When I was searching for a good location to install a CB antenna on my Rubicon X, I considered several locations. Most required me to purchase a mount of some kind or make a complicated bracket. Since I’ve always enjoyed fabricating when possible I also considered locations where I could make a mount. I like the idea of a reversible installations that does not leave behind a permanent hole or mark. With a CB antenna that’s a good idea because if I have to deal with really bad SWR and have to move the antenna, I’d rather not leave a trail of failed installations on my Jeep. After considering several locations at the rear of the Jeep, I decided to mount the CB antenna on the upper rear hinge and fabricate a simple bracket from some stainless steel I had lying in the garage.
The Antenna and Wire
Pulled from a previous 4×4, I was re-using my 18′ of Coax with a Removable PL259 and Terminator Stud. This was a Procomm HS818TNKT, which exits the bottom of the antenna mount at 90 degrees for a clean look.
Making a simple Bracket
The beauty of this mount is that it is simple. It’s just a flat plate with a few holes in it. The plate is bolted to the underside of the upper hinge. The plastic hinge cover is then notched on the underside to allow the bolts to hang below the plastic cover.
The bracket is really just a plate of stainless steel that had a notch in the side of it for some reason (not my doing). Ironically the notch seemed to be intentional when it was placed on the Jeep as though it was notched to clear a larger spare tire. I drilled a 1/2″ mounting hole (standard CB stud mount size) to accept the Procomm HS818TNKT mount. The adjacent hole was already there (though it looks like an antenna grounding hole!) But that’s my design…
For the purposes of this writeup, this plate can be any shape you want. I would however recommend using stainless steel if you make a bracket. To get a good antenna ground you should have metal to metal contact. Stainless won’t rust. Painted steel will insulate the steel and possibly not produce a good ground. Eventually steel will rust.
If you use an spring mounted antenna as I did, you will want the antenna to come off the hinge few inches otherwise the antenna will bang off your hard or soft top. I’m coming off the hinge about 3 3/4″ with the center of my antenna’s terminator stud and spring.
The two 3/8″ bolt holes drilled into the hinge are 2 1/4″ apart and hang down two inches. The bracket is separated from the hinge with three nuts on each bolt. There is a star washer above and below the hinge to ensure a good ground. Below the bracket is another set of nuts and lock washers.
Drilling out the Hinge
When you drill out the hinge, you will need a 90 degree drill adapter. If you value your paint job, place a piece of plastic or aluminum between the drill chuck and the paint job! Mark and drill out two 3/8″ holes as close to the edge of the hinge as possible leaving about 1/8″ of metal on the edge. It’s a good idea to use a center punch to get the drill bit to start easier without drifting into your paint. You want your mounting plate be at least a 1/16th to 1/8th inch away from your paint in the event that the the antenna moves the bracket a little. Remember, it will hang down an inch or so.You can always grind a little off your bracket if it makes contact after mounting it.
Mounting the Bolts
Use stainless hardware or quality zinc plated hardware to minimize rusting.
Notching the Hinge Cover
Hold the hinge cover up to your mounted bracket and mark the lower side of the cover. I used a set of sharp metal trimmers to notch the slots and a utility knife to cut the inside corner.
Pretty good location for the antenna for a few reasons. First, the SWR was insanely low! My SWR was so close to 1:1 that I questioned if the meter was working correctly! It was so my transmission and reception is really good. Secondly, the mount doesn’t interfere with the door opening. The only thing I can’t do is ride with the rear window open but I usually don’t like to do that because exhaust fumes roll up and into the vehicle. Coaxial routing was easy and clean with the cable routing into the door hinge side and up the passenger side. Best of all it was a free mount using stuff I had in the garage. A bonus is the hinge is not a perfect right angle and the bracket dips ever so slightly, which angle the Firestik antenna away from the hard top and it doesn’t make contact with the vehicle.