Antenna Recommendation for Jeep Wrangler, FT-2900r, and Teraflex Mount

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Agar426

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I am drinking from a fire hose with all of the information out there, being new to the hobby. Needless to say, I am confused.

What I am looking for is an antenna recommendation for an '05 Jeep Wrangler. The radio I ordered is the FT-2900r, and my preference is to use the Teraflex mount that goes behind the tail light. I ordered the radio as a package, so it came with a magnetic antenna, but I am now regretting the purchase. I plan on either cancelling that part of my order, or saving it for my truck when I get a radio for my truck.

I have absolutely no idea where to start with regard to an antenna that would work for my Jeep. While sounding picky, here area few questions/preferences I have, but I would't want to compromise the performance to much.

1 - I would prefer that it not be too long. It doesn't have to be short, but I would prefer that it not stick up above the roof by more than a couple of feet, both for aesthetic reasons, as well as not wanting to get it hung up on overhead branches and such while out hunting. Is this a reasonable request?

2 - I have heard the Teraflex mount needs modifications (the hole needs to be opened up) to be usable with an "NMO" mount. Is this a preferred type of mount? What other options are there that would better suit my needs?

3 - Ground plane - What do I do about this?

4 - As I've read, and shopped for the items, I noticed that antennas seem to be specific for a particular range of frequencies. Does that mean that if I am stuck in the woods, I won't be able to talk to a person who is, for example, in the 154.xxx frequency, if my antenna is setup for something closer to 144.xxx? Please explain my options here, is it length, material, etc.? Would I need multiple antennas, depending on who I am talking to?

Any other help would be great!!
 

jbantennaman

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What you need is an Elmer.
Unfortunately, in todays world, where the exam is just multiple guess, and these ham cram in a day classes that doesn't teach anything other then how to memorize the answers and match them to the questions doesn't really teach anything about theory or how radio works.

If you spend your money on that mount, you will be wasting your money.

For reception - I guess any antenna mounted anywhere will work, but when you go to transmit, you need to have the antenna mounted properly, with a proper ground plane beneath the antenna.
Think reflector behind the bulb of a flashlight.

Your antenna needs to be mounted on a flat surface, not beside a flat surface.
Your antenna needs a ground plane at least 18 inches radius around the antenna.
Radius is half the diameter. 2 meters being somewhere around 3 feet.

The problem with mounting the antenna in the middle of the Jeep Hood is that many of the components beneath the hood is also pulse width modulated. The transmission, the fuel pump, the ignition, ABS.
Lot's of computers in your Jeep - Body Control Module, Powertrain Control Module etc..

You have to be very careful else you can overload those components if you get the antenna too close.
And if these components generates RF - which they do, they can cause problems that will create noise and birdies on certain frequencies, not to mention that you could possibly cause the Jeep to stall when you transmit.

We have had so much handed to us over the past 20 years that hams now have become appliance operators. Things has been dumbbed down so much, it has been reduced to a bunch of walkie talkie carrying license holders. The technical aspect has been lost or replaced with repeaters and things being handed to us.
 

mmckenna

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I am drinking from a fire hose with all of the information out there, being new to the hobby. Needless to say, I am confused.

What I am looking for is an antenna recommendation for an '05 Jeep Wrangler. The radio I ordered is the FT-2900r, and my preference is to use the Teraflex mount that goes behind the tail light. I ordered the radio as a package, so it came with a magnetic antenna, but I am now regretting the purchase. I plan on either cancelling that part of my order, or saving it for my truck when I get a radio for my truck.
Cancel the magnetic mount if you can. You can easily do better. Those are sold as a "quick and easy" way to get on the air. Certainly not as a real solution to having a good antenna installation.

I have absolutely no idea where to start with regard to an antenna that would work for my Jeep. While sounding picky, here area few questions/preferences I have, but I would't want to compromise the performance to much.

1 - I would prefer that it not be too long. It doesn't have to be short, but I would prefer that it not stick up above the roof by more than a couple of feet, both for aesthetic reasons, as well as not wanting to get it hung up on overhead branches and such while out hunting. Is this a reasonable request?
That is a reasonable request for VHF and UHF frequencies. Antenna length is tied to it's operating frequency. There are ways to "cheat" and make an antenna look shorter than it needs to be, but in this case you can do OK.

Keep in mind that prefacing your antenna installation question with the words "aesthetic" is going to take you in the wrong direction if you want a properly working system If your primary concern is that an antenna look good rather than work well, you can just slap any old antenna up and move on. On the other hand, if you want the radio to work well, you'll need to give up some of the aesthetics.

2 - I have heard the Teraflex mount needs modifications (the hole needs to be opened up) to be usable with an "NMO" mount. Is this a preferred type of mount? What other options are there that would better suit my needs?
This is a less than ideal location to mount the antenna, but it can be made to work if that is the only option you are willing to consider. Actually, mounting antennas on a Jeep and getting it to work well can be a challenge.

The type of base you chose will dictate the type of mount. NMO is certainly very popular and a good choice. A "standard" NMO mount requires a 3/4 inch hole, but you can get NMO mounts that will use a 3/8" hole.

3 - Ground plane - What do I do about this?
Ideally you want one, really. Unfortunately, you are going to have a hard time getting one unless you mount the antenna center of the roof or center of the hood. Neither sound like a good option for you. A ground plane is simply the "other half" of the antenna. Most (not all) antennas require a ground plane underneath them to get a proper match (low SWR) and for them to radiate the energy equally in all directions. Mounting your antenna on the rear of the body tub is going to make getting a good ground plane under the antenna nearly impossible.

This doesn't mean we can't make it work. Look at all the old military jeeps. They had their antennas mounted off the back corners, usually, and they worked.

You have a few options here:
1. go with a ground independent antenna. 1/2 wave length antennas do not require a ground plane to get a good match, but they do work much better with a good ground plane. You can mount a ground independent half wave antenna at the location you are considering and it'll work OK. The radiation pattern is going to be a bit lopsided, but that's the drawback of mounting in this location.
2. Use a non-ground plane independent antenna and just live with the results. It's not going to be perfect, but it's going to work. Don't expect great results, but I've seen amateur radio operators do worse things to antennas.

4 - As I've read, and shopped for the items, I noticed that antennas seem to be specific for a particular range of frequencies. Does that mean that if I am stuck in the woods, I won't be able to talk to a person who is, for example, in the 154.xxx frequency, if my antenna is setup for something closer to 144.xxx? Please explain my options here, is it length, material, etc.? Would I need multiple antennas, depending on who I am talking to?

Any other help would be great!!
Yes, antennas are frequency dependent. They are tuned for a specific frequency where they resonate properly. Tuning an antenna correctly will allow the most amount of RF energy to radiate effectively. An improperly tuned antenna will result in less RF energy being radiated. Un-radiated RF energy causes issues with the transmitter, and if operated this way for too long, can damage the radio.
The good news is that some antenna designs are a bit "wider" in their operating frequency than others. This means that they'll operate effectively over a wider frequency spread.

But, hold on a second....
Out of the box, the Yaesu FT-7900 will NOT transmit outside the amateur radio bands. 154.xxx is outside what the radio is designed to do. There are hacks that will make it work, but you'll have reduced performance. There are also legality issues here. Your amateur radio license does not give you permission to transmit outside the amateur radio bands under any circumstances. Using this radio outside the amateur radio bands will put your amateur radio license at risk, as well as the license of the system outside the amateur radio bands you are trying to operate on.
But, the decision is up to you....

If you want to use this radio on both the 2 meter amateur radio band and the 70 centimeter amateur radio band, you are going to want a dual band antenna. Finding a ground independent dual band antenna is going to narrow your choices a whole bunch.
While I'm not a fan of the amateur grade antennas, here is an option that will work for you:
https://www.dxengineering.com/parts/dmn-nr73bnmo/

As for the NMO mount that fits the 3/8" hole:
http://www.theantennafarm.com/catalog/pctel-ke794-7570.html under the "connector" drop down menu, select PL-259 installed. That will match the connector on the back of your radio.
Important thing on these NMO mounts of this style, they are intended for installation through a vehicle roof where the outside is outside and the bottom of the mount is inside where it's protected. Mounting this entirely outside the vehicle is going to expose the underside of the mount to water, dirt, mud, road salts, etc. You MUST seal them very well to protect them. Failing to do this will corrode out the underside and the coax resulting in damage that will require full replacement of the mount and cable.

As for grounding....
Even if you go with a ground independent antenna, like the one I linked to above, you should make sure you have a good ground connection on the base. Keep in mind the Direct Current ground, like used for hooking up vehicle accessories is a different beast than RF ground. You really need to have a good ground connection to the vehicle body. You also need to install an extra ground connection between the vehicle body and the tailgate. Failing to do this usually results in problems getting the antenna to match correctly.

As for the radio installation:
Power your radio directly off the battery. Do NOT tie into existing circuits in the vehicle, especially the lighter sockets. Your positive power lead should go to the positive post on the battery with a fuse installed within a few inches of the battery connection.
The negative lead should get grounded to the vehicle body where the battery negative lead is connected to the chassis/body. You also really should install a short ground strap from the radio body to the vehicle body. This will prevent a lot of issues down the road.

External speakers are also a really good idea, especially in a Jeep. The little speaker on the FT-7900 is pretty weak. In a jeep it's probably going to be useless. Get a good external speaker and mount it under the dash.
 

Agar426

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Wow!!! Great information, thank you so much!

Ok, let me provide some feedback, with some drawn conclusions, if you don't mind:

1) Aesthetics - This is important to me, but NOT at the expense of reasonable performance. I don't want an antenna that sticks up 6' or so above the roof line, but I am willing to deal with some length to get performance. The aesthetic aspect was just a bonus, if it was even an option.

2) Teraflex Bracket - I cancelled the mag mount. I really would like to use the Teraflex bracket, as the Jeep is a Jeep first and foremost, and that location, I am hoping gives me the best compromise between performance, and it being out of the way. I am not a hard core wheeler, and I do realize that many Jeepers go to flush mount lights to eliminate an area that could get hung up. My bumper/tire combo gives me some protection in that regard, and going through the roof is not an option. It's fiberglass, first of all, and on my older Jeeps, there is no roof. I was going to use the Wrangler as the test bed for when I out fit my other Jeeps. If I have to get an antenna that is a little longer than my preference to optimize the bracket, than I am ok with that. Going through the hood is not an option, nor is the hood lip an option. That would drive me crazy. I know.....I realize that my request doesn't provide the best answer to the question. I am looking for a way to optimize a less than ideal mounting location.

3) NMO vs. other - I don't actually have a preference on the type of mount. I just want to know that it's secure. Now, if I need to modify the hole size of the bracket to accommodate a particular style of mount, in an effort to optimize the performance, I am on board. NMO, other, it doesn't matter to me.

4) Ground plane - Can I run a ground strap down the body and secure it to the frame underneath? If so, does the strap originate at the bracket, or does it originate at the antenna's base (isn't the coax there?)?

5) Frequency Range - I understand the legalities. The purpose of my question was because as I was shopping, I noticed the listed range, and it always stopped at 147 or 148. I was wondering if this was due to the legality, or if the antenna literally only worked up to that range. It was more of an educational question.

5a) This brings up a question on the Frequency. It was stated that a dual band antenna would be required to accommodate the 70cm band. Question - I thought that everything up to 177ish was 2m, but that above 147ish was simply locked out due to their intended purpose. I am very new to this, so I have many questions.

6) Brands - Ok, with Jeep stuff, baseball stuff, hunting stuff, I am familiar with what brands are good, what brands are bad, and what brands are meeting a price point. Educate me on this hobby. Is Yaesu a good brand, for example. The FT-2900r that I purchased is lauded as a solid rig. Solid for the hobby, or solid for the price? I have read some people say that the Firestik brand is great, and others say that it is a low end brand.....what brands of antennas are considered good? The Jeep sites are pimping the Firestik, but is that because it is cheap, or because it looks good, or because it performs well? As an example....I realize that other antennas have been recommended.
 

cmdrwill

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I will say that a very good friend, K TOM, had the same problem.. compounded by having two separate radios, a VHF and a UHF, and the VHF IS 60+ watts. Took a while to get something that worked, and no SWR problems.. RF getting back into everything, a BIG problem.
The antenna mount bracket on the third brake light did NOT work.

Tried all the "Hammy options".

Went with a commercial antenna on a 'Hood mount' bracket on the left side of the hood.

VHF Two Meters is 144 to 148 mHz
 

Agar426

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I will say that a very good friend, K TOM, had the same problem.. compounded by having two separate radios, a VHF and a UHF, and the VHF IS 60+ watts. Took a while to get something that worked, and no SWR problems.. RF getting back into everything, a BIG problem.
The antenna mount bracket on the third brake light did NOT work.

Tried all the "Hammy options".

Went with a commercial antenna on a 'Hood mount' bracket on the left side of the hood.

VHF Two Meters is 144 to 148 mHz
Thank you for the feedback! The bracket I am looking at is the one that mounts behind either the driver's or passenger side tail light, not the one up high by the third brake light. Teraflex makes them side specific, and I was leaning toward the driver's side.

So....if the radio can receive above 148, but can only transmit to148, does that mean the 2m designation is governed by it's transmission capability? So, are the frequencies above 148 referred to (generically) as MARS? CAP? Business band? etc. What is the generic term for that, and are they still VHF? Just curious....

Learning more each day!!! Thank you everyone!

Also
 

mmckenna

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I misread your original post.

I was under the impression you had the FT-7900, which is a dual band VHF/UHF radio.
I see now that you have the FT-2900, which is VHF radio only. That simplifies things a bit. Instead of having to use the amateur grade antenna I posted earlier, you can go with a dedicated VHF only half wave antenna.

http://www.theantennafarm.com/catalog/larsen-nmowb150b-739.html

Drilling out the mount isn't necessary. The 3/8" NMO mount will work fine for what you are doing. Doesn't matter if you are using the 3/4" hole mount or the 3/8" hole mount, the sealing is still required underneath.
 

mmckenna

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Thank you for the feedback! The bracket I am looking at is the one that mounts behind either the driver's or passenger side tail light, not the one up high by the third brake light. Teraflex makes them side specific, and I was leaning toward the driver's side.
Less than ideal, but if that's what you want to do, you'll be able to make it work. It won't be easy, but it'll work.

So....if the radio can receive above 148, but can only transmit to148, does that mean the 2m designation is governed by it's transmission capability? So, are the frequencies above 148 referred to (generically) as MARS? CAP? Business band? etc. What is the generic term for that, and are they still VHF? Just curious....
The "meter" designation goes way back to the early days of radio. It's predominately only used by amateur radio operators and some short wave radio enthusiasts.

What governs the frequencies the radio can work on is it's "type acceptance".
The Federal Communications Commission has some distinct requirement for radios depending on what they are intended for. Commercial 2 way radios often will have a Part 90 certification, referring to the section of the FCC rules (part 90), that applies to commercial 2 way radio use.
There are many "parts" in the FCC rules depending on the service.
Amateur radio falls under Part 97. Those are the rules that apply to amateur radio use and the radios used for the amateur radio bands.
The FCC does not "certify" amateur radio transmitters, so in most cases amateur radios do not have any type certification that will allow them to legally be used anywhere else than the amateur radio bands.
So, by purchasing an amateur radio, you are limited by the FCC to the amateur radio bands.
Also, your amateur radio license (you DO have an amateur radio license, correct?) limits you to operating on the amateur radio bands ONLY.

MARS = Military Affiliate Radio Service. This is a cooperation between amateur radio and the military. It's pretty rare and unlikely you'd run across it.
CAP = Civil Air Patrol. Used to be CAP members were allowed to use modified amateur radio gear to do their work. Pretty sure CAP has changed their own rules to stop this.
Many amateur radio operators try and use the MARS/CAP modifications to open up the radios for use on frequencies they are not licensed to transmit on. This isn't OK, but many ignore it and do it anyway.

The FT-2900 will transmit from 144.000 to 147.995 MHz as it is out of the box.
It will receive from below the amateur radio band to well above. This can be handy for listening to other radio services, railroad, weather service, marine, public safety, etc. Receiving outside the amateur radio bands is perfectly legal.

As for what the band is called, usually VHF High Band is common. That pretty much covers everything from just above the amateur radio bands to about 174MHz.
It is important to recognize the difference between the different radio services within the band. Amateur radio is limited to the amateur radio bands. There is some military and federal stuff above and below the amateur radio bands. Above that, public safety, fire, pd, railroads, marine VHF, etc.
 

KC5AKB

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Hi

Welcome to the Fun of Radio!

Hustler SF-2 is a 3/8 stud mount like a lot of cb antennas

Hustler 2 Meter Mobile Antennas, Model SF-2, 144-148 MHz, 3/8 x 24 Stud Base, 51 in. High, 100 Watt,
There are other stud mounts out there . Do you trail ride and use a cb?
If so you are looking at two antenna mounts. If you have a couple of
Local clubs you might find some antenna mounting ideas there talk to some of those folks
You also would find someone to ck you swr's on your antenna.
Larsen brand nmo mount antennas hold up very well.
 

Agar426

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Less than ideal, but if that's what you want to do, you'll be able to make it work. It won't be easy, but it'll work.



The "meter" designation goes way back to the early days of radio. It's predominately only used by amateur radio operators and some short wave radio enthusiasts.

What governs the frequencies the radio can work on is it's "type acceptance".
The Federal Communications Commission has some distinct requirement for radios depending on what they are intended for. Commercial 2 way radios often will have a Part 90 certification, referring to the section of the FCC rules (part 90), that applies to commercial 2 way radio use.
There are many "parts" in the FCC rules depending on the service.
Amateur radio falls under Part 97. Those are the rules that apply to amateur radio use and the radios used for the amateur radio bands.
The FCC does not "certify" amateur radio transmitters, so in most cases amateur radios do not have any type certification that will allow them to legally be used anywhere else than the amateur radio bands.
So, by purchasing an amateur radio, you are limited by the FCC to the amateur radio bands.
Also, your amateur radio license (you DO have an amateur radio license, correct?) limits you to operating on the amateur radio bands ONLY.

MARS = Military Affiliate Radio Service. This is a cooperation between amateur radio and the military. It's pretty rare and unlikely you'd run across it.
CAP = Civil Air Patrol. Used to be CAP members were allowed to use modified amateur radio gear to do their work. Pretty sure CAP has changed their own rules to stop this.
Many amateur radio operators try and use the MARS/CAP modifications to open up the radios for use on frequencies they are not licensed to transmit on. This isn't OK, but many ignore it and do it anyway.

The FT-2900 will transmit from 144.000 to 147.995 MHz as it is out of the box.
It will receive from below the amateur radio band to well above. This can be handy for listening to other radio services, railroad, weather service, marine, public safety, etc. Receiving outside the amateur radio bands is perfectly legal.

As for what the band is called, usually VHF High Band is common. That pretty much covers everything from just above the amateur radio bands to about 174MHz.
It is important to recognize the difference between the different radio services within the band. Amateur radio is limited to the amateur radio bands. There is some military and federal stuff above and below the amateur radio bands. Above that, public safety, fire, pd, railroads, marine VHF, etc.

Again, more great feedback! Thank you!!

It's starting to come together for me, and to be honest, it's a lot more information that I anticipated.

I will be honest, I chose the FT-2900r for two reasons: 1) It's the radio my cousin uses for his outfitting business, and 2) When I was researching radios, I found several references to it being a "great starter transceiver" and the price was right. Not my usual M/O when I buy something, as I tend to do the research first, as I will mention later.

As for licensing - The next test in my area is January 10th, however I will be out of town for work. I am set up for sitting in on the next available testing session, which is April 11th. This will give me more time to prepare for the exam. The truth is, this past hunting season, I was witness to my cousin rescuing a stranded hunter, who had his young son and friend with him, due to their vehicle breaking down. There was no cell reception, they were NOT where they had told the family they would be (yes, they were lost as well as broken down), and if it wasn't for the 2m radio, they would have been forced to hike out or spend the night in the woods, and then hike out. Were their lives in danger? Tough to say, they had food and water, but two young boys and a 40 mile hike out of the woods in bad weather, hmmmm, needless to say, now that my son is hunting with me, I thought of the safety factor. My personality is such that I research and research before I take action. I actually bought the FT-2900r on an impulse, but I am not going to do the same with the rest of the package. I don't need the radio set up until summer, when we start scouting for the hunts. This should give me plenty of time to get licensed, get it set up, and learn how to properly operate the radio. Not to mention, with the limited space and noise issues in a Jeep, figuring where to mount the radio and the speaker...that will keep me up for some time before I finally settle on a location.

Ok, back to the Teraflex bracket - I realize this isn't ideal, and that it is a compromise. My apologies, as I realize everyone is being more than helpful with their recommendations, and my choice in brackets is flying in the face of that advice. I am leaning toward that bracket for several reasons. Jeeps don't have many options. I want to keep the flexibility of being able to remove the top quickly and easily. The bracket is well built, and it is somewhat out of the way. I really do appreciate the feedback, that is the truth.

I have a question regarding the "business band" area. Let's say I started my own outfitting business, or landscaping business, or whatever. Is this the band I would operate in, appropriately licensed of course? I see a lot of outfitters using 2m radios. I can only imagine the traffic! For arguments sake, I am also assuming that there are specific radios that are "set up" for this area? I also read that certain frequencies don't require a license.....what does that do for the traffic? So much to learn! I just started my research a couple of days ago, and I am hooked.

Thanks everyone!
 

Agar426

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I saw a segment on the "Power Block" tv shows on the Velocity network where the guy from Rugged Radios was pushing his product line. So, last night I looked into it.....he is selling dual band radios where the VHF portion goes from 150-174, but his VHF only radios are 144-174. Not many other details were offered. So, can I assume his VHF only radios are like the FT-2900r, in that they receive 144-174, but only transmit 144-147? Can I also assume his dual band radios aren't HAM radios at all, but they are more of a commercial radio? I am confused, as both of these radios were advertised under his "Jeep" section.....why would you sell radios that worked in different ranges? I am not slamming the guy, I want to understand....is he marketing each specific radio for a given purpose? He mentions one is a "chase" setup. Is that why he is using 150-174? What are the licensing requirements to use this range....I am guessing you have to limit your power, and have a specific business purpose?
 

mmckenna

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Again, more great feedback! Thank you!!

It's starting to come together for me, and to be honest, it's a lot more information that I anticipated.

I will be honest, I chose the FT-2900r for two reasons: 1) It's the radio my cousin uses for his outfitting business, and 2) When I was researching radios, I found several references to it being a "great starter transceiver" and the price was right. Not my usual M/O when I buy something, as I tend to do the research first, as I will mention later.
Yep, it's a good starter radio, and a good all around radio. What you need depends on what your exact situation is. In many cases a decent 2 meter mobile radio is all you need. Sure, there are lots of other options, and good reasons for each of them, but for a Jeep, with limited mounting options, and just needing a decent all around radio, you made a good choice.
I started off with the great great grandpa of this radio about 30 years ago, the FT-2400. Solid radio and well suited to getting knocked around off road in a jeep. I think you made a good choice.

As for licensing - The next test in my area is January 10th, however I will be out of town for work. I am set up for sitting in on the next available testing session, which is April 11th.
...........
that will keep me up for some time before I finally settle on a location.
Giving your self lots of time to learn the subject material is a good plan. It's easy enough to just learn the answers, but all that teaches you is to take the test. Putting the extra time into learning the reasons behind the answers is a good plan.

It also gives you lots of time to perfect the install. Too often I see people that try to install the radio in as short a time as they can. That might be fine for a commuter car, but not for what you are doing. Making sure everything is installed well will really up the beating it'll take. Make sure that you mount the radio will actual machine screws/washers/nuts, not just the sheet metal screws they send with the radio. Spend time on the wiring, solder, heat shrink, well routed and protected are all very important.

Ok, back to the Teraflex bracket - I realize this isn't ideal, and that it is a compromise. My apologies, as I realize everyone is being more than helpful with their recommendations, and my choice in brackets is flying in the face of that advice. I am leaning toward that bracket for several reasons. Jeeps don't have many options. I want to keep the flexibility of being able to remove the top quickly and easily. The bracket is well built, and it is somewhat out of the way. I really do appreciate the feedback, that is the truth.
You don't really have a lot of options on Jeeps, so don't give up on the Teraflex mount. It'll work.
About the only other workable solution is to mount off the side of the hood. Might be a better solution in some cases.
I've seen antennas mounted on brackets on the top/center of the windshield. I've seen antennas mounted inside the jeep, behind the seats in the windows. I even worked with a guy that had one mounted to the center of the hood. All will work, All are good solutions in their own way. Finding one that works for you is all you can do. From there you just need to work out the details.

I have a question regarding the "business band" area. Let's say I started my own outfitting business, or landscaping business, or whatever. Is this the band I would operate in, appropriately licensed of course? I see a lot of outfitters using 2m radios. I can only imagine the traffic! For arguments sake, I am also assuming that there are specific radios that are "set up" for this area? I also read that certain frequencies don't require a license.....what does that do for the traffic? So much to learn! I just started my research a couple of days ago, and I am hooked.

Thanks everyone!
Good questions....
If you started your own business, you would not be able to use the amateur radio frequencies for business use. That is strictly prohibited in the amateur radio rules. You'll find the details when you study for your amateur license.

As for what you'd do for your business, it's a lot different than amateur radio. Licensing radios for a business takes a different path. First, you'd have to work with a frequency coordinator to find a suitable frequency that wasn't in use in your area of coverage. The frequency coordinators job is to make sure that your radio system doesn't interfere with anyone else, or if it does, it's done in a way to reduce impact. The frequency or frequencies could be in one of a few different bands, depending on exactly what you were looking for. VHF Low, VHF High, UHF, 800MHz, are all options.
Usually, the frequency coordinator would identify the frequency and help you get properly licensed. From there you'd chose your radios.
Other option is to go to a local 2 way radio shop. Many of them run their own radio systems and they'd rent you space on their system and sell you the radios to work on it. Often this is a much better option for a small business. This spreads out the costs better. Trying to set up your own radio system can be expensive.

Outfitters should not be using 2 meter radios for their business use. This indicates one of two issues, both illegal:
1. They are using amateur radio frequencies for business use. Not legal.
2. They have modified the radios to work outside the amateur radio bands. Not legal.
Could also be they really are amateur radio operators.

There are some frequencies in various bands that don't require an FCC license, but to call them "license free" isn't exactly accurate. What the FCC calls this is actually "License By Rule". That means that as long as you are following all the appropriate FCC rules, including using properly type accepted radios, you can use the specific frequencies. The minute you operate outside the rules, you no longer have authority to use the frequencies.
These "license by rule" radio services are limited on purpose. They are not intended to be a replacement for a properly licensed and designed radio services. They can be a good option in certain cases, but they won't have the flexibility of amateur radio or a properly designed business radio system.
The "License By Rule" radio services you probably heard about are likely one of these:
CB radio. Short range, 27MHz.
MURS - Multi Use Radio Service. 5 channels in the VHF High band. Limited to 2 watts. Good for local use, not good for long range.
Marine VHF - Recreational use is license by rule. Only legal for use on the water. 25 watt boat mount radios and 5 watt hand held's. Not for use on land, although some hunters have been using it.
FRS - 1/2 watt UHF, 14 channels. Maybe a few miles under ideal conditions.

For what you are looking for, what you have is a good choice. Program in the local repeaters and chances are you'll find someone to talk to. A well installed radio and antenna system will give you good performance.

If you decide to do something for business, contact a local radio shop and get their help.
 

mmckenna

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I saw a segment on the "Power Block" tv shows on the Velocity network where the guy from Rugged Radios was pushing his product line. So, last night I looked into it.....he is selling dual band radios where the VHF portion goes from 150-174, but his VHF only radios are 144-174. Not many other details were offered. So, can I assume his VHF only radios are like the FT-2900r, in that they receive 144-174, but only transmit 144-147? Can I also assume his dual band radios aren't HAM radios at all, but they are more of a commercial radio? I am confused, as both of these radios were advertised under his "Jeep" section.....why would you sell radios that worked in different ranges? I am not slamming the guy, I want to understand....is he marketing each specific radio for a given purpose? He mentions one is a "chase" setup. Is that why he is using 150-174? What are the licensing requirements to use this range....I am guessing you have to limit your power, and have a specific business purpose?
Yeah, that guy from Rugged Radios is pretty notorious for completely ignoring the FCC rules.

Most commercial VHF radios will cover from below the 2 meter amateur band to 174 MHz. It doesn't mean they are an amateur radio, though. All my Motorola and Kenwood commercial radios will cover the 2 meter amateur radio frequencies. Difference is that the Motorola and Kenwood commercial radios have the FCC type certification that make them legal for use on the commercial frequencies.

I'm not sure exactly what he's selling. I know many off road racers are using modified amateur radios and often they are using frequencies they are not licensed for.

It's a confusing mess, and Rugged Radio seems to thrive on it.
 

Agar426

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mmckenna,

Once again, great feedback. I look forward to the exam prep, as I believe it will really increase my knowledge of the hobby!

To address the comment I made earlier, "outfitters using 2m radios all the time," my apologies on that. I, through ignorance, lumped all non-CB radios into the same category, and I made an assumption. Don't get me wrong, I do believe that there are outfitters, Jeepers, ATVers, etc. that are likely breaking rules left and right. But, I also believe that there are those who are playing by the rules. My apologies to those who are playing by the rules, and my apologies on letting my ignorance drive my online commentary.

Up until now, I have been using the Motorola FRS radios, purchased at the local sporting goods store. I believe I have made a sound choice with the FT-2900r, and I look forward to participating in the hobby.
 

mmckenna

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Now your next goal should be to get friends and family interested. While amateur radio can be a fun hobby, I've found that having the ability to talk to family makes it a lot more useful. Took me 20 years, but I eventually got almost everyone in my family licensed. Pretty handy to be able to use it that way.
 

Agar426

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Now your next goal should be to get friends and family interested. While amateur radio can be a fun hobby, I've found that having the ability to talk to family makes it a lot more useful. Took me 20 years, but I eventually got almost everyone in my family licensed. Pretty handy to be able to use it that way.
Absolutely! I already have my son convinced. My wife is next, I will start working her.

So, a question regarding the rules, or maybe it's an etiquette question. I have no intentions of starting my own business. A couple of scenarios:

1) If I am out hunting, not outfitting or guiding....just a family affair, and I want to communicate with a hunting partner, say my son, or my uncle. Is it a breach in the rules or protocol to use the 2m for simple communication? "On my way back to camp." "Got one down, need your help to pack it out." These are the scenarios I am thinking of.

2) If I am out Jeeping with a few buddies, but not a club or organized/paid run such as a Jeeper's Jamboree....just a few friends out for the day....does this fall under commercial use, or is it ok to use 2m for this occasional type of use?

I am assuming these guidelines will be spelled out as I prepare for the exam. I am just eager to gather info, and I want to make sure I am on the right path!

Thanks again!
 

mmckenna

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Absolutely! I already have my son convinced. My wife is next, I will start working her.
My wife has hers. She did a "ham-cram" session, study and test in one day. Not ideal, but she's not the type to build her own antenna, or repair a radio. She just enjoys being able to talk. So, she's legal, but not going to pass muster with the "old guard" hams. Trust me, she doesn't care what the other hams think.....


1) If I am out hunting, not outfitting or guiding....just a family affair, and I want to communicate with a hunting partner, say my son, or my uncle. Is it a breach in the rules or protocol to use the 2m for simple communication? "On my way back to camp." "Got one down, need your help to pack it out." These are the scenarios I am thinking of.
If the other person has a valid FCC amateur radio license, then it's perfectly legal. We use the 2 meter frequency 146.415MHz when out on trail rides in our UTV's between family and friends. Really makes life easier to call out directions, turns, "watch out for xxx" type messages.

2) If I am out Jeeping with a few buddies, but not a club or organized/paid run such as a Jeeper's Jamboree....just a few friends out for the day....does this fall under commercial use, or is it ok to use 2m for this occasional type of use?
Nope. That would be a valid use. Even if it was a Jamboree event, as long as you weren't using the radios to coordinate the actual event while being paid to do it, you'd be perfectly legal talking to family and friends.

Similar example:
There are things call "HamFests", sort of like an amateur radio flea market/convention. Some of them charge admission, sell stuff, etc. Lot's of amateur radio operators use their radios during the events. in fact many of the organizers do too. Often "hamfests" will have a "talk-in" frequency where you can call the event on a specific frequency and they'll provide directions to the location, parking info, etc. All legal.

I am assuming these guidelines will be spelled out as I prepare for the exam. I am just eager to gather info, and I want to make sure I am on the right path!

Thanks again!
The answer to these questions is here: eCFR — Code of Federal Regulations

I'd strongly encourage you to read and fully understand ALL of Part 97 FCC rules before you take your test. Knowing and understanding the Part 97 will put you ahead of 95% of the amateur radio operators out there. Most won't make the effort to learn and follow the rules. This has resulted in more issues than anything else in the hobby. The knowledge required doesn't stop after the 35 question multiple choice test. It should be an ongoing thing, even learning things that maybe are not your primary interest. Many amateurs cease learning the rules after they pass the test. They mistakenly assume that those 35 questions they answered (70% correctly?) are all they need to know. This is pretty far from the truth. I'm occasionally shocked by some of the stuff I read from amateur radio operators here on RadioReference about lack of understanding of the rules, assumptions, incorrect information being provided, etc. I'm surprised how many don't take the time to read the rules.

The full Part 97 rules are here:
http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/retrieveECFR?gp=&SID=903169da6314c2bbef961cc1564e6e00&mc=true&n=pt47.5.97&r=PART&ty=HTML

There are also other rules that pertain to all of us in Part 1, Part 2, Part 15. All good reads, but long and will put you to sleep.
 

cmdrwill

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Ok, back to the Teraflex bracket - I realize this isn't ideal,
You will need a ground (plane) independent antenna due to the mounting location. AKA 1/2 wave.

Comtelco A1812-44 VHF 1/2 wave no ground plane bright finish is what I use in applications like yours.
Mmckenna has the part number from his favorite manufacturer.

I used the Comtelco A 1812-44 on another Jeep with a bracket similar to the Teraflex, and it works well, SWR is well within limits. I did use the 3/8" NMO mount, just reamed out the hole. Jeep has fiberglass top.
 

Agar426

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My wife has hers. She did a "ham-cram" session, study and test in one day. Not ideal, but she's not the type to build her own antenna, or repair a radio. She just enjoys being able to talk. So, she's legal, but not going to pass muster with the "old guard" hams. Trust me, she doesn't care what the other hams think.....




If the other person has a valid FCC amateur radio license, then it's perfectly legal. We use the 2 meter frequency 146.415MHz when out on trail rides in our UTV's between family and friends. Really makes life easier to call out directions, turns, "watch out for xxx" type messages.



Nope. That would be a valid use. Even if it was a Jamboree event, as long as you weren't using the radios to coordinate the actual event while being paid to do it, you'd be perfectly legal talking to family and friends.

Similar example:
There are things call "HamFests", sort of like an amateur radio flea market/convention. Some of them charge admission, sell stuff, etc. Lot's of amateur radio operators use their radios during the events. in fact many of the organizers do too. Often "hamfests" will have a "talk-in" frequency where you can call the event on a specific frequency and they'll provide directions to the location, parking info, etc. All legal.



The answer to these questions is here: eCFR — Code of Federal Regulations

I'd strongly encourage you to read and fully understand ALL of Part 97 FCC rules before you take your test. Knowing and understanding the Part 97 will put you ahead of 95% of the amateur radio operators out there. Most won't make the effort to learn and follow the rules. This has resulted in more issues than anything else in the hobby. The knowledge required doesn't stop after the 35 question multiple choice test. It should be an ongoing thing, even learning things that maybe are not your primary interest. Many amateurs cease learning the rules after they pass the test. They mistakenly assume that those 35 questions they answered (70% correctly?) are all they need to know. This is pretty far from the truth. I'm occasionally shocked by some of the stuff I read from amateur radio operators here on RadioReference about lack of understanding of the rules, assumptions, incorrect information being provided, etc. I'm surprised how many don't take the time to read the rules.

The full Part 97 rules are here:
eCFR — Code of Federal Regulations

There are also other rules that pertain to all of us in Part 1, Part 2, Part 15. All good reads, but long and will put you to sleep.

Very good! The 2m is definitely the right approach for me. Thank you for the feedback, and thank you for the link. I am going to print it out.....I've noticed over the past couple of days, I have become more interested in the purposes of the different bands, then the actual reason for my question, which was which antenna to use. That question has been answered sufficiently, I feel, and, quite frankly, at this point...it is second to the bigger picture. Good stuff.....thank you all.
 

Agar426

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You will need a ground (plane) independent antenna due to the mounting location. AKA 1/2 wave.

Comtelco A1812-44 VHF 1/2 wave no ground plane bright finish is what I use in applications like yours.
Mmckenna has the part number from his favorite manufacturer.

I used the Comtelco A 1812-44 on another Jeep with a bracket similar to the Teraflex, and it works well, SWR is well within limits. I did use the 3/8" NMO mount, just reamed out the hole. Jeep has fiberglass top.
Thank you sir! This forum is great!!
 
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