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HOW TO: ball mount for CB antenna installation

Discussion in 'Ham Radio - CB - Trail Communications' started by Lankhimself, June 8, 2008.

^^Searches ExplorerForum.com^^





  1. Lankhimself

    Lankhimself Active Member

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    I got tired of impermanent CB antenna mounts and decided to go permanent. I decided on a simple ball mount to solve this problem since I wasn't too keen on ripping down my headliner and drilling through my roof. The ball mount is inexpensive and out of the way once it's installed. I'm pretty happy with how it looks.

    Anyway, I decided to document this installation just in case anyone would want to do this to their own rig.

    Tools you'll need:
    -Drill
    -1" hole saw bit
    -9/32ths drill bit
    -9/64ths drill bit
    -Flathead screw driver
    -Socket wrench
    -Nut driver (optional)
    -Center punch
    -Snips
    -Crimpers
    -Soldering Iron with solder
    -Heat gun
    -Heat shrink wrap
    -Silver sharpie
    -a buddy to give you a hand
    -and about one hour of your time.

    Materials you'll need:
    -Antenna ball mount from Radio Shack ($17.99)
    -CB Antenna
    -Split coaxial cable (enough to reach from the antenna to your radio, naturally.)

    Step one:
    Find a spot on your rig to drill the mounting holes. The usual spot for a ball mount is near the gas door on the rear of the vehicle. Space is tight in that area, especially on Explorers, but that spot did work fine. NOTE: Before you drill ANYWHERE, check, double check, and triple check that there is nothing behind the spot where you plan to drill. I used a tapping method to make sure I had the right spot and not somewhere else.

    Step two:
    Inside your hatch area, pop off the cover on the driver's side that hides the reservoir for the washer fluid. I cut out the template of the hole pattern that you need to drill for the mount off the back of the ball mount package. Using the silver sharpie, I traced the center hole of the template on the wall inside the opening in the hatch area. I stuck the drill in there and slowly drilled the center of the circle I drew until I could see the bit pushing the metal on the outside (the outside of the truck) I didn't drill through. This is how I made sure I had the right spot before I used the hole saw.

    Step three:
    Grab the template again and trace the hole pattern on the paint. The 1" hole should be in alignment with the little bump in the paint you just made from the inside. Once everything is drawn, attach the hole saw bit to your drill. NOTE: Make sure you attach a pilot bit to the inside of the saw bit. This is where the 9/64 bit comes in. Double check everything again, then start drilling. Take your time- go slowly so the teeth can get a good bite then eventually pick up some speed. The bit will eat through the metal in no time and you will soon end up with this:
    [​IMG]

    Step four:
    You now need to drill the three other holes. Attach your 9/32 bit to your drill. It's a good idea to use a center punch before you start drilling these holes. You can't afford a drill bit skating across your paint making scratches.:thumbdwn: After you drill the three other holes, it should look like this:
    [​IMG]

    Step five:
    Now since you have all the holes drilled you can now install the mount. The mount includes a rubber gasket, a plastic insulator and a metal backing plate. The back of the package will show how they are correctly arranged. The ball mount also includes all the necessary hardware and connectors for the coaxial cable. Here are a couple views of the ball mount installed:
    [​IMG]
    and from the inside:
    [​IMG]

    Step six: Splitting and/or attaching the coaxial cable:
    Since this mount does not use a typical "screw on" type of coaxial attachment, you will either need to split your existing coaxial cable (what I did) or buy a length of coaxial cable with a split end. Coaxial that has been "split" is when the cable is divided into a power and a ground wire. If you have the know-how and are confident you can do this yourself. Strip about 3-4" of insulation off the end of your coaxial cable. You'll see a wire surrounded by copper fibers. What you'll need to do is separate the copper fibers from being wrapped around the main power wire. Twist the copper filaments together to form a thicker wire. This is your GROUND wire. Solder the copper wire so it will not come undone. Using the supplied terminals from your ball mount, crimp a ring terminal to the end of the ground wire you just soldered. The other wire you'll be putting a ring terminal on is the power wire. Strip about a centimeter of insulation off and then crimp on the terminal. It's a good idea to heat shrink all your connections to protect them from the elements. I used red heat shrink on my power wire and white for my ground. This is what it looked like when I was done:
    [​IMG]
    I apologize for not having more pics of me splitting the coaxialAgain, if you do not feel comfortable doing this procedure with the coaxial cable, Radio Shack sells 10ft lengths of coaxial cable with the splitting already done for around $10.:thumbsup:

    Step Seven:
    Since you have now split the coaxial cable, you need to attach it to the mount. The power wire of the coaxial attaches to the tip of the main stud (the large center bolt) of the ball mount and fastens with a supplied screw. The ground wire attaches to the metal backing plate using any of the three existing mounting screws. It's a crappy picture, but you can see where the power and ground wires attach here:
    [​IMG]

    Button everything back up inside, clean up your mess of tools, attach an antenna and you're done! I'll say that this how-to writeup is a little bit convoluted and could use some more pictures, but if you are stuck in a bind take a peek at the back of the package because your instructions are all there!
    [​IMG]
     
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  3. Blacksheep Josh

    Blacksheep Josh Slinky+Escalator=Fun

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    nice writeup :thumbsup:

    this will definitely be done whenever i get a truck that's lifted
     
  4. rizzjc

    rizzjc Scubajoe - Radio Mod Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    Nice job, and nice writeup!
     
  5. BillyBob82

    BillyBob82 Active Member

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    Hey Lank

    Completely off topic, but do you ever go to Burlington Used Auto Parts in Shirley? I've been out there a few times when I had my SHO and they always had what I needed, but I've yet to head out there for anything for the X and I didn't know if they stock a lot of junker Explorers.
    Back on topic, the antenna looks great, awesome writeup!
     
  6. DeRocha

    DeRocha NEX Vice President Elite Explorer Moderator Emeritus

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    Very Nice job... :thumbsup:
     
  7. SkanlaxJMO

    SkanlaxJMO Well-Known Member

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    nice write up
     
  8. MustangP51

    MustangP51 Well-Known Member

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  9. wisekise

    wisekise Active Member

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    nice write-up
    how is that mount as far as sturdiness? it looks pretty tough from the pics.

    i have a tail light mount i made but i hit some trees harder than sonny bono while in the OBX and broke the black plastic top of the light itself but no damage to the ant.:confused:
    ....i think i smell my next small project :salute: thanks
     
  10. Lankhimself

    Lankhimself Active Member

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    It's very strong, but just keep the main bolts tight. With a such a huge antenna on the mount it's expected that it will get a little loose every now and then. No complaints here, though. I typically keep the whip tied down to my roof basket so it doesn't hit so many branches.
     
  11. Blacksheep Josh

    Blacksheep Josh Slinky+Escalator=Fun

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    Can you get a picture of it from far away? Like shows the antenna and your explorer?
     
  12. Donner

    Donner Explorer Addict

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    But wait... how's that different from drilling a hole in the roof v. body? My cable moves through the roof without the liner coming down. I admit, many antennas have been broken off, but still, drilling holes?
     
  13. Htown451

    Htown451 Member

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    thats cool, you think this could be done on the plastic part of the rear bumper, below the tank, the tupperware lookin crap, thats where i want to put it, will it hold?
     
  14. rizzjc

    rizzjc Scubajoe - Radio Mod Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    You would probably have a massive amount of flex on that piece of plastic, not to mention not having a ground place for that antenna.
     
  15. Lankhimself

    Lankhimself Active Member

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    [​IMG]
    and one with the antenna untethered:
    [​IMG]
    Hope this helps! :thumbsup:

    PS I also made a big post in the 2nd Gen radio installs sticky thread if any of you are wondering what the rest of my setup consists of :)
     
    Last edited: August 29, 2008
  16. Sandy

    Sandy Well-Known Member

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    We all know that some off road groups will not allow the use of the 108" S/S Whip AND that this is only a 1/4 Wave antenna.

    BUT... you could use a quick disconnect and swap a shorter fiberglass type antenna for trail communications.

    The ball mount has to be one of the most secure mounts for an antenna.
    The mounting of the ball on the side of the vehicle does create a small clearance problem but usually not a biggy.
    My first CB Antenna was a 7' FireStik mounted on the trunk of my vehicle using a Ball Mount, never once had a problem with hardware coming loose.
    If you use a small amount of Loc-Tite on two of the three mounting bolts that usually helps a lot to keep things from loosening up; the third bolt, without the Loc-Tite, is for a clean ground connection but if you are careful you can use a little Loc-Tite on it.
     
  17. insaneirish96258

    insaneirish96258 New Member

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    i'm looking for a ball mount. i live in california so not sure where to get it. the few offroading places i've checked don't carry them. they say places like best buy. any ideas?
     
  18. The DB

    The DB Active Member

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    Best Buy? Heh funny. The best thing to do is see if there is a local cb shop or buy one on-line. None of the big box stores sell anything like that. Radio Shack might still sell them. They have on listed on their web site and a local store actually has one in stock...

    Try here.

    The DB
     
  19. IRONHIDE

    IRONHIDE New Member

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    I realize this is an older thread, but I plan on installing a similar setup. Quick question: would you I think I would incite any issues by installing it on the passenger side as opposed to the driver side? I prefer the passenger side because it seems like It would be more out of the way when it comes to drive thrus and such. Also, MY sport was dented on that side. I repaired it, but it's primed in black in that area, and it would bother me to drill holes there. Thanx!
     
  20. The DB

    The DB Active Member

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    As far as the antenna is concerned it shouldn't matter to much. Depending on how high the antenna goes you are more likely to hit trees if the antenna is mounted on that side.


    The DB
     
  21. IRONHIDE

    IRONHIDE New Member

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    Yeah that's true as well. Did you have any issues with the antenna "hearing" too much? In my sport, I have the SOHC engine, and I have tried all kinda of antenna and grounding combinations, but I can't get mine to stop hearing the electronics of the explorer. It's not alternator whine, and it's not the fuel pump....aggravating!!
     

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