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Temporary car installation - power options

Discussion in 'On the Road' started by KK6DCT, Mar 5, 2014.

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  1. KK6DCT

    KK6DCT Ham Member QRZ Page

    I mainly work HF at home, but have been toying with the idea of putting a 2m/440 radio in my car for occasional mobile use. My hesitation right now is that I don't expect that I'll use it that often to go to the lengths of getting a power cable from my battery through the firewall into my car interior, and I'm not that keen on having a radio screwed onto or under my dash either. I guess what I'm looking for are some temporary options because I don't want the radio to be a permanent installation in my car.

    What are some options I could look into? I have a couple of HTs, so I guess I could run one of these powered from the 12v accessory outlet and an antenna with a mag mount? Any other ideas?

  2. AG6JU

    AG6JU Guest

    For Antenna this worked well for me.
    suction-cup-x2--L-angle-NMO-antenna-mount-02-small.png // suction-cup-x2--L-angle-NMO-antenna-mount-04.png
    for power, I had a 12 gauge red/black wire with large alligator clip with fuse, connect to car battery and feed through between food and windshield into door to inside of a car.
  3. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    With most vehicles, getting a power cable to the battery is really easy (10 minute job at most) if you already have a long enough cable. Only problem is most rigs don't come with a long enough cable, so one has to be made or spliced. But getting the cable through is usually a cinch, I've done it a lot of times and never had a problem yet.

    A short mag mount with a very good magnet isn't bad. The longer ones can go flying and become a missile pretty easily if you hit the brakes hard or (worse) actually hit something, like another car.

    Problem with a mobile rig "temporarily" installed is it really needs to be strapped down so it, too, won't go flying under some conditions. Bad enough we have cell phones that might, but they're pretty small and light and don't have sharp corners, compared to a rig that's ten times the size, maybe 20x the weight, and probably has exposed metal which can do a lot of damage if it hits anybody.

    If I use a rig "temporarily" in the car (like sitting on a seat) I use something similar to adjustable luggage straps to strap it to said seat so it can't move.
  4. KJ6OJL

    KJ6OJL Ham Member QRZ Page

    I wouldn’t recommend tapping anything existing, Id dedicate a power line to the battery,
    Most cars on the door frame have a unused grommet or two. And its always leaves option to use
    it for mobile base and or ht use. Don’t want it anymore pull the wires out. pretty quick and simple.
    K0bg has a great site.
    Great read

    Here is a splice job, and can happen with “splicing” or “Tapping”


    A few min shorter, a “temporary” job could be a “Final” Job…
    As for radio it self.
    Consider mounting it to some wood with a slit cut through to be held onto the seat
    by a seat belt. As for antenna run small mag mount, Can even just lower the window and run cable
    out that way.
    Just the power is not recommended To have any short cut, but don’t have a radio bouncing around loose.

    Just my 50 Cents. Inflation raised the 2 cents.

  5. KK6DCT

    KK6DCT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks, ok, this gives me some things to think about. I'll have a poke about and see if there's an obvious/easy hole where I can pull a cable.

    Thanks for the tips!
  6. KK6DCT

    KK6DCT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Actually I did some googling and found a bunch of posts on enthusiast forum sites for my car where others had pulled through similar cables to power aftermarket stereo amps etc and the route they were suggesting was behind the glove box on the passenger side, but the cable has to run through some cable conduit under the hood to get to the battery on the drivers side. It looks a pretty scary job for someone who doesn't tinker with cars. They were saying a 3 to 4 hr job. I think I might just go with the HT idea and a mag mount. That's within my capabilities :)
  7. KJ6OJL

    KJ6OJL Ham Member QRZ Page

    Doable either way.
    Of course know your own limits,
    Home depot has great wire heavy duty enough and oil resistant, abrasion resistant.
    Walmart has post add ons,. Use a few fuses.

    But HT with good charged battery and can hook in magmount And voila too :)
    Within your abilities is a good thing to be able to admit when your beyond

  8. KD3NE

    KD3NE Ham Member QRZ Page

    I know people will cringe at this but a few years back I was in and out of different company vehicle frequently.

    They did not want anything "installed" so I really HB Engineered my installs ........

    Cigarette Lighter outlet ..... mag mount ..... 30 watt mobile rig.

    Yeah, yeah I know .... it's best to go directly to the battery.

    It's also best to punch a hole in the roof and mount your antenna through that hole ..... but like I said, in and out of many vehicles not owned by me.

    FWIW: My 2013 Honda that I own .......heavy wire directly to the battery ( heavier than needed - but heavy enough for many add ons ) and a nice 3/4" hole punched in the middle of the roof ! ! ! !

    Plans to add a second battery to the trunk, with a charging isolator so I can park and talk till the battery dies and still be able to start the car!
  9. KD3NE

    KD3NE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Behind the glove box on the passenger side ..... hmmm .... what else is back there? Heater core? AC components?

    You are right about it being scary for those not familiar with the inner workings of the dashboard.

    In the old day it was easy to find a pass thru .... but today they seal the firewall up tighter than a frogs behind.
  10. KC9UDX

    KC9UDX Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    I have plenty of mobile rigs, but what I find usually works best for me is a dual-band magmount antenna and an HTX-202 and HTX-404. I don't generally carry both around though, so I pick a band before I leave in the morning.

    Depending on how much activity is in your area, you don't necessarily need much transmit power. In fact, 10W is the most I've ever used mobile, and, I usually run 1W. I do operate on 2m and .7m mobile, frequently.

    The HTX handhelds are up to 6W, have plenty of audio power, and seem to handle RFI and intermod better than any of my mobile rigs (which are all monoband, I can only imagine it gets worse with dual-banders). And, they're cheap and plentiful, yet.
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