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800 MHz antenna mounted INSIDE vehicle....

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KX4KDH

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#1
I had a customer come in, and complain his XTL2500 was showing "NO COMMS" on the display. I get in the car, and immediately notice the 1/4 wave hat pin antenna is mounted inside the vehicle, on the package tray... The rear window also has the defroster grid.

I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts on this..... I have my own, for sure.
 

SteveC0625

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#2
I had a customer come in, and complain his XTL2500 was showing "NO COMMS" on the display. I get in the car, and immediately notice the 1/4 wave hat pin antenna is mounted inside the vehicle, on the package tray... The rear window also has the defroster grid.

I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts on this..... I have my own, for sure.
Is this a new condition or has the radio/antenna combination in that vehicle worked OK in the past? If it's a change, then the coax between the antenna and the radio needs to be checked out.

If it's a new install and hasn't worked since day 0, well, the reason is pretty obvious. In that case, I'd bet that the window also has that metallic substance imbedded in the glass, too. However, I'm pretty sure that no installer worth his/her salt would let an install out the door without first testing it. But stranger things have been known to happen.

Have you tried a mag mount spike outside the car for comparison?
 

KX4KDH

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#3
This vehicle is a couple of years old. It has only recently started acting up. What I DID do, was auto tune the radio on the Aeroflex, and sent it out the door. (Just to see if the tuning had wandered off)

What I find particularly disturbing it the antenna mounted inside the car. Antennas are supposed to be mounted OUTSIDE the vehicle. Period. It's a fully marked vehicle with a light bar. So there is no "covert" thing going on here.

Just for the RF exposure alone, it shouldn't be in the car. Not to mention major degradation in performance.

Or maybe I'm just wrong.


EDIT: I did want to send it off with a mag mount for the time being. However, I did not.
 
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W9WSS

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#5
I had a customer come in, and complain his XTL2500 was showing "NO COMMS" on the display. I get in the car, and immediately notice the 1/4 wave hat pin antenna is mounted inside the vehicle, on the package tray... The rear window also has the defroster grid.

I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts on this..... I have my own, for sure.
It makes NO SENSE for a fully-marked vehicle to have a covert antenna mount. In my former life as a police officer, I was responsible for the maintenance, install, and overall upkeep of 35 police vehicles' radios. The unmarked cars used Stico (disguised) antennas which looked either like cellular-type, or the current AM/FM/XM-Sirius Satellite factory-installed antennas. THEY WERE NOT CHEAP, but worked well, and kept the integrity of a "non-police looking" vehicle.

I remember at one time, an installer used a 1/4 wave 800 MHz antenna mounted as a "curb-feeler" look-alike. It worked just OK, but had serious drop-out issues once the vehicle left our jurisdiction, and was below-standard operating, at best.

I would be interested in Rich Carlson's take on this issue. Rich was a police sergeant/commander who also was responsible for his agency's police radio fixed-end, portable, and mobile equipment.
 

n0nhp

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#6
The only thing I could think of is that the car started out as a supervisor's vehicle without the markings and was converted after the fact. The antenna still should be mounted outside the vehicle for RF exposure issues. With all the onstar and satellite radio lookalike antennas available it is not hard to disguise an 800 antenna now.
However if the radio is just recently having more problems, I would guess that something changed with the coax or connections at the antenna.

Amazing what you run into in the PS relm isn't it.

Bruce
 

W2PDX

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#7
The antenna still should be mounted outside the vehicle for RF exposure issues.

Amazing what you run into in the PS relm isn't it.

Bruce
Saw this video pop up on my YT feed and it reminded me of this thread.

2017 Dodge Durango ~ Monroe Fire Chief Vehicle Install (Ohio)

https://youtu.be/GVjGzpBlipY?t=2m17s (sorry, not sure why I can't embed the link into the title)

Your two lines in the quoted text basically sum it up. Not sure if this was the shop's idea or the department's but it mentions in the comments that the antennas were mounted in this manner because the vehicle is a lease and they wanted to minimize the number of holes drilled into it
 
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#8
35 watts at 800MHz mere inches from the head of anyone in the back seat is stupid. With so many other options, even for covert, it sounds more like a lazy installer.

Many years ago when we were getting ready to reband our 800MHz system, we had to inventory all the radios.
Our transit agency had decided somewhere along the way that they could get the local stereo shop to install the radios much cheaper than the 2 way radio shop...
We were on a bus getting the serial number off the radio and we couldn't find the antenna. We searched all over, up on a ladder, etc. Finally we started pulling on the coaxial cable. Some dumb a. installer had taken the NMO mount, 800MHz antenna and all the excess cable, wadded it up in a ball and zip tied it in the overhead area above the driver.
Had a talk with the maintenance supervisor about how stereo installation and radio installation are differnt skill sets.
So, no, this isn't surprising at all. I'd be willing to bet there is some connection to a stereo installation there somewhere. Either done at a shop or by an ex-stereo installer.
 

W2PDX

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#9
35 watts at 800MHz mere inches from the head of anyone in the back seat is stupid. With so many other options, even for covert, it sounds more like a lazy installer.
Yup, couldn't agree more! As you can see this obviously isn't a covert vehicle either so I don't understand the "logic" (and I use that term loosely). Claiming it is a leased vehicle doesn't make sense either since they obviously didn't have a problem applying graphics, mounting a lightbar, etc.

Your bus story made me chuckle and roll my eyes at the same time. Just when you think you've seen everything...
 

DJ11DLN

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#10
35 watts at 800MHz mere inches from the head of anyone in the back seat is stupid. With so many other options, even for covert, it sounds more like a lazy installer.

Many years ago when we were getting ready to reband our 800MHz system, we had to inventory all the radios.
Our transit agency had decided somewhere along the way that they could get the local stereo shop to install the radios much cheaper than the 2 way radio shop...
We were on a bus getting the serial number off the radio and we couldn't find the antenna. We searched all over, up on a ladder, etc. Finally we started pulling on the coaxial cable. Some dumb a. installer had taken the NMO mount, 800MHz antenna and all the excess cable, wadded it up in a ball and zip tied it in the overhead area above the driver.
Had a talk with the maintenance supervisor about how stereo installation and radio installation are differnt skill sets.
So, no, this isn't surprising at all. I'd be willing to bet there is some connection to a stereo installation there somewhere. Either done at a shop or by an ex-stereo installer.
Or jail trustys...I've seen that done too and some really messed-up installs, especially when they were just moving a radio and antenna from a unit going OOS into a new one. Hey, gotta save a buck, and trustys work for free. Fuses? What for? We don't need those! And of course the package tray is a fine place to stick an antenna, don't have to worry about the roof leaking that way. So what if it hits the glass? It's flexible! Also once saw a Deputy who removed the NMO quarter-wave from the roof of his unmarked unit and ran the 35-watt output of his Relm radio through an H-T duck glued to the side of the headrest on his seat, almost in contact with his head. So what if you fry your brain? Gotta be stealthy, you know!:roll:

I'm sure glad I only have to deal with a few fire trucks and the occasional wonky pager or H-T these days.
 
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#11
Standing on your tippie toes

... that the antennas were mounted in this manner because the vehicle is a lease and they wanted to minimize the number of holes drilled into it
I've had a couple leased vehicles, one an Equinox,the other a Chrysler minivan, that I've popped holes right in the roof. Before I turned them in, I removed the antennas and NMO mounts, and put flush plastic hole plugs in. No one said anything either time. I think because they would of needed a ladder to see over the sides of the luggage racks to see the plugs.
 

W2PDX

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That's the point that a lot of people don't understand. When done properly, an NMO antenna will actually cause less damage than a mag mount will over the life of a vehicle. There have been a bunch of pictures posted on this and various other forums over the years of the damage a mag mount will do to paint over time. Where I work, we have some old fleet vehicles with NMOs that are pushing 20 years old that have never had a problem with the antennas. On the other hand, we had a vehicle that had a camera system mounted to the trunk with three heavy duty magnets. The trunk was completely rusted under the magnets and all of the paint was gone. It didn't really matter though because the cameras had flown through the rear window during a collision. Luckily there was no one in the backseat and the partition prevented them from entering the driver's compartment.
 
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#13
That's the point that a lot of people don't understand.
People don't know how to do it properly, so they are scared.
Wifey won't let them drill a hole in her new min-van.
Impulse buyers that want that antenna, want it now and want it to work immediately.
Then there are those that legitimately just do not have the skills to do it themselves.
And then there are the cheapskates that won't pay for it to be done right.

Then there are the leased vehicles and people are concerned that making a hole will impact the lease return.

But yeah, permanent mount is the way to go.
 

W9WSS

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#14
People don't know how to do it properly, so they are scared.
Wifey won't let them drill a hole in her new min-van.
Impulse buyers that want that antenna, want it now and want it to work immediately.
Then there are those that legitimately just do not have the skills to do it themselves.
And then there are the cheapskates that won't pay for it to be done right.

Then there are the leased vehicles and people are concerned that making a hole will impact the lease return.

But yeah, permanent mount is the way to go.
I couldn't have said it better myself. I have NEVER been in a relationship (1st marriage - wife was a ham; 2nd marriage - wife supports every facet of my interests) where my female partner "dictated" what I could or couldn't put in, or do to my car (or her car either). She's had scanners in her past cars, but since we're going through some major digital changes with our local public safety system, so I haven't installed the latest scanner in her car. But she DOES want it, and wishes that it performs well, and not "kluged" with some garbage magnetic-mounted antenna or inferior installation. I'm getting real tired of hearing, "my wife won't let me," etc., ad nauseum. Who wears the pants in those families?

Oh, and I have 12 NMO mounts on my current CVPI. Every single one of them has a radio, cross-band repeater, or scanner attached. They all work, and perform well. These are just the NMO mounts on my trunk lid. There are five more on the roof. The edge mount with UHF connector is for my Yaesu ATAS120 HF "screwdriver-type" antenna that I remove when I'm not on the air using those frequencies.

Sorry, soapbox mode toggled off; Rant completed. Thank you for the bandwidth.
 

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Fowler

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#15
Clean antenna(s) install......would like to see your installs inside Reminds me of AZ DPS cars that worked the CA AZ NV border..lotta radios
 
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