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RV Antenna Installation - Best Place to Drill

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I have a 1999 Fleetwood Bounder 34V that I need to add an antenna for 2 way communication. 

My question is where is the easiest and best place to drill for an antenna that can be waterproof and will allow coax to be snaked through a side panel or something.

Any suggestions or pictures would be welcome!

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They also have (I think it's by Cobra) an antenna that fits on out side mirror with a C clamp and hex nut...run wire thru the bottom of window.  I liked it, because it was easy to disconnect and one more thing that someone would not know I had.  I got mine at a Truck Stop, Petro!

Carl

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What type of two-way communication do you have a need for? If you want to talk between a close following vehicle, a personal simple two-way walkie talkie in the 400mhz band will work perfectly without an outside antenna. If you want to talk for several miles, maybe a citizens band 27 mhz, a more elaborate antenna will be needed. If you want to talk world wide, you will need at least an amateur radio operators license. But in these days for short distances 1/10 watt personal communication device work very well.

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1 hour ago, kaypsmith said:

What type of two-way communication do you have a need for? If you want to talk between a close following vehicle, a personal simple two-way walkie talkie in the 400mhz band will work perfectly without an outside antenna. If you want to talk for several miles, maybe a citizens band 27 mhz, a more elaborate antenna will be needed. If you want to talk world wide, you will need at least an amateur radio operators license. But in these days for short distances 1/10 watt personal communication device work very well.

I am an Amateur Radio Operator so I would be looking for something in the 144-148Mhz band. They make Thru the Glass antennas but I am not sure about some of them. <May have to cause but I have 7 months to figure something out. 

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I'm KE5QG. I don't have HAM set up in the RV but back in the day I ran many a through the glass antenna and it was adequate.  With the repeaters there shouldn't be a problems.  There will be a problem if the window is double pane. High up on the front windshield should give good results.  Being a line-of-site frequency is going to restrict you on the open road if there are no repeaters around.

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I am N4WQP, agree with Wayne, for two meter, through the glass 1/4 wave mounted as high as possible on the windshield will give adequate coverage while in range of most repeaters, most are using tone to access, so you will need a list of PLL's for the various ones that you come into range. Of course there is always a chance that you will find someone lurking on 146.52, but my luck on single frequency has been pretty sparce except ocasionly late night in larger cities. If course you could use a 5/8 wave mounted on a mirror, If you use mini 8 coax, it can easily be allowed to be  run through the driver side window using the foam strip top to bottom so seal out the wind. Many years ago I drove a 35 ft. diesel pusher with a rubber roof, I mounted wire dipoles for 20 and forty meters 8 inches above the roof, using a Yaesu 757, worked 43 states, and over 50 countries on those bands. Had loads of fun back then.

73 for now!

PS A good two meter handy talkie is all I carry now, No more antenna worries.

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Hello I am WD5DBV just wanted to chime in. If your windows are tinted it is not a very good place an antenna. On my Tropi-Cal I found a vertical beam next to my driver window and wall mounted a 2m antenna there and just drilled through the wall and ran coax down behind the windshield curtain. Seems to work fairly well

My buddy has a through the glass on his windshield and does not work as well as my side mounted antenna.

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With 1 watt and a wet string for an antenna it is possible to transmit around the world if conditions are right.  They call it Antenna Theory and the antennas on the market have proven to work under certain conditions.  You could lay a magnetic mount antenna sideways under the front hood and it would work. As well as one on the roof, no, but it would work. If you don't want any antenna sticking up over the highest part of the roof you could string a wire between two points and it would work.  All you need for an antenna is a good piece of RG-58.  Strip the rubber insulator back to 1/4 wavelength. Fold the braid back over the rubber insulator. Put a PL-259 on the other and and plug it into the radio.  Leave the phenolic insulator on the center conductor. Find some way to mount the contraption using insulators and you have an antenna.  I strung one up in a tree for CB frequencies back in the early '70's and not only communicated withing the confines of the base but many a day back to the US when conditions were right (Think skip).  Make the cut back a little longer than 1/4 wavelength by a couple inches and trim it back using an SWR meter to 1:5 ratio or less but even a 2:5 ration will work just not as efficiently.

It is all "Antenna Theory." If it works, use it.

One of the major concerns for any antenna system is the RFI it can create. With the newer electronics in the fan-dangled machines it can cause a computer to go wacky-wack.

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I didn't sign ... I feel bad now.  

de KE3HAY

So I have considered the Larson Through the Glass Mount but I was under the impression I was not able to mount that to the windshield. I know that the windshield is it 2 pane laminate but is that the same as double?

The only thing I need to be able to do on teammates is get on .520 and whatever repeaters I have programmed into the radio. Typically before I take any trip I have software that tells me exactly where repeaters are along whatever roads I tend to travel. Right now I currently have from Manchester Maine all the way down to Fort Lauderdale Florida covered on 95, from Pittsburg to atl via 81 77 and 85, all of I 85 fro Petersburg to atl, and all of Maryland lower PA and All of VA.  

So the repeaters themselves I'm not really worried about as I'll find somebody talking somewhere, I'm just more interested in making sure I don't fry a radio with and antenna that is going to go bad.   I'm not interested in running any more power that is absolutely necessary so as long as the antenna can handle about 25 to 30 Watts I'm good but in all honesty I do want the antenna with itself outside of the coach because I just have this thing about last thing that close to me.

As far as HF goes I have an idea for an antenna but I am not interested in running a job while I'm driving that coach at all. Trying to listen to weak signal high frequency anything is the quickest way to run your car off the side of the road therefore 2 meters is the only thing I'm looking to have and that's simply for local information only.

I thought about putting a CB in the coach but I cannot bring myself to do it. Between the lies about how much power they are running and the echo from a Connex board I would just prefer not to have any radio. Not to mention the amount of obscene language that I refuse to have my family listen to is simply not worth the hole Id have to put in my coach for the antenna.

WB3DJU is a dear friend of mine who is a member of FMCA. He has agreed to take a look at the cap to see what the best option would be but after hearing everyone's comments I think I am going to try the through the window mount if it can be mounted to the windshield.  

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No, two pane laminate is a continuous piece so the conduction through the glass is okay.  With the dual pane the air gap keeps the conductivity down considerably.  Just for the heck of it I set up the through the glass on my side widow. I'm lucky to get out a 1/4 mile or so down the road.

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If you have a typical roof vent on the roof, a metal one instead of plastic preferrably, a 1/4 wave magnetic mount (only 19.25 inches), stuck onto the roof vent, and the coax down through the vent hole will work about as well as any antenna possibly can. Plastic will be ok, but you will need a ground plane for a 1/4 to work well. Most of the newer radios have auto shutdown for power level if SWR is out too bad, but surely you have a meter or can borrow one.

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A lot depends on your coach.  In our coach, the corner panel on each side of the windshield is a conduit for any number of cables and wires.  Adding an antenna to the roof and routing it down through that panel works for our Sirius/XM antenna.  I installed a Wilson antenna several years ago and drilled down through the roof into a cabinet above the drivers seat.  I could house the equipment I had in that cabinet with power from an outlet.  There is always a chance you will drill into something vital like an electric line, look at what connections are around where you plan to drill.  Sealing isn't a big deal, just one more spot to check periodically to make sure the caulking is in good shape to prevent leaks.  Several years ago I removed the Wilson antenna (cell phone service is much better these days) and installed a second feed line from the roof dish antenna so I could have separate TV stations in the front and rear TV's.  Now the grandkids can have their programs and I can have mine!  The cable runs down through the roof into the cabinet, down the panel along the edge of the windshield into the generator compartment, through several basement compartments and up into the bedroom cabinet where the TV is located. 

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The day I finally got the Icom installed and RAM power to the battery. Apparently whoever owned this coach prior to me getting it was either a ham or some type of radio op as they mounted some type of radio and antenna in the coach. Now that I think about it they may have had a satellite radio in there I don't know but nevertheless they already had a hole drilled for me in the firewall.

Going back and forth with this antenna idea I decided to go with a mfj 1734 Through the Glass Mount then I'm going to put on the DW side windshield. The antenna should be here sometime next week and I will post pictures of the install in the event someone else needs an idea or two.

I'm not exactly sure houses antenna is going to work but I will be honest with everyone ...can't be any worse than a rubber duck on an ht.

 The next challenge is going to be the HF antenna which of course I would only use when stationary but I'm going to have to come up with a way to put a suitable counterpoise in place or I'm just going to be warming clouds. 

I have considered a rotatable dipole configuration of Hustler antenna resonators as I have had really good success with those on the boat so I'm not exactly sure why I should have less success on the coach especially when I can mount them 10 to 12 feet above the roof when at a campground.

Pics soon to come. 

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11 hours ago, WILDEBILL308 said:

In the picture directly above , there appears to be two wires damaged in the top penetration. You might want to check them out.:o

I just looked at them and the wires appear to be ok from the inside. There is some brown growth on them where it was previously sealed but the wires are not exposed or anything like that everything lights up like it's supposed to and I don't see anything abnormal as far as the function of the coach. I did not run anything sharp thru there but I will take a look again to make sure everything is good.

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UPDATE

Finally got an HF station functional on 75-40-and 20 Meters. Difficult but I made it work. 

I am particular about what I need on each of these bands and the hustler series antennas gave me the bandwidth that was reasonable without using my screwdriver.  This way I don't have to run a power lead to move the antenna and try to run a switch (basically a headache). 

By mounting the antenna on the ladder and running an 18 gauge wire from the mount to the chassis I was able to achieve about 40kHz under 3:1 on 75m, 40M gives me the entire phone band under 3:1 and 20 I have the ENTIRE BAND under 2:1 and the phone band at 1.3:1 at 14.260 - 1.7:1 at the band edges.  

As for 2M this is a challenge. I am not really satisfied with the Through the Glass mounting. I am going to try to a 1/2 wave antenna no ground plane needed deal and see what happens. I think I will be able to mount it on the mirror and prayerfully it won't be too heavy. WE shall see if it works. 

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Keon,

For VHF/UHF try a side mount between the front windshield and driver window.  It is a small enough hole to route through the upper front cabinet. I'm assuming you have a cabinet.   I have seen a lot of them mounted there, including CB antenna's.  Being VHF you only need the upper half above the roof line for good radiation.

Remember, it is only antenna "Theory."  A wet string and 1 watt on a good day will get you around the world.

KE5QG

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Hey Wayne ... will look into that. Let me see if the XYL (DW in coach talk) will give me my drill back. She saw an NMO bit headed for the car and hid the drill. I tried to sneak a friends into the house and she called his XYL and she took his. AAAAHHHHHH

Maybe dinner and a promise not to put holes in the car will get it back. 

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I am a Ham radio operator and used a through the glass antenna on 2 and 70 meters. I have talked over 15 miles simplex to other ham radio operators going down the highway. It worked great. Used to travel with another ham radio operator going to different rally's. 

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1 hour ago, muirdr said:

I am a Ham radio operator and used a through the glass antenna on 2 and 70 meters. I have talked over 15 miles simplex to other ham radio operators going down the highway. It worked great. Used to travel with another ham radio operator going to different rally's. 

A good friend of mine N3EKO is going to let me use one to see if I like it. To be very honest with you the performance of the antenna is not necessarily my concern, the bigger concern that I have is the flexibility that I lose with a through the glass mount. If I'm able to mount somewhere else and let's a have a UHF mount in place I would be able to swap out antennas 4 various situations.

A great example would be a group of us going down the road somewhere let's say for instance. I would only need a quarter wave and I would not necessarily have to worry about overhead object taking out my antenna. Now let's say our destination is to a natural disaster area where a tornado came through. Now we are in a situation where repeaters may be down and my coach is going to have to serve as a crossband repeating station for the guys that are on the ground.  So with a UHF amount and a 7/8 wave antenna not only am I able to produce 100 watts of power safely but I can also hear week station traffic. I'm sure I could deploy a couple of military poles and put some type of bass antenna up temporarily however situations change where you have to move location and it's much easier to move location or take down a mobile antenna then it would be to do something with a large base antenna setup. At a campground where I'm somewhat fixed for a period of time I would stick a Jay pull up in a heartbeat and if I'm in a situation where I got some woods behind me you can bet your bottom dollar I got a wire in it somewhere.

So while I have the time before our camping season starts I'm trying to explore as many options as I possibly can with the goal of finding that one set up that's right in the middle of a perfect world and a less than perfect world. 4 HF I found that compromise but for VHF it's just proving a little bit more difficult than I would have imagined.

 

73 de KE3HAY

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On 1/2/2017 at 8:34 PM, muirdr said:

I am a Ham radio operator and used a through the glass antenna on 2 and 70 meters. I have talked over 15 miles simplex to other ham radio operators going down the highway. It worked great. Used to travel with another ham radio operator going to different rally's. 

I have had good luck with through the glass on VHF. Never tried it on UHF. 

Keon, one consideration on a through the glass antenna is if the glass is double pane. The air gap does not give a good induction for the antenna and you can loose a lot of gain.

On 1/2/2017 at 1:55 PM, HayesFamily said:

Hey Wayne ... will look into that. Let me see if the XYL (DW in coach talk) will give me my drill back. She saw an NMO bit headed for the car and hid the drill. I tried to sneak a friends into the house and she called his XYL and she took his. AAAAHHHHHH

Maybe dinner and a promise not to put holes in the car will get it back. 

Ha ha. Reminds me of a situation when I was installing two mobile communications equipment back in the '80's.  Think Mercedes type car.  User wanted a lip mount on the back hatch.  Tolerance was to tight. I said that any hole that we drilled could be patched by any collision repair place when he decided to sell.  He said okay.  As he was standing there I got the drill and 3/4 inch hole saw, looked at him and said, "You want to watch!"  At which point he hastily turned and ran out of the shop area.

As you were talking about disaster areas, again I say it is all "antenna theory."  I once did not have an antenna. What to do, what to do.  Hmmm! RG-8 to the rescue.  Took off enough of the outer insulation to create a quarter wave length of shield left. Folded the braided shield back down over the insulation leaving the phenolic insulator and center conductor exposed.  Notched the end of the phenolic and tied a string around it. Hoisted up into a tree and voila - communications with an SWR of less than 2:1.  

A very long time ago, back in the early 70's, an engineer converted a tube CB final to a transistor final. When I asked how he was going to test it he stuck a coat hanger in the the antenna connector and transmitted a signal.  Now I would not do that for a long period of time, but it worked.   I have also set up a "V" shaped long wire system using 3 cut down trees and stringing the wire between then in the form of a "V."  At the single pole take one leg down to the center conductor and the other to ground right next to it.  With that situation I transmitted and received over 10,000 miles on HF and about 350 watts. It was during the VN war and we did it continuously every day. Then it was decided to put up a $10,000 log periodic which worked just as good.  (Wasn't my money - long story made short.)

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