under running board radio anntena

ValVal Member
in HUDSON Posts: 445
Hello all, wondering if anyone has any ideas as to where I may get one of there for my 39. Getting ready to send my radio to Steve for repair and I will ask him about this as well. But thought I would post the question here too. Went out to Wildrick's yesterday to get the radio and check on the car. Coming along fine, they do so great work  


  • 29sptphaeton29sptphaeton Member
    Posts: 69
    I once had a 39 Plymouth with an under running board antenna and it worked fine.   I have seen repros advertised either in Hemmings or in the Classic Car Club of America classifieds.  Ed
  • ValVal Member
    Posts: 445
    29s, Thank you I will check those sites. I have asked Steve Engle about it and he said he will send me instructions on how to make one but I had much rather obtain one.   
  • Jay GJay G Expert Adviser
    Posts: 282

    The key is does you car have the mounting brackets under the floorboards?  If not you can make them but I have never seem any for sale.  I have all but 1 under my 37 and I keep thinking I will get it going but I have not done so.  Also remember radio is line of sight so the lower the antenna is the worse the reception will be.  Not to mention all the steel that is now in the way.  I am sure Steve has imparted this thoughts on the subject.

    My fear has been what happens if the wires droop or get caught on something? 


  • Jon BJon B Administrator
    Posts: 6,441
    Not sure what the '39 ones looked like, but the '37's were some simple brackets (which I welded up of simple strap steel) that were bolted to the underside of the runningboards as I recall.  I took measurements from someone else's '37 and made these.  A series of holes were drilled in the front and rear brackets and a length of cable (I used aircraft cable as I recall) was strung back and forth between them, passing through porcelain insulators (held to the brackets by S hooks).  One end of the antenna on one side, was linked to one end of the other (via a standard insulated antenna wire and then the loose end on the driver's side was attached to another insulated antenna wire which passed up through the floorboard and plugged into the side of the radio receiver.

    I got all this information by looking at the shop manual, and kind of figured it out.

    You could do the same too.  I believe the key is to mate the radio (trimmer?) to the actual length of the antenna cable, for good reception.  But I never did this!  The reception was so back that I bit the bullet and got one of those cowl sidemount antennas instead.  Reception still isn't that good -- I usually pick up maybe 4 or 5 stations.  But again, I may need to fool with the "trimmer" adjustment and have never bothered to do so.

    Certainly worth asking Doug about.
  • Oldfarmer1947gmailcomOldfarmer1947gmailcom Expert Adviser
    edited March 13 Posts: 1,328
    The electrical length of the antenna must be matched to the AM radio frequency band. The trimmer accomplishes the electrical length fine tuning   The physical length of the antenna wire must be very close to the band (AM) length for the Trimmer cap to be of value in fine tuning the antenna for max reception.
  • ValVal Member
    Posts: 445
    Thanks to all who given me advice on this. Doug had told me to check ebay and inquire of others as he thought that they would still be available or someone would have reproduced them. I do have the mounting brackets under the car along the floor and running boards. 
  • Jon BJon B Administrator
    edited March 13 Posts: 6,441
    Back in the 30's, radio antenna technology was all over the boards.  They were mounted on top of roofs, within roofs, under runningboards -- everywhere.  Runningboard antennae could be rigid tubes or looped cables.  The chances of your finding an authentic "kit", therefore, are slim, because no "period" kit would be able to replicate the wide variety of antennae found in all makes.
    Below is a link to what the antenna options were in 1939 Hudson (runningboard versus cowl-mount).  Cowl-mounted units are not hard to find nowadays, I'm just not sure what the original would have looked like.  But you could ask other '39 owners if any of them have "the real deal".  To do the runningboard version, as I say, you could "wing it" using a drawing as a guide, and then buy similar available hardware to accomplish your replication.

    The Club has a series of radio manuals from about 1930-41 available in one PDF document, on the on-line library over at their website.  I have copied this image of the 1939 antenna options, from that manual.

  • ValVal Member
    edited March 13 Posts: 445
    Thank You Jon I appreciate that I will also check out the on line lit on the club site. I thought of posting this question there as well but I think this gets more traffic Funny thing though my radio is a DB 38 so its a 1938 model but I don't see that making a difference in the antennea    
  • SuperDaveSuperDave Senior Contributor
    Posts: 3,257
    I was told that the roof top antennas were terrible in cities with street cars. All the noise from the trolleys making sparks..Hence, the running board type was invented.

    Live in the past.... it's cheaper.

    49 Super six Brougham

    49 Commodore Eight Convertible

    Melbourne, Florida

  • ValVal Member
    Posts: 445
    Thanks SuperDave for that bit of interesting history. I can see that being the case.  
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