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Radio Equipment Installation Forum Forum for discussing how to install radio communications equipment in Mobile, Base, Command Post, EOC, etc configurations.

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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 06-19-2013, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by W2NJS View Post
One particularly neat, non-hole way to do it is to use a small, black, NMO lip mount on the trunk near the rear window on the right or left side. No hole and near total invisibility of the antenna to all the non-techies who don't know a mobile antenna from their morning toast.
Now THAT might work for me. A black NMO mount and an all-black antenna like a BMAXSCAN1000 might look good. My car is black also.
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Old 06-19-2013, 12:35 PM
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W2NJS,

Did you mean something like this:



Or this:



I assume you meant the upper pic? That's a lot less obvious looking but I just wanted to know which one you were talking about. Thanks.

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Old 06-19-2013, 3:25 PM
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Originally Posted by LIScanner101 View Post
W2NJS,

Did you mean something like this:



Or this:



I assume you meant the upper pic? That's a lot less obvious looking but I just wanted to know which one you were talking about. Thanks.

The first one puts a very sharp bend in the coax as it enters the vehicle. The second one just screams "ham" install.
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Old 06-21-2013, 2:40 PM
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The first one puts a very sharp bend in the coax as it enters the vehicle. The second one just screams "ham" install.
I agree with you on both counts, but I've used those mini NMO trunk lip mounts (upper pic) before and I like them. I think I'll just go with it. Thanks.

Last edited by LIScanner101; 06-21-2013 at 2:42 PM..
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Old 09-10-2013, 7:07 PM
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If you use a mag antenna and leave it on for a couple years, you *will* see a difference in the paint once you pull it off. Even with a white paint job. UV does a number on paint.
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Old 09-11-2013, 6:30 PM
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This thread may be a few months old but I thought I'd relay my experience. Back in June I picked up a gently used Cadillac CTS-V sedan and was wracking my brain trying to figure out a non-hamsexy antenna install. A drilled trunk mount is what I'm used to but there is a ridge along the centre line and the trunk itself opens up at quite an angle resulting in any antenna hitting the rear window.

Fast forward to last weekend and I bit the bullet and finally drilled an NMO hole on the passenger rear finder (or "deck lid") about two inches forward of the top of the rear tail light. The surface is *almost* horizontal (the antenna tilts about 10 degrees from true vertical) and there is lots of room underneath to manipulate the NMO mount and pull cable. Plus, when it came time to install the radio having the battery in the trunk made grabbing power a piece of cake.

My $0.02.
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Old 09-22-2013, 9:31 PM
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I turned in a Chevy Impala and a Jeep Patriot with lots of antenna holes in each, and both times the dealership paid me above KBB trade-in. So I did not hesitate drilling into my 2013 Grand Cherokee when I got it this past spring.
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Old 09-28-2013, 7:47 PM
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I have no problem drilling NMO's into my cars. I have always bought new vehicles, and the last 8 have been vans or large SUV's (2 Odysseys, a Pilot, an Expedition, a couple Ford vans before then, an Explorer and a Bronco) and each have had multiple NMO's.

The nice thing about larger vehicles in this instance is that with the higher roofline one can remove the mounts and plug the holes with plastic or rubber plugs, no one will see them. I even had them on a leased vehicle and no one noticed them.
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Old 09-29-2013, 9:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N9JIG View Post
I have no problem drilling NMO's into my cars. I have always bought new vehicles, and the last 8 have been vans or large SUV's (2 Odysseys, a Pilot, an Expedition, a couple Ford vans before then, an Explorer and a Bronco) and each have had multiple NMO's.

The nice thing about larger vehicles in this instance is that with the higher roofline one can remove the mounts and plug the holes with plastic or rubber plugs, no one will see them. I even had them on a leased vehicle and no one noticed them.
Exactly the same here. NEVER had an issue with a mount left on a car, matter of fact, a few of the car's I owned were bought by hams who welcomed the antenna mount's which was less trouble for their new install's. Magnetic mounted antennas are a compromise at best, doing MORE damage to the finish of the paint after extensive use on a vehicle.
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  #30 (permalink)  
Old 09-29-2013, 10:32 AM
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I've never drilled a hole in any exterior panel of any car I've ever owned.

Even if I KNOW that after I'm done with a car, it will go to a junkyard, I refuse to drill a hole for an NMO mount.

Any internal parts I modify, I obtain spares for so that I can restore it to original appearance and function when I eventually remove the radio.

In my last car, a '92 Toyota Camry, I had a remote mount Motorola Spectra with the control head in the dash right under the radio. (DIN standard sized control head fits right in, beautiful.) I also had a M/A-Com Orion, remote mount, installed as well. The control head was creatively and securely wedged into place in place of the removable slide-out ashtray. No holes had to be drilled at all. None that were visible, anyway.

Now I have a Cadillac CTS and I want to install a Harris M7200 in it. I removed the OnStar module from the car (why not, it was the analog cell system type anyway, which is retired so it didn't even function and besides, I don't want OnStar anyway) so the radio unit itself can fit where the OnStar module used to reside, in the right side of the trunk behind the liner. The radio will use the original 800 MHz glass mount OnStar antenna. Just fine for scanning purposes even on 700/800 MHz systems.

For control head installation, I've acquired a spare coin tray/power outlet tray and will be modifying it to take the control head. I'll save the original tray for when I eventually remove the radio.

I will have to make one additional modification. Since I'll lose the 12 volt power socket, I will have to
get a new one which will be very carefully and neatly installed on the passenger side of the
center console shell. It'll look like a factory installation. It's necessary to run the GPS on those
occasions when I need it.

The existing 12 volt socket's power will be used to power the control head.

What's really nice is that the only cable that has to run through the car between the control head and
the radio unit is a single cable about the size of a piece of RG58. Nice and small, easily managed.

For any second radio, I'll probably end up with a mag mount antenna and the radio will not be firmly mounted on anything.

I have no current plans to put 2 radios in the car.
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Old 09-29-2013, 10:58 AM
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I too don't drill holes in cars! I also don't grease them, reline the brakes or change catalytic converter. When I need work done I go to a specialist. Most local Motorola Service facilities have the know-how, the tools and the parts to go this work. Just call them and make a service appointment and they will take care of the whole matter. They do this work every single day on a variety of mostly brand-new autos and they know the various short cut tricks of the trade. Why spend a LOT on a radio and then bother with trying to make-do on installing it your self? Penny wise means Pound foolish ad the saying goes.
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Old 09-29-2013, 11:18 AM
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I too have never had an issue with NMO mounts on a vehicle being traded in. At one point I had a Chevy Colorado I sold with one NMO roof. The fellow who bought it was a cop, and I offered to leave the VHF quaterwave on it for his scanner. He loved the idea.

Besides the paint and rust issues with trapped debris, also cause damage where you route the coax into your car. That upper corner where the paint is worn off in the door frame sticks out like a sore thumb, or rust mark starting on the end of your trunk where the coax is pinched.

The only non NMO mount I have liked has been the Diamond/Comet hood/trunk mounts that allow you to adjust them to the angle you want. The protective rubber and setscrew pads go a great job at not hosing up your vehicle. I had one on a pickup for the simple fact I ran out of room on the roof. Had a Comet mount hanging on the drivers side of my Silverado hood for 4 years and when I took it off, it was perfect. Couldn't even tell. It also helps tons of you use the expensive NMO mount for them with the thin coax leader to make it through the hood/door opening then splice into RG 58. I used this for APRS and never had a problem.
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Old 09-29-2013, 11:26 AM
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Sounds Like a Nice Install.. Ra
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Old 09-29-2013, 4:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lep View Post
I too don't drill holes in cars! I also don't grease them, reline the brakes or change catalytic converter. When I need work done I go to a specialist. Most local Motorola Service facilities have the know-how, the tools and the parts to go this work. Just call them and make a service appointment and they will take care of the whole matter. They do this work every single day on a variety of mostly brand-new autos and they know the various short cut tricks of the trade. Why spend a LOT on a radio and then bother with trying to make-do on installing it your self? Penny wise means Pound foolish ad the saying goes.
However there are those of us who are capable of doing all those things and choose not to pay a premium to someone else to do something we should be doing ourselves. The last time I paid someone to work on one of my vehicles, they damaged it. Now all maintenance is done by me, that way I know, without a shadow of a doubt, the work is done correctly. Working on vehicles is not rocket science, it just takes some mechanical aptitude and an investment in the correct tools. As for correct tools, having the right ones to install an NMO mount makes the job easier. There are no real "tricks" to doing it right. There are shortcuts and corner cutting, but I chose not to do that to my own vehicles. Doing it right the first time, and doing it carefully makes a big difference. Paying a shop to do it where they are trying to make a profit, by cranking out as many installs as they can in the cheapest/fastest way possible isn't a guarantee that it will be done correctly. After 20+ years of installing my own antennas, I've never had a failure, lead or damaged vehicle. On the other hand, take a look at some of the installs that a shop does and it's common to find places where they have taken shortcuts. Just because you pay someone to do a job is no guarantee that they will do it correctly.

In the end, it doesn't matter, if you pay a good shop to do it correctly (and they actually do) or you do it yourself, the end result can be positive. On the other hand, if you don't know what you are doing, don't have the right tools, or go to a shop that does lousy work (there are plenty of those) you end up with crap. I guess it's one of the benefits of working in the industry. I don't have to pay someone else to do something I am more capable of doing myself. To each his own...
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Old 09-30-2013, 8:58 AM
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Originally Posted by mmckenna View Post
However there are those of us who are capable of doing all those things and choose not to pay a premium to someone else to do something we should be doing ourselves. The last time I paid someone to work on one of my vehicles, they damaged it. Now all maintenance is done by me, that way I know, without a shadow of a doubt, the work is done correctly. Working on vehicles is not rocket science, it just takes some mechanical aptitude and an investment in the correct tools. As for correct tools, having the right ones to install an NMO mount makes the job easier. .
Hmm, I never said anything about being capable or not. It is a Question of economics and convenience.
My billing rate is higher than the techs at my local Motorola service facility so in an opportunity-cost sense it seems less expensive to me to Pay a professional. But, it is matter of choice.

I was only observing that radios and cars are both more expensive than antenna-installs so it is not, to me sensible, to shy away from the cost of an install.
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Old 09-30-2013, 9:03 AM
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Originally Posted by newsphotog View Post
I turned in a Chevy Impala and a Jeep Patriot with lots of antenna holes in each, and both times the dealership paid me above KBB trade-in. So I did not hesitate drilling into my 2013 Grand Cherokee when I got it this past spring.
I don't want to shift the point of this thread, but I am interested in how you ran the coax cable in the Grand Cherokee.
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Old 09-30-2013, 12:00 PM
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Hmm, I never said anything about being capable or not. It is a Question of economics and convenience.
My billing rate is higher than the techs at my local Motorola service facility so in an opportunity-cost sense it seems less expensive to me to Pay a professional. But, it is matter of choice.

I was only observing that radios and cars are both more expensive than antenna-installs so it is not, to me sensible, to shy away from the cost of an install.
Yeah, my billing rate is higher too, but I don't like to let go of money once I get hold of it. Far too often, what I see here, is people making odd justifications on why they won't do a proper install. Seems strange to me to spend hundreds of dollars on a radio then put up a $20 antenna and call it good. I'm glad to see those that follow through and do it right, doesn't matter if you do the work yourself or pay someone to do it.

I think there are far too many amateurs that either do not understand the importance of a good antenna, or their wives just won't allow them to make any modifications to their mini-vans. Some of the justifications I hear for mag mounts gets a bit humorous.
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