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Best antenna/location for a trail Cherokee?

Discussion in 'Mobile Radio Systems' started by WB1ECP, Aug 29, 2020.

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  1. WB1ECP

    WB1ECP Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hey all - I'm pretty well aware of general antenna theory, but I'm about to put a 2m rig into my 95 Cherokee that's almost exclusively for trail and offroad use. So the order of the day is this: a smaller antenna in a less-effective location is better than the superior antenna that began the day in the middle of the roof and is now somewhere on the trail behind you along with half your mount :)

    I've already put an 11m in, and I used this mount (pic from mount company's site):


    I've got a 3' Firestik Firefly on mine (believe it's a 2' in the picture), but it's flexible enough that I'm not too worried about it.

    Should I just order the same mount for the other side, and maybe do a half-wave 2m antenna (36", right)?? I'm a little afraid to use a steel whip as they can be a danger to spotters after catching on branches, but a 3' really shouldn't be too bad...

    Anyway I came not to champion my own ideas but to hear yours - will be very grateful to hear!! Sure appreciate your time in answering.

    73 all!

    Joelton, TN
  2. NG1H

    NG1H XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have one of those short, base loaded Larson that has taken a LOT of whacks over the years mounted to the roof. The label has faded and so I can't see the model number but the antenna keeps working. Had to bend it into shape a few times.
  3. WB1ECP

    WB1ECP Ham Member QRZ Page

    What are the chances......I'm pretty sure I've got one in a box somewhere!! I used to run it until I bought a house with a garage and went to a base that would raise/lower electronically and put a longer version of the same on it. Yeah, the base of it is a coil spring, right?? So if/when it gets hit, it truly wouldn't be the end of the world. Man, it's going to get hit a lot I brave enough to put it smack in the middle of the roof???
  4. KL7KN

    KL7KN Ham Member QRZ Page

    a Motorola blind mount / NMO mount is nearly flush with roof line.

    ~19 inches of wire = 2 meters

    (Larsen NMOQW144 2 Meter 1/4 Wave Antenna- Chrome)( under 20 USD.

    When I worked at an LMR shop, I put these on all kinds of heavy equipment, never had any come back unless the roof was damaged.

    Drop your dome lite for access the roof for cutting the hole - for the blind mount.

    When you get on the hiway, swap it out for a 5/8 wave antenna for added range.

    Yeah, I'm a fan of the Larsen line of antennas.
    KD4MOJ, WA8FOZ, N0TZU and 3 others like this.
  5. WB2LBV

    WB2LBV Ham Member QRZ Page

    You might consider a Compactenna. I have one (dual-band) on my RAV4 and I've been very happy with the performance. 7" tall so it can be high-mounted and not hit things, weighs nothing and doesn't flop around.
  6. KI4POT

    KI4POT Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've had a Larson 2/70 NMO antenna mounted to the edge of my 4Runner's hood with one of those clamp-on hood lip mounts for nearly 10 years now. I bonded the hood to the body with metal webbing. I can converse with my hunting buddy when he's well out of sight and hit the regional repeaters when out in the national forest.

    You can see it in this pic:

    KL7KN, N0TZU, WA4SIX and 1 other person like this.
  7. N7WR

    N7WR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Similar to the set up on my F 150. I have had the same Larson 2/70 for several decades and it has been beat to hell off road. Still keeps on ticking.
  8. WA4SIX

    WA4SIX Ham Member QRZ Page

    1. a 3' firestick is only good for very short distances. Fine for trail, but a waste on the highway. If I remember, I had one on a 69 Winnebago that got about a mile. I would also have a spring on it.
    2. single band NMO on roof for trail as stated, or drivers side fender for a longer VHF/UHF antenna.

    Decades of trail riding & mudding have taught me these rules.
    Lived & rode in MA/NH/ME/FL/UT/NV all with the same 96 stroked, lockered, 32" tired Long armed Rokee for 21 years
    Boy, I miss that toy.

    Last edited: Aug 30, 2020
  9. N0TZU

    N0TZU Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I wouldn't put one on the passenger rear side as it will be in more danger of catching vegetation on that side. Either a short 1/4 wave whip on the roof, or up to a 1/2 wave on the driver front fender (both mentioned above). A 2m 1/4 wave can generally be used on 70cm with acceptable SWR although with a higher pattern.

    Get a flexible steel whip and stay away from the more rigid types. Also, the open coils used on some dual bands will catch on vegetation. You're right VHF whips aren't usually a danger to spotters, but if worried about it a small piece of orange flagging tied to the top will make it visible during the trail run.
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2020
  10. NG1H

    NG1H XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    That looks similar to what I have only black, not chrome. The base sits pretty low. The antenna is thin and flexible enough to handle whacks fairly well and in the worse case if it gets bent you just bend it back.

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