I admit it, I’m so bored of the lockdowns, no car shows and there is talk of longer lockdowns again. To cheer myself up I decided to do a bit of upgrading that I have been thinking about for a while.
The stock Mustang aerials are usually on the right side fender and cant be retracted. Not a problem most of the time, but if you are out and about there could be some jealous vandal who wants to bend it. Then 1) you lost signal for the radio, 2) it’s a whole heap of hurt to swap out for what it is. Hence often wire coat hangers are jammed in the hole after.
In my case it’s more the fact that I want to cover the car and not have to make holes in the cover. Plus I can raise or lower the mast as I see fit.
There are lots of styles of aerials, standard mast, push down mast, stubby aerials, rubber aerials, rear window integrated, shark fin, fully automatic, semi automatic etc.
The fully automatic aerials works via a pulse signal from the radio when it turns on that in turn activates the aerial up, and another signal to lower. This needs a radio outlet to work it, and once the radio is on, you can’t listen to a cassette or blue tooth without the mast being raised.
Semi Automatic runs of a positive and earth via a manual operated switch which will raise the mast, then reverse the poles on the motor to lower the mast. This way I can have the radio on, without the mast up, or only half up, a bit up almost up or any variation in-between.
Let me explain why I wanted the semi auto option; my radio is an original stock item for a ’66 from the USA. But, I had it modified to take a 3.5mm jack point when I press a certain radio pre-set. That means that I can run an mp3 player, my phone for sat nav or a blue tooth dongle to the radio.
I’m going on the assumption that you already have the hole in the fender. If you don’t have a hole, work out where you want the aerial to go and make that hole.
Removing the old aerial;
I managed to do this with the car jacked up on axle stands and with the wheel off. How you get to the fender aerial is up to you and what works for you.
We need to remove the old aerial from the fender. Unplug the aerial lead from the back of the radio and make if fall loose into the footwell.
Under my fender are the splash guards that I fitted during restoration. If you don’t have them then your task is that much easier.
There are four bolts that hold this splash guard in place. One from under the hood at he very top. Then there a two at the sides on the middle picture, finally one at the bottom that also holds the fender in place too.
To remove the splash guard undo the bolts and will pull towards you and free of the chassis. On mine there was a layer of silicon to stop water ingress between the gaps. I managed to scalpel the silicon away and the guard broke free.
Here the guard is removed and the chassis behind it on the right pic.
The rubber on the sides of the guard were still supple and could be refitted and they had not torn. On the right pic you can see the aerial mast and just to right where the grommet goes into the chassis which protects the wires.
On top of the fender undo the hexagon nut and the mast will fall away from the fender.
That’s the mast out, now you should be able to pull the aerial lead through the grommet from inside the car.
Here is the Harada HA-50D. There are only three wires brown and white which control the motor mechanism and the black one for the coaxial.
For the most part fitting the part its a reverse of the above. I threaded the aerial coaxial cable back through the grommet and also the two coloured wires for the up down operation of the aerial.
In the kit there is a bar which is used to support the bottom of the bracket and is pliable to be able to be bent where you need it. There is a switch, and mounting bracket. To allow the the wires to pass into the body the brown and white wires have been bullet connector separated.
I made a test fitting to see where the bottom of the mechanism will roughly be. I worked out that I could re-use the bolt to hold the back of the fender in place. In the pic below you can see that loosened it to show you.
With the Aerial’s soft steel bracket I fitted it to the bolt and then replaced the nut back onto the fender’s bolt.
Thread the two power wires brown and white into the body via the grommet.
Now we can thread the mechanism up through the fender hole and randomly place the caps and hexagon fixing bolts loosely to hold the aerial in place. That way when you can move it around to the correct position and clearance a little later.
With the aerial roughly in place I loosely fitted the aerial in place and held in place with the bracket for support. The mild steel will bend so a pair of pliers twisted the strip and bent it to the aerial hole, which is arrowed above.
It says on the instructions that the aerial will ground under the fender. I’m not happy to go to bare metal in this case, so I made a small solder joint to the case of the aerial mast and attached that single wire to the bottom bracket. The smaller of the two black wires above. This will then also provide an additional ground. But not essential.
Take the aerial coaxial inside the car now and fit to the back of the radio.
The two wires will now need to be connected to the switch. connect the switch’s brown and white wires to the aerials brown and white wires.
The switch to control the aerial is a “Double Pole – Double Throw – Momentary Switch”
A live feed which is the green wire and an earth which is black will need connections as well.
I have a similar switch to this in stainless which I thought would look good. But when I trial fitted it, the switch didn’t look right in the car, but I did use one bit from it! (More on that in bit.) Below is the wiring diagram from the box. Due to the age of the box and the tape some of the diagram was missing, it had been crudely re-drawn on for the missing bits back on.
There aren’t many diagrams on the net for the wiring of these switches. If you need to change the switch out for a different style or want to know how it works here is the diagram I made.
In the diagram the brown wire is obvious, but the white wire is shown as a grey.
A point to note is that the up and down poles are reversed on the switch. ‘A’ and ‘D’ are engaged when the switch is held up to make the aerial go up and spin the motor in one direction.
When the toggle is push down then ‘C’ and ‘F’ are used to spin the motor in the other direction. They can’t be wired the same or the aerial will only go up or only go down.
To overcome this, the switch will reverse the polarity by crossing the wires over; ‘A’ to ‘F’ and ‘D’ to ‘C’. Thus the “Double Pole” part of the switch. The “Double Throw” is the up and down movement, the “Momentary” is that the switch will only work while you activate it and drop to the off position in the middle of the switch.
Power to the switch is provided by the 6A fused green wire to ‘B’, and the ground to ‘E’.
I made a temporary fitting for the power and ground to raise the aerial fully.
Adjust the aerial to the correct verticals. Then tighten up fully when you are happy. Lower the aerial to make sure that it’s full functioning.
Now we can look inside the car for the correct positioning of the switch and the power you are going to use. This is your choice where you want it to be. You could make a feature of it or just hide it.
I decided that the switch would look best under the dash as I didn’t want to drill holes in the dash facia itself. The bracket supplied has two two holes for screwing up under the dash.
I found a hole right next to the aircon blower unit which I would use. As there would only be one hole in use on the bracket the air-con bracket could be used to clamp the bracket in place.
With such a large hole I didn’t need to drill that either. I found a course threaded screw and a matching self tightening clamp to put behind the dash itself to hold everything in place. It was at this point I now used a part of my stainless switch; the wording plate instead of the up and down arrows on the plastic. Screw on the retaining ring and all was in place.
(Now take the brown and white wires and connect them back up again, if you disconnected them after the test fitting.)
I wanted a switched live from the ignition. So with that in mind I need to remove the current open connector on the end of the green wire and replace it with a piggy back spade fitting.
The best place I could see was to junction of the heater motor. I connected the heater motor spade to the new fitting and connected both.
Now I could tidy up the wires, tape them with wire loom cloth tape to look like stock fitting.
The black on the switch matches the black camera case inside and the stainless wording label is not too intrusive on the inside.
Now everything is working and in place we can get back under the fender. There is one last thing for the aerial which is the drain pipe. This just pushes on to the bottom. Me being me didn’t want any water dripping inside the fender and accumulating with the tube which was only four inches long. I found the old radiator overflow rubber pipe which was a the same bore and I managed to squeeze it inside the polyurethane pipe. I heat shrink a sleeve over it to make sure it stayed in place. and now comes out at the bottom of the fender.
Now we can finish by refitting the splash guard. This will just press back into place, making sure the rubber edges are not pinched.. Replace the four screws.
The additional part is the silicon. Place a little on your finger and smear it into the gaps metal to metal.
That’s it all done.
I now have a working aerial which can be raised or lowered from inside the car. I won’t need to make a hole in the car cover and it’s protected from vandals or accidental bending.
The results are great and everything is subtle in appearance. I don’t know of any other classic Mustang’s have an electric aerial either full auto or semi auto. There will be others out there of course, but I hope it puts me into a unique club now.
On a side note a question; how often do I use the radio? Hardly ever, but I can put it up just for a car show for the original stock look if I want to.
I’m running out of things to do on the car, best I get the car back out and clean it yet again!