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Vehicle Antenna Mounting
My SUV Roof-rail Bracket Solution

by N6JSX 06/2012

A major draw back in doing mobile Amateur Radio is how to mount HAM vehicle antennas (especially HF antennas that require solid chassis-frame grounding). With the new trend of aerodynamic bumpers for improved MPG efficiency, antenna mounting has become a real struggle. Now one of my top vehicle buying concerns is 'how I can mount my antennas'? What will it take to create a mount? How can a mount be attached?

In the past I created dog-ears off the trailer hitch assembly for all my antennas.

When I became an Extra I was determined to go all-band mobile HF with a screwdriver antenna.

N6JSX Screwdriver Mount

Closeup of the "JSX" Screwdriver Mount

Screwdriver spare tire mounting worked great but required a custom made bracket. This bracket with chroming, lug-nut machining, and more - cost me nearly $200.

Most of today's SUV's no longer have the rear swing door (allowing a spare tire mount) they have gone to hatches. I just upgraded to a 2011 Pathfinder that has the rear hatch and hitch.

The flip-up hatch has an arc of nearly three feet past the rear bumper making a trailer hitch extension a large contraption (possibly requiring a clearance light), plus I have serious concerns about an inconsistent and ever changing HF ground even when using a grounding strap. Worse the trailer hitch has now been integrated into the rear bumper frame and covered with a plastic aerodynamic bumper shroud. Dog-ears off the trailer hitch are only possible by cutting serious holes into the plastic bumper (by arslan at tf). This makes adding a HF screwdriver bracket a serious design challenge that I'm working on and will be covered in my sequel article.

My more immediate concern is getting the VHF/UHF "J" antenna mounted on the Pathfinder without drilling holes into the roof or roof-rails. I've not found any viable brackets for roof rail mounting due to the shape/size of the Pathfinder type roof-rail (see diagram) in the rest of this article in the pdf file download here.
1.2meg pdf file, 6 pages. Requires Adobe Reader or equal.













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