Routing Coax Through the Cargo Door of a Jeep JK Unlimited
This is Part 13 of Outfitting a Jeep JK Unlimited for Ham Radio. In this part, I will explain how to get coax and antenna controller cable through a Jeep’s cargo door.
Amateur Radio Equipment to Install
Tools and Equipment Used
- Jeep Tire Jack
- Wire Cutters
- Coax Cutting and Stripping Tool
- Solder Iron
- Wire Coat Hanger, cut so you can use it as a wire snake
- Small Wire Ties
Step One – Preparing the Cargo Door
Before you start any of this process, remove the spare tire from the cargo door with the Jeep Tire Jack. We need access to both sides of the door and the spare tire will be in the way.
Next remove the plastic molding on the inside of the cargo door. We will run both the coax and the antenna control cable to the same hole Jeep uses to connect the third tail light.
Step Two – Cut Off the PL-259 from the RG-58
The Comet-NCG HD-5 Lip Mount comes with a pre-assembled PL-259 connector on RG-58 coax. You cannot snake the PL-259 through the cargo door of a 2016 Jeep JK Wrangler. You can pull the plug through one of the holes but not both (Trust me, I tried).
Man up, and cut off the plug.
Step Three – Snake RG-58 Coax Through Cargo Door
I forgot to snap photos of the coat hanger I used in this step. Feed the coat hanger through the door vent behind the spare tire mount. The coat hanger should exit the door at the hole on the far right in the photo from Step One.
Next pull the RG-58 through the door vent. You may ask why I did not use the hole just to the right of the vent. I tried, but the rubber seal does not reconnect with two wires running through it. I wasn’t sure if poking a hole in the seal would be smart, so the vent was the next best thing.
To the cabin side of the cargo door.
Step Four – Pull Antenna Control Cable Through Door
Using the RG-58 coax, tie the antenna control cable using a wire tie and then pull it through the door starting on the cabin side of the door.
Connect the antenna control cable to the Little Tarheel II antenna and draw snug (but not taught).
Now, use a wire tie to secure both coax and controller cable.
Re-seat the plastic molding on the door.
Then tuck the antenna controller cable inside the cable. Here, I used the hole for the door strap as the exit point.
Step Five – Add the Current Choke to the Antenna Controller
The manual for the Little Tarheel II instructs us to wrap the antenna control cable three times around their current choke. You can make as many as five turns, but I only had enough cable to make the prescribed three.
Step Six – Cut RG-58 to Length
Now that the RG-58 coax is through the door, we should cut the coax again. This time, we want to shorten the coax enough that it will marry with the RG-8X coax we installed earlier in the process (See Upgrading Coax to the Mobile HF Antenna).
Step Seven – Attach New PL-259 to RG-58 Coax
You may ask why I did not choose a SO-239 female socket plug. My local store was out of stock.
Step Eight – Connect RG-8X to RG-58
Finally, using a Female-to-Female SO-239 adapter, connect the RG-8X to RG-58.