You might be able to use the remote antenna kit. I am putting the AirWire, Phoenix P5, and Aristo-Craft Li-Ion battery in the tender of the Accucraft Flying Scotsman which has a metal tender. The tender has two openings where the coal would come out and I plan on using these for the antenna. Hope it works.
I think that you'll be surprised at how well an Airwire receiver can work inside a metal model. I put one in my USATrains Hudson tender. The tender is all diecast metal and the coal load is glued into a shallow steel tray. The Airwire uses quite a high frequency and even very small gaps can let the radio waves in. I succesfully controlled the engine from more than 100 feet away. I did ultimately decide to play it safe and used my end mill to cut away the bottom of the steel tray under the coal load and mounted the receiver just under the load but, based on early testing, this extra effort was not really necessary.
Unless you will be putting your receiver in a totally, perfectly sealed compartment, I think you will be pleased with the results.
Nice job, Jim. Just the ticket for the LGB Rail Truck. I just finished an Airwire install in an Accucraft K-37.... Metal tender and all. Had to make a plastic coal load, drill a hole in the load to allow 2 1/2 inches of the antenna to stick out the top. Range now is about 50 feet. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/doze.gif Prior to that, it was 15 feet. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/sick.gif
I have installed an AirWire receiver in 2 Accucraft geese. I changed the antenna wire. I used one that is long enough so that I could run it out the bottom of the body with the exposed part as long as the original antenna.
I mounted an AW inside a trailing box car. Range was only about 20 feet until I stuck about an inch of the antenna out of the top. Now it's 50 ' +.
I think an exposed antenna makes a difference, even if it is just an inch or so.
A friend has AW in an Accucraft K brass tender and there's an inch sticking up, as well.