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2018 Z71 4x4 Extended Cab
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I wanted to follow up with the results of the installation of 2 radios & 3 antenna mounts in my 2018 Z71 Extended Cab. The job consisted of installing one Yaesu FT-7900 (2M/440) and one Kenwood TK-630 (VHF-Low) radio with control heads, mics, and speakers. 2 NMO antenna mounts went on the roof and one spare antenna mount on the driver side fender using the COMET no-drill antenna bracket referenced in post 140 of this thread. A friend who is experienced with 2-way radio installation led the install effort.

Both radio chassis, a power distribution/fuse box, and spare power port were mounted on a piece of plywood, painted black to match the floor and cut to fit behind the driver's seat. We used the previously-mentioned clutch pedal punch-out in the firewall to route the power lead to the battery and PA speaker lead. Instead of the boot-type grommet, the cables were routed thru the firewall via an outdoor/weatherproof cable grommet as used in the electrical trade. The PA speaker lead (shielded 2-conductor outdoor cable) went to a spare spot under the hood on the passenger side where a small PA speaker would fit. Installing that thing was as pain, as access under there is very tight. And I can tell you (with some shame), that I have the dealer replace the battery when the time comes, as that beast is also a pain to get out!

Speakers were mounted behind the passenger seat, on the removable trim panel that provides access to the spare tire tools. The dual-bander speaker is an amplified one, which was modified to switch audio to either the speaker itself or to the under-hood PA speaker. The 2 roof antennas' coax was routed thru the trim panel behind the driver's seat, and we removed the rear dome light for access. We did not drop the headliner. The NMO mounts were installed to clear the cross-brace and it was tedious, but went well. Be careful with removing/installing that dome light, it's in there pretty tight.

Finally, the control heads were mounted in the usual spot in the console cubbyhole in front of the shifter. Due to the tight space there, the FT-7900 head was mounted on top of the Kenwood head with some 3M outdoor mounting tape. It worked very well, and has held fast since October 2018. Because I would lose access to the USB port and AUX line -in jack, short extension cables plugged in, so I could still use those jacks. The 2 mics were hung on the passenger side of the console.

It all went pretty smoothly, and took about a full day to install everything. It's worked very well, the only glitch being glare on the control head displays coming from the passenger side window, from some angles. That was addressed by tilting the heads down a bit and with some anti-glare film from an Amazon vendor. I'll put a few pics below (I don't know what the pic limit is, I took a lot of pics).

Many thanks to all the posters in this thread with their great ideas, it made this job a lot quicker!

IMG_4975.JPG DSC_2254.JPG DSC_2253.JPG DSC_2245.JPG
 

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What would be the best spot to install the antenna? I use a Wilson Magnetic base and place it on the top of the roof about dead center.
 

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2020 Colorado Z71 Trail Runner
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644 Posts
Got my ham radio installed today. Main unit is in the center console, head unit and speaker are in the cubby with the USB ports and lighter socket. Had to tear things apart a wee bit but overall, not too bad.







You can see the speaker behind the face plate:

 

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Been lurking this thread. For the antenna mounting portion, I really like the idea of an NMO mount at the 3rd brake light. Looks like some creative aftermarket solutions, but unfortunately even the least-intrusive version I could find is $330 (Third Brake Light Antenna Mount - 2014-2020 Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon).

Has anybody come across a breakdown of the antenna base? Wondering if there's enough room (and stability) to add an NMO mount in there and just use the existing wiring channels to feed through the coax from the mount.
 

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2020 Colorado Z71 Trail Runner
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Been lurking this thread. For the antenna mounting portion, I really like the idea of an NMO mount at the 3rd brake light. Looks like some creative aftermarket solutions, but unfortunately even the least-intrusive version I could find is $330 (Third Brake Light Antenna Mount - 2014-2020 Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon).

Has anybody come across a breakdown of the antenna base? Wondering if there's enough room (and stability) to add an NMO mount in there and just use the existing wiring channels to feed through the coax from the mount.
The Bulletproofdiesel one is very well-made. I had one on my truck before I installed the shell. They made me a cut-off plate so I could re-install it with the shell, but I haven't gotten around to installing it, mostly because I don't feel look moving the antenna wire a third time. Maybe this winter after deer season . . .
 

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Planning on installing a Uniden Beartracker 885 soon. For those who don't know it is both a CB and Scanner. Which means it requires 2 antenna. I have decided where I am mounting it and am planning on taking the power from the wireless charger since it is useless anyway. I have also decided to bite the bullet and do NMO on the roof. My question is with 2 antenna on the roof is it better to have one on the left and one on the right....or one towards the front and one towards the back? Or does it even matter other than asthetics? Ive previously only done fender mounts so this is all new territory but plan to have my truck for a long time so figured it was worth doing right. Thanks for any and all replies!
 

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2020 Z71
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107 Posts
I'd put the CB antenna smack in the middle of the roof, and use a fender mount for the scanner, but that's just me.

Keeps us informed of your progress. I'm still on the fence about putting a radio in mine.

- Jim
 

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I'd put the CB antenna smack in the middle of the roof, and use a fender mount for the scanner, but that's just me.

Keeps us informed of your progress. I'm still on the fence about putting a radio in mine.

- Jim
Not a bad idea. Just figured if I was going through the trouble anyway might as well do both on roof. Then I only have to route cables once.

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I prefer to have any transmitting antennas as "in the clear" as I can. Putting two antennas close to each other will distort the patterns on both of them, and if I have a choice, the two-way radio wins the "best antenna mounting place" contest.

Since you're installing an NMO, what CB antenna will you be using? I helped a family member do this on his big dump truck last summer, and I think he bought one of the coil-loaded Larsen antennas.

Hustler makes some decent ones, too, but you need to get an NMO-to-3/8-24 adapter.
 

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I prefer to have any transmitting antennas as "in the clear" as I can. Putting two antennas close to each other will distort the patterns on both of them, and if I have a choice, the two-way radio wins the "best antenna mounting place" contest.

Since you're installing an NMO, what CB antenna will you be using? I helped a family member do this on his big dump truck last summer, and I think he bought one of the coil-loaded Larsen antennas.

Hustler makes some decent ones, too, but you need to get an NMO-to-3/8-24 adapter.
Sounds like you agree then to just put cb on roof and fender mount the scanner? Here's the cb antenna Im looking at.


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Sounds like you agree then to just put cb on roof and fender mount the scanner? Here's the cb antenna Im looking at.


Sent from my LM-V600 using Tapatalk
Just remember, the shorter the antenna the higher the angle of radiation and this lessons overall efficiency. There was a reason the 102" whip was all the rage back in the day!
 

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2020 Z71
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what about COMPACtenna?
I've always been leery of "magic" antennas.

As Mr. Scott regularly said, "Cap'n...I kenny violate the laws of Physics!".....

Full-size antennas, mounted high and in the clear, will always win. The classic 102" whip is a quarter-wave in length, and with a good ground system, is about as good as a simple vertical gets.

Center-loaded antennas are more efficient than base-loaded antennas.

Larger coils with larger diameter wire have lower losses, hence the "Texas Bug Catcher" loading coils.

BUT......in The Real World Of Mobile Antennas we have to compromise. A 102" whip smack dab in the middle of the roof would work very well, but it's a bit impractical for daily use.

@guiltyimnot - Yes, I'd mount the CB antenna on the roof, and use the fender-mount for the scanner antenna.The Larsen antenna is a decent one. Larsen has been doing this stuff "forever", and unless their QC has gone down the tubes, they make good antennas. The NMO mount you're planning on has numerous adapters available, so you could always adapt it for a different antenna, like the Hustler one I mentioned.

- Jim
 

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2021 GMC Canyon
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I am looking at using this company to install the antenna GeoTool This will go into the opening on the bedrail. Also looking at getting a Yaesu FTM-400
 

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I am looking at using this company to install the antenna GeoTool This will go into the opening on the bedrail. Also looking at getting a Yaesu FTM-400
Have been thinking of going the geotool route too. Please share some pics/comments if you get one of his mounts!
 
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Have been thinking of going the geotool route too. Please share some pics/comments if you get one of his mounts!
If I could ever get him to call me back I would get one of the mounts ordered :( Finally got up with Rick at Geotool. He sent me a lot of info on the bed stack mount. That is way I will be going. I will be ordering it this week. Going to get the SO-239 mount. Going to be ordering a new Ham radio this week. Either the Yaesu 400 or the new 300. Not sure yet on that one. Going to order the Lido Gooseneck mount for the radio head. Will be taking pictures and also shooting a youtube video to put up on my channel.
 

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My little dual band mini install. The antenna wire is nice and neat, I haven't got around to pulling power cleanly yet.


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How did you run the coax into the truck? Is there a punch out under the cab?
 
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