My Budget Build

How To - Stubby Antenna

Spend nothing, get something

The stock antenna on a JK is long, silver, hits the ceiling in parking garages, and whacks the windshield when going down the trail. Companies like AntennaX have made tons of money selling a stouter, shorter antenna. Even with one like that though, the reviews are mixed with some people claiming the reception sucks. With a little science, I think we can do our own version without sacrificing reception.

Look how far up this things sticks!

Materials & Supplies

  • A hacksaw or dremel tool with cutoff bit
  • Lighter
  • Vice
  • 3/8" wrench
  • Fine and coarse sand paper
  • Hammer
  • Wire brush - optional
  • Spray paint - optional
  • Painters tape - required if spray painting

Steps

Step 1: remove the antenna

Use a 3/8" wrench to unscrew it. If you don't have one, pliers work too unless it's in there really tight.

Step 2: heat the ball up

This loosens any adhesive on there and expands the ball to make it easier to pop off

Step 3: remove the ball

I put mine in a vice and then gave it a jerk on one end. Ball popped off on the 3rd try.

Step 4: measure it

This is where a little science helps. Most guys just pick a height they like and cut it. No good. The length of the antenna is specifically chosen to get reception across the AM/FM frequencies. If your antenna is a random length, you aren't catching the airwaves at the right point for best reception. Do some googling to learn more. Thus, we're going to cut our antenna at half it's previous length. That means if it was a half-wave antenna before, it's now a quarter-wave antenna. Overall length is around 34". So we'll cut it at 17"

Step 5: cut it

Hacksaw or dremel tool Here are the two pieces side by side In case anyone is curious (as I was), this is a solid core.

Step 7: sand it

The antenna is tapered, so the ball won't fit back on unless we sand the end down a bit Here is what it looked like after sanding

Step 8: put the ball back on

A small hammer and few light taps. If it goes on too easily, add some adhesive. I sanded mine just enough to get a really tight fit without adhesive

Step 9: sand the ball

It'll be dirty from heating it up earlier. Time to clean it up After sanding

Step 11: clean up the threads

Use a wire brush to clean up the threads. We want a strong connection Post wire-brush If you don't want to spray paint it, you're done. Mount it back up. Here is what it'll look like

Step 12: tape it

Tape off the threads so you don't inhibit the connection later

Step 13: sand it

Always a good idea to rought it up a bit before painting

Step 14: hang it and paint it

Step 15: put it back on the Jeep

Final Product

Scott's Review Down the Road

I may do some testing later if I can get my hands on a few other antennas and cut them various lengths, just for fun. I haven't noticed any change in reception though and I much prefer the look of this over the stock antenna.

Pics of it out In The Wild

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About My Budget Build

Just a website with some how-tos to help others on a budget have fun with their Jeep

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