2017 F-150 Dual Band Installation

Discussion in 'Mobile Radio Systems' started by K3WR, Oct 2, 2017.

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  1. K3WR

    K3WR XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Just started the install of a dual band (VHF/UHF) radio in my 2017 Ford F-150 Platinum model.

    Decided to tackle getting battery power to the radio first, as I knew this could be a challenge going through the firewall of my new truck. Surprisingly, this was not as difficult as I thought it would be.

    Access through the firewall is accomplished by passing the positive wire through the grommet, as shown below. I used a sharp knife to poke holes on both sides of the firewall grommet. Cutting an "X" into the rubber grommet was helpful to passing the wire. WD40 helped lube the wire and it was fished through the firewall.


    To prevent potential damage to the positive wire, plastic wire loom was placed over the wire and was wire tied to various mounting areas in the engine compartment.


    Inside the cabin of the truck, the positive wire is easily accessed adjacent to the emergency brake foot pedal.


    As the body of the F-150 is manufactured from aluminum and the roof of this truck is all glass, mounting an antenna was a bit of a challenge. Drilling a hole for a NMO mount into the roof was a non-starter due to the all glass moon roof and magnetic mounts are not my favorite.

    An effective solution was a mounting bracket manufactured by Larson Electronics LLC (VMP-MAM-F150-2015-NOCAM-WHT) procured from Amazon.com. The mount attaches to the third-brake light using the OEM hardware and a few toggle bolts to align and initially stabilize the bracket until the factory screws are re-installed into the brake light. Options on this steel bracket include using a mag mount or, as I used, a NMO mount.

    Important Note: Due to the thickness of the antenna mounting bracket, standard-sized NMO mounts did not fit. I contacted Larson and they acknowledged that the bracket will not accommodate standard-sized NMO mounts. Quote "The bracket will not accept the standard NMO. You will need to buy the tall NMO".

    A NMO mount from PulseLarsen (NMO-HFMID) was used to successfully mount the antenna to the Larson antenna bracket.


    The coaxial cable was routed along the top of the brake light, around the top of the rear window and between the truck bed and the cab. The coax was routed through the rear of the cab through vents accessible by moving the rear seat on the passenger side forward. So far, the radio install has not required drilling of the firewall or the truck body for battery power or the antenna coaxial cable.

    The next steps are to mount the radio under the rear seat and install the remote head of the IC-2730 radio, which should be an easy job. Although Icom does not include a radio mounting bracket for the main radio, an after market bracket should do the job. The remote head may be a bit tricky, again, as Icom did not supply much of a mounting bracket for that either.

    Hope this helps you Ford F-150 owners who are considering a radio install in your late model truck. The job is not that difficult and looks great.

    Jim - K3WR
  2. K0BG

    K0BG Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Only thing you did wrong, is you didn't install the ground wire correctly. It should go to the same chassis ground as the battery.

    I didn't see how you ran there coax, but if it is through a window seam, it shouldn't be.
  3. K3WR

    K3WR XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Hi Alan,

    I am grounding the radio to the chassis where it is mounted, under the rear seat of the truck. The seat bolts to the frame look like a good ground option. The coax passes under the third brake light, around the window frame and then passes into the cab through a vent in the rear of the truck cab. Ford must use that for cab ventilation, which works great for coax access too.

    Thanks for your comments and suggestions.

    Jim - K3WR
  4. K3WR

    K3WR XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Uh oh! After reviewing K0GB's mobile radio info on his website, I really should run a ground wire from the radio through the firewall and to the battery ground on the frame of the truck. A bit more wiring to pass both negative and positive wires through the firewall is in order.

    Although my truck is a Ford, GM recommends running the wiring from the battery to the radio in front of the engine (http://www.k0bg.com/images/pdf/GM.pdf). I planned to run my wiring from the battery along the firewall under the hood. While Ford has no similar recommendations, their information was published in 1998, which may not reflect the more modern technology in newer model vehicles (http://www.k0bg.com/images/pdf/ford.pdf).

    With the new vehicle models and all of the on-board computers (11 in my truck) as well as the other electronic technologies, I am going to err on the side of caution and follow the recommendations of the vehicle manufacturers. It would not be helpful, nor safe, to have something fail due to a sub-standard radio installation of my own doing. I certainty do not want to be hoisted by my own petard!

    Jim -K3WR
  5. KF5GDS

    KF5GDS Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have the IC 2730 mounted in my Silverado , I ran the negative straight to the battery through the door frame . There was a small 1/2 inch hole there and it worked out fine for me. I ran the coax from the center of the truck roof down into the dome light then down the door frame to the floor then to the body , which is mounted in the console. Yes I drilled the roof for the coax , really worked out well. It was a bit unnerving at first but I have no regrets doing it this way. The antenna is a diamond SG 7500 and also works great up there. Here are a few pics

    Attached Files:

  6. KG4GUF

    KG4GUF Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have a 2016 F-150 and your install is/will be similar to mine. Currently, I run both power and Coax through that same grommet. You've probably discovered by now that it's thick and a bear to shove wire through. One thing I did to make that easier (I remove my radio when I take the truck for service) was to take a 3/4" dowel, blunted on one end, and shove it through the grommet, also with WD-40. Then I slip a 2ft length of 3/4" ID copper pipe over the dowel, and then remove the dowel. Now I have a 3/4" hole to just drop first my coax (PL-259 is just under 3/4"), then my power cables through. I pull the pipe through the cabin, and voila.

    I'm working to improve my antenna mount though. I drive into a very short parking deck with ~1 inch of clearance between my cab and a concrete beam, so I can't have anything permanently mounted above my cab which rules out any roof mounts or modifying most existing headache racks. So I'm building one myself that runs a hinged cross member right under the center taillight. This does several things, one it moves my side of hood mounted antenna to nearly center and above my cab for a better pattern, and better range. Two, it gives me 48" of space to add other antennas. Three, since it's hinged, I can pull a pin and rotate the whole thing 90 degrees so the antennas point back over my bed for reduced-clearance spaces like the aforementioned parking deck.

    But what's interesting, is I also discovered those vents a few days ago myself. I was looking for cab penetrations and such and I saw those black things. As soon as I touched one, my fingers went through and I thought I broke it, but then I peeked around between my bed and cab and saw my fingers poking through!
  7. N7WR

    N7WR Subscriber QRZ Page

    Other than the negative (ground) wire issue which you are already resolving the ground plane under your antenna is really not sufficient. However you don't have a lot of options given the construction of the truck itself.
  8. AI7PM

    AI7PM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Applies to present models as well.

    Attached Files:

  9. KM6GEI

    KM6GEI Ham Member QRZ Page

  10. N5III

    N5III Ham Member QRZ Page

    How did you route the coax from the bed into the the cab?

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