View Full Version : Questions about radio, antenna and mounting in a 94 Mazda 626
05-09-2011, 04:08 AM
Currently use small HT while on the road, and surely 5W is not enough! So i looked at getting a dual band mobile radio. However I do not use the 70 cm much and finally settled on ICOM -IC2200H model. I like the 65W output and also like the wide RX range (listen to the aviation bands, when not flying!).
Anyway, this is my first attempt at using a mobile rig and am in need of some help/guidance.
Firstly - is there a big difference between using a 1/4 and 5/8 wave antenna? I like the 1/4 wave antenna, given it's size (23 inches vs 51 inches for the 5/8) for the Larsen NMOQ. Also, this fits in my price range.
Secondly - mounting the antenna. I am thinking of getting the NMOTLP (trunk lip mount) by Larsen too. This way, I don't have to make drill holes in the fender or trunk. This also comes with a PL-259 (loose) connector. Is this good? Is there anything else, I would need to get this rig installed and running?
Lastly, anyone have any experience mounting a rig in a 94 Mazda 626? Any thoughts as to where you put this unit?
Thanks for all your help! I have all the parts added to my cart at Universal radio - just waiting to hear from you folks, before I can order my stuff!
The truth is, mounting location is more important than the type of antenna used. If you want the best overall performance, a standard NMO 1/4 wave mounted in the center of the roof is about as good as it gets.
You might read this: http://www.k0bg.com/images/pdf/mobile_vhf_ant.pdf
05-09-2011, 01:41 PM
Alan's comments are correct and certainly go and read through his website. Here are some of my personal thoughts though.
I have MANY mobile radios in several vehicles. Some of my VHF radios use 1/4 wave and others use 5/8 wave. Here in the plains of Wyoming, I feel there is a slight edge on the 5/8 antenna. It is so minor, it may be my imagination.
In extremely rugged terrain in the rocky mountains, I have generally had slightly more luck with the 1/4 wave. But nothing startling. Like Alan said, it is more dependent on mounting location instead of antenna itself. Getting the antenna mounted on the highest and flattest piece of metal (roof usually), will give the best performance.
For the mounting, I really like the standard NMO mount that you drill. They are extremely robust, waterproof, and make a cleaner looking install IMO. If your vehicle is a '94 model, it has certainly depreciated and you would not be losing any trade in value if you just drill a hole. I own an '09 Tundra and 4 hours after picking it up, I had drilled 4 NMO mount holes in the roof. Just as my '01 I had traded in. And he dealer did not ding me at all for the holes. That may not be your concern, but it usually is. And I am betting (because I know I am) you will be happier with the performance if you just drill the hole.
And sadly I don't know your vehicle. It can be a real pain to mount radios and the Ic-2200 is not the smallest radio. I own a few of them and they perform GREAT, just not easy to stick into a vehicle. If you are not set on that radio, look into some options with a remote face mount. LOTS easier in a small vehicle.
05-09-2011, 02:32 PM
Ditto on the roof mount -- hard to beat it. As far as the Larsen antenna -- I was not too impressed with the 5/8 wave dual-bander I bought. The center contact is a strip of metal. Mine died with a high SWR. Got a warranty replacement, but I'll probably sell it at the next Hamfest. The cheap 1/4 wave on the wife's car and the cheap 5/8 wave on my van have a spring-loaded plunger for the center contact and seem to be built very sturdy -- for way less money.
Most cars have a dome light in the middle of the headliner. This is usually a good spot for an NMO mount, provided you have clearance and can get a wire from there down the door post and to the radio. On a car that old you don't have worries on side curtain airbags and probably none on squib-loaded seatbelt retractors, so your biggest issue is probably just cable routing.
05-09-2011, 02:46 PM
Thanks for all the info guys! Most helpful. I was also considering the FT-2900R, given its 75W output too. I think they are both the same size. Might decide over the nest few days before I order it. I don't think there is a 2m with detachable face available in my price range.
he cheap 1/4 wave on the wife's car and the cheap 5/8 wave on my van have a spring-loaded plunger for the center contact and seem to be built very sturdy -- for way less money.
What kind of antenna (make/model) is it?
05-09-2011, 06:17 PM
One of them is a no-name 19" 1/4 wave 2m / 70cm and the other is a Tram 5/8 wave. The Tram came from palmettoantennas.com via one of the local hamfests. I paid $54 for the Larsen and it lasted about 2 months. I think the 1/4 wave was $12 from a no-name vendor and the Tram was about $24 or so.
As far as radios, the FT-7900 is a reasonably priced dual-bander with a detachable face -- the only extra items you need is a way to mount the face and an external speaker (assuming the radio is under the seat, etc...) The FT-1900 is pretty good, but they do get really hot if you run them on high power for a long period. The FT-2900 has a bigger heat sink on the top of the radio and should run considerably cooler.
05-11-2011, 05:34 PM
Thanks for all your help! I finally settled on the FT-2900R as my first mobile radio. Got it for 150$ from Universal. Should be delivered tomorrow. Also got a mag mount Comet M24M antenna. Should have it installed over the weekend.
Thanks for all your input.
05-16-2011, 07:00 PM
Installed! Took about an hour. The m24-m is a great antenna - but could do with a little more length to the coax. Radio works well and sound clarity is AWESOME!
Video of this rig can be found here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VkW4xkkiEA8).
Thanks all for all your help!