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Old 01-27-2016, 04:05 PM
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Ham radio folks: bonding a HF setup in a JK

Hello,

I've passed the general exam and I'm looking to put a HF setup into my '13 JK. I've ordered a little Tarheel screwdriver antenna, an IC-7100, and the means to get it into the Jeep. I'm mounting the little Tarheel over the license plate.

I'm probably going to be operating on 20m most of the time.

Now I'm trying to figure out how to bond the body panels to ground so that the HF antenna can preform well.

Has anyone run the extra grounding straps that are needed to bond the body panels together? Where did you connect the grounding straps?

I'd love to see pictures!

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Old 01-27-2016, 08:54 PM   #2
Knows a couple things...

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That's a good plan, JKs and their data busses can be susceptible to stray RF from transmitters. Some have reported their engines cough/hiccup or stop when the transmitter is in operations.

One very good ham site dedicated to mobile radio installation is at KBG.COM where there is a special section called 'Bonding' that covers ground straps.

A good thread is also at Key the radio, kill the engine!!

And congrats on passing your general class!! I went from Novice to Tech Plus and then to General. I'm done with my upgrades, General gets it done so far as I am concerned.

N6TAY

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Old 03-28-2016, 01:52 AM
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As a followup to my own post, I got it figured out.

It took some professional help from my shop, so huge props go out to Jeff Arabia at Arabia's overkill for coming up with the final solution and implementing it.

Jeff took automotive bolts, chopped the bolt heads off and welded them to various places under the Jeep. The bolt studs then gave us a prefect place to attach tinned copper braid as is recommended by K0BG.com.

All in all, there are probably 20 ground straps in various places under the Jeep now.

Here are the strap locations that I can remember:
Right and Left side engine mount to frame
Front bumper to frame
Rear bumper to frame
Right and left side transmission to frame
Right and left side transfer case to frame
Exhaust to frame in 4 places (pre- catalytic converter, at catalytic converter, after catalytic converter, at muffler)
Hood to frame, via rear of engine
Right and left front body panels to frame
Right and left tub body panels to frame
HF antenna mount to frame

Here are some overly large pictures, that the forum software will resize to make the page not blow up:












My Little Tarheel HP screwdriver antenna is installed on a modified Cooltech "Ultramount" cb antenna mount that hides in the license plate bracket.



The radio brains are installed under the drivers seat, with the control head using one of my cupholders. The radio head has a camera-style screw hole on the bottom of it so I used a RAM mount cupholder mount and a RAM ball to camera bolt combination to mount it.

I did put in another cupholder on the passenger side grab bar so that I don't lose a cupholder.

I chose this location so that I can use the VFO on the head unit without getting gorilla arm.

You can barely see the mic for the HF radio and the Tunematic antenna controller box in the picture in the driver's side foot well.

Yes, I'm just listening in to AM broadcast radio in this photo. :P



The HF radio head does not interfere with the E-brake, it just kind of appears that way in this picture.
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Old 03-28-2016, 01:55 AM
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I also put in an ID-5100 VHF/UHF radio, a Uniden 520XL CB, a Uniden 536hp scanner and a new Kenwood Deck with a few cameras...

... because overkill.





I additionally needed to shield the ballasts used in my HID headlights. All ballasts put out RF noise, but I got unlucky and the noise has a steep spike on a frequency a few khz off of the N6NFI repeater. Since I often listen in on that repeater, it was an issue that had to be fixed.

It took some additional tinned copper braid wrapped around the ballasts and grounded on one end to fix that issue.
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Old 03-28-2016, 02:28 AM
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One thing I forgot to mention earlier:

We chose not to bond the drivers and passengers side doors, as I remove the doors in summer. I didn't want to have to unbond/rebond them when removing them. I may have slightly degraded performance vs bonding them, but I'm OK with that.

Also, we didn't bond the tailgate. The subwoofer in the 13's is right next to the tailgate hinge, and the speaker wire going to the subwoofer isn't shielded. If we had put a bonding strap following the same path, then the subwoofer voltage would transfer to the bonding cable via induction and would put a voltage on the tailgate. We measured this by placing a bonding cable then measuring the voltage on it while playing some loud music. The voltage was enough that we felt that bonding the tailgate along that path might cause more harm then good.

We did bond my AEV steel tire carrier that is on the outside of the tailgate though.
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Old 04-05-2016, 09:16 AM   #6
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I wasn't aware that the body on a JK wasn't already grounded to the frame. Anyhow, this is the only ground strap I installed.

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Old 05-16-2017, 10:19 AM   #7
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Thanks for the great pics and well thought out responses!
I had an '08, i installed my Ic-706(VHF only) in, as i never had time to sort out a screwdriver controller and wiring the HF side, then had to upgrade to a '13 JKU where i have run the HF and VHF antennas (just using a CB mount and Hustler resonators At the moment) and i found the received noise is insane on the HF side. I will add some photos and some ideas, etc i have as they come to fruition but this helps SO much in the planning of my grounding.

Chris
N3VBN
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Old 06-22-2018, 10:01 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unusedusername View Post
Hello,

I've passed the general exam and I'm looking to put a HF setup into my '13 JK. I've ordered a little Tarheel screwdriver antenna, an IC-7100, and the means to get it into the Jeep. I'm mounting the little Tarheel over the license plate.

I'm probably going to be operating on 20m most of the time.

Now I'm trying to figure out how to bond the body panels to ground so that the HF antenna can preform well.

Has anyone run the extra grounding straps that are needed to bond the body panels together? Where did you connect the grounding straps?

I'd love to see pictures!
Wonderful setup. I'm in the process of bonding my 2018 JK unlimited. Im having serious RF issues right now with a 20m hamstick off the tire rack mount. I'm wondering what sort of improvement you saw once this was completed? Are you happy with it?

thanks.
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Old 06-23-2018, 08:48 AM
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Prior to bonding, transmitting on 20 meters at any power above 10 watts would cause the dash lights to come on, I would hear feedback from the car stereo if it was on, and the vehicle warning chime would sound as if the check engine light came on.

I think the engine mounts, transmission, and exhaust bonding made the largest difference.

After bonding, if I transmit at 100 watts on RTTY then the sway bar warning flashes once, but there is no other ill effects. I can transmit SSB voice at full power with no issues.

My antenna is in a different location, but I think my mounting location probably isn't any better then mounting to the tire rack.

Go nuts with the bonding.

My JK wasn't very susceptible to interference at frequencies higher then ~14 Mhz. The antenna I use isn't very efficient on 40 meters, so I generally only listen on that band unless someone comes in s8+.
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Old 06-23-2018, 09:51 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvercreek View Post
I wasn't aware that the body on a JK wasn't already grounded to the frame. Anyhow, this is the only ground strap I installed.
That KBG.COM site is fascinating. In particular, note this:
Quote:
Bonding is especially important for body-on-frame vehicles

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