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Devices I need to hook up to roof-mounted antennas in my truck.

Scanner - 25Mhz-800Mhz (mostly listen to FD/EMS on 2m and 70cm)

Handheld HAM (possibly upgrading to mobile unit) - 2m/70cm

CB Radio - 27Mhz

stock FM radio - 88Mhz-108Mhz

I know at least the CB needs to be fairly long but I'd like to shorten the overall height of my vehicle (2014 Nissan Xterra) so I don't keep knocking into stuff.

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    $\begingroup$ Why would you knock into stuff with a CB antenna? I have an HF, 80-10 meter, screwdriver antenna on my pickup truck. The overall size of the antenna is about the same as an 11-meter CB antenna. The top of that antenna is 11 feet 4 inches from the ground. In the 10 years I have had that antenna on the truck, I have never "knocked" into stuff. $\endgroup$ – K7PEH Jan 5 '16 at 17:07
  • $\begingroup$ low hanging tree branches, fast food drive-thrus, parking garages $\endgroup$ – Jacob K - KD2JAG Jan 5 '16 at 20:35
  • $\begingroup$ KD2JAG -- I live in a neighborhood with lots of trees on the streets and arterials and never once have I hit a tree. I never go to fast food drive-throughs. And, if there is ever a time I need to park in a parking garage I stop and remove my antenna and put it in the back seat -- an operation that takes just about 30 seconds as I have a quick release base mount. Antenna is Hi-Q 80/4 with their quick release base, see hiqantennas.com and go to Accessories and see GCD (giant quick disconnect). $\endgroup$ – K7PEH Jan 6 '16 at 3:55
  • $\begingroup$ I used to have an Army-surplus 15-foot antenna on a spring mount on top of my K-5 Blazer. It was a bit noisy in parking garages but I never minded. I could talk the world on 20 any time I wanted. $\endgroup$ – SDsolar May 15 '17 at 1:52
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There is no minimum length; all else being equal, a shorter antenna (with the proper loading/matching) is just less efficient. Antenna efficiency is not a critical issue if the antenna is not being used for transmitting (and you do not have strong noise sources inside your vehicle). Therefore, you primarily need to concern yourself with transmitting antennas.

Your CB antenna is likely to remain the tallest no matter what you do. I would recommend investigating shortened CB antennas first, and worrying about the others only if you succeed in making it shorter than them.

You will have to make your own tradeoff between length and performance.

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  • $\begingroup$ The new prestige antennas on official vehicles are UHF antennas no taller than a couple inches. They work, for the most part. $\endgroup$ – SDsolar May 13 '17 at 0:23
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To augment my comments above as an answer including photos. I repeat my comments here:

Why would you knock into stuff with a CB antenna? I have an HF, 80-10 meter, screwdriver antenna on my pickup truck. The overall size of the antenna is about the same as an 11-meter CB antenna. The top of that antenna is 11 feet 4 inches from the ground. In the 10 years I have had that antenna on the truck, I have never "knocked" into stuff.

And,

I live in a neighborhood with lots of trees on the streets and arterials and never once have I hit a tree. I never go to fast food drive-throughs. And, if there is ever a time I need to park in a parking garage I stop and remove my antenna and put it in the back seat -- an operation that takes just about 30 seconds as I have a quick release base mount. Antenna is Hi-Q 80/4 with their quick release base, see hiqantennas.com and go to Accessories and see GCD (giant quick disconnect).

The first photo shows the Hi-Q antenna, center loaded, with the top whip antenna topping out at 11 feet 4 inches from ground. You can just barely see the whip part of the antenna on top of the center loading coil.

enter image description here

Second photo shows the quick release base mount and my custom made mounting for shunt coil (which is hidden behind black PVC box).

enter image description here

And, the third photo shows the shunt coil. But, this is not my actual shunt coil I use. This was one of the first experimental coils I built to finally arrive at the perfect match. I adjusted diameter and number of turns on each coil to achieve the matching characteristics needed for 80 and 40 meter bands. Thus coil is nothing but a high-impedance (like open circuit) for higher frequency bands.

enter image description here

Fourth photo shows the VHF/UHF antenna side mounted on the door with a small pass-thru coax cable that passes through the door and the frame cushioned by weatherproof strip. Overall height is about 9 feet from ground.

enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ Very nice! I like the quick-release, and the professional standards. $\endgroup$ – SDsolar May 15 '17 at 1:52

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