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Radio Installation Shops

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cschmit

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Anyone know of any good shops in the Milwaukee or Waukesha area that are good that will install NMO style mounts in vehicles? I am thinking of getting rid of my mag mount for my ham and going to NMO on my truck but I don't know of any reliable shops in the area that do that sort of thing.
 

RevGary

Senior Tropical Storm Analyst, TSRC, in Alabama
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If you feel confident on your own abilities, you can probably do that one yourself. Motorola / Antennex has a special drill bit and hole-saw with a paint removing shoulder that takes care of the three steps for you all in one. I have had one of these since the late 1960's and have yet to replace the blade. This is only one of many locations where this is available...

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=7617468091&category=43010

Running the cable is not bad because most vehicles have a channel or chase where existing wiring is run. The biggest headache is removing the headliner in one piece for sedans and two doors... pickups are a bit less involved in most cases.

Just remember that the rubber 'O' ring on the undeside of the NMO threaded portion of the mount MUST be pressed firmly into it's seat and a silicone lube applied before the mount is secured to the roof or trunk. The 'O' ring is your only waterproofing protection. Remove any paint flakes on the underside of the roof where the shoulders of the mount rest. This will provide a proper ground.

Perhaps 'Stateboy' might have a shop recommendadtion for you if you do not wish to do it yourself.
 

cschmit

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Thanks for the info. I was mainly looking for a shop to put the hole in since cable running is the easy part for me. Just not sure I want to put the hole in my roof myself yet, lol. Thanks again.
 

RevGary

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If we were closer, I'd let you use my hole saw - but I'm sure that you will handle things as soon as you decide upon a location. You mentioned a truck - is it a pickup or something like a Suburban or Yukon with a large roof area? ... also is there a dome light that you could work through for ease of access??? On those types of installs on our Chaplain Responder vehicles, we have been using RG223 coax because it surpresses ambient through-the-shielding noise better than RG58U and works well with the same UHF connectors... just scroll down to the listing here...

http://www.rfcafe.com/references/electrical/coax_chart.htm

Best of luck !!
 

cschmit

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It is a Chevy S10 Crew Cab and I am looking at putting the antenna centered and towards the back of the truck mainly because their are ribs on the top of the truck. Because of those ribs I am limited to either the way back of the roof or the way front. Personally to me it would look better in the back plus my radio is mounted behind the rear seat so the cable run could be short then.
 

RevGary

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Understand - best of luck and keep us posted on the final install...
 

OpSec

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You can order a nice hole saw and NMO mount from Antenex for about $40...ships overnight from their facility in northern Illinois if it's in stock. I agree with the Rev...use something better than RG58A/U...get an NMO mount with the double shielded coax, both 95% braid and 100% foil.

You can try Milwaukee Two Way out on 113th and Lincoln (Across from West Allis PD), but I know they will rape you with labor charges. It's cheaper to do it yourself. Unfortunately in this litigation-happy society, I doubt you'd get any volunteers to do it for you.

As for location, don't mount it too far back, otherwise performance will suffer and you may encounter SWR/tuning issues that you can't overcome.
 
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cschmit

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stateboy said:
You can order a nice hole saw and NMO mount from Antenex for about $40...ships overnight from their facility in northern Illinois if it's in stock. I agree with the Rev...use something better than RG58A/U...get an NMO mount with the double shielded coax, both 95% braid and 100% foil.

You can try Milwaukee Two Way out on 113th and Lincoln (Across from West Allis PD), but I know they will rape you with labor charges. It's cheaper to do it yourself. Unfortunately in this litigation-happy society, I doubt you'd get any volunteers to do it for you.

As for location, don't mount it too far back, otherwise performance will suffer and you may encounter SWR/tuning issues that you can't overcome.
Thanks for the info. I guess if I am going to do this I have to do it myself, lol. Makes me nervous putting a hole in my roof but if I want this it looks like it is my only answer.

Here is a picutre of my roof (excuse the dirt). You can see the ribs I was talking about. From the end of the rib to the back of the truck before it rolls down is 6 1/2" and in front it is 10". Neither way seems like much room. May have to rethink this idea a bit more.




One other question, when I go to sell this truck in 3-4 years do they make caps for NMO holes or do I have to sell the truck with the equipment?

Thanks again both of you!!
 

n4voxgill

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look in the yellow pages under Radio Systems and Communications. Call a couple and ask what they would charge to do the hole. No need worrying your self.
 

cschmit

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n4voxgill said:
look in the yellow pages under Radio Systems and Communications. Call a couple and ask what they would charge to do the hole. No need worrying your self.
Thanks but I was looking to see if anyone knew of any reliable shops. I know of one that I could go to but I don't trust them. Just looking for good ones that people might have known about.
 

OpSec

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Well...you could go with two NMO mounts, in between the rails. We did that on a friend's mid '90's S-15 Jimmy. He had 3 NMO mounts...one in front above the dome light and two in back, between the rails on each side of center.

As for resale...no problem. It's called a hole plug :) That you can get from any Two-way place in town, and most of the time they are free.
 

RevGary

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A couple possibilities for you - the 3/4 inch hole would take a dealer about 1 hour to repair including paint... not a big deal for them at trade in time. You can also check into a 3/4 inch hole plug availabe from many sources...

http://www.tessco.com/products/displayProducts.do?groupId=360&subgroupId=74

http://www.westcoastmall.net/shop/product_info.php?products_id=1813

http://www.awswireless.com/store/product429.html

Don't worry about the hole for the NMO - Just secure the mount in the center of the hole and as mentioned before, use the rubber ' O ' ring and a little silicone grease and it will be fine.

What type of antenna are you going to use?
 

cschmit

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RevGary said:
A couple possibilities for you - the 3/4 inch hole would take a dealer about 1 hour to repair including paint... not a big deal for them at trade in time. You can also check into a 3/4 inch hole plug availabe from many sources...

http://www.tessco.com/products/displayProducts.do?groupId=360&subgroupId=74

http://www.westcoastmall.net/shop/product_info.php?products_id=1813

http://www.awswireless.com/store/product429.html

Don't worry about the hole for the NMO - Just secure the mount in the center of the hole and as mentioned before, use the rubber ' O ' ring and a little silicone grease and it will be fine.

What type of antenna are you going to use?
Thanks again guys, you both have given me great info. As for what antenna I am going to use, this is for my Ham radio and currently I have a Comet B-10NMO on a Diamond NMO mag mount that I want to hard mount to the truck.
 

RevGary

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The Comet B-10NMO for 2 meter and 440 is an excellent choice. We have been using a similar multi-band design from Larsen ( NMO 150/450/800 ) on our Chaplain Responder vehicles for years and have had excellent results. You may possibly notice a slight increase in performance once you get the antenna on a body mount rather than a mag mount.

Keep us posted on your progress and good luck with things.
 

cschmit

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stateboy said:
You can try Milwaukee Two Way out on 113th and Lincoln (Across from West Allis PD), but I know they will rape you with labor charges. It's cheaper to do it yourself. Unfortunately in this litigation-happy society, I doubt you'd get any volunteers to do it for you.
I called Milwaukee Two Way today and they told me $60 to put the hole in the roof so I may go there but I am still shopping around. General Communications in Tosa is about the same cost.

RevGary, good to hear someone else likes the B-10. It is a great antenna for it's size and I don't have to worry about it hitting when I put the truck in the garage. :)
 
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SCPD

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For 60 bucks, come down here to Elkhorn and I will drill a 3/4" hole in your truck!

I've got three in mine, best way to go.
 

cschmit

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laggroup said:
For 60 bucks, come down here to Elkhorn and I will drill a 3/4" hole in your truck!

I've got three in mine, best way to go.
That's always a possibility and I thank you for the offer. :)

Stateboy I have a question for you, you stated I shouldn't go to far back due to SWR issues and that makes sense to me but what would be considered to far back? I have 6 1/2" between the end of the rail and the rounding off of the roof. If I shot for 2" off the end of the rail would that be ok or do you think I would be to far back? I have 10" to play with in the fron of the truck, would that be my better bet? Just asking for some ideas before I jump to far on this one. :)
 

RevGary

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Just a thought - ( in anticipation of Stateboy's reply) - since there is a roof rack with cross bars on the truck, that extra close-proximity metal will have to be taken into consideration in this install. The bars are roughly 2 to 3 inches higher than the roof surface and an RF 'bounce' might be present while transmitting and affect your SWR if the antenna is too close to one of the bars. Clicking on the photo that you provided blows up that image to a size large enough to see your predicaments. Law enforcement agencies run into this all the time when installing rooftop antennas too close to the light bar.

(I have some vision issues as the result of a 1995 accident and didnt pick up the cross bar right away, barely visible on the small photo.)
 
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cschmit

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RevGary said:
Just a thought - ( in anticipation of Stateboy's reply) - since there is a roof rack with cross bars on the truck, that extra close-proximity metal will have to be taken into consideration in this install. The bars are roughly 2 to 3 inches higher than the roof surface and an RF 'bounce' might be present while transmitting and affect your SWR if the antenna is too close to one of the bars. Clicking on the photo that you provided blows up that image to a size large enough to see your predicaments. Law enforcement agencies run into this all the time when installing rooftop antennas too close to the light bar.

(I have some vision issues as the result of a 1995 accident and didnt pick up the cross bar right away, barely visible on the small photo.)
Ahh good catch. The nice thing is I can move those bars forward or backwards. I can even remove them to since I never use them. I should look at doing that even with the mag mount. Thanks for the pointer!! :)

Also Scratch my thought on going off the end of the rail. I am going to have it mounted between to rails, that way if I ad a second antenna it can be added to the other side of the truck.
 
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OpSec

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Here is what we did on the S-15 Jimmy (roughly):

4" forward of the end of the #2 and #4 rub strips (as numbered in pic)
2" to the outside of the #2 and #4 rub strips (as numbered in pic)

Check for obstructions under the headliner, and barring obstructions, mark this spot with a punch and drill 3/4" hole.

I think you'd find this to work well for you, providing the roof sheetmetal is the same and there aren't inner supports under the sheetmetal.

 
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