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Old 11-10-2015, 06:09 PM   #1
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Alternate CB antenna mount locations?

I wanted to post this thread separately although there is a similar thread. The standard mount location on our motorhomes is a roof mount, but there is no tuned ground plane for the antenna. The ground plane cannot be fiberglass or plywood. It could be the aluminum roof trusses but I don't think our antenna is "grounded" to it. . However, trucks use the metal frame of their rigs as their ground plane. Are there alternate locations which would work much better than the roof? Has anyone tried using a mirror mount? Has anyone tried to attach to the aluminum roof trusses? There has to be something that work!

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Old 11-10-2015, 06:26 PM   #2
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Good questions that I'm waiting answer on.
I tried different antennas in the Entegra mount. They were short antennas around 2 foot one had a tuning tip at the top another was a fiberglass that I destroyed trying to trim it and results were poor.
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Old 11-10-2015, 06:36 PM   #3
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I made a mirror mount for the TS and mounted a 3 ft non-ground plane antenna to it, but it didn't work. I purchased a ground plane antenna and was going to ground it to the frame, but I sold the MH before that project was completed.
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Old 11-10-2015, 07:01 PM   #4
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The next antenna I tried was mounting a 4 foot center loaded Hustler on the left side A pillar with the top extending about 18 inches above the roof line. Not the best results. I had to tether the antenna just above the loading coil to the side of the coach to keep the wind from banging the antenna against the side.
I don't recommend this location due to wind noise. I should have mounted it higher.
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Old 11-11-2015, 12:06 PM   #5
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Hi, I am Al and I am OCD on CD Iam

I hope someone does come up with a good suggestion because for some strange reason I am obsessed with getting a CB to work and have put time and money into it and basically have nothing :

-I tried the existing factory mounting and antennae and spent WAY too much time trying various lengths and other tuning methods to get a recognizable SWR or at least a peep out of the radio. All to no avail. I tried 4 different wire type antennaes, one with a base loaded coil and two with mid loaded coils all with no success.

- I knew as everyone does the fiberglass roof has no ground plane so I disassembled the factory system, laid down a 2'X2' piece of ferrous material, grounded it with the existing entegra ground wire and put it back together with the new "ground plane" gorilla taped temporarily. Results:see item 1. Nothing. so....adding a ground plane does not do it.
It was tried grounded and ungrounded by the way with no difference

-Entegra proudly points to the two redundant CB grounds on the firewall up behind the cap but those wires are solid copper and stranded copper is on the fitting on the roof at the CB antennae so there must be a joint in the two wires somewhere, so.......I checked for continuity on both ground wires which was good and then.......

-I then ran my own 14 gauge solid copper wire ground down to the chassis from the CB mount. Totally redundant to the Entegra supplied ground and guaranteed a good solid ground. Results: see items one and two. No effect.

-accepted the fact that none of the multitudes of CB parts I had was going to work so I followed up on https://www.rightchannelradios.com/c...-rv-cb-package
and bought the RV package for a non-ground plane system along with an extra spring and antennae and mount or two. Good sales job from right channels radio as they seem knowledgeable and shipped immediately.

-installed the purpose built vertical surface mount (this is the stream lined plastic covered right angle mount) to the side of the front cap just above the drivers head. Yes, I drilled a hole in my coach skin) Clean install as that area is accessible inside the coach behind the breaker box and there is a spot only the thickness of the outside wall to drill thru. Ran their non-ground plane coax forward and down the A pillar to the left bottom of the dash. Installed the recommened 3 foot firestick NGP antennae and got ready for a radio check.
results:basically nothing. Could not tune the antennae to a reasonable SWR and even with an swr of 1.3 on channel 19 (swr is 3 or higher on 1 and 40) the radio is all but useless. By mounting to the side of the cap it made a clean looking install and an easy routing of the coax and no perceived problems based on conventional wisdom. The Antennae does stick about I foot above the roof peak so it is just below the height of the factory antennae with good clearance above the roof.

-With the kit I also added the mount and antennae for the horizontal surface mount with NGP. Took a bit to fish the NGP coax to the factory location but it was accomplished without getting medival and the install and routing looks nice. I used the horizontal NGP mounting hardware on the small flat electric box lid Entegra provides and screwed that back to the roof. This location uses a 2 foot Firestick adjustable antennae with a spring at the base. Ends up just even with the previous factory antennae height. Results: nothing. Could tune the SWR and got it down to 1.2 on 19 but the radio is useless for reception and sending. SWR was 30 or higher on channels 1 and 40. I had removed the tin ground plane from the earlier attempt to see if the NGP system would work at all.
-I reworked the previous horizontal mount using the ground plane. The antennae was electrically isolated from the ground plane and I tried it with the ground plane grounded and ungrounded. Results: nothing


-back at the roof oem location I ditched the 4 in square electric box lid Entegra screws to the fiberglass roof and replaced it with a thick plastic square drilled to accept the NGP hardware and put everything together and put a small screw in each corner of the plastic square to hold it to the roof and reinforced with Gorilla tape for driving tests. NOTHING.

With each set up I used four different radios all known to be working on other installations. Power meters and SWR meters seem to indicate radios are working. One radio is brand new out of the box.


So.........I have lots of wires run and at least two antennaes mounted and in position for a proper NGP install and none work at all.

I am going to try a local CB shop if I get a warm and fuzzy feeling visiting them first to look over my setup for grins but......I think there is a CB jammer hidden in my coach just to piss me off.


Your results may vary.....I hope they do!!!!
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Old 11-11-2015, 02:17 PM   #6
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It sounds like you had the same results after spending hours on the Travel Supreme with the same results....nothing worked. For all I know I have blown the finals on the radio and will not go any further until I have the radio check out.
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Old 11-11-2015, 02:38 PM   #7
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When I had a class A the best results I could ever get was to run a coax from inside the coach, down under the coach, and up the ladder. Used a no ground firestik mounted to the ladder. Best reception I could get was about 1/2 mile.
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Old 11-11-2015, 02:43 PM   #8
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I had one mounted to my rear ladder on a previous coach. Lot of details to get a no ground antenna to work correctly. How to wrap excess cable, length of cable in multiples of 9 feet, 2/3 of antenna above roof line, and of course a SWR meter.

Try here for info www.firestikcom
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Old 11-11-2015, 03:56 PM   #9
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One small problem with ladder mounts on Entegra's... 2 of the 3 models don't have a ladder and none of the 2016's do.
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Old 11-12-2015, 07:29 AM   #10
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One of the places that I waste money is that I have been a "Ham" radio operator from the time that I was 12 years old. Hams have had a bad history with the CB band since the CB band was taken from the "ham" band allocations when it was first formed. However, those of you old enough to remember that the default early CB antenna was a steel whip, I think it was 102" long (maybe 109"), that was mounted to a rear fender of a truck or car, or alternately, mounted to something like a trailer receiver hitch. It would smack on tree limbs, the garage, the bank drive through, and was a general pain. CB is on 27 MHZ, and even a quarter wave on 27 MHZ (the generally considered worst case for a ground plane system is 1/4 wavelength) is around 105". The short antennas that are now common deal with that issue by wrappng a fiberglass rod helically with wire to "get" a long antenna in a short space. You can also "load" the antenna at the top, or add various inductance/capacitance to come close to resonance in a very short antenna but they are all big compromises to optimal performance.

By using the car frame, back then one could get close to a lopsided ~ 9' groundplane (1/4 wavelength = 109"). Now our coaches are a big chunck of steel and metal that is substantially longer than 9' and should serve as a fantastic groundplane for the CB antenna but my feeling is that we are not getting the base of the antenna close to the ground plane (that is very important!!) (jestal, I think the problem with your efforts at grounding, is that the ground plane is too far away from the antenna. It has to be close to the base of the vertical to be functional). So, has anyone tried to mount a big antenna (I know, ugly) on the hitch, or near the coach frame, or even on the toad rather than the coach? I have never seen it and not sure if it is because it does not work, or none of us have given it a try. Also, I believe that our Entegras have an aluminum truss system for supporting the roof, and if that is all welded or riveted together (Cruzer?), that should be a good close and effective groundplane, but maybe there has been no effort to bond to that frame. It is close to the base of the antenna (which is VERY VERY VERY short for what it needs to be optimally).

I don't have answers, obviously, just questions.

Gary



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Old 11-12-2015, 07:42 AM   #11
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Gary, I can appreciate your post, having been a big "skip shooter" (Yasue 101) back in the 60's-70's playing with and building more base station antennas than I care to mention.

Having fought the problem with fiberglass MH, the easiest antenna that worked a little better than other attempts was a stick on windshield antenna that I bought at Walmart. I may just go back to that on the Entegra. I was able to hear trucks in front of me, and just sight distance going away, but at least I could hear them when there was an accident.
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Old 11-12-2015, 10:32 AM   #12
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[QUOTE=Gary.Jones;2822189]
(jestal, I think the problem with your efforts at grounding, is that the ground plane is too far away from the antenna. It has to be close to the base of the vertical to be functional).

Hi Gary, Just to clearify the 2'X2' "ground plane" I added was to the outside surface of the skin of the roof. The base of the antennae was mounted on a hole drilled thru it so the extra grounding was all at the very base of the antennae.
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Old 11-12-2015, 11:06 AM   #13
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I had the same problem many of you have had where my reception was absolutely terrible and my fix was to add the missing ground plane that wasn't there. All I can say is the bigger the ground plane the better and while I've been out of my ham radio days for a long time I believe the 2 foot square that was tried maybe to small. As a trial I went with a piece of aluminum approximately 2
foot by 5 foot sitting on saw horses not attached to the coach structure and the supplied EC antenna mounted in the middle. With this setup my SWR dropped from over 3.5 to 1 to 1.3 to 1. I then changed the antenna to a Larsen antenna known for their quality and I obtained a perfect 1.1 to 1 match. Feeling comfortable with the ground plane I had a piece of aluminum bonded to a piece of fiberglass roofing and then bonded and secured it to the roof. I don't have the coach hear now for the exact dimensions but you can see it goes from the A/C to the aluminum roof corner where it is bonded to it for an even larger ground plane side to side. Fore and aft it goes from the front cap to the rear of the A/C. The photo below shows the installation ( before I sealed the edges) where I retained the original supplied antenna because it was much shorter than the Larsen and will probably take more of a beating than a Fiberglass antenna. Reception and transmission is now several miles depending on terrain.

I did pass along to the president all that was needed to make their antenna installation work was a piece of aluminum but he decided to just delete it.

All of this has just been my experience. If it helps great if not please disregard.
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Old 11-12-2015, 11:24 AM   #14
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Jestal:

Again, I am no rf engineer, but Steve's comment is on the mark. Again, the length of a 1/4 wave on 27 MHz is 109"..... and that means that the ground plane that you put on the roof was nowhere close to what an effective tuned ground plane needed to be (way too small). Think of the vertical antennas for the CB band that you see above some houses in our travels. They have a vertical element which is probably 5/8 wavelength and there are four horizontal elements sticking out laterally from the exact base of the antenna. Those four horizontal elements are the counterpoise "ground plane" and they are in all likelihood, a 1/4 wavelength long, which is ~ 109". Since such a plate is not possible on top of our buses, one could approximate the same ground plane by running 1/4 wavelength wires out along the roof line, ideally spaced 90 degrees (not possible). Maybe if the "real Girards" were tied together electrically along with the "fake Girards" on the driver's side, and used as 2 radials, the antenna might take off and start to play. Anyone tried that? The Girards would have to be tied together and then tied closely to the base of the antenna. That is why I was wondering why the aluminum roof trusses would not be a good groundplane, although lopsided (all behind the antenna), lopsided would still be pretty good. The aluminum roof trusses would be only a few inches below the base of the antenna and probably would be at least an electrical wavelength long, and should significantly improve the performance of any antenna (the limiting factor again is the very short helically wound antenna that some are trying to use). It will tune and you can null the SWR, but that doesn't mean it will "really get out". It is by definition a compromise antenna.

However, I don't know how to get to the aluminum trusses. Do those trusses project to anything on the roof?


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