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GMRS Antenna Install?

Discussion in '3rd Gen. Tacomas (2016+)' started by ClutchTaco, Nov 26, 2018.

  1. Nov 26, 2018 at 4:21 PM
    #1
    ClutchTaco

    ClutchTaco [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Hey folks. Just ordered a Midland MXT400 for trail communications... So now I need to sort out an antenna installation.

    My current thoughts...

    Best performance possible obviously, but most communications will be in the <5mile range in forested areas.

    I'd really rather not drill a hole in the roof... But if someone has a step by step on how to do it and not get leaks/mess up the headliner I'd be interested. Everything I read says that putting it in the center of the roof will yield vastly superior results.

    I'd be open to the classic between fender and hood mount people use for CBs... but not sure how performance would be (especially if I was at the front of the pack).

    I like the little hockey puck / sharkfin type antennas... Not sure how well they work (but they do seem to need a ground plane / hole drilled)

    https://www.amazon.com/Larsen-450-4...coding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=S7G2GW8QHWGP14330NQE

    I also like the these interior glass mount antennas... again, not sure how well they work:

    https://www.amazon.com/Covert-SB450...coding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=M55TVQSGTNFH4WWD05Q3

    The last question... Eventually I'll be installing some sort of bed rack. Would mounting to the front of that (right behind the cab) provide enough of a ground?

    I'm sure I could hop on a radio forum, just figured someone might have some recommendations specific to a third gen Tacoma. Thanks for the help!
     
    TACOVRD likes this.
  2. Nov 26, 2018 at 4:41 PM
    #2
    JdevTac

    JdevTac Bawnjourno

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    I have the same radio. Opted to go with a Maxrad GMRS freq range antenna including a spring at the base, like 30 inches tall overall.

    Installed it in tandem with a Breedlove NMO mount. I don’t have pics but there are some on the forum from other members who went this route.

    Key factor in rooftop NMO hole making is buy yourself a Greenlee 3/4” CHASSIS punch. (NOT a conduit punch). Makes the job easy as hell and gives you an extremely perfect/clean hole. You can YouTube how it works and see how clean it makes things. Add some touch up paint and you are golden.

    The only pain in the butt with going rooftop route is you will need to either use a generic NMO mount that comes with “okay” cable (usually some flimsy RG8x or something), or do something custom using better cable. The premarital NMO with attached cable is good for a blind install where you don’t want to drop headliner and rather just fish it around to where you can route it down a pillar. The issue is under the headliner is a bunch of foam and then roof supports block things so you will likely need to at least partially drop the headliner.

    I figured since I bought a $200+ radio I would use some LMR cable. Which is why I also went with the Breedlove NMO puck because you can use whatever suitable cable you want with it.

    Mine has been installed for a while and I haven’t had any leak issues. The Breedlove mount comes with a neoprene rubber seal, and all the antennas you will find also have their own seal. So the Breedlove seals to the roof and the antenna seals to the Breedlove.

    I use a generic NMO mount cover for when I don’t run the antenna because I park in a parking garage every day.

    The other thing to consider with a roof mount is that Tacoma roofs are flimsy sheet metal. You need a backing of some sort on the interior side of the roof for stability/strength. The Breedlove has a backing plate as part of its mount but if you opt for something else then you’ll need to use a section of sheet metal, pizza platter, you name it to reinforce the roof, especially if you plan on going through the woods and could potentially whack the antenna.

    Summary: you can go an easy route or sky’s the limit.

    Mounting the antenna on a hood mount or somewhere else is likely easier, but you are right, roof is best for performance.

    Edit; greenlee punches can be found cheaper second hand on eBay.
     
  3. Nov 26, 2018 at 4:45 PM
    #3
    JdevTac

    JdevTac Bawnjourno

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  4. Nov 26, 2018 at 4:48 PM
    #4
    Dragracer_Art

    Dragracer_Art Tundra for the win

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    I cringe at the thought of poking holes in my roof... but have done it in the past.
    Lately I have just used a NMO trunk lip mount on the rear corner of the hood and really cant tell a noticable difference in performance on my 2 meter radio.

    20181104_191956_resized_1.jpg
     
    codemancer and TheGetLostTaco like this.
  5. Nov 27, 2018 at 9:32 AM
    #5
    ClutchTaco

    ClutchTaco [OP] Well-Known Member

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    265 75 16 Duratracs
    Yeah I'm definitely not fond of the idea of drilling a hole in the roof of my truck... But I also want clear communications. Have you specifically been at the front of the pack and had communications with someone behind you? My understanding is that the fender mount will lead to blind spots toward the rear.
     
  6. May 20, 2020 at 4:38 PM
    #6
    Dragracer_Art

    Dragracer_Art Tundra for the win

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    lol, I will finally answer this after almost two years.

    With the 65 watts my Kenwood TM281 puts out, there are no holes anywhere. It's an awesome radio and I use one as a base station too.
     

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