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Old 12-16-2016, 07:57 PM   #1
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Antenna Installation

I'm looking to install a CB antenna with a side mount for a Firestick. I already understand that a majority of RV'ers think that CB's are a waste but there is a group of three of us that travel together and occasionally get a mile or so apart. Because we do lose sight of one another the GMRS/FRS really don't work for us. Power of those are just to low.

So my question revolves around the actual installation of the side mount. I'm looking for someone who has done this. My plan is to install the mount on the drivers side about one foot below the roof level. This will allow for maximum output. So has anyone here actually installed their own and how did it go ? Where exactly did you install it ? What would you have done differently and why ?

We have a 2008 Sightseer 30B. If there are any videos or step by step photos I'd like to see them.

This is what I am considering.

https://www.amazon.com/Firestik-MKM2...Fire-Flex+Coax

If you have ideas that are better than this feel free to let me know. Drilling into the body is not my first choice !!

Thanks
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Old 12-16-2016, 08:14 PM   #2
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Have the same setup on mine. It is mounted to the pillar on the driver side of the MH. you will need to get the tip above the roof line as high as possible, at least one foot, or keep it below the height of the A/C unit. If you are below the roof line the radiant pattern of the antenna will be one sided limiting the distance of the transmission. Directions will come with the mount on how to install.
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Old 12-16-2016, 08:29 PM   #3
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My intent is to get three feet of a 4 foot antenna above the roof line. I'm just guessing that it will put about 2 feet above the AC.

So when you drilled into the post did you have any issues ? Can you send/post photos of the exterior placement and can you detail what you had to remove on the interior to gain access.
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Old 12-16-2016, 08:49 PM   #4
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I know you feel a CB will help with your travels but as a ham radio operator you and your friends may consider getting a Technicians ham radio license. I have a friend going to Alaska in 2018 with 19 other RV's so a ham radio will be very well needed since they will probably be stretched out over 10 miles. There are 2 more license levels, General and Amateur Extra, if you like the hobby and want to make contacts from all over the world. Technicians operate in UHF/VHF frequencies and the transceivers operate at 5 watts low power and usually have additional 20 and 50 watt power levels and depending on terrain 10-30 miles range (radio to radio), or much more when using a repeater system. The only cost to get a license is about $15 (depending on who administers the exam) and the cost of a license study manual available from Amazon or elsewhere online for about $30. The license is good for 10 years and can be renewed at no extra cost every 10 years. If you want more information you can go to the web site www.arrl.org and look around for local clubs, classes and exam site information. I am a VE (volunteer examiner- we get no pay for doing this) in the Atlanta metro area. If you have questions about it be sure to ask.
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Old 12-16-2016, 10:06 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LSC9901 View Post
I'm looking to install a CB antenna with a side mount for a Firestick. I already understand that a majority of RV'ers think that CB's are a waste but there is a group of three of us that travel together and occasionally get a mile or so apart. Because we do lose sight of one another the GMRS/FRS really don't work for us. Power of those are just to low.

So my question revolves around the actual installation of the side mount. I'm looking for someone who has done this. My plan is to install the mount on the drivers side about one foot below the roof level. This will allow for maximum output. So has anyone here actually installed their own and how did it go ? Where exactly did you install it ? What would you have done differently and why ?

We have a 2008 Sightseer 30B. If there are any videos or step by step photos I'd like to see them.

This is what I am considering.

https://www.amazon.com/Firestik-MKM2...Fire-Flex+Coax

If you have ideas that are better than this feel free to let me know. Drilling into the body is not my first choice !!

Thanks
LSC9901,
Yeah, there are some RVers out there that think C/Bs are a waste of time but, there's a whole lot more that still use them and rely on them for various reasons. Whether you travel with other C/B using Rvers or, just use it for traffic checks or what ever, they're still a good alternative for communications, limited but, still good. I've done the side mount of an antenna on our previous coach, a '99 Fleetwood Bounder 34V and, in the same exact spot you're thinking of. I had to do some probing around on the interior so I wouldn't come in contact with a metal stud in the wall but, things came out just fine.

Fiberglass is not the strongest thing to mount a C/B antenna on since it's not all that thick in that application. So, to take up some of the stress that antenna would exert (whipping in the wind at free way speeds and other torque situations) I simply fabricated a plate, I think it was about 6" x 6" x 1/8" thick. By using that plate, I could attach it to the thinner fiberglass with more screws which, would divide the torque of the antenna between many more than just a small, supplied mount plate for that antenna. When it was all done, I painted the plate to match the color of the sidewall. You almost could not tell it was even there.

Now, on the inside, I attached a wire from the ground side of that mount, to one of the metal studs to help with the "Ground Plane" effect. When it was all said and done, I used a Uniden model PC 78 LTW and it had great range and was clear as a bell. We traveled with up to 12 coaches on trips from San Diego to Moab Utah for the Easter Jeep Safari and the C/B was used intensively for years.

I've installed one in our newer coach, an '04 Itasca Horizon and, I've installed one in all our Jeeps.
Scott


Quote:
Originally Posted by KT4Wextra View Post
I know you feel a CB will help with your travels but as a ham radio operator you and your friends may consider getting a Technicians ham radio license. I have a friend going to Alaska in 2018 with 19 other RV's so a ham radio will be very well needed since they will probably be stretched out over 10 miles. There are 2 more license levels, General and Amateur Extra, if you like the hobby and want to make contacts from all over the world. Technicians operate in UHF/VHF frequencies and the transceivers operate at 5 watts low power and usually have additional 20 and 50 watt power levels and depending on terrain 10-30 miles range (radio to radio), or much more when using a repeater system. The only cost to get a license is about $15 (depending on who administers the exam) and the cost of a license study manual available from Amazon or elsewhere online for about $30. The license is good for 10 years and can be renewed at no extra cost every 10 years. If you want more information you can go to the web site www.arrl.org and look around for local clubs, classes and exam site information. I am a VE (volunteer examiner- we get no pay for doing this) in the Atlanta metro area. If you have questions about it be sure to ask.
Marv
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I have to kind-a agree with this thought process. I too am a HAM and, I've used both the C/B and a hand held HAM in a test process while traveling and by far, the Ham (even though mine was a handy-talky) Yeasu VX-170 with a mere 5 watts of power, it was phenomenally stronger in voice transfer, clarity and superior in range. As stated above, I still have a C/B and use it from time to time, I'd love to have a HAM installed in our coach and our Jeep for those times when I travel with, or Jeep with, HAM folks who regularly use them. Probably will do that sometime.
Scott
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Old 12-17-2016, 05:02 AM   #6
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CB radios are required if you are going on Winnebago Outdoor Adventures, so it would be nice if a host or tailender would post what their installation is complete with pictures. Since this is a requirement it would be nice if alternative means of communication could be dispensed with in this thread. In fact it would be nice if the moderators would establish a sticky with a workable CB installation with pictures, so this topic would not need to be rehashed in multiple threads.

"CB radios are required on caravans. A CB radio is required for communication among caravan participants during travel days to ensure a smooth and safe caravanning operation. You can use a hand-held CB radio as long as it has CB radio frequency and is not the FRS (Family Radio Service)."
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Old 12-17-2016, 07:10 AM   #7
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Sounds rater close to what I did on my Rig.

Antenna is a Radio Shack NGP not a firestick but that's the major differnece.

Top of antenna is same height as top of Air Conditioner, Antenna doubles as a "Bridge Stick" for checking bridges.

Mount is 1/2 (The "L" shaped half) of a Mirror mount (Will try to link) the cable lops around and into the channel which acts as a clamshell, GOOP fills the channel, It is mounted on the "A" pillar, cable runs down teh "A" pillar under the dash and tehn to the radio.
The very mount that I used, Now that I know the brand I also knwo where I got it. Pilot Truck Stops, among others, carry this brand.
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Old 12-17-2016, 07:25 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LSC9901 View Post
My intent is to get three feet of a 4 foot antenna above the roof line. I'm just guessing that it will put about 2 feet above the AC.

So when you drilled into the post did you have any issues ? Can you send/post photos of the exterior placement and can you detail what you had to remove on the interior to gain access.
No, I did not have any issues. The pillar on my MH is aluminum on that part of the cab. on the interior was a white plastic cover held by for screws. The screw heads had snap on covers that hide the screw heads. Behind the panel is a channel that runs wires for the over driver seat cabinets. You can find many pictures on GOOGLE search of this type of installation. The only picture I have of that area shows the plastic panel on the inside and one of the screws holding it. PM me your e-mail addy and I will send you the picture if you like.

EDIT: I installed mine lower down the pillar and I am only one foot above the roof line. I took advantage of a hole already in that side of the MH.

Like others have indicated, I also run a 2 meter radio in the MH along with the CB. The trouble I having both is remembering that I don't need my call sign on the CB

Dan,
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Old 12-17-2016, 07:51 AM   #9
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I installed the exact model Firestick that you're looking at on Amazon. The instructions included with the Firestick are excellent and easy to follow. I installed the Firestick on a fiberglass side with no extra support. Only issue I had was the Firestick antena hit a tree limb and broke the mount. I ordered another mount and replaced the broke part. The reception was excellent with the Firestick.
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Old 12-17-2016, 08:10 AM   #10
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I totally agree that the ham radio service would be far better. I've dabbled in electronics for more years than I care to admit BUT ....... I do not hold a license nor do my son and son in law. They have more than enough on their plates without adding the cost of equipment and time to study for and take the exam.

We all currently have CB's so that is why we will go that route. Our first class A already had an antenna installed. Our 2nd one used one of those splitters that utilizes the AM/FM antenna. I've since read that that little splitter was designed to use the CB antenna for AM/FM not the other way around. It did work but the distance was horrible.

That is what has lead to my actual question about installation. Not sure we'll ever travel in a Winnebago caravan but yes it would be great if they had some info available on installs. With virtually everything fiberglass now, pointers, photos and videos would be great.

Please, by all means, keep this thread going and in particular anyone that might have photos or links please feel free to add them. I cannot be the only one looking to do this without making a mess.

Thanks to everyone so far.
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Old 12-17-2016, 08:46 AM   #11
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Old 12-17-2016, 04:18 PM   #12
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Are CB's worthless?

There is an old quote where a Airline pilot was ask about his job "Hours and hours of sheer boardem punctuated by moments of sheer terror" was his replly.

Most of the time the CB is useless. No value to me, but on rare occasions it pays for itself in about 2 minutes flat.

Years ago I was driving (A van) in Black ice conditions, the CB gave me warning and I started slowing down.. When I got to the 4 Car accident, I was able to stop in the safe assured distance and render aid (Shelter in this case since 2 of the cars were destroyed) No excitement at all on my part.. Nice chat with a deputy sheriff, My name does not appear as they say.

And more recently I'm driving the motor home and am informed via CB of not one but TWO fatal accidents about 3 miles past the upcoming exit... I took the exit,, found parking, had a nice restful night, breakfast in the AM and on the road again, with no obstruction.

The poor guy behind me.. He did not have a CB, He had a many hour traffic jam.
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Old 12-18-2016, 11:29 AM   #13
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My motivation for having a CB is to benefit from virtually instantaneous traffic reports when a major incident occurs. I hate spending hours stopped awaiting the clearance of a serious accident. That information is not likely to be on the ham bands. I do have a ham radio installed but CB is still king for traffic reports.
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Old 12-18-2016, 08:47 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LSC9901 View Post
I'm looking to install a CB antenna with a side mount for a Firestick. I already understand that a majority of RV'ers think that CB's are a waste but there is a group of three of us that travel together and occasionally get a mile or so apart. Because we do lose sight of one another the GMRS/FRS really don't work for us. Power of those are just to low.

So my question revolves around the actual installation of the side mount. I'm looking for someone who has done this. My plan is to install the mount on the drivers side about one foot below the roof level. This will allow for maximum output. So has anyone here actually installed their own and how did it go ? Where exactly did you install it ? What would you have done differently and why ?

We have a 2008 Sightseer 30B. If there are any videos or step by step photos I'd like to see them.

This is what I am considering.

https://www.amazon.com/Firestik-MKM2...Fire-Flex+Coax

If you have ideas that are better than this feel free to let me know.]Drilling into the body is not my first choice !!

Thanks
I didn't want to do that either so I mounted my whip antenna on the body of the drivers side mirror. Could have gone on the passenger side, or even gotten two antennas so there would be one on each side. But whatever, the mirror frame has heated mirrors so there's a channel inside under or near the dash with wires already going there.
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Old 12-18-2016, 09:39 PM   #15
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Metal plate about 12" square (roof flashing from Home Depot or similar). Screwed (rubber or fiberglass roof) or taped (3M VHB, fiberglass roof) to the roof. Magnet mount antenna there.
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Old 12-19-2016, 01:53 AM   #16
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I didn't want to do that either so I mounted my whip antenna on the body of the drivers side mirror. Could have gone on the passenger side, or even gotten two antennas so there would be one on each side. But whatever, the mirror frame has heated mirrors so there's a channel inside under or near the dash with wires already going there.
Do you have photos of this? I cannot imagine whip antenna (102" ?????) on a mirror plus a whip antenna requires a ground plane as I recall.

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Metal plate about 12" square (roof flashing from Home Depot or similar). Screwed (rubber or fiberglass roof) or taped (3M VHB, fiberglass roof) to the roof. Magnet mount antenna there.
Two issues. If I'm gonna put holes in my fiberglass body it will not be on the roof. A 12" square really won't provide much of a ground plane and I'm not looking to have a cable outside of the MH.

I'm really looking for a permanent solution with a NGP with photos for a CB antenna.
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Old 12-19-2016, 06:47 PM   #17
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I have a brand new 2015 Winnebago Vista 27N with full body paint and before I start drilling any holes in it I am going to install a Midland 18-258 40-Channel Glass-Mount CB Antenna at the top of the front windshield. This antenna is made by Midland and is also sold by Camping World as a Power-Max antenna. It appears that the major problem with this antenna is that users don't clean the windshield sufficiently for the adhesive to work properly. If that doesn't work I will install an antenna on the ladder and run the coax under the coach before I drill any holes. Being made by midland there must be a great number of these in use and most of the reviews I can find are pretty good. Will report after I get it installed and tested at highway speed which will be after the first of the year. If any of you have actual experience with this antenna I would appreciate your comments.
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Old 12-19-2016, 07:12 PM   #18
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I had one of those antennas and i believe it was a Midland although in looking back through my Amazon orders I just cannot find it. Regardless I was not pleased with its ability to transmit. Reception was fine. Could hear from places i didn't want to hear from but to talk with my son, 1/2 mile down the road, we just couldn't do. We did tune it with a SWR meter.

I agree and understand your desire to not drill holes but CB communication is our best option so I'll likely be drilling 2 holes on the drivers side between the drivers window and the front windshield. I was/am hoping that someone had already done it and had chronicled it via stills or a video.

I've looked for interior types of antennas, have considered mounting one on the ladder, given minimal consideration to the mirrors but I keep coming back to side mounting it. Because I'm in VT where it is about 17° and snowy ..... the project will wait until spring.
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Old 12-20-2016, 08:46 AM   #19
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Do you have photos of this? I cannot imagine whip antenna (102" ?????) on a mirror plus a whip antenna requires a ground plane as I recall. Snip...
This photo shows the whip antenna there on the driver's side mirror on my '94 Bounder. I don't recall the length but it did extend just a bit over the roof top.

I never really focused the camera on the installation of the antenna so this is the only shot I found after a quick search. I sold that RV this year in Feb. along with the CB so can't give you any close up shots. The body of the mirror is metal, and it attached to metal of the chassis' frame with four large bolts.

I could have just run a heavy ground wire to the chassis through the inside of the mirror if I'd needed to. Luckily, didn't need too.

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Old 12-21-2016, 02:00 PM   #20
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[QUOTE=LSC9901;3377079]I totally agree that the ham radio service would be far better. I've dabbled in electronics for more years than I care to admit BUT ....... I do not hold a license nor do my son and son in law. They have more than enough on their plates without adding the cost of equipment and time to study for and take the exam.

Now see, your first mistake is assuming your Son In Law actually wants to be able to talk to you on those long trips. Maybe he bought his own to avoid that?
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