I collect topographical survey data for agriculture with my pickup. I start out by traveling around the perimeter of the field area, where there are often overhanging limbs that damage antennas. When surveying, I even have to replace the Larsen NMO-2/70B on top of the cab with a shorter VHF/UHF antenna.
I decided to use an electric linear actuator to lay an HF antenna down and stand it up from within the cab of the pickup. I made a T-bracket from C-channel to mount the hinged swivel and linear actuator.
Since my Toyota Tacoma pickup has a composite inner bed, I built a frame from angle iron to hold 18 gauge sheet metal at the top of the bed rails for additional groundplane directly at the feedpoint of the antenna. The sheet metal is also bolted to the top of the T-bracket and bonded with 4 ground straps to 4 of the 6 bolts that hold the composite inner bed to the frame. I had everything powder coated to make the sheet metal resemble a tonneau cover.
I was initially going to purchase either a Scorpion 680S or Hi-Q-6/80, but really wonder if either of them would hold up to the very rough terrain that I sometimes encounter. I have decided to run HamStick type antennas while actually driving through the fields, which I can inexpensively and easily replace. I drilled a 3/4 inch hole for the antenna mount, just in case I want to mount one of the motorized antennas or some form of Texas Bug Catcher. Anticipating a heavier antenna, I may build an even stronger hinged swivel and mount a cradle near the tailgate for the antenna to rest in when folded down.
I want to run 10 meters during the day when it is open, 17 meters during the day when 10 is not open, and 40 meters early in the morning and late in the afternoon when traveling to and from jobs. I am of the opinion that it makes about as much difference where and how a mobile HF antenna is mounted as it does the type of mobile HF antenna that is used, assuming the same physical length. I really doubt that any of the more expensive antennas would have significantly better performance on 10 or 17 meters, but I would like to have a heavy duty HF mobile antenna that is optimized for 40 meters that I will only use when traveling down the highway. Any suggestions? I have considered trying to come up with a heavy duty mast for one of the Bug Catcher coils and I have not ruled out purchasing one of the motorized antennas for this purpose.
Thanks in advance,