Despite being an Extra for over a year, I just barely moved beyond my basic FT-250R HT. For the moment, it is still my only radio, but I have now added an antenna onto my car, so that I can get better reception and output. I did a lot of shopping around, and finally settled on a trunk-lip mount with a 5/8 wave monoband antenna. I may eventually get a dualband mobile radio in my car, but that’s at least several months off, and the antenna itself is the cheaper part of the setup.
So, to start with, as I said before, I have a Yaesu FT-250R HT. It is a 2M HT, and has served me very well. It is build nice and sturdy, and has a good set of features. I have owned it for almost a year now, and have nothing bad to say about it. I’ve been using it with a Comet SMA-24 from HamCity.com (where I have bought all my gear so far. It is a dual-band whip, and a nice upgrade over the rubber duck.
My car is a 2004 Pontiac Grand Am, which I just put a new aftermarket stereo into, which factors in a bit later. I picked it up used, and love it despite some cosmetic problems with the interior.
As I said earlier, after shopping around for a while, I settled on a Comet Heavy-Duty Lip Mount antenna mount, for NMO antennas. I chose the heavy-duty model so that I can use larger antennas if I want, and to ensure it would hold up well over an extended period. It can take up to 70″ antennas. I routed the cable into the trunk, and zip-tied it to the trunk hinges, to keep it out of the way of things in the trunk. Then I routed it around the edge of the rear passenger seat on the driver’s side, and curled up the excess cable behind the driver’s seat. With that done, I brought the end of the cable up along the center console, between the passenger seat and the console. I chose that side because it gets less use, and will have less movement than the driver’s seat.
I’ll leave the hookup to the radio for later, and return to the antenna. I chose a DIAMOND 144-172 MHz Monoband Mobile Antenna, with the NMO hookup. It gets a ~3.4 dBi gain, and can be trimmed to tune it for the specific center frequency you desire. I haven’t tuned mine yet, and have decided I probably won’t, since I’m getting excellent signal reports as it is, and I would rather not compromise the antenna by cutting it. It is 52.4″ long, leaving me plenty of length to spare under the 70″ limit on my mount.
Back to the in-car hookups, since the mount’s cable has a PL-259 connection, I also picked up a small adapter cable (COMET SO-239 to SMA Male) to actually hook up to my radio. I set my radio in the center console cup-holder, where it can sit stationary, keeping movement and flexing of the coax to a minimum. To further limit its movement, I chose a speaker-mic that worked with my radio. It has a long enough cable to clip onto my visor when not in use, and as an added perk has an audio-out plug on the mic itself, which I have hooked up to my stereo’s aux-in plug, allowing me to use my car’s speakers for audio, making it much easier to hear what is being said.
In all, the parts I needed beyond the radio cost me $125 after shipping, and I am extremely happy with my purchase. Below are a couple pictures of the mount itself, and the bottom of the antenna. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask, and I will be glad to answer to the best of my ability.