Chevy Lumina Ball Mount Install Advice - Mobile HF

Discussion in 'Mobile Radio Systems' started by W0TDE, May 24, 2011.

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  1. W0TDE

    W0TDE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hey Everybody

    I've recently moved to a small rental property without the option of an antenna install so I've been investigating mobile HF possibilities and I was wondering if I could get some comments. I already have a Yaesu ft-857d in the car so I "just" need some sort of antenna.

    To hold the potential antenna in place I've acquired this pretty little guy from Breedlove machine:

    But I was wondering about the placement. The target is a 1996 Chevy Lumina. Here is the rear driver side:

    The dots on the image are potential mount areas. Would there be a significant difference between the two? The yellow area would have less parallel metal but is more curved. I'm thinking that might be a more tricky install. I'm really asking this question because I was blown away by the very high ground losses associated with mobile HF and want to minimize losses as practically possible.

    Here is a picture with the mount for scale:

    As for antennas, I've been reading the ARRL Handbook and the section on mobile HF contains some interesting ideas. I've acquired a 102" cb whip that I plan to trim down for 10 meter use.

    I'm also planning to make some coils for the lower bands, combining them with the whip to form a base-loaded system. The advantage I see is cheapness and no need for a tuner.

    I also have this:

    A Webster Bandspanner discovered in my Grandma's basement that was originally owned by my Grandfather, who was incidentally the original holder of my callsign. I don't know much about it other than what is in this manual: BAMA Webster Bandspanner manual. It's an adjustable baseloaded coil. The whip is attached to a torus that makes contact with the coil. Supposedly it can operate on 10 meter through 75 meters. Some of the insulation on the outside of the coil is cracking from age but the coil itself seem to be intact from some preliminary checks with a multimeter.

    Some specific questions:
    Which mounting location would be best? Would the difference between the two marked be significant? Does anyone have experience with the single-band, homebrew coil setup as described in the Handbook? Does anyone have experience with the Bandspanner?

    Thanks for reading!
  2. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I'd pick the higher spot. If it's not flat enough, one or two metal shims can be used to create a flatter mounting surface.

    Keep the Lumina air duct flapper mechanism XYL has a Lumina, and that damned thing has failed twice already.:p
  3. W1GUH

    W1GUH Ham Member QRZ Page

    The Bandspanner was well respected in its day -- the grandaddy of screwdrivers. Same principal, only manual tuning. And that wood bottom part has a classic, vintage look. It'll work just fine if you can mount, and guy it OK.


    If you want a "cheap and easy but effictive" antenna, you can't do better than a generic hamstick. About $20/band, no tuner need, light and easy to mount and they get out like gangbusters. Might turn out to be more economical and a lot less hassle than putting coils on your whip.

    IMHO, of course.

    Mobilling is lots and lots of fun and REALLY takes the tedium out of a long solo drive. Rode all the way out to Dayton and back with ECARS in the car. Wonderful! Been running an '857 with hamsticks now for about 3 years and have yet to be disappointed or frustrated with anything.

    What I do is mount the face plate on the windsheild with a suction-cup mount (a la Radio Shack), and control the radio with the remote-control mic. Don't have to take my eyes off the road to see the panel, and don't have to reach anywhere to control it.

    Have fun!
  4. W0TDE

    W0TDE Ham Member QRZ Page

    That's a good idea. I'll look into using a small shim.

    You are spot on with the air flapper! Mine just broke and it's been driving me crazy. It blows on the windshield when I'm going up a hill and on my knees when going down. I was going to take it into the dealer soon to see if they could fix it.
  5. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    They can fix it, alright. It's pneumatically operated (vacuum) and a POS design shared by many GM products of that day.

    If you're lucky it might just be a vacuum leak caused by a crack in the hose, which you can replace yourself for a few dollars. But if it's not that and it's the mechanism itself, it's a real pain to get to and a dealer will charge a couple of hundred dollars. An independent shop will usually charge less.
  6. W0TDE

    W0TDE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks for the reply, ya I have spoken to lots of hams that use hamsticks and I'll probably pick up a few when I get a chance. I'm looking at homebrewing some coils mainly as a chance to expand my knowledge of antenna systems and impedance.
    Last edited: May 24, 2011
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