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License Plate Antenna Mount
Project by Ken -  AC0NJ

Along with my duties as an "Elmer" with Hamuniverse.com, I've been busy around the house.  Here are some photos of my latest project. 
At a recent Ham Fest, I saw
MFJ had a new antenna mount that used the License Plate mount on the car.  They wanted $50 for it.  I came home and made my own for a lot less.  It's much stronger than their mount.  I've been using it for the past couple weeks.  Nice, and it doesn't mark up the car finish.

 


It looks good on the car!


Steel plate cut, bent and drilled.


On the back of the mount you will notice some copper strips. 
I used the 1/4 inch peel off copper tape used on stain glass windows.  You peel the paper backing off and stick it to the metal. I soldered all the joints just to make sure I had good contact.  Add a little flux and it's easy.

I picked up a piece of 16 gauge steel at Lowes for $13.00.  I bent the angle at 106 deg to match the angle of the car plate.  The plate is at a 16 degree angle.  Add to the 90 degrees comes out to 106 degrees looking at the end.  My VW is metal, there are 4 metal studs mounted on the trunk.  So the bolts are screwed into a ground.  The front side (white) is the part that the license plate sets on. 

Some cars have a lot of plastic, a ground wire can be brought down from the license plate light to the back of the mount.  The antenna is the Yaesu ATAS-120, it matches up nicely to the Yaesu FT-857.

When I started I took an old license plate laid it down upon the steel traced the outline of the plate.  Then I scored a line across, I made sure I had  2â€Ã‚ ledge to work with.  Toward the end I extended it out so as to move the antenna to the side of the plate. 

One more thing.  If a person wants they can always use one of the Diamond K-400 antenna mounts (that will allow the person to set the angle of the antenna).   The piece of steel was 12 x 18.  The first one I cut a two inch piece and spot welded it to the vertical piece.  It worked quite nicely.  If a person finds there is a little too much flex in the antenna, they can put a small brace on it or use a couple tie wraps  (one end through one of the plate mounting holes).   If someone wants more info they can contact me.  Just have to be a little handy with tools (and have some tools).  This way you can make it to match your car or truck the one MFJ has, the mounting is on the left side.  I wanted it on the right.

I'm working on another mount that will put the antenna in the center and above the plate (perfect for a Caravan).  If you do not have your own bender, just check around with some metal shops.  They will bend it for you (there will be a charge).  I have a metal bender so that made the bending with ease.

Editors note: As far as I know, all license plates are standard sizes. The main variable you will have is the way in which the license plate is located on your vehicle, the angles involved with mounting to clear trunk overhang, bumpers, tire racks, etc or the lack of, and all the variables that go along with the various styles of vehicles.

So bottom line, you will have to decide if you can make this type of antenna mount work with your vehicle....good luck and thanks to Ken, AC0NJ.