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Thread: Dual Band Antenna Location on a Jeep TJ with a Soft Top

  1. #1
    4x4 Ham Member Supporting Member
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    Dual Band Antenna Location on a Jeep TJ with a Soft Top

    I am a relatively new (lurking around here for a while) ham and recently installed my Kenwood TM-V71A into my Jeep TJ with a soft top. I have it mounted under my seat with the remote head mounted near the A-Pillar via a ram mount. I mickey moused the antenna and mounted it to the tub rail through an existing hole in a rush to get operational before heading up to the Rubicon Trail. I am now going to find a more permanent home for the antenna.

    I have seen this subject beaten to death in regards to CB antennas on other forums I visit (jeepforum.com, wranglerforum.com). The consensus seems to be the left rear corner on a Teraflex mount. That is where I have my CB antenna with results good enough for trail rides and I would like to leave it there.

    I am not sure if a dual band antenna (SSB5) has different requirements than the Firestick I use for my CB and I will be the first to admit I know less than nothing about ground planes. I have narrowed it down to a few locations and want to know what the experts think... (Sorry about the pictures, no matter what I did on my side they came out sideways)


    (1) Rear Tail light.jpg On the rear of the tub on the passenger side above the taillight. I have my CB antenna on the otherside. I am concerned with the amount of metal surrounding the antenna if this position in used. There is a large steel tire carrier, spare time, and custom rollcage with a bit more metal towards the top than a standard cage.

    (2) Tire Carrier.jpg On the top of the tire carrier - Same concerns as above as well as lack of a good ground to the tub. One end of the tire carrier rides on a spindle full of grease and the other end sits on a hard plastic support.

    (3) Fender.jpg On the front fender - Ugly and in the driver's line of sight but not sandwiched in a bunch of steel as the rear mount options.

    (4) A Pillar.jpg Mounted to a windshield light bracket - The positive being it would be out of the drivers line of sight I not sure it being next to the window pillar will affect things.


    I am sure you have seen all these questions before and I appreciate anyone that takes the time to chime in here...

  2. #2
    4x4 Ham Member Supporting Member WB9YZU's Avatar
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    This is what I did. I don't know if it's right, or wrong, but it works.

    I bought a Best Top carrier system to carry Kayak(s). You can unlatch and store the hoops when not in use, which is what I do. The rails stay there.
    The rails are a "C" channel pointed outwards, and the hoops slide in and are clamped to the rail by tightening a handle.

    So I took a CB mount and drilled it out for a SO-239 Barrel, then cut the mount down a bit to be the height of the rail. Then I took a piece of 1/4" stock, drilled 2 holes in it for 3/8" studs, glued the studs in, and slid it into the channel. I then bolted the CB mount to the part I slid into the Channel, ran a ground to the Tub, and mounted an OPEK VU-1502A Antenna. SWR isn't too bad, and it performs nicely on all bands. It's a fold over, which sold me on it, but this antenna has a "Feature" that causes it to fold over at wind speeds of 65 or more Solved it by using rubber bands to create more downward pressure



    The whip you see on the other side is a open coil truck stop special I use on 10M. Used the same mounting system. On my trip back from Utah this fall, I was able to enjoy a 10M opening using a HTX-10 plugged into the CIG outlet and running barefoot.

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  3. #3
    4x4 Ham Member Supporting Member kg7els's Avatar
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    i have one of these on either side:
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006D9W22G/

    one side for CB, the other for a dual band (NR770HAB). i don't know about other antennas, but the guy at HRO that recommended it to me said i don't have to worry about grounding this one to the tub. i did have to drill out the mount a bit to fit the larger SO-239.

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    The SBB5 is 1/2 wave on 2 meters and stacked 5/8 wave on 70cm. This means it is mostly ground independent. All the positions you show will work with it. My personal choice would be the spare tire mount or even extending that mounting location up to gain some additional height. The spare tire location gives the antenna the maximum protection from being bent by rocks and trees since that puts the antenna on centerline of the jeep and you will normally avoid thing that would hit the wind shied.

    BTW: even if you dropped to a 1/4 wave antenna you only need about 19" of metal to give a good ground plane for 2M. I've seen people use a cookie sheet for a ground plane.

  5. #5
    4x4 Ham Member prerunner1982's Avatar
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    I have a couple of friends that run a 19" dual band mag mount on top of the rear fender (inside the vehicle) with the antenna part sticking up through a small hole in the carpet. They seem to have good luck with it and it's pretty low profile being on the inside of the vehicle.

  6. #6
    4x4 Ham Member W5PKY's Avatar
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    I've done two of these installs on JK's for friends now. One uses a firestik bracket (with a Wilson thick material, small hole mount) the other a Laird bracket. Running NMO2/70s on both.





    Personally, I prefer the a hood channel mount as you can see what you're about to run your antenna into. I have a Larsen NMO27 on my XJ's hood channel and a NMO50 on my Trailblazer's hood channel. They don't drive you as crazy as you might think.

  7. #7
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    I used a black Larsen - 3/4" Hole Trunk Groove Mount L Bracket for my dual band Larsen on my 2001 TJ. This location gets the whole antenna up slightly above the hood and inside the body lines of the jeep. The whip is in the driver's line of sight but not in a way that obstructs vision. You can also see if you're about to smack into something that might damage the antenna. I get decent performance from my D700.

    IMG_4627.jpg

  8. #8
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    I'm running a Larsen NMO2/70B antenna on my softtop TJ. My CB antenna was already at the left tail light, but I didn't want my ham antenna anywhere near the rear of the Jeep. I thought about putting it at the side of the hood (near the A-pillar), but then I came up with what I felt was a better idea: why not make a hole in the flat spot on the front fender?



    So far it's been working great.
    Last edited by Sherpa; 12-27-2016 at 06:09 PM.

  9. #9
    4x4 Ham Member Supporting Member kg7els's Avatar
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    with the fender mount, do you have anything to protect the wire from mud/dirt/road debris?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by kg7els View Post
    with the fender mount, do you have anything to protect the wire from mud/dirt/road debris?
    The short section of coax which is in the wheelwell is protected by plastic convoluted tubing. Only a few inches from the bottom of the mount, the wire goes through a pre-existing hole and enters the engine compartment. I made sure to install the mount and run the wire in such a way that, even when max flexed--and this Jeep can flex a lot--the tire doesn't come close to touching it.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sherpa View Post
    ...but I didn't want my ham antenna anywhere near the rear of the Jeep.
    Was that a decision based on aesthetics or is there a performance issue?

  12. #12
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    The fender spot is an interesting location. I mounted mine on the tail light bracket. I did not want it near the engine and possibly pick up some RFI. The only down side is when I run the Larsen dual band I get some picket fencing on a received signals from one repeater. When I run the Larsen 2m antenna I get none of this happening.


  13. #13
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    Sorry for the delay in replying; I haven't checked into this forum in a while.

    Quote Originally Posted by KK6EEF View Post
    Was that a decision based on aesthetics or is there a performance issue?
    My concerns were performance-related. On other forums, I routinely see some people blabber on and on and on about how the worst place for an antenna on a Wrangler is at the rear of the Jeep. I'm not certain how true that is, but (a) I already had my CB antenna on a Teraflex taillight mount, (b) I didn't want to put the ham antenna at the other taillight due to the proximity of the rear roll bar, and (c) I wanted the ham antenna as far from the passenger compartment as possible (which isn't very far for a TJ, but I digress). All in all, the front corner seemed like the best location for me. While many people say this size antenna doesn't need a ground plane, I also liked the fender idea because it at least gives the antenna a tiny ground plane... which has to be better than no ground plane at all, right?

    Quote Originally Posted by K6RZY View Post
    I mounted mine on the tail light bracket. I did not want it near the engine and possibly pick up some RFI
    I admit I did wonder if I would experience issues from engine RFI. So far, I have not. Indeed, when I recently attended this year's Easter Jeep Safari there were a few experiences that showed me that my setup works pretty well. One example: a local friend (who is an electrician by trade and very passionate about perfection when he installs his electronic devices in his LJ) was with me running Elephant Hill. Our group was split into two subgroups, and all the hams in both subgroups were tuned to the same 2m simplex frequency. On a number of occasions, I would talk with a member of the other subgroup. At one stop, my electrician friend--who was in my subgroup--mentioned his amazement that I was in constant contact with the other subgroup. "Man, you are having entire conversations with people I can't even hear!"

    That made me feel pretty good.

  14. #14
    4x4 Ham Member Supporting Member jnr0104's Avatar
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    Have a 2008 Wrangler unlimited soft top and a 2014 Rubicon unlimited hard top, on both I use Arizona Rocky Road mounts that get the base of the antenna above the spare tire. We talk lot of simplex down here, and this setup seems to give very good range mobile to mobile and even better mobile to base.I also suggest a grounding strap between the rear door and body. My antennas are just 2m , but I have used dual bands before and they work just fine.
    Jeff - KF5WTB

  15. #15
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    I'm thinking of mounting a 2m/70cm antenna as mentioned earlier on the A pillar using a light mount. My son drives my tj all of the time and I'm encouraging him to get his tech license as he only has a cb for trail riding. He goes deep offroad where cell service is nil.

  16. #16
    New 4x4 Ham Member W1DOO's Avatar
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    I have used 3/8 steel A-Pillar mounts as antenna brackets on a couple of JK's with great results. I currently have the passenger-side bracket drilled out for an NMO mount, holding a Diamond CR627NMOB (a tri-band antenna that's a bit large and heavy, but still doesn't over-tax the brackets at all). The driver's-side mount is drilled to accommodate an SO-239, currently with a Diamond 2M/440 dual-band, model NR770HAB. Both antennas talk great mounted at those locations, and it's been a good solution for adding antennas to the Wrangler's limited landscape!

    IMG_0770.jpg
    Last edited by W1DOO; 02-03-2016 at 05:08 PM.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by W5PKY View Post
    I've done two of these installs on JK's for friends now. One uses a firestik bracket (with a Wilson thick material, small hole mount) the other a Laird bracket. Running NMO2/70s on both.





    Personally, I prefer the a hood channel mount as you can see what you're about to run your antenna into. I have a Larsen NMO27 on my XJ's hood channel and a NMO50 on my Trailblazer's hood channel. They don't drive you as crazy as you might think.
    I did basically this same thing, however, it was pretty flexible. So...I took a Larsen right angle fender mount and placed it directly under the flat front fender mount, to make the mount much more rigid. The two horizontal surfaces match up, as does the 3/4" hole. I will try to post a pic.

  18. #18
    4x4 Ham Member Supporting Member jnr0104's Avatar
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    W1DOO, on the A-Pillar mounts, did you ground them other than just using the existing bolts to attach them? Was wondering if you have bonding straps to the hood, windshield etc.
    I mounted one of those mounts on the driver side for a dual band antenna.I ground the paint off under it so the NMO mount would be attaching to bare metal and around the bolt holes also. when I tried it out with a new Yaesu FTM100DR I got all kind of noise into the radio with the engine running. I have bonding strap from hood to body, doors, tailgate frame etc, but not to the windshield area.
    Jeff - KF5WTB

  19. #19
    New 4x4 Ham Member W1DOO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jnr0104 View Post
    W1DOO, on the A-Pillar mounts, did you ground them other than just using the existing bolts to attach them? Was wondering if you have bonding straps to the hood, windshield etc.
    I mounted one of those mounts on the driver side for a dual band antenna.I ground the paint off under it so the NMO mount would be attaching to bare metal and around the bolt holes also. when I tried it out with a new Yaesu FTM100DR I got all kind of noise into the radio with the engine running. I have bonding strap from hood to body, doors, tailgate frame etc, but not to the windshield area.
    Jeff, no bonding straps to-date, just the existing bolts going into the A-Pillar. However, when doing the initial installation, I followed a lot of good advice from others, and did some stuff that possibly helped minimize any noise issues in my particular Wrangler installs. I used good quality aftermarket shielded Cat-6 data cables (to/from the remote head and mic) and worked to ensure my power feed was as clean as possible by using a fused, direct run from the battery into a Rig-Runner (Model 4005). I was also pretty liberal about adding ferrite bead chokes on all cabling runs. At that point, the VHF/UHF radio was quiet with no notable difference in the noise levels between the engine off and running at highway speeds, so I never had to do any bonding.

    That said (and not to hijack the topic of this thread), since my initial post I have replaced the passenger-side tri-band antenna with an Alpha-Moto HF antenna (6-40 meters), and also installed an Icom-7100 transceiver. Now that I'm experimenting with HF mobile, I definitely expect that I will have to do a bonding project soon!

  20. #20
    4x4 Ham Member Supporting Member jnr0104's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info. just took my hf out of the Jeep, what kind of luck have you had with the MOTO antenna? Especially on 40m.
    Jeff - KF5WTB

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