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Onstar - VHF?

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tailwheel234

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New to the forum, so forgive me if this is misplaced.

I will soon be installing a Motorola Astro Spectra in a 07 Silverado (NNBS). I am really avoiding drilling the cab roof to install an antenna, and was hoping to find some kind of "undercover" antenna that experienced users would recommend? Truck is a daily driver so needs to be something clean looking. Also I don't have a lot of height clearance as the truck is garage kept and only have about 3" above it to enter the garage.

I know I am asking a lot but hoping to find something reliable. I was specifically wondering if there were a On-Star antenna "look-a-like" that i could use in conjunction with the radio?

Radio is 110W and operating mainly around the 150-165mHz range.

Thanks for your help in advance!
 

FFPM571

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Phantom antennas are only rated for 60W you put an astro spectra 110W on it and it will smoke the antenna.. I have seen it done. They do not work well for anything but well covered repeater systems. the bandwith is very narrow..Truck is 7 years old. One NMO antenna on the roof if done properly will not leak or effect the value.
 

mmckenna

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Agreed, everyone that I know who have tried the phantom antennas on VHF have not been happy. Very, very narrow bandwidth, very poor performance. All of them have been replaced by a 1/4 wave whip.
 

com501

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Three inches of clearance isn't going to lend itself to any kind of roof mount antenna including a beer can style low profile. As stated earlier, any of the low profile antennas have low power ratings. Even 50 watts is going to turn one of them into a stinking mass of carbon in short order. An NMO and quarter wave is out of the question if you are like me. I absolutely hate taking antennas on and off of a vehicle. I don't know what part of the country you live in, but assume its raining or snowing when you pull up to your garage point. How fun is THAT going to be, climbing out and taking an antenna off or putting in on when you have to go under the low clearance? NOT.

The 2007 doesn't have an external whip for AM-FM, much like most newer vehicles, which would have been a very nice choice for a good disguise antenna.

The only decent disguise antennas on the market for a low profile application are made by the one company that supplies to the DEA, IRS, USSS, and just about every other agency that needs disguise antennas. We routinely install this guy's antennas on dual 110w XTL5000 packages. Go look at www.licenseplateantennas.com. Not only do they have diversity license plate packages, but they make just about every kind of OEM replacement antenna available, in power ratings up to 150watts. However, they are NOT inexpensive. You want quality or cheap? What works and looks good with no problems is usually NEVER cheap. These guys discount to HAMS too, so if you have that card, play it. I have EIGHT radios in my SUV. I have TWO antennas.
 

kc8kek

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Agreed - and the Stico antenna are good quality, flexible, and as low profile as you're liable to find in a quarter-wave. Have you thought about through-glass? If you're on a repeated system, may not hurt, though you'll want to turn the output down (100w into any quarter wave always seemed kinda silly to me anyway, if you want gain, get it from the antenna. Antennas don't put as much strain on the power side of the system, and having 100w out doesn't help your RX, whereas antenna gain will...just my two cents).
 

ElroyJetson

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FYI, if you don't have the large W9 control head, any of the other types will fit in a standard DIN radio space. There's a pretty good chance you have an available DIN sized space in your dash depending on what am/fm radio is already in there. If it's a double DIN sized unit, you can replace it with a single DIN sized unit and put the Astro Spectra control head in there. That will make for a super clean installation. It could not be much cleaner than that.
 

quarterwave

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1. Does it have to run 110W? Or do you have no choice in the matter? (You said Spectra...HAM or commercial use?)
2. Even though you need a good ground plane, you said you essentially cannot use the roof (clearance). I don't think you have too many choices, but I might recommend an L-bracket on the fender. (they screw in under the hood lip) and a 1/4 wave. We used to do some logging trucks this way in the radio shop, they ran 60-100w LOW BAND radios...and the match was ok, not what we wanted, but ok. VHF ones worked fine.

http://www.theantennafarm.com/catalog/mobile-antenna-mounts-264/fender-bracket-mounts-268/nmo-vehicle-specific-mounts-297/

The only question on these is whether the truck is a Classic (06-07 style) or a Newer (07-08 style) they made both bodies in 1/2 ton during the 2007 model year.
 
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DisasterGuy

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The Sharkee is the only "covert-ish" antenna I could recommend for multi service with VHF. Consider though taking a look to see if there is an AM/FM mount (c shaped bracket) on the passenger side cowl. That is what I used only 13 Tahoe for a low band antenna. If you have the bracket you can install an NMO mount in it and screw a 1/4~ on. The result will appear stock and meet your height requirements.


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retiredinsemo

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I had a new 2001 Jeep Cherokee that I wanted to keep unmolested and ran across a similar issue of antenna/radio placement and garage height. I experimented with various configurations of small covert antennas with mixed results. Most had power limitations, limited band width, and/ or poor SWR returns. The glass mount models always gave high SWR returns. So after years of going without a mobile install, I gave this antenna a try on a L mount fender bracket directly opposite the radio antenna on the drivers side,

http://www.theantennafarm.com/catalog/laird-tech-bb1322w-4470.html

For mobile mounting of my Icom 2200H I used a Havis "vehicle specific" laptop mount that attached to the passanger seat bolts and provided a great platform that didn't interfere with passenger legs or vehicle controls. No need to drill holes in the dash or console. The only holes I did drill were for the L bracket which was inside the fender of the engine compartment. Just 3 tiny sheet metal screws were all that were needed.

Whenever I didn't want the radio/antenna to be visible, I merely unscrewed the rod and threw a beach towel over the radio. I could do it in about 10 seconds.
 

12dbsinad

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I'd recommend a 1/4 wave fender mounted. Either with an L bracket, or a lip mount NMO that attaches to the hood with set screws. If you use a low profile antenna, like a Larsen NMOQB black quarter wave, it is barely noticable. I would also advise to turn the TX power down given the location of the antenna. You usually can obtain decent VSWR readings.

I would however stay away from VHF Phantoms, or glass mounted antennas. I have always had very poor results from both, and a fender mounted antenna always performs better, a night and day difference.
 

bikinjohn

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I have heard there is a way to mount a quarter wave antenna in the back D pillar cap which is just a fiberglass cover.

One thing I have wanted to try is a vhf antenna where the Avalanche fm antenna goes. The Tahoe and Avalanche share the same front end so you should be able to either drill a small hole in the plastic upper cowl near the windshield or buy one for an Avalanche. Since the Avalanche doesn't have the rear quarter glass like the Tahoe it had to mount the antenna like the good ole days. Here's what it would look like:
 

Attachments

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A bit dirty at the moment (pollen) but here is the "stock" antenna location on the Tahoe.






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How do you think a Laird Phantom Elite would work in this exact location on a Tahoe? (UHF though, not VHF)? Or on a L bracket on the fender, facing inward (so it's still the same basic location).
 

KB7MIB

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Ham Radio Outlet carries brand specific (Chevy, Dodge, Ford, GMC) truck/SUV antenna brackets, manufactured by Comet, that bolt to an existing fender bolt under the hood, and hold the antenna over the fender. They take an NMO connector, or you can use a Comet UHF connector, and they're about $20 a piece.
Here's the 2007 Silverado one:


COMET-NCG CVANTPF Antenna Accessories Mounts Bumper-Body, CVANTPF

John
Peoria, AZ
 

brscomm

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That NMO mount will not make contact with very many antennas. Certainly not the basic 1/4 wave types. The brass ring is supposed to be flush with the top of the mount. You'll probably be finding rust in there soon, as the gaskets wear and crack.
 
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