Born Free Leap'n Lions RV Club

This forum is for Born Free Owners and those interested in owning a Born Free.
It is currently Wed Dec 02, 2020 9:57 am

All times are UTC - 6 hours [ DST ]

Forum locked This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  [ 1 post ] 
Author Message
PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 2:04 am 
Site Admin

Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 10:45 am
Posts: 462
Location: Ames, IA
Jack Antenna Installation to replace Delta Antenna

Jack Antenna Installation with Leveling Wedge - The Delta rabbit ear antenna in our '99 24RB was leaking water and left a minor stain around the crank on the ceiling. Technology wise, it was time for an antenna upgrade. I replaced the Delta antenna with a Jack antenna.


I chose to level the antenna with wedge blocks cut out of wood - one for the Jack antenna on the roof and a smaller leveling wedge for the control mount inside the coach. For patterns, I used the base of the Jack antenna plus 1/4" for the top block and the interior control panel case for the lower block. I used a power hand plane to cut the tapers freehand.


The roof wedge is roughly 8" front to back and 9" side to side. The taper on the roof wedge is 1-1/16" over the 8" length. I used a piece of scrap 2 x 10" board (the notch in the side of the board has no purpose for this project). The thickness is 1/8" at the thin end and 1-3/16" at the thick end. I mounted the freehand-cut taper down (so any imperfections would be solved with the thickness of butyl tape) and used the milled flat side for mounting the Jack antenna.


The hole through the roof from the Delta antenna needs to be enlarged for the Jack antenna. I cut a 2" hole through the roof and a 2-1/2" hole through the wedge block. Because the antenna shaft is installed at an angle to the roof, minor trimming of the roof plywood edges was necessary for clearance of the antenna shaft. I did this with a knife after the hole was cut. You could hold the drill angle to accommodate the installation angle, but the hole-cutter will come through the ceiling fabric on the leading-edge first and snag the interior fabric. I found it easiest to drill the hole square with the ceiling and trim as needed with a knife. I used scissors to cut the fabric around the hole inside the coach.

Once everything was fitted for position and clearance, I used 2 screws to mount the wedge in place on the roof before mounting the antenna. This made positioning, pre-drilling and mounting the antenna easier without the wedge block moving around. I used self-tapping wood screws in 3 different lengths to mount the antenna. The wedge is just a spacer. I predrilled the wedge for complete screw clearance and only halfway through the roof plywood. The antenna screws need to pass through the wedge and attach to the roof.


To seal the Jack antenna, I used a strip of butyl tape around the roof-side outer edge of the wedge and again on the bottom of the antenna facing the wedge. A couple hours after installation, I scrapped off the excess butyl tape and gave the screws an additional twist. When the butyl tape had quit squeezing out of the joint, I covered everything GE Silicone II caulk. I didn't bother to paint the roof wedge - I just smeared a layer of silicone caulk on it. After the silicone caulk fully cured, I covered everything with Dicor Lap Sealant. The finish of Dicor Lap Sealant is ugly but effective against leaks.


The inside wedge is 6" front to back and 4-3/8" side to side. The taper on the inside wedge is 13/16" over the 6" length. It is 7/8" on the thick end and 1/16" on the thin end. The inside wedge is necessary because the locking dial needs to be parallel to the antenna base to properly engage.

When predrilling, I ran the drill in reverse until the bit made its way through the ceiling fabric. This prevents some of the snagging, pulling and unraveling of the fabric. I used self-tapping screws and pre-drilled only half the thickness of the plywood ceiling.


The Jack antenna came with a label for the interior controls but I chose not to install it. I finished the inside wedge with gloss white Krylon spray paint.

I pulled the fridge out for easier access to run a new RG6 cable for the antenna and to replace the original wall-plate power booster with the Jack wall-plate power booster. I used an 8' RG6 cable to have enough slack for smooth curves without kinks in the cable. While the fridge was out, I added a couple 12v accessory outlets. (One 12v accessory outlet is lost when the original power booster is removed.) Pulling the fridge out took only a few minutes and is pretty straightforward: kill the power to the coach (both 12v and shore power); remove 2 screws behind plugs at top of fridge inside the coach; open fridge door and find & remove screws at bottom; turn off LP gas at tank and disconnect gas line; label and disconnect 12v power & ground wires; unplug 120v power cord; remove 3 screws at rear baseplate of unit and any screws securing wire-ties. The fridge can be gently slid out and leaned at an angle against the sink counter in a 24RB. I padded the counter to protect the front of the fridge and let the fridge set on the edge of the fridge compartment (I did this by myself, but it would be easier with 2 people).


The Jack wall plate is mounted upside-down to accommodate the direction of the coach's TV cable routing behind the wall. I added 12v accessory outlets above and below the Jack outlet. I used Marinco 12v outlets. The connection tabs on the Marinco outlets need to be bent out 90 degrees (flat) to allow clearance for the fridge. I used spade connectors and covered these with electrical tape to prevent the outlet from shorting against the side of the fridge which is covered in foil behind the outlet.


This Jack antenna installation was on a '99 Born Free 24' Rear Bath. To verify the measurements for the taper cuts, you can check the rise-over-run for 6" and 8" along the top of a cabinet door measured against the sloped ceiling. One of the links below is to the Jack installation manual. Just as a note, I did not need to use the Optional Longer Connector supplied with the antenna.

Jack Antenna with SureLock

JACKĀ® Aftermarket installation guide,%20Jack%20Antenna%20with%20Meter,%20Retail,%2011-11-10.pdf

Jack website

Marinco 12V Receptacle

Incom RE20759 .75-Inch by 20-Foot Butyl Caulking Tape, White

Dicor Lap Sealant - 10.3 oz.

Submitted by:
Chuck Meadows
'99 24RB PSD

NOTE: If you have any questions, please contact the author directly by clicking on the email address provided above rather than clicking on the blue Image button at the bottom of this post. All info above was posted for the author by the Website Administrator (bfadmin-2) and clicking on the blue email button below will address your email message to the bfadmin-2 rather than to the author.

Born Free Leap'n Lions RV Club Website Forum Administrators
(bfadmin-2) Bill Hemme - Primary Administrator
(bfadmin-3) Jerry Fay - Assistant Administrator
(bfadmin-1) Bill Hemme - Backup Administrator
(bfadmin) Email:

Report this post
Reply with quote  
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Forum locked This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  [ 1 post ] 

All times are UTC - 6 hours [ DST ]

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group