So, I took a leave of absence from the forum because I switched companies and am no longer driving the new-style Cascadia. While I’m very sad that I no longer drive that brand new truck with a ton of storage space, I am overall much happier at this new company.
Since I switched companies and trucks, I’ve abandoned my previous thread of the same subject (except for the year model). This time, I learned from my mistakes from before and have managed to get everything connected in the right order the first time without damaging anything, and I have pretty good numbers to share. But first, I wanted to share pictures of the setup that I’m sure the old hands here will yawn at and be unimpressed by, but what the heck, I will do it anyway. I would, however, like some feedback about the flex I’m experiencing with this antenna at highway speeds. It’s a bit concerning.
Radio and mount:
I created the above mount because there is no place for the radio in this truck. Where the shop says it’s supposed to go (the sunglass holder just to the left of the mic in this picture) would require me to remove the sunglass holder, and even still, there is no means to secure the radio in that hole. Plus, it would look ugly with this giant hole there. So, I decided to create a mount for the radio using a sheet of plexiglass. I cut two pieces to size, glued them together with JB Weld Clear Epoxy, rounded off the edges with 100 grit, 320 grit, and 3000 grit sandpaper, cut the holes so the radio’s angle could be adjusted, and then applied two layers of industrial velcro (two layers were needed to give enough space for the bolt and nut holding the bracket). I think I could probably put my entire body weight (150lbs) on this thing and it wouldn’t come down…
Now, on to the antenna…
Here’s the antenna looking out from the truck while stopped:
Now, here’s the part where I’m concerned about the bend/flex in the antenna. Please forgive the quality of this video because it’s hard to do safely while driving. Notice the flex both backward and outward? I’m worried that this is going to cause something to break. When this video was taken, the wind was a very strong straight-ahead headwind (no crosswind) gusting to about 20 mph. I have the PVC pipe in place as was recommended by @rabbiporkchop (I think? or was it @Slowmover1?) when he built his rig, and while the antenna is mostly standing up while going down the road, the bend in it is very concerning for me. What do you guys think?
I’ve driven since this video was taken in less windy conditions (last night, there was hardly any wind) and it stands straight up, but the arc still worries me.
Do you think a heavy-duty spring like this one would help?
Interesting hypothesis: My father-in-law has a background in physics and aerodynamics; he hypothesizes that the PVC tube is actually catching more air and helping to cause the flex. He recommends I try removing it and take the truck for a test drive to see. (I’ve only driven with the pipe on.) I intend to do just to satisfy my curiosity as soon as I can get home and get to a ladder tall enough to remove it without having to unscrew the antenna from the mount. (I figure, the less I mess with the antenna, the better.)
I was able to test the SWR with both the internal and an external meter and I am getting 1.1 to 1.2 on the readouts on channel 19. (I know you’re supposed to do 1 and 40, but since I never talk on those, I wanted to calibrate for 19 specifically.) I was able to reach a stationary contact approximately 5 miles away (as the crow flies) before his signal started to get scratchy and fade away. He reported the same. This is MUCH better than the 1 mile ahead to 3 miles behind I was getting with the stock antenna in my former 2020 truck. So, overall, I am very happy with these results.
I did notice a whine in the static, usually as I climbed hills. Also, when my ParkSmart/Opti-Idle air conditioner behind the bunk is running while at a truck stop, there is considerable noise in the static. I had yet to install grounding straps between the door and door frame at the time I noticed this. In my 2020, it was all carbon fiber, which means grounding straps are useless, whereas I think this 2019 truck still has a metal body. Update – I started writing this thread yesterday but I’ve been waiting on Dropbox to finish uploading my photos. While I waited, I installed 1 grounding strap (that’s all I have with me; the rest are at home) between the driver’s side door bolt and a frame bolt. It might just be a coincidence, but during last night’s drive, I no longer heard any whining noises. I am, however, still hearing a bit of extra static (though less so) when the bunk air conditioner is running at a truck stop.
So, I’m looking for suggestions on how to clean up this noise and recommendations on where else I should install grounding straps.