I was okay with using the small stubby antenna of my Midland CB, but I wanted more range, and the only way to get that was to install an external Firestik NGP (No Ground Plane) CB Antenna. However, I didn’t like any of the common ways to mount an antenna to the truck – so that meant no magnet mount, no bumper mount, no bed mount, or no hood gap mount for me. I wanted something less obvious, so I thought about installing a CB antenna in place of the OEM radio antenna. After some researching online I never saw anyone who did a proper, working install of a CB antenna in the OEM Frontier antenna location – so challenge accepted!
First I had to get to the OEM antenna mounting area to see what I was working with. I accessed the antenna base by first removing the wiper arms. Then the cowl came off relatively easy. For anyone who is curious as to what the antenna base looks like, here you go:
I was hoping there would be a way to mod the OEM antenna base to install a CB antenna but it’s a combination of molded plastic and metal – plus I noticed that there was a sloping angle to the mounting area, so I couldn’t just install directly to the body of the truck. Because of this I figured I was better off making a new, custom mount from scratch. I went to the hardware store and I came across some angled metal pieces that looked promising, so I bought some and began.
Now it was time for a test fit. I had to use a longer bolt up front to compensate for the angle to the metal base (along with a shaped spacer to take up the gap). Both mounting holes lined up perfectly, so I temporarily reinstalled the cowl so that I could do two more things: check if it fits underneath the trim panel, and mark the center of the antenna opening. With the center marked, I drilled out the 3/4” hole required to install the Firestik antenna and components.
It was a good thing I assembled the antenna first because I realized that I would not have enough clearance underneath the mounting base, as the antenna cable would not have a place to go (and you’re not supposed to bend it too sharp). I couldn’t raise the antenna base either or it wouldn’t fit underneath the cowl. I decided to open up a hole in the body panel just under the antenna area to provide the clearance that the Firestik antenna cable needed.
As is (no tuning yet) the SWR meter was showing high 1’s (1.6-1.8:1) across the board, but still under the 2.0:1 suggested limit. I’m sure I could get the SWR down more once I get around to adjusting the antenna tune. And FYI, so far my custom antenna mount cost me… $4.36 in parts and hardware… not bad at all considering I have an OEM looking CB antenna placement, where the only way you can tell is because of the thickness of the Firestik antenna itself =)