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While I sometimes still use magnet mounted antennas, yes, that rubber boot is acting as an insulator. But if it works, don't worry too much about it. As mentioned above, check SWR.....this can be done with the boot and without, but it most likely works better touching the metal, with les distance between the antenna and the metal of the car. A true ground plane would have metal to metal contact, as in grinding off the paint and finish to get that contact, but then also not using a magnet mount antenna.

For casual use magnet mounts work "well enough"or "not at all" depending on the quality and frequency band/radio in use. Expect to have some impact to effectiveness just by using a magnet mount, ground plane will help, but it is still a compromise between effectiveness and convenience. For GMRS, I use a trunk lip mount, using it to keep my antenna in the middle of the front edge of the trunk on my car, this means the most metal around it as possible, but still no NMO hole that may leak at some point in the future. 

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I have a magnetic mobile antenna with a rubber boot to protect a car finish. I want to use it as a base antenna. Should I remove the boot to make contact with a steel plate? (for a ground plane)

No need to remove the boot if the SWR is within acceptable range. Feel free to remove it and compare the difference. It is your choice which to use if both yield acceptable values.

My everyday mobile antenna uses a mag-mount base. SWR is exceptional whether it is mounted top-dead-center of my SUV or on a metal trash-can lid or base. The later was when I was doing some experiments. The antenna being used was the Midland 6dBi whip.

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