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Solution for amateur radio operators? Impossible to use magmount antennas in a Tesla

Discussion in 'Model S' started by wts13, Oct 20, 2013.

  1. wts13

    wts13 Member

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    For obvious reasons, the mostly-aluminum roof on the Model S makes it unsuitable for using a mag mount antenna for Ham radio use. I suspect this problem presents itself in other cars that are built similarly.

    We'd like to replace our Buick Enclave with the Model X when it comes out, but seeing as I can't use radios very successfully in the Model S, I'm not sure we want to have two cars with this problem.

    Anyone tried any innovative methods I might not have though of to circumvent this problem?
     
  2. Bearman

    Bearman Member

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    Suction cup like gopro cameras maybe?
     
  3. wts13

    wts13 Member

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    #3 wts13, Oct 21, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2013
    The issue is not just in attaching it, but in having a large conductive surface to aid in reception.

    Edit: To clarify, suction cups would interrupt the connection to the ground plane negating the usefulness of the antenna.
     
  4. evme

    evme Member

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    I am guessing you did not opt for the panoramic roof option? Maybe drilling a hole in the roof or how about placing it on the back glass?
     
  5. wts13

    wts13 Member

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    Drilling holes is a bit scary :p

    It would be interesting to know which if any areas of the car are some steel alloy as opposed to largely aluminum. The roof clearly isn't one of them. Haven't yet tried the rear deck - routing wires might be tricky but it could be done.

    Putting it on glass is pointless as it's not conductive. Aluminum is, but it's not magnetic. Hence the predicament :)
     
  6. stevezzzz

    stevezzzz R;SigS;P85D;SigX

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    I'm not an antenna designer, but there's an apparent contradiction in this: using a magnet to stick the antenna to a steel roof wouldn't seem to make an electrical connection through the paint any more than using suction cups to stick one to an aluminum roof...or does it?
     
  7. andrewket

    andrewket 2014 S P85DL, 2016 X P90DL

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    Give up ham radio? I'm only half kidding. I've been licensed since I was 17, but gave up the hobby about 10 years ago. It's slowly dying.

    On the MS with the pano roof there are mounts for a roof carrier. You could use those as a base. Perhaps a small metal bar across the roof to act as a ground plane.

    A
     
  8. Barry

    Barry Member

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    I've used a Comet trunk lip mount for years. With my current SUV (Toyota Highlander) I have it mounted on the side of the tailgate and it works well. I believe this is what I use, though mine is about 20 years old: Comet-NCG RS-520 | SMALL HVY DUTY TRUNK MOUNT

    I never liked mag mounts as they tend to scratch the paint.

    73
     
  9. scaesare

    scaesare Active Member

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    Other replies have already suggested a trunk lip type of mount... but I just wanted point out that in regard to the above point: there are lots of glass-mount options out there.

    They aren't as efficient as a thru-the-roof mounts if you have a ground-plane available, but given that you don't anyway due to the aluminum, this may be a good option for you.

    My buddy uses one for his 2M rig and it works well for him.
     
  10. sp4rk

    sp4rk Banned

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    Hate to add to the debbie downer; Like Andrew and you, I've been a licensed ARO for 20 years. Not used it in 10. Slowly may be an understatement.
     
  11. Thumper

    Thumper Member

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    Could you screw a mount into the roof rack spots if you have the Pano roof?
     
  12. wts13

    wts13 Member

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    Thanks for some of the suggestions...will check them out. And FYI, ham isn't the only thing we do...far from it. Yeah, it's declining in popularity. On the other hand business radio like MOTOTRBO is growing like crazy :)
     
  13. Ditpixs

    Ditpixs Member

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  14. K5ING

    K5ING MegaMiler

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    Yes, ham radio is dying. I got licensed back in 1989 and I still keep my license current, but I haven't been on the air in years except for the occasional Skywarn stuff. Cellphones and the internet are far more efficient.

    If you're using 440/2m, you could try a 1/2 wave "thru the glass" inductive antenna. They're not as good, granted, but you wouldn't have to drill anything.

    Jeff (K5ING)
     
  15. scaesare

    scaesare Active Member

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    Also have been licensed for almost 20 years now... we primarily use it for camping trips for vehicle communication and when the group goes hiking, etc...

    73's
    KF6NNR
     
  16. Barry

    Barry Member

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    VHF (2m repeater use) is dying, despite ARRL's dumb-it-down strategy to attract and keep the newbies. HF is alive and well and busier than ever, especially CW. The number of logs submitted in the big contests keep rising.
    W2UP
     
  17. NoMoGas

    NoMoGas Member

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    Ham is dying.... until the power goes out. Many areas (like LA) have amazing repeater systems (PAPA, WINsystem, etc) which actually allow IRLP repeater or Dstar access for worldwide communication. My IC2820 2m/440 Dstar rig will be the first add-on with a Larsen glass mount antenna.

    73's
    N6JRA
     
  18. K5ING

    K5ING MegaMiler

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    Glad to hear that. I dabbled in HF a little, but my main interest back when I got my ticket (and you still had to know code) was 2m for Skywarn storm spotting, packet radio and other digital communication, and ATV (amateur television). Interesting that while my work had internet back in 1989, my first home experience with it was via a 2m packet-->internet gateway our local university ham club had back then. That was also before browsers and since you had to use text-based TELNET, it worked pretty good. It also allowed me to do mobile internet using a Radio Shack TRS80/100 "computer", a TNC, and my Yaesu FT400 HT. It worked great for field day operations.


    trs80-100.jpg

    Anyway, to stay on topic, do we know what kind of amateur radio the OP wants to use? VHF/UHF, HF, ?
     
  19. Schlermie

    Schlermie P4932 - Delivery: 12/22

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    Barry,
    Any damage (paint? sheet metal?, weather stripping?) with the Comet lip mount? Did you end up mounting one on your Tesla? If so, where did you mount it?
    K6SLB
     
  20. brucet999

    brucet999 Active Member

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    There is a large steel roll bar across the middle of the roof. If it is in contact with the underside of the roof panel, might your magnet, or a stronger one, work there?
     

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