If you are thinking about mounting a CB antenna on a pickup truck, you are not alone. Thousands of people hit the web looking for mounting options for their pickup every day. For some, it is as easy as removing and replacing a bolt under the hood. Some pickups, especially newer models, don’t have an under-the-hood mount available. For these pickups, you will have to explore other options.
What do I need to hook up a CB in my truck?
Hood / Fender CB Antenna Mounts
Hood mounts, also known as hood channel mounts or fender mounts, are one of the most popular ways to mount a CB antenna on a pickup. This is due in part to the ease of installation, especially on trucks that have a specialized hood mount available. Unfortunately this is not the case for all models. Automobile manufacturers regularly change the shape of hoods and fenders, making it difficult for CB antenna mount manufacturers to keep up with the new styles. If there is no mount specifically made for your pickup, sometimes a universal hood mount like the AUC10 tall hood mount or AUC11 short hood mount will work for you. Hood mounts are also chosen for style. A CB antenna installed on the driver’s side fender often compliments the AM/FM antenna on the passenger side.
Considerations for this mounting location:
- Your transmit signal will be weaker to the front driver’s side of the vehicle, where there is no ground plane.
- It is best to use an antenna that extends at least one foot above the cab when installed on the fender. Using a shorter antenna can cause a higher SWR.
- The coax for the antenna will have to be routed under the hood at or very near the mount location. It is usually routed through the firewall under the hood from there.
- When installing an antenna on the hood, you will typically end up with some slack in the coax. It is better to run it in a figure 8 and stow it somewhere rather than shorten the coax.
Stake Hole CB Antenna Mount
Another popular location for a CB antenna on a pickup truck is the stake hole pockets lining the bed. Typically, the stake holes closest to the cab are used. Both single and dual antenna configurations are used when mounting antennas in the stake holes. This is another option that allows you to install a CB antenna without drilling holes or altering the vehicle. There are stake hole mounts available that can install with access to the inside of the stake hole or with no access to the inside of the stake hole.
Considerations for this mounting location:
- Some bed liners cover up or restrict access to stake holes.
- These mounts are designed to go into the stake hole without damaging the vehicle. If you are having to force it, you are doing something wrong.
- To run the cable without drilling holes, users typically run the cable up over the edge of the bed near the cab, down between the cab and the bed, under the cab, back up under the hood and through the firewall.
- It is best to use an antenna that extends at least one foot above the cab when installed in a stake hole. Using a shorter antenna can cause a higher SWR.
- Your transmit signal will be a bit weaker to the side your antenna is installed on, where there is no ground plane.
Magnet Mount CB Antenna
The last option for a CB antenna mount that doesn’t require modifying your vehicle is a magnet mount. These antennas attach to the roof of your pickup with a large magnet. The downside to these antennas is reduced performance and damage to the trucks paint. Magnet mount CB antennas that are base loaded tend not to perform as well as top loaded antennas. There are magnetic CB antenna mounts for top loaded antennas, but you have to be careful which antenna you use them with. If the antenna is too tall or heavy, the magnet may not hold. Even with the protective rubber on the bottom of magnet mount antennas damage can occur when particles get trapped between the magnet and the vehicle, scratching the paint.
Considerations for magnet mounts:
- You will want to take care in cleaning both the mounting surface and the magnet surface before attaching the magnet to the vehicle
- On a pickup, the cable for a magnet mount antenna can be run down the back of the cab, back under the cab, and through the fire wall under the hood. A coax extension may be needed for this.
- A magnet mount antenna is tuned like any other CB antenna. If you move the magnet, even a few inches, you should tune the CB antenna again.
L Bracket CB Antenna Mount
If you aren’t worried about drilling holes, an L bracket is a very versatile option for mounting a CB antenna on a pickup truck. They can be mounted with nuts and bolts, screws or rivets in many locations on a pickup. The down side to this of course is that you are permanently modifying the vehicle. To avoid this, you can always attach the mount to a tool box or rack. The only consideration for this mounting option is measure twice, drill once.
Roof Mount CB Antenna
Again, if you aren’t worried about drilling holes a roof mount CB antenna is an option for mounting a CB antenna on a pickup truck. For an antenna like this, a 3/4″ hole has to be drilled in the roof of your pickup. Ideally, this hole will be in the very center of the roof.
Considerations for roof mounts:
- Wilson Antenna has options for roof mounting. NMO CB antennas and mounts are another option from PCTEL (formerly Maxrad) and Larsen
- The cable for this type of mount is routed between the roof and roof liner inside the cab, down the interior trim, and behind the dash to the radio.
- While the range for a base loaded antenna such as this might be less than a top loaded antenna, the coverage around the vehicle is as even as it can get.