Motorized Antenna Tilt Installation on Roof Rack | WeBoost Fold Up/Down

Motorized Antenna Tilt Installation on Roof Rack | WeBoost Fold Up/Down

Motorized Antenna Tilt Installation on Roof Rack (weBoost Fold Up-Down) - Heading
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Here is the solution we came up with to remotely fold up and down an antenna on the roof of our campervan. It allows us to tilt our WeBoost antenna up or down (90 degrees) by the press of a button inside our van, neat! This electric motorized system would also work with HAM radio antennas (or any Series-C coax cable antenna) and on pretty much any vehicle (Van, Jeep, Car, etc.). Let’s get to work!

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Portrait-FarOutRide-Van

Time


2 hours

Cost


~$200 USD

Weight


1 lbs

Material


ItemDescriptionQuantityBuy
K9000 Motorized Antenna TiltTo remotely fold the antenna up or down.1Amazon
Mounting Plate for Roof Rack (Optional)Simplifies and speeds up the K9000 installation. Clean and low profile. Compatible with any roof rack that utilizes 10-series or 15-series aluminum extrusion crossbars (80/20 T-Slot profiles).1FarOutRide
Cable Entry Pad
(or Cable Seal)
No-Drill / No-Screw Cable Entry Pad for Ford Transit.
(Scanstrut Cable Seal)
1
(1)
FarOutRide
(Amazon)
WeBoost Drive Reach RV(Or any antenna with Series-C coax Cable Assembly).1Amazon

Tools


  • 5/32 Allen Key
  • Plastic Scraper
  • Clothe & Isopropyl Alcohol

Resources



Good To Know


About Roof Racks


We didn’t opt for a roof rack on our 2016 Transit and we installed the solar panels with VHB tape (still holding strong since 2016!). As such we have to say that a roof rack is not mandatory, but it’s definitely a nice upgrade and provides a more secure and easy way to attach accessories such as solar panels, antenna, LED lights, storage box, etc. We went with a Flatline Van Co Low Pro roof rack on our 2021 Transit and we have a detailed write-up about it:

Back Torque Limiter Mechanism


The K9000 motorized mount features a “back torque limiter”. This internal mechanism acts as a spring and allows the antenna to fold down to absorb any impact (roof, branches, etc). Be aware that the spring only works in one direction:

Back Torque Limiter Spring Mechanism (Allows to Fold Down)
Back Torque Limiter Spring Mechanism (No Spring equals Damage)

Installation


1. Install the mounting plate to the k9000


NOTE: The K9000 comes with universal mounting brackets. These can do the job, but we wanted a cleaner and simpler installation. So we made an Aluminum mounting plate that’s compatible with roof racks that utilize 10-Series or 15-Series extrusion crossbars (such as FlatLine Van Co Low Pro Roof Rack):

The K9000 Motorized Antenna Tilt comes with a universal base fitment bracket. Remove the four screws and discard the old bracket:

Motorized Antenna Mounting Plate Install 1 (Discard Old Universal Bracket)

Install the new mounting plate to the K9000 Motorized Mount (reuse the screws from previous step):

Motorized Antenna Mounting Plate Install 2 (Install New Bracket with Screws)

2. Mount your antenna to the k9000


Route the antenna through the antenna mount and fasten with the hardware provided with the WeBoost:

Motorized Antenna Mounting Plate Install 3 (Install Antenna)

3. Install to your roof rack


Loosely install the t-nut(s) and the screws (provided with our mounting plate) so it’s ready to load into the crossbar:

Motorized Antenna Mounting Plate Install 4 (Preload T-Nuts and Screws)

Remove the crossbar, load the t-nut(s) from the crossbar end, reinstall the crossbar:

Motorized Antenna Mounting Plate Install 5 (Slide into crossbar)

Fastened the screws to secure the mounting plate to the desired position into the crossbar:

Motorized Antenna Mounting Plate Install 6 (Fasten screws)

4. Adjust the tilt motion operating angle


Power the K9000 into a cigar plug. Set the antenna to be fully raised by pressing and holding “UP” on the remote:

K9000 Motorized Antenna PowerCord into Cigar Plug

If the antenna is not vertical, loosen the nut and adjust the antenna’s angle to your liking:

Diamond K9000 Antenna Fold (Adjust Vertical Up)

Then, adjust the tilt lower limit (0-45°) to your liking (e.g. to clear solar panel or such) by rotating the grey knob on the body of the K9000:

Diamond K9000 Antenna Fold (Adjust Lower Limit)-2
Diamond K9000 Antenna Fold (Adjust Lower Limit)

6. Pass the Cables Through The Roof


Most cable entry glands and cable seals require either drilling or screwing into the roof. That’s OK, but we try to avoid it when we can. So we came up with our very own No-Drill/No-Screw Cable Entry Pad that takes advantage of the factory pass-through holes that are hidden under some of the roof plugs (#2 in the image below):

Ford-Transit-Roof-Plugs-(Potential-Water-Leak)

NOTE: We don’t recommend using the last row of pass-trough holes located at the very back of the Transit with our Cable Entry Pad, because there is not enough space to install the lock nut from inside the van (see On Second Thought).

Remove the roof plug. You can start with a plastic scraper, it’s a bit easier to get the plug to go at first:

Cable Entry Pad Installation (Ford Transit Solar and Antenna Pass-Through Roof)

Pull slowly to remove the plug completely, then clean the sealant left behind with isopropyl alcohol:

Cable Entry Pad Installation (Ford Transit Solar and Antenna Pass-Through Roof)-2

All clean! The Cable Entry Pad will cover the primed surface:

Cable Entry Pad Installation (Ford Transit Solar and Antenna Pass-Through Roof)-3

Unscrew the lock nut from underneath the pad and put aside:

Cable Entry Pad Installation (Ford Transit Solar and Antenna Pass-Through Roof)-4

Peel off the release film from the VHB tape:

Cable Entry Pad Installation (Ford Transit Solar and Antenna Pass-Through Roof)-5

Make sure the surface is still clean and apply pressure for 5-10 seconds:

Cable Entry Pad Installation (Ford Transit Solar and Antenna Pass-Through Roof)-6

Install the lock nut inside the van, hand-tight firmly with your fingers then use a 24mm or 15/16″ socket to add about one extra turn (do not use tools and overtorque, this will damage the plastic threads) :

Cable Entry Pad Installation (Screw Lock Nut Inside Van)

Unscrew the sealing nut from the gland (without removing it) and route the K9000’s powercord through the gland (one connector at the time):

Diamond K9000 Antenna Fold Installation (Route Cables)

Route the weBoost antenna extension cable through the gland and connect it to the weBoost outside antenna:

Diamond K9000 Antenna Fold Installation (Route Cables)-2

Glands are waterproof when using a single round cable. Here we cheated a bit and routed two cables, which may compromise the waterproofness. To mitigate that, we added Silicone inside the gland (between and around the two cables) and then we screwed the sealing nut:

Motorized Antenna Mounting Plate Install (Add Silicone)

7. Connect the K9000 Power Cord


The K9000 motorized tilt can be powered via the provided 12V cigar plug, or it can be hardwired to your electrical system via a 0.8A fuse (e.g. 0.8A GMA fuse + Inline Fuse Holder).

Our van conversion is still a work-in-progress at the time of writing these lines, so we’re temporarily powering the K9000 via the factory 12V socket at the back of the van. We’ll update this page when we hardwire it to our electrical system!

K9000 Motorized Antenna PowerCord into Cigar Plug

8. Complete the WeBoost Signal Booster Installation


Remember that it is crucial to maximize the distance between the outside antenna and inside antenna. If the antennas are located too close together they will pick up each other’s signals and create a feedback loop – you won’t get any boost… That’s why we installed the outside antenna far back on the roof of our van.

More info: What is Antenna Separation and Why it’s Important | weBoost

8.1. Connect the Outside Antenna to the Booster

8.2. Connect the Inside Antenna to the Booster

8.3. Connect the Power Supply to the Booster

Diamond K9000 Antenna Fold Installation (Connect Cables to Booster)

Our van conversion is still a work-in-progress at the time of writing these lines, so we’re temporarily powering the booster via the factory 120V outlet on the side of the passenger seat. We’ll update this page when we hardwire it to our electrical system!


On Second Thought…


Lesson Learned

We initially used the pass-through hole located at the very back end of the van. Turns out the interior is “hollow” at this location (two layers of sheet metal) and making a nice installation was very difficult (no room to tighten the lock nut). We decided to plug the hole (we 3D printed a plug that holds with VHB tape and a bead of Silicone) and use the one a few inches forward.

Cable Entry Pad Installation (Ford Transit Solar and Antenna Pass-Through Roof)-7
The lock nut was hidden between two layers of sheet metal, there was not enough room to tighten it.

First Impressions

After a short while we decided to add the Spring Base that’s provided with the weBoost, just for our peace of mind. We also removed the mast extension to reduce the total height of the antenna. With this setup, there is much less freeplay when the antenna is down (less leverage). We can always put the mast extension back if we feel we would benefit from it:

weBoost-Antenna-Short-Mast-and-Spring-Van-Roof

Long Term Review

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Hello! We’re Isabelle and Antoine 🙂 In 2017, we sold our house (and everything in it), quit our engineering careers, and moved into our self-built campervan. Every day is an opportunity for a new adventure... We’re chasing our dreams, and hopefully it inspires others to do the same!

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Thanks to all of you, we managed to negociate group discount on these. Strength in numbers!

10 thoughts on “Motorized Antenna Tilt Installation on Roof Rack | WeBoost Fold Up/Down”

  1. Antoine, as usual, very thorough and detailed instructions–thank you! My 2016 Transit was modeled after yours. As such, my solar panels are glued/taped to the roof per your original instructions so I don’t have anything to mount the WeBoost onto. In your research, did you come across a mount that might support the K9000 without drilling into the roof?

    Reply
    • Hi!
      Maybe you could install one of these Junction Box with 3M VHB Tape onto your roof, then screw the K9000 on top of the box? There may be more elegant ways of doing this, but the junction box thing would be pretty straightforward I think!

      Reply
  2. Have you considered making a splittable gland for passing cables such as USB, starlink, etc or other connectors that won’t fit through the opening? I’ve seen a few of these on the market, but not specifically for the transit hole.

    Another issue – I opened up the next-to-last hole (just in front of D pillar) on my 2018 transit van (as recommended) but the opening is oblong rather than round – easily fits a USB cable end through – but doesn’t match photos here.

    Thanks for your help making these parts!

    Reply
  3. Would your “Cable Entry Pad”
    be good to use on some of the lighting wires into the van? We want to mount a 50″ light bar, side and rear light pods onto our roof rack.

    Reply
  4. And this a comment more on the WeBoost than the motor mount: Be careful to not get a used/older model; many of the older units use 9V not 12V, so you can’t wire easily into a 12V-14V system. Second, the WeBoost uses about 1 A of power; all those cooling fins on it are there for a reason! So, to save your stored power, make sure you have an easy way to see if it’s on and an easy way to turn it off. I powered mine with a lit switch similar to what you used for your propane solenoid, only rated to 5 A.

    Reply
  5. Hi Isabelle and Antoine,

    Nice find!

    Did you notice the instructions, do not raise or lower at temperatures near freezing or below? So I guess in the winter you just leave it up?

    Also, that WeBoost spring is VERY heavy duty, did you rare to test the motor mount it by pulling the antenna back? My spring is so stiff that I am almost afraid to bend the mounting plate I am using!

    Cheers, Don

    Reply
    • With our latest arrangement (shortest mast, see “On Second Thoughts”) we can leave the antenna UP most of the time, as it is not that high. So we might leave it up in winter; snow may prevent from raising/lowering the antenna anyway.

      Yeah the spring is quite stiff! I did try to bend it a bit (like 15-20 degree) and it was fine, but I didn’t go further… The spring is more like a last-resort solution!

      Reply

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