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Using a cheap antenna with mirror mount

JeffDS3

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#1
I drive a silage truck (think a big rig with a large steel box on the back that kills radio reception). I currently use a portable vhf radio to talk to my crew boss and chopper driver and it works only ok. I’m trying to improve reception so I was considering buying a cheap mirror mount (can’t put anything on top as it most definitely will get blasted off) and a cheap NMO antenna. I don’t need much power (5 watts max) and don’t want to spend much as this is just a short term job. I also don’t have to talk far, only up to about a mile over flat farm land.

Would this antenna work with a mirror mount? Tram 140MHz-170MHz + 430MHz-470MHz Dual Band NMO Antenna https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IDTJ2KE/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_X93ZCb37NT7VT

Also, would just using an extension cable between the antenna and the radio to get the antenna closer to a window help?
 
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#3
Use a VHF half wave mobile antenna on your 'mirror' mount/NMO. The VHF half wave does not need a 'ground plane'.

And as mentioned stay clear of the Tram junk.
 

JeffDS3

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#4
I don’t think something like that will work for me. They are more than I want to spend and WAY too long. The antenna needs to be short. I guess using a mirror mount is out of the question.

Now what about using a sma jumper and placing the current antenna out on the mirror and running the cable inside. I’ve heard of air soft guys doing that to get the antenna out of the way and keep their radio easy to use.
 

JeffDS3

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#6

DJ11DLN

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OK sorry, I misread your original post, somehow thought you wanted on UHF. No you won't have a ground plane to speak of on the mirror but you describe a pretty limited amount of performance improvement needed, mainly getting the antenna outside of the cab. VHF quarter waves are about as cheap as the ones I linked and the Larsen and Laird varieties are pretty durable. A 5/8 wave would be even better, they don't really need a ground plane, but it would be longer, which you're trying to avoid.

You might consider mounting it to the bottom of the mirror bracket (or the top but upside down) if you're that worried about the chopper knocking it off...anything outside the cab will outperform a rubber duck inside.
 

JeffDS3

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#8
OK sorry, I misread your original post, somehow thought you wanted on UHF. No you won't have a ground plane to speak of on the mirror but you describe a pretty limited amount of performance improvement needed, mainly getting the antenna outside of the cab. VHF quarter waves are about as cheap as the ones I linked and the Larsen and Laird varieties are pretty durable. A 5/8 wave would be even better, they don't really need a ground plane, but it would be longer, which you're trying to avoid.

You might consider mounting it to the bottom of the mirror bracket (or the top but upside down) if you're that worried about the chopper knocking it off...anything outside the cab will outperform a rubber duck inside.
That would work. A couple of the other trucks and the choppers themselves have 1/4 wave antennas, mounted on the mirror mounts. I’m just trying to overcome the metal box and the electronics in the cab of this new truck.
 

JeffDS3

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#9
Ok, everything is on its way (I just went with cheap stuff because I need it now and won’t care if it all gets demolished as it only needs to last a little bit). A question though. This is a temporary installation and will be pulled out when work wraps up here soon so I don’t want to cut/crimp anything. What should I do with the left over antenna cable? The mirror mount comes with 17 feet of cable. Some places online say you can coil it and others say it will open a pit to hell (or something between the two). I’m asking you guys for your expertise. And I do not have the tools or time to cut it down so don’t waste your breath. That’s a project for another day.
 

JeffDS3

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#12
Air-soft guys use motorized vehicles now??? Man those guns must have seriously improved, or their close quarters driving is superb!
Lol no, I meant they will put the antenna on their back (in the vest webbing), then use an SMA extension cable routed to the radio elsewhere (I imagine upper chest). I’ve seen something similar on military gear.
 
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#13
Lol no, I meant they will put the antenna on their back (in the vest webbing), then use an SMA extension cable routed to the radio elsewhere (I imagine upper chest). I’ve seen something similar on military gear.
oh yeah gotcha... you don't already do that? i mean for scanner use? on your scanner vest? sure the vests are hot in summer, hard to access in the winter, and it gets some stares in public year-round, but by now we should all be used to it right? i mean i am.... the stares, not the heat. and getting in and out of the car is tricky without some fancy home-brew designs.

but we justabouts gotsit down to peeerrr-fection, don't we now fellers!?!
 

JeffDS3

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#14
oh yeah gotcha... you don't already do that? i mean for scanner use? on your scanner vest? sure the vests are hot in summer, hard to access in the winter, and it gets some stares in public year-round, but by now we should all be used to it right? i mean i am.... the stares, not the heat. and getting in and out of the car is tricky without some fancy home-brew designs.

but we justabouts gotsit down to peeerrr-fection, don't we now fellers!?!

Lol, I actually do do that with my scanner I take to work. I throw the unit up on the dash of my big rig, then using an RG-58 extension cord, connect a portable antenna that is suctioned cupped to the windshield.

As for when I’m out and about, I usually listen in my car when driving around or have a portable I take into my friends house but I don’t carry in public.
 
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