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Born Under A Bad Sign

Ensnared

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I have the worst luck with my antennas. My travel history is dotted with misadventures of all sorts of issues. Compounding this problem is my lack of skills to maintain my equipment. I cannot solder.

So, I pay for PL-259 installations on almost every trip, it seems.

I stopped buying my favorite antenna, the K40 for two reasons: a) if you hit a tree limb or over hanging object, it can crack the area at the bottom near the metal and make if very loose, hex nut does not tighten well; b) the problems with the magnetic mount scratching the paint.

Since I will only use magnetic mounts, I found the one of my dreams, the Tram 3500. It has a rubber boot on the bottom of the large magnet.

I am very careful when I get near awnings. I never let the antenna go forward very far for fear of it getting caught and pulling it off.

I don't know how, but the stinger must have been pushed up into a hole. When I backed out, the antenna fell on my hood with the coax looking the tail of a horse, right before my eyes. I could not believe it. It ripped it off where the cable went into the base. The 90 degree bend in the top supports this. I was not going fast, at all.

Laughing in Texas.
 

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mmckenna

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Honestly?
Quit &*#%ing around with the cheap Chinese antennas.

I understand (sort of) not wanting to drill a hole, but I've never had an issue with a proper NMO mount. You don't have to worry about things like that.

After you buy several antennas, you could have paid someone to install an NMO mount and screw on a Larsen NMO-27 and be done with it all.

Sorry about your antenna, but that's exactly why I don't mess with mag mounts or Chinese/hobby grade antennas. It costs a bit more initially, but it pays off ten fold in the long run.
 

FiveFilter

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Messages
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Yep, it looks like the antenna was "stuck" and got bent when backing up. I wouldn't let the antenna touch anything. That's one of the good things about the mag mount: it can be removed quickly and easily.

If your accident had happened with a hole-in-the-roof mount, it very likely would have damaged the roof. The sheet metal on cars these days is so thin, I wouldn't put anything longer than maybe a foot-long antenna mounted in the hole, like a VHF or UHF size. A 10 or 11 meter antenna antenna planted and holding on tight in a thin-metal hole could have been really bad ju-ju for your roof. In your case, the mag mount acted as a "fuse" and broke loose from the metal rather than "tearing a new one" up there as could have been the case in a drilled hole.

I use mag mounts for my CB ranging from 55-inch Wilson 500 on my Mazda3 to a 62-inch Wilson 1000 on my F250. I take mine off between highway trips since the garage is too low for it. When removing the mag antenna, I'm careful to "tip" the antenna on its edge when pulling it off, making sure that the base doesn't pull over the paint and cause scratches.

If you are getting scratches from the magnet base, you can use a thin piece of plastic like one layer of a sandwich bag at its base. It won't reduce the performance, but could make it easier to pull off without risk of scratches. I've used such a measure before, but usually just plant my mag Wilsons "naked" on the roof with good results.
 

mmckenna

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If your accident had happened with a hole-in-the-roof mount, it very likely would have damaged the roof. The sheet metal on cars these days is so thin, I wouldn't put anything longer than maybe a foot-long antenna mounted in the hole, like a VHF or UHF size. A 10 or 11 meter antenna antenna planted and holding on tight in a thin-metal hole could have been really bad ju-ju for your roof. In your case, the mag mount acted as a "fuse" and broke loose from the metal rather than "tearing a new one" up there as could have been the case in a drilled hole.
Maybe on the fuse action. But I've not been impressed with anything from Tram. They are poor quality Chinese knockoffs. The cable pulling out of the mount is consistent with what I've seen with their construction. Maybe the crappiness worked in his favor this time.

But a properly installed NMO mount won't have this issue. I have an F-350 (aluminum body) with an NMO on the roof. Got into a parking garage in Las Vegas that became too low too quick. No damage to the roof or NMO mount, but the spring at the antenna coil took a permanent kink. Same thing on the work F350 running overgrown access roads. The headache rack took a permanent bend (steel tubing) but the two NMO mounts/antennas on the roof were undamaged.
Recently my wife took her Ford Escape through the car wash and forgot about the antenna on the roof.

Oh, the horrors!
(before)


Ah, it's OK, just bend it back….
(after)


NMO mounts get vilified with no evidence to back it up. I have the opposite, proof they can survive, not impact resale value, not leak, and perform well.

On the flip side, we have Chinese hobby/amateur grade stuff that gets the coax yanked out….
I understand the initial aversion to putting a mount in, but after you do it, you wonder why you didn't do it a long time ago.
 

cmdrwill

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Some of you were not around many years ago before NMO antennas and mounts.

Quit your complaining.
 

bharvey2

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Mar 12, 2014
Messages
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Ditto on the benefits of NMO vs. mag mount. They're sturdier than you think. A few weeks ago my neighbor asked me if I'd pull in to her garage with my car to see how well it would fit. (She is looking to get the same model) As I was backing in, I could hear my NMO mounted antenna get hung up on the garage door. I got out, fearing I'd torn the antenna out of the roof. Nope! I bent the antenna a bit but the mount stood fast. It didn't distort the roof at all. I'm not saying never but NMO mounts are pretty tough. If they weren't, I don't think they'd be used as much as they are in commercial installations.
 

belvdr

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At least with a mag mount, when you hit something, you can have it banging around the rest of your car. LOL
 

VK3RX

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Many years ago, forgot I still had a mag mount K40 on the roof, fluorescent lights in an underground car park with a low roof ....

Kept driving and went out again :)
 

Ensnared

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Maybe on the fuse action. But I've not been impressed with anything from Tram. They are poor quality Chinese knockoffs. The cable pulling out of the mount is consistent with what I've seen with their construction. Maybe the crappiness worked in his favor this time.

But a properly installed NMO mount won't have this issue. I have an F-350 (aluminum body) with an NMO on the roof. Got into a parking garage in Las Vegas that became too low too quick. No damage to the roof or NMO mount, but the spring at the antenna coil took a permanent kink. Same thing on the work F350 running overgrown access roads. The headache rack took a permanent bend (steel tubing) but the two NMO mounts/antennas on the roof were undamaged.
Recently my wife took her Ford Escape through the car wash and forgot about the antenna on the roof.

Oh, the horrors!
(before)


Ah, it's OK, just bend it back….
(after)


NMO mounts get vilified with no evidence to back it up. I have the opposite, proof they can survive, not impact resale value, not leak, and perform well.

On the flip side, we have Chinese hobby/amateur grade stuff that gets the coax yanked out….
I understand the initial aversion to putting a mount in, but after you do it, you wonder why you didn't do it a long time ago.
LOL, I don't feel as embarrassed now.
 

slowmover

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Nice post, OP. A sense of humor about it helps. Everyone trips along the way. No stories are ever as funny but the ones we tell on ourselves.

Permanent mount effectively ends concerns about damage to the vehicle AND raises performance to the proper baseline.

If it’s a BIG antenna, then install a BIG backing plate.

I realize there’s a fairly wide range of personal vehicle use in re urban versus suburban. The latter doesn’t encounter parking garages (worst situation). Otherwise, one becomes mindful of overhead clearances (measure; tape # to dash).

Americans seem bound and determined to remain forever 16 while at the wheel. Extraordinary selfishness on display. Couldn’t merge onto a highway on a bet. Don’t let that prevent one from pulling over to pop the antenna on or off where needed.

A Citizens Band unit is there to coordinate with others on that local net. My experience of 10,000-miles per month is that it’s necessary.

Necessity is born of adversity. Takes time and miles to use it in the most effective way.

Part of that is routing (the trip plan).

90% of Americans go to 90% of the same places 90% of the time (according to DHS). List those locations: post office, public library, local, state & federal offices; grocery, liquor, hardware, etc.

(Note: the state of mind is that one is required to be present in person. Find the parking solutions TODAY. Make notes with GPS address to keep in glovebox).

Use MAPQUEST or similar for Best Order Routing. This is a loop outwards and back to ones domicile. No left turns (as with UPS/Fedex). One leaves home with an errands list and proceeds via freeway to the farthest point. Works his way back.

Combining trips (avoiding cold engine starts) is THE way to both lower fuel consumption and increase vehicle longevity.

With that point made & shelved following a trip plan causes one to be mindful of hazards. Below is the trip plan modification list:

1). Once rolling, never stop and never idle (some roads better than others even if a slightly longer distance is involved).

2). Overhead clearances and parking lots. Park so that the exit is directly ahead (so to speak). Emphasis on leaving a location. Fewest steering wheel turns to enter the road.

3). Time of day. Where ones errands are combined, one long loop on a Saturday morning coinciding with store opening time is best. Finish breakfast at the greasy spoon first.

3a). Refrigeration for food is an ice chest charged beforehand.

There’s more detail to it; again, the point is to be AWARE of what hinders smooth & easy driving where routing is already optimized.

Antennas do well with mindfulness. Extend that principle outwards (planned vehicle use) and every aspect of ownership & operation is easier.

Anxiety (unnoticed) causes more vehicle damage than the obstacles one points to as the villain.

As a lifelong Texan — when we remove the comparatively few parking garages — antenna obstacles are fewer than in the wetter climates where the majority of Americans live.

Then, my best route (and time of day for lowest traffic volume) eliminates the other overhead problems as I’m only out-of-route 10% of the time, on average.

It’s sometimes as simple as using a different parking lot entrance.

“Best habits” are in having exerted a bit of effort & discipline. (Takes 13-weeks for new habits to become habitual).

Get Pl259s that you can crimp or learn to solder when convenient. Attend vehicle operation first

.
 
Last edited:

dlwtrunked

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Many years ago, forgot I still had a mag mount K40 on the roof, fluorescent lights in an underground car park with a low roof ....

Kept driving and went out again :)
"Been there" (Done that two) with a different antenna at the old parking garage (now gone) at Tysons II at Tysons Corner, VA. I had picked up an out of town visitor who then really questioned if they wanted to be in a car driven by me. I had the window down and heard breaking glass and thought someone was throwing something at me.
 

slowmover

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"Been there" (Done that two) with a different antenna at the old parking garage (now gone) at Tysons II at Tysons Corner, VA. I had picked up an out of town visitor who then really questioned if they wanted to be in a car driven by me. I had the window down and heard breaking glass and thought someone was throwing something at me.
Find the parking garage videos with a 102” snapping fluorescents.

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