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Mobile Antenna and the Garage

Discussion in 'On the Road' started by K1SZO, Nov 13, 2019.

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  1. K1SZO

    K1SZO XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I've been leasing cars for a while, but finally bought another home about a year ago and now my lease is up. Since I can't damage the car, I didn't install a radio in the lease. (HT and a mag mount)

    So now that I bought a truck. I want to install a radio in it, but now I'm concerned about how to deal with the antenna given I keep my truck in the garage.

    I've heard of these fold overs, but I heard it creates a poor connection. Obviously a mag mount is still an option, but just like the fold over. If I'm already driving, all the sudden I have to pull over to get the antenna in a usable state.

    What do you garage parking hams do?
  2. WD6USA

    WD6USA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Use an auto folding antenna, or mount to your front fender.
  3. N2PQW

    N2PQW Ham Member QRZ Page

    The solution depends on how much performance you expect from the antenna.

    If you are in an area where the stations you hope to work are all nearby, then a glass-mounted dual-band antenna on a non-moving portion of your rear window might just do the trick.

    I've used one for years, and it meets all my needs.
    My opinion is that Larsen makes the best, with great performance and reliability, but it's priced out of the 'budget' category. Probably worth it, in the long run.

    I've been satisfied with my MFJ, however, and I can recommend it for its good-enough performance and very reasonable price. It can be mounted just low enough on the window so it doesn't bump anything in the garage or the door, but it's very flexible if it does.

    Be aware, though, that modern vehicles may have a coating on (or layer within) the glass to reduce cabin heat from the sun, and this may block the inductive coupling between the inside and outside portions of the antenna's base. Not just tinting, it may be clear, although aftermarket tinting is also likely to interfere.

    I'm no expert on which models do or don't, so you'll need to research for yourself, if you decide to use one of these antenna.

    Best of luck with your choice, let us know what you decide to do!

    David / N2PQW
  4. KF4ZGZ

    KF4ZGZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Personally never heard of anyone having connection troubles with foldovers.
    But I always used quick disconnects on my whips.
    I prefer to have an antenna that performs well and accept the slight inconvenience.
    I would just stop as soon as I pulled out of the carport or right before I pulled in.
  5. K1SZO

    K1SZO XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I'm not a super social person (generally prefer solitude to large social gatherings) and do not usually partake in general rag-chewing. I use my radios normally if I hear a conversation I'm interested in participating in, (interesting subject matter) or if I'm reaching out to someone for whatever reason. I'm a ham because I like the technology behind radio. Normally if I'm in the car, I'm listening to music, lectures or audio books. So, odds are very high, I will not expend the energy every morning and evening to connect / disconnect an antenna as I'm arriving / leaving home. Especially if I may go a week or even weeks without using the radio. (week(s) most likely if I don't have a connected usable antenna)

    The less convenient it is to use, the less likely I'm going to use it and hence why I'm asking here for a good solution where I can just turn on the radio and use it.
  6. WD5IKX

    WD5IKX Ham Member QRZ Page

    Do you have enough clearance for a 19" whip on top of the cab?

    John WD5IKX
  7. W4BZM

    W4BZM Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Diamond makes a motor drive mount (K9000) that allows a VHF/UHF antenna to rotate from a flat position to a vertical position. Motor can be driven from the cigarette lighter socket. Works very well if you can bolt it to something sturdy. (I use the luggage rack rail on my SUV for a 50" dual bander.) Just don't forget to put it down when pulling into the garage or fast-food pickup window! Unfortunately, there is no "extended/retracted" light such as the landing gear light on an aircraft. I make it a part of my habit pattern to select "retract" when pulling into the driveway, even if I have never extended the antenna that day.
  8. K6CPO

    K6CPO Ham Member QRZ Page

    I don't have a garage, but the NMO mount I use on the roof of my truck allows me to unscrew the antenna if I'm parking somewhere with a low ceiling, like a parking garage.
  9. K5WY

    K5WY Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I'd probably just go with a fender mount. Removing and installing an antenna every time I went in and out of the garage would be a PITA.
  10. WB1CDG

    WB1CDG Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've used three HF whip solutions in the past: 1) bumper-mount that clears the garage door, (2) fold-over antenna, and (3) removable bayonet-mount antenna. Of the three I've tried #1 was least hassle. I could pretty much just forget about it. With the fold-over, I screwed it up one day when I forgot to fold it and pulled into the garage. Oops. Busted the hinge. The removable bayonet mount antenna is a nice solution, but it's a PITA to have to clip on and off, over and over again, every day. It got to the point that I simply wouldn't bother. Bottom line: I'd go with a bumper mount that'll clear the garage door without having to fuss with it.
    de WB1CDG

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