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Thread: Ball Mounts - Going old school!

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    Default Ball Mounts - Going old school!

    I have access to a large number of NOS low band ball mounts from various eras and manufacturers. These range from Stainless Antenna Specialists models from I am guessing the 90ís to GE Mounts that apparently can date back to the 1950ís, and probably do. Also some black cast metal ones that I believe may be RCA. I'm going to mount one of these on the side of my truck toolbox for 43mhz operation at 100w.

    When did the ball mount quality go to $hit? All my research online suggests that the old GE and Antenna Specialists ones were great, but the new Antenna Specialists and pretty much all the rest are terrible. The stainless ones look nice but if they are crappy I donít want to invest money and time in one.

    Anyone have any experience with these?


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    We ordered some TAB1012s from Motorola late last year, and they appeared to be the same HD ones we have always gotten. Looking at eBay the site appears to be polluted with cell phone mounts, but a detailed search might yield some better results. I don't know if the lowband ball mounts are still in the system, but we have used them on heavy use vehicles and they still hold up. The only difference I could see before mounting is no more 'Motorola' imprint on the base of the mount.
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    Those low band ball mounts make heavy duty UHF antennas that can take a lot of abuse. In the early 80's, we had a sheriff's agency in Michigan move from low band to UHF so they could have a repeater. All their cars had ball mounts on the right rear fender with the whip arced and lashed to the passenger side front door trim. The undersheriff didn't want those ball mount holes left on all the cars, and he didn't like the big rubber hole plug either. So, I removed the spring, and cut the whips down to half waves. Worked fine. When the next fleet purchase went through, the county mechanics ordered more ball mounts for the new cars. I had to introduce them to the NMO mount, and then go through this period of adjustment as everyone was concerned the "new" quarter wave antennas didn't work as well, and the gain antennas looked stupid. They really wanted to stay with the ball mount.
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    I think I am worried more than anything about the whip hitting something and either ripping the mount off the side of the aluminum toolbox or the whip not staying perfectly vertical. The latter seems to be the major complaint with the recent ball mounts.

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    I used to leave them torqued just enough to stay vertical, but swivel back if slammed with something big.
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    It was interesting seeing ODOT (Ohio Department of Transportation) using these up until 2015. I would laugh when I would see it on the front fender of a F-150. They remind me of my military days with the large SINCGARS antennas.
    RAS .......... Retard Avoidance System.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NSPD View Post
    I have access to a large number of NOS low band ball mounts from various eras and manufacturers. These range from Stainless Antenna Specialists models from I am guessing the 90’s to GE Mounts that apparently can date back to the 1950’s, and probably do. Also some black cast metal ones that I believe may be RCA. I'm going to mount one of these on the side of my truck toolbox for 43mhz operation at 100w.

    When did the ball mount quality go to $hit? All my research online suggests that the old GE and Antenna Specialists ones were great, but the new Antenna Specialists and pretty much all the rest are terrible. The stainless ones look nice but if they are crappy I don’t want to invest money and time in one.

    Anyone have any experience with these?
    The old cast models were the best I could ever find and they seem to last absolutely forever!

    Phil

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    Be wary of any plastic used in those mounts, that are now older than a lot of members here. Plastic becomes brittle with age...

    FYI, the AS3900/S the SINCGARS antenna mentioned earlier, is a center fed dipole with matching circuit to cover 30-88 Mhz.. They can be brought down to 11m or 10m, barely... But at that length, you're better off with a full 1/4 wave... 6m is not that great, and while it is usable on 2m, again, there are better, more efficient antennas that are smaller.

    Broadband and rugged, able to withstand 20KV from contacting a power line, no problem. Good RF characteristics? Not so much.

    There is a guy who custom makes ball mounts, but they're expensive...

    The best bet I've had so far is.... https://www.amazon.com/ProComm-JBC98...dp/B0054HME58/ Been sporting it for over 2 years and looks like the day I installed it, until I removed it about a week ago.... It'll be going back in shortly...

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    Hustler has the SSM1 which I believe is stainless. They look almost identical to the Motorola style with the split ball.