Mag Mount as a permanent mount?

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ScannerSky

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Hey all,

I recently got a RadioShack mag mount (20-032) for my Jeep Liberty and I put it on the center of my roof. It gets pretty good reception (amazing compared to the rubber duckie) and I wanted to know how many people use a mag mount antenna as a "permanent" antenna rather than getting something that drills in. I really don't like the idea of drilling on my Jeep - the mag mount is working well. I just heard from some people that it will cause my roof to scratch/rust over time... I do plan on cleaning underneath the antenna base on a weekly basis if I keep it on my roof 24/7. I do park outside in my driveway so if it rains/snows, it will go on my roof...

Any input is greatly appreciated!

Thanks so much! :) Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!
 

BoxAlarm187

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Nothing wrong per se of using the mag mount in a permanent fashion, you pretty much hit the nails on the head: you can possibly expect scratches from the antenna and wire running to it. I used to do this for years before I finally started started drilling all of my antennas.
 

ScannerSky

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Nothing wrong per se of using the mag mount in a permanent fashion, you pretty much hit the nails on the head: you can possibly expect scratches from the antenna and wire running to it. I used to do this for years before I finally started started drilling all of my antennas.
So as long as I clean underneath it every once in awhile I should be okay? It is the roof of my car so scratches happen - I mean it's a Jeep! lol.

Thanks! Merry Christmas!! :)
 

jim202

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This type of question comes up fairly often. There has been a number of comments over the course
of time about mag mounts.

One point that hasn't been mentioned so far in this thread is that a mag mount is not made for long time
use. It is not weather proof to keep the water out. Given time, the water will get into the guts and
destroy the mount. Have seen it happen time and time again. Give you about 3 months of constant
service before it starts going to pieces.

The paint under the mag mount will get scoured and scratched by the fine dust and small sand particles
that will get under the mount. Even putting the mount on a piece of thin plastic like a sandwich wrap
only prolongs the time it takes to damage the paint.

Been in the two way field for better than 45 years now and love all the people that know more than
time has provided for over the years. Your going to do what you think is right and that is your choice.

Jim




Hey all,

I recently got a RadioShack mag mount (20-032) for my Jeep Liberty and I put it on the center of my roof. It gets pretty good reception (amazing compared to the rubber duckie) and I wanted to know how many people use a mag mount antenna as a "permanent" antenna rather than getting something that drills in. I really don't like the idea of drilling on my Jeep - the mag mount is working well. I just heard from some people that it will cause my roof to scratch/rust over time... I do plan on cleaning underneath the antenna base on a weekly basis if I keep it on my roof 24/7. I do park outside in my driveway so if it rains/snows, it will go on my roof...

Any input is greatly appreciated!

Thanks so much! :) Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!
 

kc2rgw

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I learned the mag-mount lesson years ago.

Drill a hole for an NMO mount. They perform better, they don't leak and when you sell the car, just pop a rain cap over it and tell the sales guy it's for a cellphone antenna...if they even ask.

I've traded multiple cars over the years, they have all been drilled for antennas and never got questioned. One of them was even a lease.

Just take some care on the inside so the install is clean.

Mag mounts don't perform as well as a properly grounded antenna and they damage the paint no matter what you try to do anyway. You'll have the coax kinked from slamming the door on it, which will further degrade performance.

My current Jeep has a fiberglass top...so I just finished through bolting an aluminum sheet to the inside of the roof so it would have a proper counterpoise for the NMO mount VHF/UHF antenna I just punched through...works great.
 

n5ims

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One other issue that's more difficult to get around than the scratches is that over time exposure to the sun will cause the paint to fade. Generally this isn't noticable since the entire area will fade together, unless you have something like a mag mount constantly covering an area.
 

mrdelia

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I feel your pain...

I use a mag mount as well. I have a brand new Charger and am reluctant to start drilling holes just yet. I was considering a trunk lip mount ( NMO Trunk Lip Mount ) . However the way I understand it, If you center the antenna on the trunk the deck will help to reflect signals up to the antenna.(Read this in the antenna forum). I'm not sure how noticeable this would be. Maybe someone could fill in the blanks...
 

mikepdx

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A permanent Mag-mount is contradictory.
Mag-mounts are intended for temporary installations.

I second KC2RGW's comments,
and concur with those of jim202.
 

kc2rgw

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I use a mag mount as well. I have a brand new Charger and am reluctant to start drilling holes just yet. I was considering a trunk lip mount ( NMO Trunk Lip Mount ) . However the way I understand it, If you center the antenna on the trunk the deck will help to reflect signals up to the antenna.(Read this in the antenna forum). I'm not sure how noticeable this would be. Maybe someone could fill in the blanks...
Not quite really what happens.

Centering it puts the ground/counterpoise evenly as possible around the antenna.

This means the coverage pattern of the antenna is evenly distributed.

If you lip mount it at the window side of the trunk deck, it will favor signals coming in to the rear of the vehicle a bit. The trunk being below the metal roof line, it's still going to have a bit of a skewed pattern favoring the rear anyway.

Dead center of the roof is the ideal, but punching through a trunk will also work well.
 

ScannerSky

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Not quite really what happens.

Centering it puts the ground/counterpoise evenly as possible around the antenna.

This means the coverage pattern of the antenna is evenly distributed.

If you lip mount it at the window side of the trunk deck, it will favor signals coming in to the rear of the vehicle a bit. The trunk being below the metal roof line, it's still going to have a bit of a skewed pattern favoring the rear anyway.

Dead center of the roof is the ideal, but punching through a trunk will also work well.
From what everyone is saying, I should get rid of the mag mount and use something else on my Jeep. What is a good antenna that DOES NOT involve any drilling/major installation? I just want a decent antenna that I can keep on my Jeep year round without drilling holes.

Thanks! :)
 

N0IU

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From what everyone is saying, I should get rid of the mag mount and use something else on my Jeep.
That's exactly what we said in your other post that asked the same exact question.

What is a good antenna that DOES NOT involve any drilling/major installation? I just want a decent antenna that I can keep on my Jeep year round without drilling holes.

Thanks! :)
Not to sound like a broken record, but this was also answered in your other post that asked the same question.
 

ScannerSky

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I am just trying to get different opinions lol so what would you do if you were me? Get rid of the mag mount and put something else on? I was thinking something on the hood? I just don't want any drilling...
 

N0IU

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...so what would you do if you were me?
I don't have a Liberty, but I do have a Cherokee and the luggage rack makes a very handy mounting location. You can bolt a mount to one of the rails and not have to worry about a magnet scooting around on the roof or hood or wherever you would put a mag mount. If you parking in a garage, and need to raise and lower your antenna frequently, Diamond even makes a motorized luggage rack mount!

Diamond® Antenna ~ K9000LRM Motorized Luggage Rack Mount

Good luck!
 

ScannerSky

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I don't have a Liberty, but I do have a Cherokee and the luggage rack makes a very handy mounting location. You can bolt a mount to one of the rails and not have to worry about a magnet scooting around on the roof or hood or wherever you would put a mag mount. If you parking in a garage, and need to raise and lower your antenna frequently, Diamond even makes a motorized luggage rack mount!

Diamond® Antenna ~ K9000LRM Motorized Luggage Rack Mount

Good luck!
I appreciate it! You don't think that keeping the mag mount on my roof would be a good option? I would check it weekly to make sure the surface is clean. All I need to do is get some locklite to stop it from loosening. Not sure exactly how I would use it but I can figure it out lol.
 

N0IU

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I would check it weekly to make sure the surface is clean.
No you won't. My kids promised to walk their puppy every day and who do you think ended up walking the dogs? You will get tired of doing it or something will come up that will prevent you from doing it on a regular basis. Life just happens to get in the way of our plans no matter how diligently we plan. A religious scholar once told me something that has always stuck with me, "Man plans, God laughs" This is supposed to be a hobby. Its not supposed to be a chore.

If you just gotta have a mag mount, get a mag mount. You seem to have this stuck in your head and I think you are just going to have to see for yourself. Experience is (usually) the best teacher.
 

ScannerSky

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No you won't. My kids promised to walk their puppy every day and who do you think ended up walking the dogs? You will get tired of doing it or something will come up that will prevent you from doing it on a regular basis. Life just happens to get in the way of our plans no matter how diligently we plan. A religious scholar once told me something that has always stuck with me, "Man plans, God laughs" This is supposed to be a hobby. Its not supposed to be a chore.

If you just gotta have a mag mount, get a mag mount. You seem to have this stuck in your head and I think you are just going to have to see for yourself. Experience is (usually) the best teacher.
I understand what you are saying but have you had personal experience with a mag mount antenna on your car? If so, what happened? I am hearing different things from different people about mag mounts - some say they are ok - others hate them...

oh and MERRY CHRISTMAS to you and all on RR :)
 

N0IU

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Next Tuesday is the 17th anniversary of receiving my first amateur radio license and yes, I have had a few mag mount antennas over the years. I don't hate mag mounts, but they are certainly not my first choice. They worked OK, but they are all now in a corner of the garage collecting dust and rust. There was a time when I drove company vehicles and I didn't have a choice other than to use a mag mount.

No, you don't have to drill holes to make something "permanent", but I have always had better results in terms of performance and reliability over time by somehow attaching the antenna to the body of the car (i.e. trunk mount) or the luggage rack.

The bottom line is that it is your money and your vehicle. I prefer having something more "permanent" than a mag mount and it is worth it to me to invest more time and money in a quality installation.
 

ScannerSky

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Next Tuesday is the 17th anniversary of receiving my first amateur radio license and yes, I have had a few mag mount antennas over the years. I don't hate mag mounts, but they are certainly not my first choice. They worked OK, but they are all now in a corner of the garage collecting dust and rust. There was a time when I drove company vehicles and I didn't have a choice other than to use a mag mount.

No, you don't have to drill holes to make something "permanent", but I have always had better results in terms of performance and reliability over time by somehow attaching the antenna to the body of the car (i.e. trunk mount) or the luggage rack.

The bottom line is that it is your money and your vehicle. I prefer having something more "permanent" than a mag mount and it is worth it to me to invest more time and money in a quality installation.
All I really am looking for is good reception and with the mag mount I get really good reception. I don't like putting things that are permanent on my car - it's just me - but the mag mount does it's job.

In your honest opinion, do you think it would be okay to keep it on my car? I check it anally everyday lol but I just want to know what you think of me keeping it on the top of my car. Also, would you reccommend using Lock-Tight if my screws get loose on the antenna?

Thanks so much for your help! :) I really do appreciate it!
 

N0IU

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In your honest opinion, do you think it would be okay to keep it on my car?
Thanks so much for your help! :) I really do appreciate it!
There are thousands if not tens of thousands of some sort of mag mount antennas in ues every day. If they were really pieces of crap, they wouldn't be so popular. They are popular because they tend to be less expensive than "permanent" antennas plus the fact that there is virtually no installation required. Just slap it on the roof and go!

Would it be OK? Of course it will be OK.

And there is no need to check it every day or even every week. I think some of us, me included, may have over exaggerated the damage a mag mount can cause to a car's finish. Yes, it will scratch the finish, but usually just surface scratches. The crucial thing is to put the antenna on the roof and just leave it there. Don't slide it around!

With mine, I would try and remember to take it off after driving in the rain or snow and dry off the roof and the bottom of the antenna. Did I take it off every time it rained? No. Did my roof rust out? No.

The other thing I did was to move the antenna to a different spot periodically. It doesn't have to be very far, just enough so that the antenna wasn't sitting in the exact same spot all the time.

As far as using LocTite, I have never found it necessary to use the stuff on my mobile antennas, but then again, I have never used the model you are using from Radio Shack.

Enjoy your mag mount!
 

ScannerSky

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There are thousands if not tens of thousands of some sort of mag mount antennas in ues every day. If they were really pieces of crap, they wouldn't be so popular. They are popular because they tend to be less expensive than "permanent" antennas plus the fact that there is virtually no installation required. Just slap it on the roof and go!

Would it be OK? Of course it will be OK.

And there is no need to check it every day or even every week. I think some of us, me included, may have over exaggerated the damage a mag mount can cause to a car's finish. Yes, it will scratch the finish, but usually just surface scratches. The crucial thing is to put the antenna on the roof and just leave it there. Don't slide it around!

With mine, I would try and remember to take it off after driving in the rain or snow and dry off the roof and the bottom of the antenna. Did I take it off every time it rained? No. Did my roof rust out? No.

The other thing I did was to move the antenna to a different spot periodically. It doesn't have to be very far, just enough so that the antenna wasn't sitting in the exact same spot all the time.

As far as using LocTite, I have never found it necessary to use the stuff on my mobile antennas, but then again, I have never used the model you are using from Radio Shack.

Enjoy your mag mount!
Thanks so much!

I was told by someone to get a Lil Wil Wilson mag mount antenna...they are better I guess...anyone use them?
 
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