Ask The Audience: Mobile Antenna Mount?

A longtime reader, Chris K9ROC (Blog | Twitter), wrote me looking for some advice. Please take a moment to leave your great ideas, friendly suggestions, or dire warnings in the post comments. I know Chris will appreciate them!

2M/ 440 antenna mounts for a 2009 Dodge Grand Caravan? …

For many months I had a 1/4 wave 2m mag-mount antenna on the roof of the minivan and it worked very well with respect to both transmitting and receiving.

But I took it off for a couple reasons. First, a whip on the roof of the minivan hit everything in the parking garage at work. Second, the coax went through the rear of the van, the large door. Every time my wife opened the rear door it was grinding at the coax. And of course the mag-mount itself wasn’t great for the roof. 😉

I’ve been told to install an NMO mount on the roof with a hole (I have a great elmer experienced with this). But when I mentioned the idea to my wife I realized that discussion was a non-starter. 😉

Soooo … what other options do I have? Through-the-glass on a side window? I’ve read that that’s not a good idea with modern auto glass.

What about something that would clip-on to the front fender? At the last couple RARA events I saw a lot of cars that appeared to have some kind of fender mount.

Or should I really let myself get talked into the NMO?

Thanks very much in advance,
Chris K9ROC

Matt Thomas, W1MST, is the managing editor of Contact him at [email protected].

9 Responses to “Ask The Audience: Mobile Antenna Mount?”

  • Jeff N1KDO:

    Uhh.. Why can’t you drill a hole in the roof of a 3-year-old vehicle?

    if properly installed, it won’t leak, and you can screw a dust cap on when you go to sell the vehicle.

    I’ve drilled my last 4 cars, and only once was it mentioned at trade-in time, and they were looking for nits — I took my business elsewhere.

    I’m using a short Comet B10-NMO antenna on the roof of my Honda Pilot, only the lowest of parking garages cause a problem.

    Drill it!


  • sergio pu2sub:

    I’m using to shorts Antennas Aquariuses 1/4

  • Chad KJ4VYI:

    I have been in the same boat ( 99 ford f150 ) as you — I want 2 things

    2/440 antenna for local nets and rag chewing while I am out and about and another 2 meter antenna for aprs —

    do i go with 2 nmo — how far apart ( i run my ic2100h in either 25 watt mode while in town and 50 watts when I get way out in the fringe or out on the farm ) was thinking of picking up another icom for dual bad as our local club will be going online with the 440 repeater and using the 2100h for aprs

    do i fender mount the dual band or just the aprs i have a flatbed cover and was thinking of using or making some type of L or U bracket that would hang over the bed neer the cab or ball mount to the bumper for the aprs

    im just as lost as chris is!!!

    Chad KJ4VYI

  • Paul W3FIS:

    Somewhat similar issue here. I use the window CLIP antenna mount from MFJ. This fits a BNC whip. The cable (RG-174? – the thin stuff) then goes to the radio. This is “XYL approved,” as mounting and de-mounting the antenna is simply an issue of lowering the rear driver’s side window 3″, putting the clip on, and raising the window, clamping the whole works. I usually use an HT with a cigar lighter plug adapter (Wouxun or Baofeng) which then live in the cup holder. Radio goes in the glove box, antenna and cable park under the driver’s seat when not in use.

    As to the chafe problem with cables and mag mounts, I went to the hardware store and got about a foot of clear Tygon tube to slip over the coax. I had to temporarily remove the coax cable from the base of the mag mount, then re-attach it.

    I gave up on the mag mount after having small scratches on the roof.

    The window clip with a 1/4 wave whip on my Hyundai Elantra doesn’t stick up very far at all — no problem with garage door opening, etc.

    On and off in a flash.

    73 /paul W3FIS

  • Chris Meisenzahl (K9ROC):

    Thanks, guys! 😉

  • K8BU:

    Go for NMO mount, center of roof and higest point on the van… it’s the best place for both RX and TX. A crome cap is avaiable when antenna is not needed.

    I have drilled 100’s of 3/4 inch holes in all types of wheels, new and old, very expensive and junkers also.

    Every thing else is a compermize.

  • k8gu:

    Many years ago in high school, I worked at a two-way radio shop (do these even exist anymore?) in the summers. We always installed with an NMO through the roof. Always.

    Mag-mounts are convenient, but they eventually do more damage to the finish than just cutting a hole, not to mention their electrical inferiority.

    Another mount that my dad used successfully for a long time was a trunk-lip mount. This is a little better than a mag mount, but you’ll have to get one with a large angular adjustment range.

  • Matt W1MST:

    That doesn’t surprise me that you always used NMOs on the roof. I’m sure the results are far superior to anything else.

    Do you have any advice about drilling the holes or other pearls of wisdom from your professional installation days? Did you take any extra precautions to seal or weatherize the area or was that generally not much of an issue?

  • Earle / wb3efe:

    Has anyone ever mounted an NMO on an ’01 Grand Caravan roof and had any issues? Are there any problems fishing coax in the headliner and down the side? Any suggestions on the best location to fish down and forward? Many thanks !!

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