First mobile setup help

Discussion in 'Mobile Radio Systems' started by VE2WFB, Sep 13, 2019.

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  1. VE2WFB

    VE2WFB Ham Member QRZ Page


    I'm a new ham and I would like to get my first mobile setup. After reading quite a bit, I'm thinking to purchase an Icom IC-2300H. I would like to build 2 kits (power + antenna) to go with it. One for a good fixed installation in my Honda Accord 2013 and one to use with rental car.

    I still have a few questions that, hopefully, some of you with more experience can answer:

    - For a ~40 inch antenna fixed installation, which antenna / mount / cable do you recommand?
    - Is the power cable provided by Icom good enough or is it better to upgrade them?
    - For a ~20 inch antenna with magnetic mount, which antenna and mount do you recommand?
    - As rental car power supply, which cigarette ligther adapter could you recommand? Do I need to pay attention to the end connector? I'm not able to find which connector is used with the IC-2300H, is it standard? Is this one a good choice :

    Fred VE2WFB
  2. AI7PM

    AI7PM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Where is the 40 inch antenna going to be mounted? I recomment the Larsen 2/70, unless the roof is an option, then the 2/70SH wil work fine.
    For your mag mount for rental use, I'd get a Larsen 2/70SH
    I wouldn't. and don't, run the standard zip line power cords into the engine compartment. Those cords aren't designed to stand up to the engine compartment environment. Many hams do, and dodge the bullet. I figure why not just do it right.
    I've used the cigar lighter plug when I was in rentals or event support vehicles. I kept my radio on low or mid range power. I've seen a couple of hams run 50w sucessfully for a while this way, and I've seen them replace fuses often as well.
    KB0MNM likes this.
  3. KB0MNM

    KB0MNM Ham Member QRZ Page

    For the rental vehicle, you may want to look at the MFJ trunk/hood lip mount, which differs from many in that there are 2 setscrews. This unfortunately means a towel or other means of keeping water/ice/snow out because the RG-58 ( or RG-8x etc. ) cable is approximately 1/4 of an inch in diameter. At one time I used the fold-over antenna mount that could be actuated for fold-over from inside the vehicle. I believe it was a Diamond K5000. There were some issues with extra wire, but the biggest was keeping the adjuster tightened ( you can break an antenna if that 'gear' surface fools you about position ). The nice thing was that it came with a very thin coaxial cable assembly- not very serviceable- yet strong enough. I think that coax may have been type RG-142. If theft might be an issue, the MFJ 17xx series antennas are pretty cheap & will last a while. They typically need to be tuned- you will need an SWR meter for that, almost all amateur radio antennas require minor length adjustments when new. While I have your attention, working 2 meters in Canada is typically O.K., where the 70CM ( 430-450 Mhz. ) band could get you into trouble with the RCMP in certain places. Be certain that you check the rules. Finally, regarding that power wiring- any experienced installer will tell you these three things: 1. The place where you transition from the engine compartment to the passenger compartment ( firewall ) is where most cabling is cut by accident. There may already be a grommet that you can use, and drilling new holes can cause a variety of expensive mechanical problems if you are not very carefull about the 'backside of where you drill'. It is best to use A. The grommet that is already in use for other wires, if possible. B. Extra insulation, split loom plastic tubing and electrical tape for a total of three types of insulation over the bare wire. 2. Make certain that your fuses are on the battery side, not the passenger side of the installation. As already stated, the firewall penetration point is usally where insulation gets rubbed off of the wire until it is bare, due to movement and tiny grains of sand. The included fuse holders are seldom very good for keeping water out. Most agree that only the positive lead should be fused, yet you may notice two fuses ( one for negative) are in most amateur radio harness wiring. Radio operator K0BG has good information on his website about where to tap power. 3. Be very carefull about airbags and other hidden wiring and equipment. Think about where an airbag might deploy and try to keep the radio mounted where it would not be an issue.
  4. KI5GKD

    KI5GKD Ham Member QRZ Page

    I just installed an ICOM IC-2300H in my 2012 Silverado last weekend and used an MFJ-1402 "shorty" dual band in the middle of the roof on an NMO mount fed with RG58 A/U. I checked the SWR today on 2M and it was at 1:1.3 without touching anything. Have not checked it on 70cm yet but it gets out fine.
  5. KB0MNM

    KB0MNM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Re: K0BG blog on installs: KF5LJW has a thread going regarding the use of a fuse on the negative lead. There is controversy about that- many opinions.
    Re: SWR 1:1.3- While anything under 1:1.5 is considered 'good' by some hams, others might say that 1:1.1 is not hard to obtain for the frequency that you expect to use the most- your local repeater (KI5GKD response). Getting into a repeater from nearby is seldom an issue, for more range you may wish to carefully tune. If you do not have a meter for 70cm, I would recommend that you see if fellow amateurs in your area might help- check for clubs nearby.
  6. KI5GKD

    KI5GKD Ham Member QRZ Page

    The 1:1.3 match was "out of the box" and I haven't tweaked it any. When I get time I will try to bring it down. I was pleased as it is a "shorty" and I hadn't started messing with it yet, just screwed it on the roof!
  7. KB0MNM

    KB0MNM Ham Member QRZ Page

    To VE2WFB from near Montreal: I suggested the MFJ17xx series because it is cheap, and might give extra gain should you be further, rather than closer to Montreal than your listed QRZ address. If you anticipate parking ramps and other areas that might cause a longer antenna to bend or break, then the 14xx series might be a better choice. Some folks have been known to call MFJ products Mighty Fine J, and refer to a type of fishing boat found in China. Since the parent company is closer to Forth Worth than Taiwan, I would not say that. I would just say that they are inexpensive, and thus your loss might be small compared to others. So for the rental, if you can pull the RG-58 A/U size cable in without a loss of weatherproofing or potential for theft- this might be your best temporary antenna system. If you want the smaller cable, look at the K5000 ( Diamond ) antenna mount and see if you can get the replacement NMO mount with the 'wacky' type of PL-259 attached. For use in icy environments, any mount other than the K5000 motorized mount should work. You would still need the mount and element- but no soldering is involved if you can get the replacement NMO to PL-259 assembly. This cable should only be used under 75 watts, however. To KI5GKD- Howdy. Roof of the pictured motorcycle? ( just kidding ). Remember that sometimes there is a bit of anodizing on the whip element- garnet paper can clean that off in most cases. A bolt cutter or small grinder and safety glasses can make it easier to trim an element by a small increment. Good notes about high, low, and intended repeater frequency SWR can keep you from going too far... Shorter means tuned to higher frequency. Adding length usually means buying a new whip.
  8. W5GX

    W5GX Ham Member QRZ Page

    At full power transmit, the IC-2300 pulls 11 amps. Probably much too hot for the cigarette lighter plug. Even the installation guide says not to use cigarette lighter sockets.

    You could get by with reduced power, but you'd need to know the fuse rating of the car's cigarette lighter circuit. And you'd need to be continually aware of your power limit.

    You should plan on 10 gauge or better, going with a permanent installation. I'm thinking the factory wire may be 12 gauge.

    NMO are the defacto mounts for permanent installs - good and reliable. My Comet SSB7 has been really good.

    I have a cheap Tram 20-something mag mount, and it's adequate. Model 11861, I think.
    AK5B likes this.

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