HF Screwdriver Antenna for 2007 Tahoe

 K5LAD – September 27, 2007

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I use a Little Tarheel screwdriver antenna on my 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe.  It has the advantage of being shorter than many of the other commercially-made screwdrivers but this feature assures that I can still park the Tahoe in the garage and without the necessity of physically doing something to it each time the vehicle is stored in the garage.  The antenna is mounted on a heavy home-brewed bracket on the front driver's side of the vehicle and described elsewhere on these pages.

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The picture here shows the attachment of the coax to the bracket and mobile mount.  The center conductor is clamped and soldered to a larger ring eye connector.  The heavy bolt goes through the eye, through the bottom of the white plastic insulator and securely into the metal, internally-threaded piece which also holds the bottom bolt which mounts the screwdriver body.  The ground connector is clamped to the coax shield braid and also soldered.  The bright square silver patched area was protected from painting by a piece of tape.  This assures that the ground connection will be as solid as possible without the requirement to go back and scrape paint down to the bare metal as you often see instructed.  This ground connection could not be any better.  Notice also that the area around the two holes, which will be used for the bracket mounting bolts, are also devoid of paint and showing bare metal to have a good solid ground.  This was also done by covering this area with a piece of black plastic tape prior to beginning the painting.  Note also the piece of black plastic tape around the center of the bracket which is used for protection from rubbing against the side of the vehicle's hood.

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This rather unattractive picture shows the two bolts removed which originally only held one side of a hood bracket but will soon hold the Z-shaped bracket to which the screwdriver will be mounted.  Some parts of the Tahoe's metal body pieces seem to be plastic but the area shown in the picture above is a good solid connection to the chassis.  Certainly a good strong and solid place to mount the antenna bracket with the additional benefit of being well grounded to the vehicle's frame to provide a good ground connection.

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This picture shows a side view of the bracket just prior to bolting it to the hood bracket.  The black tape you see here is matched by one on the other side.  This side protects the finish on the fender if it happens to bend a bit close and the tape on the other side protects the finish on the edge of the hood.   It's a pretty simple system which has worked quite well.  If, after the bracket has been in use for a time, begins to weather and try to remove itself, it can be easily and inexpensively replaced.

 

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 This picture shows the Little Tarheel screwdriver antenna now mounted on the bracket.  There are two cables exiting the bottom of the antenna are the feedline of RG-8X and the control cable for the antenna.  At the recommendation of the Little Tarheel folks, there is a ferrite core with the control cable running through it for several turns and located just under the hood, very close to the antenna.  Little Tarheel suggests that without that ferrite core, the antenna would perhaps not tune properly, if at all.  I did not try the antenna without the core but I took them at their word and I haven't been sorry with operation of the unit.

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These two pictures show the antenna all mounted up and ready to go and viewing it from different directions.  The screwdriver is at its lowest position to allow the vehicle to get into the garage.  Even though the whip is tall enough to bend more than half of it length when garageing, it is sufficiently flexible that it doesn't seem to be adversly affected by the bending.  I do now have some strips of white plastic tape mounted on the side facing the driver which marks both the positions for the various bands and also the "all the way down" position. 

 

Updated 09/30/07 05:16 PM

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