GMRS antenna mount inside vehicle

JetMech
May 07, 2022

Rank 0

May 07, 2022

I have purchased a couple of Midland MX275 GMRS radios for mine and my wife's Broncos. Reading on the Midland site it mentions that Jeep owners (yeah I know this is a Bronco forum) can mount the antenna inside the vehicle if it has the hard top as the fiberglass doesn't block the signal. Since we both have a hard top I was thinking of mounting it to the roll bar using the two mount holes (aft side of the bar on 4 door and window side on the two door model. Has anyone tried a similar installation? If so, any recommendations? If that doesn't work out I'm considering using the flag mount on the tailgate since it does have two holes.

Antenna mount.jpg
SlashRacer

Rank 0

Jun 05, 2022

#20
Just got back from Moab. Yes there should be plenty of room for the MXT575.
Mal

Rank V

Jun 05, 2022

#21
can you show were you mounted the head unit? trying to visualize this myself

Rank 0

Jun 05, 2022

#22
can you show were you mounted the head unit? trying to visualize this myself
I mounted it under the center console. It sits basically below the window switches on the floorboard. There is two studs underneath there to mount a bracket.

Attachments

Deano Bronc, Mal and 2 others

Rank V

Jun 05, 2022

#23
I mounted it under the center console. It sits basically below the window switches on the floorboard. There is two studs underneath there to mount a bracket.
HAHA well if had been a snake it would have bit me! thanks!!!
jimFish

Rank V

Jul 03, 2022

#24
This is how I did the antenna installation for my MXT275

View attachment 35886

Where did you get the bracket. I think I want one just like that. 

Rank 0

Jul 14, 2022

#25
Where did you get the bracket. I think I want one just like that. 
Made it from a piece of flat bar stock I bought at Home Depot. Cut it to size then drilled, bent and painted to finish it off. The hole for the antenna I used a $5.99 step bit from Harbor Freight.

Attachments

Mal, Deano Bronc and 1 other

Rank V

Jul 14, 2022

#26
Made it from a piece of flat bar stock I bought at Home Depot. Cut it to size then drilled, bent and painted to finish it off. The hole for the antenna I used a $5.99 step bit from Harbor Freight.
Nicely done!

Rank VI

Jul 15, 2022

#27
Does the speaker in the mic with the controls provide quailty sound? I spoke to folks that had the same type mic for a Cobra CB and they ended up adding an aux. speaker to hear it.

Rank VI

Jul 16, 2022

#28
I was going to mount it inside as well but the enclosed cabin would reduce distance and cause interference. Plus eratiate me and the mrs. So I mounted my antenna on the 3rd stop light. Seems to work good. Wired directly to the Battery and no holes drilled.20220509_164937.jpg20220511_141820.jpg

I like round lights and I cannot lie...

Jul 18, 2022

#29
Does the speaker in the mic with the controls provide quailty sound? I spoke to folks that had the same type mic for a Cobra CB and they ended up adding an aux. speaker to hear it.
I have a 275 and have no issues with the sound. It is plenty loud and easy to hear.

Rank VI

Aug 05, 2022

#30
The big benefit to hard mounting the GMRS radio verses the hand held is you get much better antenna options. Most hand held antennas are pretty dinky. Nothing wrong with them (I use hand helds all the time when driving with people and we can communicate car to car easy, just without as much range as something more powerful), but you get a lot more capability with a better antenna. There isn't much functional difference between some of the higher wattages (a MXT275 at 15 watts is not 66% worse than a 50Watt MXT575) because obstacles in the line of sight will limit you much more than power. Better antennas help, but it doesn't matter how much power you are pushing when you are terrain masked, you are terrain masked.

In a closed metal car, a handheld is at a disadvantage because the car's structure acts like a faraday cage and can mess with the ability of a hand held to receive and transmit. That's much less of a problem in a soft top (or even hard top) Jeep or Bronco just due to the nature of the construction. @AcesandEights is exactly right about hand helds on trails- the line of sight is really the limiting factor, but they are going to be great for spotting and communicating with the group. Always a good move to have a couple hand-helds around to give to your spotters or other people in your group. I always clip one to my elderly father in law's belt whenever he goes somewhere with us just in case he gets lost. Cheap insurance.

The other advantage is that generally speaking, a hard mounted radio will be more likely able to use your local repeater network. There are many different hand-helds that can do this too, but almost all the mobile radios can and that's a benefit where I am. Clearly a nice to have not a have to have so YMMV, but a good repeater helps solve that terrain masking problem. this is probably not an issue on a trail ride- you are probably always going to be within LOS (radio wise anyway) so not something to really worry about. Here in NM, there are lots of places with no cell service, but I can hit the repeater network from my car and could probably call for assistance in a pinch.

Finally, and maybe this is just lazy on my part, but a hard mounted radio is just one less thing for me to loose. That's worth something to me.

@jimFish you asked about radio waves in the cabin- anytime you are irradiating anything that's going to be a concern. That being said, I have no problem using a 5 watt handheld right next to my head and in a closed car. I might not be super calm about say attaching an antenna to a hard hat and running a 50 watt radio through it, but that 15 watt MXT 275 is going to be okay. In a Bronco or Jeep, there is an escape route for the wave so there is not going to be a lot of refraction in the cabin. Also, you are only radiating when you are transmitting so thats a pretty small time window. But again if its a concern, there are all kinds of good mounting options outside of the bronco- Rear mount, lip mount on the hood, cowl, or even on the trail sights.
What do you think about a handheld that can use repeaters and just hooking up the handheld to an exterior antenna on the car when in vehicle? So essentially hard mounted when in vehicle but with the ability to disconnect and put on smaller antenna when on the ground. Since you said 50W vs 5W isn't huge disadvantage with a proper antenna

Rank VII

Aug 06, 2022

#31
What do you think about a handheld that can use repeaters and just hooking up the handheld to an exterior antenna on the car when in vehicle? So essentially hard mounted when in vehicle but with the ability to disconnect and put on smaller antenna when on the ground. Since you said 50W vs 5W isn't huge disadvantage with a proper antenna
That would be better than the antenna that comes with the hand held for all the reasons discussed. But let me give you a different perspective about the mobile vs hand held. Everything that has been said about simplex communications being LOS is absolutely correct. However, when you are trying to key up a repeater you'll find that some of them are up pretty high (i.e. within some rough LOS), but they could be a long way off (like 20 miles or more). That's when a 50 watt radio, with a good antenna comes into play. If all you're looking for is good communication while with a group on a trail, a hand held will usually do the trick, especially if you have a good antenna like a Nagoya NA-771. I've used a Baofeng BF-F8HF hand held for a while and it's plenty of radio to talk simplex on the trail with the other Broncos.
IL21Bronco, Mal

Rank VII

Aug 06, 2022

#32
So in relation to this discussion, I'm going to install my mobile in the Bronco next, and was wondering what dual band antennas (2M/70CM) people are using with good results? I'm thinking about mounting on the tailgate of the Bronco using a mount that connect to the tailgate hinge screws. I know that will distort my transmit pattern a bit, making it a little front heavy. Has anyone had an issue with mounting in that location?

I like round lights and I cannot lie...

Aug 08, 2022

#33
What do you think about a handheld that can use repeaters and just hooking up the handheld to an exterior antenna on the car when in vehicle? So essentially hard mounted when in vehicle but with the ability to disconnect and put on smaller antenna when on the ground. Since you said 50W vs 5W isn't huge disadvantage with a proper antenna
I agree with what @JoergH said about the repeaters and the handhelds- Depending on where you are at, 5 watts may not hit the repeater but it would be fine for trail coms with a group. A dedicated, hard mounted antenna on the exterior of the vehicle will be better than the antenna on the HT, certainly if you are using it in a closed car (this doensn't 100% matter as much with the Bronco, but still).

I think you start to get into the sweet spot on a hard mounted mobile between 15 and 25 Watts. I ran the Midland 275 (15 Watt) for a long time and had zero problems with it and hitting repeaters, even when I was using a ghost antenna. I recently switched over to a Radioddity DB-25G (25 Watt) https://www.radioddity.com/collections/business-radios-mobile-radios/products/radioddity-db25gand its better than the Midland powerwise, but not that much better ( I got it for the quad monitoring, and because Im a big nerd and like to play around with this stuff. Im not sure about having all the display up in the vehicle though so I might go back to the midland)

The best change I made to my mobile system however was with the antenna. When I changed over to the Nagoya 7770G https://www.buytwowayradios.com/nagoya-nl-770g-nmo.html?___SID=U , that made a huge difference in both reception and transmission. I can hit two repeaters way farther away than I could with the ghost antenna.

I would start with a good medium powered mobile, and focus on a good antenna. That set-up will do more for you than anything else.
IL21Bronco, JoergH

Rank VII

Aug 08, 2022

#34
I agree with what @JoergH said about the repeaters and the handhelds- Depending on where you are at, 5 watts may not hit the repeater but it would be fine for trail coms with a group. A dedicated, hard mounted antenna on the exterior of the vehicle will be better than the antenna on the HT, certainly if you are using it in a closed car (this doensn't 100% matter as much with the Bronco, but still).

I think you start to get into the sweet spot on a hard mounted mobile between 15 and 25 Watts. I ran the Midland 275 (15 Watt) for a long time and had zero problems with it and hitting repeaters, even when I was using a ghost antenna. I recently switched over to a Radioddity DB-25G (25 Watt) https://www.radioddity.com/collections/business-radios-mobile-radios/products/radioddity-db25gand its better than the Midland powerwise, but not that much better ( I got it for the quad monitoring, and because Im a big nerd and like to play around with this stuff. Im not sure about having all the display up in the vehicle though so I might go back to the midland)

The best change I made to my mobile system however was with the antenna. When I changed over to the Nagoya 7770G https://www.buytwowayradios.com/nagoya-nl-770g-nmo.html?___SID=U , that made a huge difference in both reception and transmission. I can hit two repeaters way farther away than I could with the ghost antenna.

I would start with a good medium powered mobile, and focus on a good antenna. That set-up will do more for you than anything else.
@Mal Can you provide a little insight on how/where you mounted your Nagoya antenna?
Mal

I like round lights and I cannot lie...

Aug 08, 2022

#35
@Mal Can you provide a little insight on how/where you mounted your Nagoya antenna?
Sure- Im still in my sedan (Shakes fists at Bronco allocation gods) so I didn't do anything crazy. Im using a lip mount centered in the top of the rear decklid. the 7770G is a NMO mount option and the lip mount is the one I got from midland back when I ordered the ghost antenna. The antenna itself is 38 inches, so it puts the top of the antenna at about 6'4" or so. One nice thing about an NMO mount is it is easy to unscrew and stow if clearance becomes an issue or I need to run the car through a car wash or something. For what its worth, a nice quarter-wave antenna would work well too, and it wouldn't be as tall or noticeable as the Nagoya

Whenever the Bronco arrives, I am planning on mounting the Antenna in the rear. I am thinking about fabbing up a plate to ride above the third break-light on the tailgate. That will also give me sort of a ground plane (depending on how big the plate is), but it will be ridiculously high. Someone on here used a wrangler antenna mount bracket that mounted on the retaining bolts on the tire-carrier, but they may have had to do a little work to get it to fit. so there are some options for mounting out back.

I have also seen some nice Cowl-mounts with an NMO connector drilled in and I'm going to look at that too. I just dont want a lot of stuff in my front view if I can help it.

Rank III

Sep 07, 2022

#36
I mounted the MXT-275 Head unit under the steering wheel. I drilled a whole on my Ditch light bracket and cleaned up some powder coating and mounted the Ghost Antenna on the mount. Ant mount.jpg
Mal, Rhiostatic

Rank VII

Sep 07, 2022

#37
I mounted the MXT-275 Head unit under the steering wheel. I drilled a whole on my Ditch light bracket and cleaned up some powder coating and mounted the Ghost Antenna on the mount. View attachment 44076
Looks great! Where/how did you route the cable?

Rank III

Sep 07, 2022

#38
Looks great! Where/how did you route the cable?
I took the door off and routed the cable behind the weather strip and through the grommet by the brake booster.
LoneRanger, JoergH and 1 other

Rank III

Sep 19, 2022

#39

I don't have my Bronco yet.

Was the mount you used already part of the brake light? Or did you add a bracket of some sort?

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