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Antenna bracket

  #1  
Old 12-09-2018, 09:19 PM
alabamatoy
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Antenna bracket

I have been in severe withdrawal since I got my 2019F250...no ham radio because I have always used a mag mount antenna. Cant do that on this beer-can truck. Even if it were steel-bodied, with my wonderful sunroof, I probably couldnt have a mag mount on the roof. So I looked at the brake light / bed light brackets and geezy peezy they are expensive! So I made my own.

I spent some time on tinkercad drawing up what I thought would work. Then I sent that to my friend at Griffinspecialty dot com and he refined the drawing and cut a prototype on the plasma out of 16ga steel. We cut several before getting it right. This is the final prototype:



Another view




Then we cut the first real one out of 1/8" aluminum sheet. Here is a little video of the plasma doing its magic


When it was done, here's what we had:



Smooth the edges, then bend it on the metal brake. You can see it has holes for 2 CB antennas and a PL259 style ham radio antenna. I will use only the 1 2mX70cm ham and 1 short CB whip.



Here's what it looks like on the truck:



and



I plan to put a layer of heavy foam rubber between the bracket and the body of the cab, then cut a notch for each coax, and run the coax into the opening for the light wiring.

Griffinspecialty will probably begin selling these soon. This one is for the LED style brake light with no camera. I have a friend with a 2017 with the LED/camera light, and we will soon modify the design for that type of light. With the design in CAD, its extremely easy to modify.

I dont think I'm going to powder coat or paint the bracket, but may hit it with the rotary scotch-brite to give it a brushed looking finish. It looks pretty good to me next to the sliver body color.
 
  #2  
Old 12-09-2018, 10:32 PM
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Looks good! If I get a CB radio I'll have to look into this.
 
  #3  
Old 12-10-2018, 06:52 AM
hollygreenman
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Good job, looks great! Doesn't the antenna need to be grounded to vehicle (for ground plane) and wouldn't foam between bracket and body and/or powder coating prevent that?
 
  #4  
Old 12-10-2018, 07:20 AM
alabamatoy
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Originally Posted by hollygreenman View Post
Doesn't the antenna need to be grounded to vehicle (for ground plane) and wouldn't foam between bracket and body and/or powder coating prevent that?
An antenna ground plane is an RF ground, ie reflective of RF, not an electrical ground. The ham antennas are not grounded that way. The mag mounts, for example, usually have a plastic or rubber disc on which the magnet sits, making no electrical contact with the vehicle body, and it probably wouldnt make very good electrical contact through the paint anyway. I dont know about the CB (11m, approx 27mHz). I currently have a 2m/70cm ham and a CB mounted on small brackets on the back of my 4X4. They are both rubber mounted, and both work well enough. My previous '01 F250 had the CB on a clamp-bracket on the plastic side-mirror, which was ungrounded. But obviously neither will work as well as they would with a big flat RF-reflective ground plane under them.

I have a MFJ Antenna Analyzer, so when I get the actual antennas mounted, I can check SWRs with and without an electrical ground. My bet is it will make no difference.
 
  #5  
Old 12-11-2018, 09:46 PM
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The metal bracket is a neat idea, but I just happened to notice that I have only minimum clearance between the lights and the Leer Topper I have. I don't think something like this would work by the time I added a rubber/foam/etc. gasket.

While thinking about the issue I was wondering how bonding a small metal plate to the top of the Leer Topper wouldn't also work for a magnetic mount 2 mtr antenna. I'd still have to route the coax into the cab somehow without creating a potential water leak.
 
  #6  
Old 12-12-2018, 07:17 AM
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I plan to put a Leer on mine as well, so I will have to clear the cap. It doesnt look like it from the pics, but the trailing edge of the bracket is actually about even with the trailing surface of the light. So if the cap clears the light, it will clear the bracket as well. And since we have it in CAD, if I need to adjust the shape a bit, no big deal. I am looking at using RG316 coax so the rubber needs only be 1/8 or 3/16. The bracket could even be bent the other direction so that its over the top of the cab, forward of the light.

But your idea of putting a plate on the Leer is also viable. A flat plate about 12" on a side, with 4 holes, and powdercoated should not cost much at all from a competent fabricator. One could easily have four holes in it for attachment screws, and just run a bead of silicone around the underside before and the edge after affixing it to prevent moisture from getting under it.

I plan to have a quick-attach bracket for my little tractor loader so I can easily remove the Leer for 5th wheel or whatever, so I want an antenna mount that I dont have to mess with regardless of whether the cap is on or off.
 
  #7  
Old 12-12-2018, 07:46 AM
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Let us know when these are available...
Mike
 
  #8  
Old 12-14-2018, 10:48 AM
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I don't plan on ever removing my topper so I'm going to research bonding a plate to the fiberglass. I also have racks mounted to the top of the leer and might come up with something mounted to it.

If you turned the bracket around I wonder how much that would affect mpg.
 
  #9  
Old 12-14-2018, 11:22 AM
minke
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Originally Posted by RAY1969 View Post
I don't plan on ever removing my topper so I'm going to research bonding a plate to the fiberglass. I also have racks mounted to the top of the leer and might come up with something mounted to it.

If you turned the bracket around I wonder how much that would affect mpg.
One reason I didn't put an antenna on my topper is that I never figured out how to provide a ground plane to my satisfaction. There are antennas which don't require a ground plane (iirc a ⅝λ vertical) but they are gigantic and on top of an already gigantic truck.

The killer reason to put the antenna on the cab roof for me was ease of removal. Although I live in CO I visit my kids on the east coast and occasionally must park in garages with 7' clearance. Now I stand on the door sill and reach the antenna to remove it. Traffic doesn't back up mile while locating the ladder in the back of the truck.

My '11 F-250 was OK in east coast 7' garages. I'm not so sure of my '17 F-350. Time will tell.
 
  #10  
Old 12-14-2018, 12:52 PM
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With 3 antennas (or even one long/heavy one) - it might be helpful to stiffen that bracket some with a triangle....something like this....


 
  #11  
Old 12-15-2018, 12:28 AM
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My 2019 SD SC is right at 7' to clear the satellite antenna. Now that I've got a Rino Rack on the topper it's even higher, around an additional 4". If I put the Yakima basket on top it's probably at least 7'6" - 7'8". No 7 foot garages for me.
 
  #12  
Old 12-15-2018, 12:38 AM
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Nice job! A word to the wise. If you are mounting an antenna to that plate mount a rubber gasket material between that steel plate and you aluminum roof. Aluminum does not like dissimilar metals. If abrasion sets in from fluttering in the wind and it wears through the paint, sleel on aluminum contact will cause galvanic corrosion.
 
  #13  
Old 12-15-2018, 12:39 AM
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Im an idiot i went back and read that you are going to put a peice of foam. Disregard
 
  #14  
Old 12-15-2018, 06:41 AM
alabamatoy
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Originally Posted by Imadentguy View Post
Nice job! A word to the wise. If you are mounting an antenna to that plate mount a rubber gasket material between that steel plate and you aluminum roof. Aluminum does not like dissimilar metals. If abrasion sets in from fluttering in the wind and it wears through the paint, sleel on aluminum contact will cause galvanic corrosion.
The plate is cut from Aluminum. The prototype (the one Im holding in the first pics) is 16ga steel because its cheap and we have tons of it, but the final product is Al.
 
  #15  
Old 12-15-2018, 07:12 AM
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Or you could have just bought one already available....many different choices already.....

$138.54

http://catalog.larsonelectronics.com...-Antenna-Mount

https://www.larsonelectronics.com/p-...0aAmoREALw_wcB
 

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