After doing some research, I found the best reception on a CB comes from a tall antenna mounted towards the center of the vehicle. Because of this, I decided to skip the tail light mount and look into mounting up front with a hood channel mount. I bought this from Firestik along with their special cabling with the unique FireRing attachment. I went this route because I liked the sleek design of the FireRing installation paired with the hood channel mount.
Model Number SS-174
Model Number K-8R18
I bought mine as a kit which is the MK-174 Model Number.
As for the CB, I chose the Midland 1001LWX which I picked up from a local shop. It's supposed to be a good little radio - small like the Uniden Pro510XL yet offering a couple extra features - RF Gain, Backlit LCD, NOAA Weather, and PA feature to name a few.
The antenna - I wanted to still be able to park in my garage but I wanted a taller antenna. I was opting for a more permanently mounted antenna as opposed to quick disconnects (I may change my mind as I get used to it). I found that some of the best antennas for reception are the fiberglass style antennas (I'm comparing this to similar priced antennas). Since my garage door is a little lower than a 4' antenna requires, I decided to go with the Wilson Flex Silver Load 305-4FD. This antenna has good reviews and has a lot of flex - enough that I've found I can drive into the garage without a problem. I can also bend it back and tie it to the roof rails. Another feature I liked is that the antenna is 1/4" in diameter - thinner than other fiberglass antennas which provides a more factory look along side the factory radio antenna. The only downfall that I initially see is it does flex in the wind above 50 mph - not so much that it will reduce reception much (I doubt) but enough to notice visually.
After I ordered the mount/coax, I found some information while browsing the internet. This sparked my curiosity so I investigated a new mounting location. This is what I found:
This is under the hood cowl. You have to remove a few plastic screw type things and take off the windshield wiper arms. There is also a strip of trim in the front that slides right off. Once the cowl is removed, you have a ton of space to work. Initially, I was hoping to drill a hole in the flat spot in front of the bolt you see sticking up. I had to re-think this idea when I realized the hood would hit the antenna when opened.
What I decided on was to cut off the bolt, drill out a hole, and install the mounting stud in it's location. This area looks to be quite sturdy for mounting an antenna. If I find it is not, I will probably fab up a small bracket and attach it under the mount and to the bottom of the hood cowl area. An added benefit to this location is the factory hole in the cowl will line up with the new mounting stud. Also, this can be 'undone' by replacing the stud with a new bolt if the CB is ever removed:
Obviously, be very careful cutting and drilling as the windshield is right next to where you are working. A 'used' cutoff wheel was needed because it was smaller and allowed more play.
Drill the hole out in increments. Start small and move up:
Once the proper size is reached, the stud can be installed:
I ran the coax forward and under the padding. I wrapped the area of the coax that crosses the metal with some extra electrical tape in an attempt to reduce wear. This will probably need to be checked from time to time, though I imagine the wear will be minimal at best.
I ran the coax through the grommet in the firewall. I also ran a power wire for the CB from the battery, up to the hood cowl, underneath the cowl, across to the driver's side, out a little grommet, then through the grommet in the firewall (sorry I didn't get a picture of this).
Now the cowl can be installed. Here is a picture of the mounted stud looking through the factory hole in the hood cowl. Pretty close!
I drilled out the hole a little bit bigger (1/2") to give myself a little room to install the antenna. The factory sized hole is a little tight.
And here is the 4' antenna installed. Honestly, 3' would probably work but I like the added reception provided by the 4'.
I haven't finished tuning it so the extra 'just in case' ground wire is still there. If I need to use it, I'll poke it through the hole and run a self tapping screw near the stud. If it's not needed, I'll cut off the little connector at the end, slip some heat shrink wire over the antenna and wire, and shrink it down.
I installed my CB next to the driver's seat behind the seat belt connector. I like this location because it's easy to access yet still out of the way. I ran the wires from the firewall, up under the dash and across to the center console. From there, I ran them under the console to the CB. I also ran an aux cord from the CB, under the center console, and up to the CD player. If I'm in a situation where I want extra sound, I can plug the aux cord in to the back of the CB and into my CD player aux port and use my radio speakers for the incoming talk.
Like I said, I still have to tune it up. I'm having an issue with the set screw that should be remedied here shortly. I also need to connect the aux cable and see what it sounds like through the radio speakers. I'll be sure to report my findings after I attach the SWR meter this weekend.