Antennas on the aluminum Ford F 150

Discussion in 'Mobile Radio Systems' started by N7WR, Nov 26, 2019.

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  1. N7WR

    N7WR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    My son, a ham and a Reserve Deputy Sheriff/Search and Rescue Volunteer , will be taking delivery on a 2020 Ford F 150 in January. He uses it for SAR call outs. His current truck has two radios--a 2 meter/440 and a county issued public safety (VHF) radio. His current truck uses top of cab NMO mounted antennas as does my (pre-aluminum) F 150.

    He and I are trying to identify the best means of installing 2 antennas (a duo bander and a VHF) on his new truck. It seems everything but the frame is aluminum. Thus far we have concluded that the (maybe only) way to do it is to use an NMO on a bracket through the hood seam on each side of the hood bolted to the body but with a wide copper ground strap from the frame of each NMO mount to the frame. Not ideal IMO because there will not be metal directly under the mount to serve as a ground plane. But that is the only idea we have come up with thus far.

    Anyone here faced and overcome this issue and, if so, what did you do. Thanks for any suggestions.
  2. KA0HCP

    KA0HCP XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    What does "aluminum" have to do with antenna placement?

    The one thing you do NOT want to do is place a copper strap in direct connection to aluminum. You will create a dissimilar metals corrosion cell that will rapidly create destruction. Straps should be "Tinnned" just like all our standard terminals, pins we use! Tin is a good neutral metal for both copper and aluminum.
    AI7PM and AK5B like this.
  3. AK5B

    AK5B Ham Member QRZ Page

    If anything it would seem that it be all the easier to drill and mount more NMOs on top of the cab if it was aluminum. If, for some reason, you could not tin things with solder beforehand a decent amount of anti-seize (zinc or copper) should prevent galvanic corrosion.


  4. K6CPO

    K6CPO Ham Member QRZ Page

    Install just like the old truck. If the metal on the roof seems a bit thin, you can always add another piece on the inside. We used to do that with aircraft all the time.
    AK5B, KA0HCP and AI7PM like this.
  5. WG8Z

    WG8Z Ham Member QRZ Page

    Call Daywireless in Portland ask them what they do.
    Ford trucks have been aluminum for five years now.
    I'm sure they should be on top of the learning curve by now
    AK5B likes this.
  6. AI7PM

    AI7PM Ham Member QRZ Page

    The aluminum composite is actually more sturdy than the thin steel. Other than that, absoutely no difference in installation procedure.
    AK5B likes this.
  7. N7WR

    N7WR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thanks for the comments...NMO's through the roof it will be
    AK5B likes this.
  8. K5RCD

    K5RCD XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Larson makes NO DRILL, aluminum antenna mount brackets that fit under the 3rd brake light in the back of the cab, using the original equipment fasteners. They are available for NMO mount or magnetic mount antennas. The magnetic mount has a steel plate bolted to the aluminum bracket. These are available in 3 colors, black, white, and grey and are easily paintable. Be sure to buy the correct bracket depending on whether the truck has the factory LED light or not.

    I have the magnetic mount on my 2018 F150 XLT Supercrew. I bought the white one and it matches exactly, the ubiquitous Ford Oxford White paint. I highly recommend these brackets. A bit pricey (a little over $150), but well worth it for a no drill mount with no worry about dissimilar metal corrosion. If you spend $50K plus for a truck, you might as well outfit it properly.

    I tucked the coax under the edge of the backglass, down to an already existing grommeted access hole in the cab back panel.

    Magnetic mount:

    NMO mount:
    AK5B likes this.
  9. WC5P

    WC5P Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I just bought a new al u minium F-150. What I am going to do is install a bed rail mounted toolbox (The no drill kind) and drill that to mount a dual band antenna on an NMO mount. Not the greatest, I know, but I just can’t bring myself to drill holes in a truck that cost more than my first house.
    AK5B likes this.
  10. WJ4U

    WJ4U Ham Member QRZ Page

    My first truck cost $8900 and I thought that was a lot. Now a base model is $28k :eek:
    AK5B likes this.

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