Critique my GMRS kit …

Bocephus

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Hey gang, let me know what you think or what I’m doing wrong! New to it all, doing as much reading as I can.

So, my American Adventure Labs NMO mount has shipped.

View attachment 557606

Planning this Larsen NMO and coax with the uhf male connector, bc it is purportedly more resilient to weather given the construction. I’ll put heat shrink on it too. Part # NMOKHFUD. Trying to see if the seller would cut it to a 10’ length for me, vs the 17’ that comes standard. I want to avoid having a span that just lies coiled under my carpet.

View attachment 557610

And I’m thinking the STI-CO flexi-whip 1/4 wave antenna, is a good choice, can tune for GMRS. it’s super flexy, seems to have good reviews. I have read that the phantom / stealth style antennas are not great performers, and the 6db antennas are meh for mountains and the db claims are dubious (?). From my reading, sounds like a 1/4 wave antenna tuned for GMRS is a solid choice.

View attachment 557611

I have the Wouxun kg-1000g radio. GMRS is new to me. Have been getting some education from itsnotarubicon on YouTube. Just reading the radio manual, I’ll have lots to learn!!

View attachment 557613

…and the Rugged Radios mount, which will position the radio on passenger side of center console. (For now, I’m not planning to mount the detachable faceplate on the dash…kind of like keeping the dash area clean, and for now at least, I don’t anticipate a need to be hands on the radio constantly. Simplex at least will be set it and forget it.)

View attachment 557614

The mic will ride a magnetic-mic mount with a 67design ball mount. Either on the grab bar or possibly on an arm from the 67 designs rail mount.

View attachment 557617

I anticipate wiring straight to the battery.

Tell me what you think, welcome any pro-tips!!

 

OutlawBeard

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Like the setup, Im currently running a mounted CB and a handheld KG-935G. I'm also using a CB Bar as I like my COMM's overhead. Im waiting to see the midland MXT575, ill mount that behind the dash or under passenger seat and put the mic where yours is.
 
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Bocephus

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Like the setup, Im currently running a mounted CB and a handheld KG-935G. I'm also using a CB Bar as I like my COMM's overhead. Im waiting to see the midland MXT575, ill mount that behind the dash or under passenger seat and put the mic where yours is.
Comms overhead - I like those setups quite a bit. Hope that midland powerhouse is great, seems like midland is killin it these days in the jeep community!
 

jeepdriver99

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A 1/4 wave antenna would be 6 inches long. Will that bring the top of the antenna above the hood? I'm wondering if it will propagate well in that position. I really don't know but have my doubts.
 
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Bocephus

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A 1/4 wave antenna would be 6 inches long. Will that bring the top of the antenna above the hood? I'm wondering if it will propagate well in that position. I really don't know but have my doubts.
probably just about even with the hood, it might clear a little. If I’m committed to that mounting location, would 5/8 wave be better?
 


prerunner1982

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My first concern is the antenna mount and height, as jeepdriver99 pointed out. Also be prepared to remove the paint on the mount so the NMO mount makes good metal contact underneath and possibly to ensure the mount makes good metal contact with the body of the vehicle. A longer antenna would be better in that location as the hood would make a short antenna direction to the driver side and possibly cause high SWR being in such close relation to the antenna and directing signal right back at it. Even moving to a mount on the hood (like a hood lip mount) with the small antenna would be fine.

As far as the radio mount I think the remote head of the Wouxon radio is one of the benefits it has over other GMRS mobile radios on the market, but then again I come from ham radio where most radios have them and it makes for a clean install. You mentioned wanting to keep the dash clean but to me the radio body mounted to the side of the console with wires and coax (and external speaker wire?) coming out of it takes away from a clean look. Also I believe the mic uses an RJ45 connector so some Cat6 cable and an RJ45 panel mount could relocate the mic connector to a port in the dash/console regardless of where the control head is mounted, so you could mount the control head above the rearview and still have the mic down on the mic mount you picture. With the radio body mounted out of sight I think that would make for a very clean install but that's just me, do it the way you like.
 

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This is mine. I use the same mount for my phone, ham (W6RKW) or GMRS (RWOB543).
C39C52E6-135E-48A8-A2E4-B35A9683B2D9.jpeg
 

jeepdriver99

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probably just about even with the hood, it might clear a little. If I’m committed to that mounting location, would 5/8 wave be better?
Yeah, i think it would. In fact I was researching what might be available for you as you were responding. Look at this antenna... it's a dual band 1/2 wave antenna that fits the GMRS band and will give you a lot more altitude. NMO150/450C: Pulse-Larsen 1/2 dual band VHF UHF mobile antenna- Wave W – Arcadian - ArcAntenna.com

Still looking. That site says none in stock.
 

prerunner1982

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Yeah, i think it would. In fact I was researching what might be available for you as you were responding. Look at this antenna... it's a dual band 1/2 wave antenna that fits the GMRS band and will give you a lot more altitude. NMO150/450C: Pulse-Larsen 1/2 dual band VHF UHF mobile antenna- Wave W – Arcadian - ArcAntenna.com

Still looking. That site says none in stock.
Amazon and The Antenna Farm appear to have them.

On that note here is the antenna I use for GMRS, it too is a halfwave on GMRS which by the way doesn't require a ground plane.
Amazon.com: Tram 140MHz-170MHz + 430MHz-470MHz Dual Band NMO Antenna (1181) : Electronics
 

jeepdriver99

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Amazon and The Antenna Farm appear to have them.

On that note here is the antenna I use for GMRS, it too is a halfwave on GMRS which by the way doesn't require a ground plane.
Amazon.com: Tram 140MHz-170MHz + 430MHz-470MHz Dual Band NMO Antenna (1181) : Electronics
I also found this which is taller and only for the GMRS band which would satisfy the needs even better.
Amazon.com: tram-browning Antenna 5/8 Wave NMO UHF 450-470 MHz, 5.5dBd Gain, for Motorola Kenwood Maxon Icom Mobile Radios, BR-450 BR450 : Electronics
 


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Bocephus

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My first concern is the antenna mount and height, as jeepdriver99 pointed out. Also be prepared to remove the paint on the mount so the NMO mount makes good metal contact underneath and possibly to ensure the mount makes good metal contact with the body of the vehicle. A longer antenna would be better in that location as the hood would make a short antenna direction to the driver side and possibly cause high SWR being in such close relation to the antenna and directing signal right back at it. Even moving to a mount on the hood (like a hood lip mount) with the small antenna would be fine.

As far as the radio mount I think the remote head of the Wouxon radio is one of the benefits it has over other GMRS mobile radios on the market, but then again I come from ham radio where most radios have them and it makes for a clean install. You mentioned wanting to keep the dash clean but to me the radio body mounted to the side of the console with wires and coax (and external speaker wire?) coming out of it takes away from a clean look. Also I believe the mic uses an RJ45 connector so some Cat6 cable and an RJ45 panel mount could relocate the mic connector to a port in the dash/console regardless of where the control head is mounted, so you could mount the control head above the rearview and still have the mic down on the mic mount you picture. With the radio body mounted out of sight I think that would make for a very clean install but that's just me, do it the way you like.
I think you're right on the topic of clean install. I have the sky one-touch top, and I do not believe I can mount overhead; i am not aware of any compatible aftermarket racks. I could look at mounting the base unit elsewhere, I know some install under seat.

I have to admit, I am sheepishly trying to avoid porting dash panels (the mic), and also not looking forward to pulling the factory stereo to route cable from the base (lets say mounted under passenger seat) up behind the factory stereo, and through to the top of the dashboard (would also have to port) to the remote head. I feel like always end up in that moment where i've gone too far to turn back, but it's not quite right, and I may have critically screwed something up :facepalm: . Maybe I should just lean in and do it.

Amazon and The Antenna Farm appear to have them.

On that note here is the antenna I use for GMRS, it too is a halfwave on GMRS which by the way doesn't require a ground plane.
Amazon.com: Tram 140MHz-170MHz + 430MHz-470MHz Dual Band NMO Antenna (1181) : Electronics

Thanks! Do you guys have an opinion on the Midland MXTA26? 5/8 wave. I suppose I like that its black, has a spring base, tuned for GMRS. At 32" it would clear my hood and then some. https://www.buytwowayradios.com/midland-mxta26.html
 

Xspurt

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It's definitely a very compromised place for the antenna but I get that it's tough to find one that's not on a Wrangler.

First thing, 1/4 wave and 5/8 wave antennas are heavily dependent on a proper ground plane. Don't think of a ground plane for an antenna like a ground for electrical outlets. Not even close to the same thing. The best mounting position will always be high and center. Second, when antennas have a base coil like that, they radiate more from the bottom half than the top and not only are you on the extreme edge of your ground plane, the shape of your hood is blocking the only good direction you have which brings me to the third thing: When you do put an antenna on the corner of a vehicle, it becomes directional and the signal primarily hears and talks in the direction of the metal ground plane. That means your best signal, if that mount is on the left side of your hood, would be diagonal off of the passenger rear but again, you are blocking most of that direction with the hood. A 1/4 wave on your hood (centered left to right but close to the windshield) would most likely outperform that 5/8 wave in the extreme corner (in most directions). I've seen a mount that goes on the tire rack that then elevates the antenna above the roofline. Looks a little goofy but that would work better than what you have and probably better than what I described above. Your "directional-ness" would at least be in the direction you are driving.

If you can find a half wave antenna, those don't need a ground plane and won't care nearly as much about where on the vehicle you mount them but the rule of thumb would remain centered and as high as possible even with a 1/2 wave. Watch out for dual band antennas that say they are half wave. Yes, they would be half waves for one of the bands but not both. Chances are the higher frequency will be the GMRS one on a dual band antenna and you'll then end up with stacked 5/8 waves. You should ignore DB gain for many reasons I won't dive into here.

THIS one claims to not need a ground plane but doesn't say it's half wave. To make a half wave antenna the right way you need to feed it from the center so I don't get the base coil but again, they claim it doesn't need a ground: GMRS Mobile UHF Whip Antenna with Black NMO Base, No Ground plane requ – Arcadian - ArcAntenna.com

This next one is a magnet mount and it's cheap so maybe try this on your hood? The store (Buy Two Way Radios) is great and I'd bet they'd even have some suggestions. Midland MicroMobile MXTA13 GMRS Antenna with Magnet Mount (buytwowayradios.com)

If you want to dive in and learn way too much more than you need, check out www.radioreference.com which is like wikipedia for everything two way radio. They have a forum section where your exact question was asked and answered.

Hope that helps.
 
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Bocephus

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It's definitely a very compromised place for the antenna but I get that it's tough to find one that's not on a Wrangler.

First thing, 1/4 wave and 5/8 wave antennas are heavily dependent on a proper ground plane. Don't think of a ground plane for an antenna like a ground for electrical outlets. Not even close to the same thing. The best mounting position will always be high and center. Second, when antennas have a base coil like that, they radiate more from the bottom half than the top and not only are you on the extreme edge of your ground plane, the shape of your hood is blocking the only good direction you have which brings me to the third thing: When you do put an antenna on the corner of a vehicle, it becomes directional and the signal primarily hears and talks in the direction of the metal ground plane. That means your best signal, if that mount is on the left side of your hood, would be diagonal off of the passenger rear but again, you are blocking most of that direction with the hood. A 1/4 wave on your hood (centered left to right but close to the windshield) would most likely outperform that 5/8 wave in the extreme corner (in most directions). I've seen a mount that goes on the tire rack that then elevates the antenna above the roofline. Looks a little goofy but that would work better than what you have and probably better than what I described above. Your "directional-ness" would at least be in the direction you are driving.

If you can find a half wave antenna, those don't need a ground plane and won't care nearly as much about where on the vehicle you mount them but the rule of thumb would remain centered and as high as possible even with a 1/2 wave. Watch out for dual band antennas that say they are half wave. Yes, they would be half waves for one of the bands but not both. Chances are the higher frequency will be the GMRS one on a dual band antenna and you'll then end up with stacked 5/8 waves. You should ignore DB gain for many reasons I won't dive into here.

THIS one claims to not need a ground plane but doesn't say it's half wave. To make a half wave antenna the right way you need to feed it from the center so I don't get the base coil but again, they claim it doesn't need a ground: GMRS Mobile UHF Whip Antenna with Black NMO Base, No Ground plane requ – Arcadian - ArcAntenna.com

This next one is a magnet mount and it's cheap so maybe try this on your hood? The store (Buy Two Way Radios) is great and I'd bet they'd even have some suggestions. Midland MicroMobile MXTA13 GMRS Antenna with Magnet Mount (buytwowayradios.com)

If you want to dive in and learn way too much more than you need, check out www.radioreference.com which is like wikipedia for everything two way radio. They have a forum section where your exact question was asked and answered.

Hope that helps.
Wow thank you! Gonna read this a couple more times and check out the links. Thanks a ton for these insights, very much appreciated.

 

Randy Marion CDJR
 
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