Installing NMO antenna mounts in a van

I recently purchased a van and wanted to add some NMO antenna mounts to the roof for use with my amateur radios. I spent some time deciding where I wanted them to be placed since it requires drilling holes.

It’s likely that I’ll add an electric fan to the roof later for ventilation, so I reserved an adequate amount of space for that close to the rear doors. I’m blogging about vanlife in general over on my lifestyle and travel blog at edweird.com but things specific to amateur radio and technology will still be posted here at edwired.com

Ford Transit Connect amateur radio vanlife
Ford Transit Connect amateur radio vanlife

I used a square of blue painter’s tape to mark the spots inside and then with the help of a friend who is also an amateur radio operator the holes were marked with a drill punch and then drilled into the roof.

A tool was used to de-burr them and then the NMO mount was placed into each hole and tightened. A small amount of sealant was used to ward off water intrusion.

Ford Transit Connect amateur radio vanlife
Ford Transit Connect amateur radio vanlife

My van now has 2 NMO mounts on the roof, one towards the front and one towards the rear that I can use for antennas. In order to keep the connectors clean from the outside elements I went ahead and installed two antennas I had laying around at home. A Tram bottom coil loaded antenna for 6 meters and also a Tram bottom coil loaded antenna for 10 meters.

Ford Transit Connect amateur radio vanlife
Ford Transit Connect amateur radio vanlife

The more likely configuration will be to have either the 6m or 10m antenna installed on one of the mounts, and a dual or tri-band VHF/UHF antenna on the other one but this was something I could do really quickly using antennas I wasn’t already using somewhere else.

Ford Transit Connect amateur radio vanlife
Ford Transit Connect amateur radio vanlife

These NMO mounts came with coax cable attached but no coax connectors installed on the end of the cable. I will be working on getting connectors installed soon.

Ford Transit Connect amateur radio vanlife
Ford Transit Connect amateur radio vanlife