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replacing my am/fm antenna with a firestick II


Nephus

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replacing my am/fm antenna with a firestik II

I'm concidering replacing the am/fm stock antenna on my 2001 X sport with a Firestik II and using their MatchMaker antenna splitter (http://www.firestik.com/Catalog/AR-1A.htm) to hook my stereo to.

Where I've run into a bit of a problem is deciding what mount to use for the firestik. Any suggestions? Also, does anyone here have any experience using the firestik matchmaker?
 
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Nephus

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well, I went searching around and found some hope out in the flotsam and jetsom of the web.

"I am pleasantly surprised with the performance. The CB seems works okay. Although, I haven't used anyone elses CB to compare it to. I have talked to a couple of truckers. I got an SWR reading of 1.4 without the matchmaker hooked up. Surprisingly, with the matchmaker I got a reading of 1.1. I expected performance to diminish, but is seems to have improved instead. AM radio perforance is better also. Stations that had static before are now clear. It has tuning adjustments for AM and CB. I can't tell any noticeable difference in FM performance.
...
Overall, I think it is a pretty good choice if you just want one antenna.
"
http://www.automotivehelper.com/topic11617.htm

so, this might be a feasable option afterall. I'm just waiting on agzaretzka to get back to me on how he mounted his antenna in place of the stock one (and my paycheck) to start buying stuff. Still, a little feedback from another x owner who's done this would be nice.

Here was the inspiring xterra that got the above quotee to try it out himself: http://www.rkrenn.com/xterra/mods/cbantenna/cbantenna.htm

If only it were that easy for us eh?
 


agzaretzka

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Antenna mount

Finally made to a friend's who has a good camera, unfortunately it was already dark outside (and yes, I know the X needs a paint job).



The inards of the stock mount are wedged in the assembly from the bottom. After knocking that out, I purchased a bolt long enough to go through the assembly and into the antenna's threads. Note the plastic washer (dark ring) separting the antenna and stock mount. There is also another one on the bottom side isolating the bolt from the mount. And since the mount is tapered, I also wrapped the bolt with some electrical tape to snug it up and keep it centered.

This is what came out of the original mount: top piece pulls off the top, and the bottom piece is what was wedged in from the bottom.


Below is the trim piece. Since it too is metal, some very quick work with a small hand file created some clearance around the antenna's hex base.



The standard 4' antenna is a little stiff for this location (Firestik II); at 70mph there is too much flexing of the sheet metal for me to be comfortable; a little bracing on the underside should take care of this. But I've ordered the 3' FireFly (lighter and thinner) and the antenna splitter; I'll let you know how they work. Also at 4', the antenna is just tall enough to hit the overhead sprayers in the automatic car wash I sometimes use; 3' will clear that and look closer to stock.

One more thing I haven't gotten to is to put a large piece of heat shrink tube over the antenna base so it is all black.
 


Nephus

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hmm.. sounds like I should go with a firefly as well
I'm having some second thoughts on this project at the moment. Everyone I've talked to says that CBs just aren't as useful as they used to be. I was mostly intending on using it while on long trips for keeping up on the info the truckers were passing around, but I don't know if that justifies the cost of all this. *sigh* I'm still very interested in hearing how the splitter works out for you, but I'm not sure if I really want to be on the airwaves afterall.
 


agzaretzka

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I understand. I don't use the CB often, and only installed it in the X because I had it 'waiting' in the garage for nearly 20 years, and I had read that many off-roading groups require one in you rig. Obviously, that situation doesn't require the best setup. I did notice an improvement going from the cheap fiberglass antenna I had to the FireStik II.
 


agzaretzka

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Well, the MatchMaker antenna splitter works very well! All my favorite stations came in without static, which is a vast improvement over the loose wire I was using. And, if memory serves, reception is a little bit better now than with the stock antenna. As to CB performance, don't know. Static level seems to be the same, and driving around, I picked up local traffic as well as before. The 3' FireFly does look a lot better than the 4' FireStik, and it doesn't move around nearly as much as the FireStik did (being significantly thinner).

I'm happy!
 


zebrex

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ok where did you find the match maker and what did you pay for it? Im dying to do this mod so I can park in the garage again. the cheapsist I have found it is $23.00 before shipping. thats to much when the manufacture say suggested retail of 17.99
 


agzaretzka

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Walcott CB Sales said:
------------------------------------------------------

http://www.walcottcb.com/

Products
------------------------------------------------------
1 x CB Antenna to AM/FM Splitter (AR1A) = $16.95
1 x Firestik Firefly Flexable Antennas (FL) = $14.95
Length FL3B 3FT Black
Enjoy.
 


zebrex

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just one last question. How do i get to the am fm antenna? though the glovebox or from under the fender by removing the fender skirt?
 


agzaretzka

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zebrex said:
just one last question. How do i get to the am fm antenna? though the glovebox or from under the fender by removing the fender skirt?
Popping the trim piece off the antenna base reveals three screws holding the mount to the body; underneath is hole big enough to fish the antenna cable.

I chose to leave the original cable in place and feed a new cable for the CB; this is easy on the inside with the glove box dropped and the radio out. But it did require drilling one hole to feed the cable thru the firewall. I found it easy with a long drill bit to drill between the dash and the body, at about the height of the upper door hinge (after removing the trim on the door opening).

The AR-1A will plug directly into both radios.

(Sorry, don't have my own camera, or I would show you.)
 


Struglia

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Agzaretzka,

Did you by any chance test the SWR of the Firefly without the am/fm/cb splitter box?

In my quest for a low clearance cb antenna, I got an X antenna mount from the salvage yard and have mounted it on the driver's side cowl panel, exactly symmetrical with the factory antenna, and tried a couple ways of attaching a 3' thin Francis fiberglass antenna (Firefly's aren't on the shelves around here), but SWR is always over 3. Tried a base loaded antenna and got it down to 1.7:1 (by chopping a *lot* off the whip), so it's not my coax or a grounding problem... Tried trimming the francis antenna, it got vaguely better , then started getting worse with about 1/4" lopped off so far. Stopped there.

Thought maybe the 2+ inches of bolt (or antenna in one case) going through the metal of the stock mount is causing a capacitance that a top loaded fiberglass antenna can't handle. I guess the base loaded antenna sees the bolt as part of the whip (sort of) so less whip is needed.

I far prefer the looks of a thin fiberglass antenna, but am not sure where to go from here. Keep chopping on the Francis? Find a Firefly and hope the built-in adjustment can compensate?

I may try a conventional mount in the same location and see how the swr goes. Or start looking for thin base or center-loaded antennae....
 


agzaretzka

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Yes, but it has been a while. If memory serves it was about 1.5 without and about 1.6 with the splitter. Don't have any advise for you as I am no expert with radios. Hopefully someone else will offer some insight.
 


Struglia

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Weird as a beard. Maybe I got a bum Francis. I'll temporarily try the 5.5 foot fiberglass I had on the Pinto wagon and see where swr is with that. Thanks.

Thanks for the inspiration on the mount idea, too. Once finished mine should look pretty stock, and get out fairly well. One note to anyone else wanting to try this, though. The cowl panel that the am/fm antenna is attached to has a depression on the passenger side that I did not notice...so my reversed mount on the drivers side leans outboard--a lot! I need to fabricate a wedge of some sort to get it back vertical. More and more work, typical of my custom installs. Starting to wish I'd gotten the 14" magnet mount by Firestick, tossed it on the roof and been done with all this. ;)
 


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