABEgJ-IfD_BwE

I'm using that mount on my 4Runner and its been great. I also use a modified mirror mount on the rear of the toolbox on my Tundra and the difference in the height between it and the 4R (about twoish feet) is definitely noticeable when I try to get into some of the more far flung repeaters in my general area. In addition to the antenna itself folding, the mount has two axis movement, so the antenna can be moved around fairly easily if need be. If no rack, then your other options would likely be either the spare tire carrier, taillight or a lip mount on the hood. CONGRATS on the license and welcome to the edge of the rabbit hole that is ham radio!
 

Prerunner1982

US Southwest Region Member Rep
Member

Traveler I

3,357
Navina, Oklahoma
Member #

16274

Ham Callsign
WX5SKY
Tony, welcome to the world of ham radio.
For line of sight communication height is king. A roof rack would work fine with either a good connection between the mount and the rack or with a 1/2 wave antenna.
Arizona Rocky Road sells a mount that attaches to the rear tire carrier/tailgate and elevates the antenna mount above the spare tire and gets the antenna up high. http://www.arizonarockyroad.com/
The mount comes as a 3/8x24 (CB type) mount but can be drilled for an NMO mount upon request. I generally don't recommend a CB antenna to be mounted to the tire carrier/tailgate area as it requires much more ground plane than that area may be able to provide, however a VHF/UHF antenna should do fine. The mount could almost act as a vertical dipole.
If height it a concern I typically advise to mount the antenna on a fender mount such as this: https://www.theantennafarm.com/catalog/mobile-antenna-mounts-264/fender-bracket-mounts-268/nmo-straight-brackets-1514/
It goes towards the rear of the fender near the back of the hood as the top of the fender under the hood starts to widen out. See picture of one I installed for a friend with an NMO CB antenna.
NMO CB 3.jpg NMO CB 2.jpeg
 
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RadioRick

Rank II
Member

279
Springfield, OR, USA
Member #

16745

Ham Callsign
W7NB
I deal with install issues with patrol vehicles and DOT rigs all the time. Remember that getting the antenna away from other influences is important for both tuning and pattern uniformity. Mounts like Ernie J shows are super for getting the antenna as much out of harms way as possible, but odds are that antenna (base load) has some tuning challenges and will pattern very much to the drivers side corner with as much as 6 dB loss to the passenger rear. Engineering diagrams from the manufacturers show us as much as 2.4 dB loss when mounted near pillars but only 1.4-1.8 if mounted 18 inches away. Prerunner 1982's mount is virtually identical with what I use and will perform better but does expose the antenna to more damage.

While the Diamond antenna you are looking at is a good performer it may be a challenge to keep from mangling it depending on your wheeling style. I'm one of those goofy sort who seem to end up in the pucker brush and narrow trails with a lot of trees to deal with so I just use a good old 1.2/3.3 dBi gain whip that is a performance compromise but has taken a beating. In PA you may have better odds of staying out of the crap and not bending stuff with the longer antenna. If I am out in the back-country and feel like I will need to reach out a great distance to reach a repeater I will take a higher gain antenna with me but most of the time it's just simplex conversations so the little guy works great. If nothing else I can always take the Icom 706 and a 40 meter hamstick for emergency communications.
 
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WW7PDX

Rank V
Member

Traveler I

2,571
Catoosa, OK, USA
Member #

11831

Ham Callsign
WW7PDX
I deal with install issues with patrol vehicles and DOT rigs all the time. Remember that getting the antenna away from other influences is important for both tuning and pattern uniformity. Mounts like Ernie J shows are super for getting the antenna as much out of harms way as possible, but odds are that antenna (base load) has some tuning challenges and will pattern very much to the drivers side corner with as much as 6 dB loss to the passenger rear. Engineering diagrams from the manufacturers show us as much as 2.4 dB loss when mounted near pillars but only 1.4-1.8 if mounted 18 inches away. Prerunner 1982's mount is virtually identical with what I use and will perform better but does expose the antenna to more damage.

While the Diamond antenna you are looking at is a good performer it may be a challenge to keep from mangling it depending on your wheeling style. I'm one of those goofy sort who seem to end up in the pucker brush and narrow trails with a lot of trees to deal with so I just use a good old 1.2/3.3 dBi gain whip that is a performance compromise but has taken a beating. In PA you may have better odds of staying out of the crap and not bending stuff with the longer antenna. If I am out in the back-country and feel like I will need to reach out a great distance to reach a repeater I will take a higher gain antenna with me but most of the time it's just simplex conversations so the little guy works great. If nothing else I can always take the Icom 706 and a 40 meter hamstick for emergency communications.
This is why I recommended the Comet 2x4sr with spring kit mounted as high as possible, or a more convenient location with some sort of emergency rope style antenna as backup.

Again, it all comes down to need though. If only concerned about caravans and Basecamp, it probably doesn't matter to have 'the best'.
 

RadioRick

Rank II
Member

279
Springfield, OR, USA
Member #

16745

Ham Callsign
W7NB
This is why I recommended the Comet 2x4sr with spring kit mounted as high as possible, or a more convenient location with some sort of emergency rope style antenna as backup.

Again, it all comes down to need though. If only concerned about caravans and Basecamp, it probably doesn't matter to have 'the best'.
I agree, and I think any mobile installation is a compromise based on mounting availability and survivability. The 2x4SR is probably one of the best choices out there for a broad-banded antenna that will allow both Ham and public safety/SAR frequencies in one package. I love mine but I have bent 2 mounts with it so I use a coily 1/4 wave for most running around in the woods until I really need the gain. but then again I break stuff... :-)
 
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Patriotoverlander

Rank I
Member

Member I

173
Lancaster, PA, USA
Member #

12633

Ham Callsign
KC3MRS
I believe the radio community tends to prefer the NMO connection when passing through surfaces, and PL-259 otherwise.

I originally installed the NR-770HA (silver version) when I got licensed. Great antenna, and the fold over feature is a great thing to have.

With radio, higher is better, and most work best when they can radiate from a ground plane (meaning center of roof). Also, most of what folks struggle with is transmissions, not reception.

Depending on your needs, it may not need to squeak every inch out of your transmissions. Such as vehicle to vehicle vs vehicle to repeater...

If you need to compromise, I could recommend mounting to a tire carrier, hood, or bumper for ease of access and vehicle to vehicle, and then purchasing one of those roll up antennas that you can sling up into a tree if you have an emergency and need better range. The roll up will likely have better reach vs anything vehicle bound if you can get it up.

For an idea of the roll up antenna, check this out: https://countycomm.com/products/dual-band-roll-up-antenna-government-pack
Heard about that roll up antenna before. Just bought it yesterday and already shipped.