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Copyright 1995 - 2008   John Tait   All rights reserved.

A Ball hitch Mobile mount

   Having recently aquired a new FT857 rig, I decided to fit out the car for a bit of mobile operation. As I drive a company car, and my employers do not take kindly to employees digging holes in their vehicles, how was I going to mount the antennae??

   VHF/UHF was not a problem, as an ordinary magnetic mount, in the roof centre would do fine. The HF whip was another matter altogether. Any Magmount, would not be as safe as I would like, and even if a suitable Magmount could be found..where could I put it?... Centre of the roof?...too high!  Anyway, that spot is used by the VHF/UHF whip.  On the booth lid?... Maybe the top of the whip would be too high, and what about grounding?... I'd have to run grounding straps from the booth lid to the chassis etc.....messy!

    I decided that the best option was to mount the whip on my trailer hitch.. This would give a good solid attachment point, good grounding to the chassis, and a reasonably good position on the vehicle RF-wise..  Up to now, any ball hitches that I have had, were bolted to a plate. These bolts could be used to mount a piece of angle iron to carry the antenna base mount. My present hitch is of a different type, and consists of a curved bar which disappears under the chassis of the car, and there are no handy bolts to hold a base mount. Most new cars that I have seen have this type of hitch..

   Of course I could have just gone an ordered a nice new mount from Dick N7EMW who seems to cater for all kinds of mobile mounts, and will do "specials", as he seems to like a challenge. But I was in a hurry,  I'm a cheapskate, and my brother has quite a well fitted workshop, with lots of bits and pieces of steel lying around.

 

 

    

 The Construction

            I picked a piece of pipe, about 8 inches long, which fitted snugly over the ball hitch..about 2 inches ID. I drilled a hole about 2 inches from one end, and welded a nut over this hole. A bolt passes through this nut, and into the pipe. It is tightened against the hitch, making a good electrical contact, and locking the mount firmly in place.

 

 

 I then welded a piece of angle iron to the top of the pipe, and drilled a hole on the horizontal part to accomodate the 3/8th inch base mount for the whip. The whip stands back far enough to allow the booth lid to open freely, and it only takes a minute to assemble, or take apart the whole shebang..

 

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