New Mobile Radio Setup - VHF/UHF

Discussion in 'Mobile Radio Systems' started by W1JCH, May 5, 2018.

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  1. W1JCH

    W1JCH XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Hello Everyone,

    I have a 2018 Ford F-250 I want to setup a mobile radio system in. At this time I am targeting VHF/UHF only. I don't want to drill any holes in the vehicle. I have generally stuck with Icom on my shack rigs, but would be ok with something different. Not really hot on Echolink/Fusion/Dstar but that is ok. GPS not necessary but nice to have. I have been reading a bunch so far, here is my current thoughts on a setup:

    1. Icom IC-2730A transceiver
    2. IC-SP-35 external speaker (maybe 2 - 1 for each channel)
    3. Lido gooseneck or cup holder mount
    4. Larsen NMO-2/70B antenna with a lip mount out the driver rear door (I could also mount to truck bed wall, but assuming higher is better).
    5. Rigrunner likely to allow easy expansion

    Thoughts on process: I will run sheathed 8 guage non solid (with fuses) to both + and - on battery terminals and back through firewall. Grounded - to same spot as battery. I may wire this into an upfitter switch so I have a way to control the power more completely. Mount base under driver or passenger seat with Rigrunner. I may do a piece of wood or plexiglas and velcro to the carpet.

    I will continue to read K0BG and learn more, these are just initial thoughts. Comments/Questions/Suggestions welcome!
  2. K0BG

    K0BG Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Don't want or won't drill holes?
  3. W1JCH

    W1JCH XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Maybe in the firewall, but not anywhere that could be visible.
  4. K3LI

    K3LI Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Your set up will work just fine. If its the factory upfit switches, check the amperage. Other than that, go to town.

    BTW. Get ready for the "you must drill holes" you must mount center roof or your pattern will be off etc etc. If it hits the repeaters, then its just fine.
    N2SUB likes this.
  5. AI7PM

    AI7PM Ham Member QRZ Page

    How will/where the RF deck be mounted? That lip mount on the rear door is going to leave marks, and maybe slight bends. I've seen that on more than one person's truck and SUV. If you can't go NMO permanent, may I suggest the hood/fender gap L bracket mount. There are models that will use an existing bolt, or you can drill 3 very small holes that won't be visible for a more sturdy mount. Larsen 2/70 is good in that configuration.
  6. K7MH

    K7MH Ham Member QRZ Page

    A far as the radio goes, it is what you want to use but I didn't like having the mic attach to the main RF deck. I went with the Yaesu FT-7900R. At the time, it came with the separation kit so there was no added expense there.

    Higher is better but it only has to be "so good" for local FM repeaters usually. I believe that Comet or Diamond has some front fender NMO mounts that are make model and year specific and uses bolt holes that are already there. You might want to look into that. I drilled a hole for my 2/440 antenna but I have to take it off if going into a parking garage. Prior to this truck, I had always used a fender mounted antenna since about 1977. This truck has a weird front hood in the way it closes so I couldn't use the usual fender mount or I would have.

    I have a gooseneck mount that mounts to the seat bolt For an IC-706 Mk2. One issue with it is that in my 2005 Siverado, it would be nice if it was a bit longer. When you move the seat forward the mount may push away from you since the seat moves forward over the seat bolt. A bit longer would give it more room to adjust the seat.
    Another issue I have with mine is that piece that you mount the radio cradle to does not "lock" on (or snap onto) to the rest of the mount. Mine may be a weird one, I don't know.

    I don't like to give up a cup holder so didn't use one of those. I do also use the Lido mount that sticks to the dash. It has been in use since 2006 with no problems and is still stuck there just fine. here is a picture but the radio is now a different one.
    Last edited: May 7, 2018
  7. K7MH

    K7MH Ham Member QRZ Page

    I would not pay the price for them. They are common speakers that are just branded with the Icom logo.
    If you look around on eBay I would bet you can find the exact same speaker for far less, just no Icom logo on it.
    There are a lot of good small external speakers out there that are not very expensive. The Motorola mobile speakers are very good for voice communications and are plentiful at most hamfests for a few bucks each.
  8. KB0MNM

    KB0MNM Ham Member QRZ Page

    One suggestion: If you were planning to install a 'headache rack' anyway ( this is usually something that looks like a roll bar with some screening to keep objects in the bed from zooming through the rear window ), consider it as a mounting location for an antenna. This avoids any overhead airbag issues, and only gives two additional concerns: 1. height- trees can snap off many antennas, a quarter wave flex might be best or a fold-over (requires extra maint. and other attention ).
    2. Coaxial cable guarding: Convoluted plastic loom ( a.k.a split loom ) tubing can help avoid damage to the coaxial cable from tree branches , etc. ( for example, tiny rocks that may be thrown by the tires of other vehicles).
  9. K0BG

    K0BG Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    It also add a lot of ground loss.
    AI7PM likes this.
  10. AI7PM

    AI7PM Ham Member QRZ Page

    On a headache rack, you'll need a 1/2 wave at VHF for a good match and pattern. The dual bands are usually 5/8 over 5/8, 0r 5/8 over 1/2 at UHF, and will give a decent return on a headache rack or other compromise location.

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