Kenwood TS-480 Mobile Questions

Discussion in 'Mobile Radio Systems' started by N3QIG, Aug 22, 2011.

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  1. N3QIG

    N3QIG XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I'm considering a Kenwood TS-480 (either HX or SAT) as a mobile rig, and was wondering how current owners have the unit mounted. Does the mic plug into the main unit or the face piece? It looks like the main unit must be within Mic Cord length, otherwise I'd rather "hide" the main unit and work through the face piece. Can the audio output be easily routed through the vehicle's sound system? I have bluetooth and 1/8" jack inputs available, so even a simple Ext. Speaker jack would work.
    Thanks! Michael, N3QIG
  2. WD5GWY

    WD5GWY Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have a 480SAT in my big truck (18 wheeler) and overall, I like it just fine. The remote face does not have a connection for the microphone.
    It is connected to the main body. There is an extension cable available from Kenwood that allows a longer run if you need it for the microphone. It really depends on where you put the main unit. If under one of the front seats, you can just use the cable with it and bring
    the mic up between the front seat(s). It does have an external speaker jack on the remote unit as well as on the main body. You will be surprised at how well the audio is straight out of the speaker that is mounted in the rear of the remote.
  3. N5MOA

    N5MOA Subscriber QRZ Page

    The mic connects to the main unit only. But it is a pretty long mic cable.

    Any location that allows good air flow is fine. My pickup has 40/20/40 seats (a center seat with fold down console). I mounted the main unit under the center seat.

    There is a head phone jack on the control head, as well as a speaker out on the main unit.

    edit: looks like I type slower than I thought.;)
  4. N7WR

    N7WR Subscriber QRZ Page

    The others have answered your questions but I would just add that the 480 SAT is an EXCELLENT choice for a mobile.
  5. K0BG

    K0BG Ham Member QRZ Page

    I mentioned this in another thread, but it bears mentioning here too.

    Seemingly, the universal recommendation is always the SAT version with a built in auto-coupler. I suspect the reasoning is that the tuner will allow you to QSY when using a monoband antenna. Since the the coupler has a 3:1 limitation, it means you could about double the nominal bandwidth of say a hamstick. That isn't saying very much, on 40 or 80 meters.

    If the antenna you use requires matching, doing so using the built in coupler is a lousy way to accomplish it.

    If you use a remotely tuned antenna, the need for a built in coupler is moot.

    The Hx version of the 480 offers a lot of bang for the buck. It eliminates any real need for an external amplifier when operated mobile. Although I personally don't like the remote microphone connection, a careful installation will solve that problem.

    The only other recommendation, is the installation of the 1.8 kHz SSB filter.
  6. M0GVZ

    M0GVZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Don't buy the Kenwood Mic extension cable. Just get a normal straight through CAT 5 or CAT6 computer network cable and a female to female RJ45 coupler as the mic connectors on the TS480 are just standard run of the mill RJ45. I use a 15ft one I made up myself with no issue. I also made my own head separation cables as well.
  7. K0BG

    K0BG Ham Member QRZ Page

    Some folks may indeed get by with a CAT5 cable. However, if you're unlucky, what you end up with is common mode, and RFI. The factory cables are well shielded, and the CAT5 cables aren't. Even the shielded ones, aren't what you would call shielded.
  8. WD5GWY

    WD5GWY Ham Member QRZ Page

    I don't recommend the SAT version over the HX version. It is simply the one I have. I use a screwdriver antenna with it and have never put the
    ATU inline with it.
    I do second the suggestion of the 1.8KHZ SSB filter. It makes the 480 (both versions) an even better radio.
  9. KE5DFK

    KE5DFK Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have the 480HX version and use an MFJ993B auto tuner with a home brew dual coil antenna. The SAT with the 3:1 is very limited, think PORTABLE also, with a good tuner your options are wide open. I take my Jeep to the beach and setup a Hustler 4 band vert and connect it to the auto tuner, far greater flexibility than 3:1 tuner.

    I made my own cables out of cat5 and seem to work well. K0BG may have a point of interest on common mode problems. What I also did was to use a RJ dual wall mounting plate and concealed the wires from the plate to the radio. I plug in the mic to the RJ and use a short cable that I made to connect the control head to the RJ plate. Very clean install and works great. With this config you can also pull the mic and control head and put them in the trunk so they don't draw attention to the sticky finger people.

    For portable I also carry 25ft cables for the mic and control head. I run them to the RJ wall mount plate and take the mic and control head to a picnic table or camp chair and sit outside and operate.

  10. M0GVZ

    M0GVZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    The only time you get common mode problems when using CAT5 and CAT6 to make up your own head and mike cables is when you've not got the antenna installed properly. I used a triple magmount on my Tarheel and if I put in more than 50W on 80m the head unit display connected by 20ft of CAT5 to the radio did all kinds of funky things. I drilled a hole and roof mounted it and now I can put 200W through and not a hint of anything.
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