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Old 05-12-2009, 06:33 PM
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My Amateur Radio Install

Thought I'd ride on the "My CB Install" by starting another thread looking to resolve some the the details I'd like to cover before drilling holes.

Drilled a 3/4" hole in the center of the roof of my Prius today while it was at the body shop having hail dents popped out. Had put that off a couple of years for fear of the side airbags, and uncertainty as to where the roof rafters were to be found.

Two issues with my 2008 F-250 Crew Cab are 1) where are those roof supports, and 2) where is power available in the cab?

Pushing on the roof this evening, the darn thing got stiffer the closer to the center I got. An NMO mount is installed from the outside. I really really really don't want to drill into a roof rafter.

Will spend some quality time with the owner's manual later tonight after realizing I don't know where the fuse panel is located. There is a panel to the right of the passenger's feet that I removed. Icon suggests there is a fuse box inside but didn't recognize one in the dark.

Looking under the front passenger seat am concerned there isn't enough room for my radio. Have Kenwood TM-G707A and TM-742A radios available once I make up my mind. The G707A is in my Sonoma and needs to be removed before the Sonoma goes to a new home.

The Sonoma's passenger kick panel had a wonderful space inside to install the G707A's body. This is with the panel removed. With panel in place the radio is invisible but the speaker plays through the panel very nicely:

Drilled a small screw hole in the dash to firmly mount the control head. The small control head is an advantage of the G707A over 742A. The 742A is a tri-band radio with removable band modules. Only comes with 2 but the radio is discontinued and interesting modules such as 10M and 6M are getting scarce. The is the G707A in the Sonoma:

And no installation is complete without a real hole in the roof:

The plan is to do similar with the F-250.
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Old 05-12-2009, 07:41 PM
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If you have a 2008, do you have upfitter switches? Does your radio need constant power, or does it matter if it is switched? Some of the upfitter switches provide about 30A. That ought to be enough for a 2m transmitter, right?

There is a fuse box in the passenger side foot well. As far as where to put the transmitter body, I don't know exactly. Is it too far to put it behind the back seat?
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Old 05-13-2009, 03:28 PM
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IIRC my radios are fused at 15A. Without consulting the manual 10A should suffice as 10A at 12V is 120W and a class C amplifier should do better than 37.5% efficiency. Rarely run at 45W but sometimes its helpful.

Do not have the upfitter switches. Was on my "desired list" but wasn't high enough to make additional effort to find a truck so equipped. Looked like $100 to $200 could retrofit the switches if needed. Don't really need them, only interested in borrowing power from where ever they get it.

For the hole in the roof my current plan is to disassemble the dome light so see if that will expose the structure and help indicate where it is safe to drill.
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Old 05-13-2009, 09:07 PM
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This is an amatuer radio? What kind of range do you get out of it? How is it in the bush compared to a VHF?
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Old 05-13-2009, 10:20 PM
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Currently am working at making it easy to switch the Kenwood TM-D700 from the explorer to the 250. Finally got the front panel bracket unglued from the explorer, now am going to do the industrial velcro type stuff to mount the front panel, has to go on top of the dash as the auto trans. shifter would cover it on the face of the dash where I want it. Will run power to the Batteries and come through the firewall drivers side above and left of the steering column. Main body of radio will fit under passenger seat for easy change between rigs.
The 250 has a rubber plug in the roof where prior owner had a CB antenna, the NMO mount with a dual band ant. is going there. Just have to figure out how to fish the coax down the right A pillar.
W7TZS
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Old 05-14-2009, 01:17 AM
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Slick setup, im trying to figure out where to mount my remote face for my ICOM in my F350.
KC8RAD
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Old 05-14-2009, 06:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris454bb View Post
This is an amatuer radio? What kind of range do you get out of it? How is it in the bush compared to a VHF?
Everything that is available commercially for two-way radios(frequency wise) is available in the amateur bands too. If you are using commercial (business band) VHF (~150mhz), the amateur equivalent is called 2meter which is about 140mhz. The power and wave characteristics are virtually identical, so you wouldn't have an advantage running one over the other. The thing about amateur is that it is for strictly non-commercial personal use. So that is a major limit to what you can do with it. It basically limits it to radio enthusiasts talking to other radio enthusiasts.

As far as power goes, I know that the business band "red dot" (151.625mhz) mobile units I use with the trail riders (South Texas Trail Riders, Inc. Official Site) are transmitting at 25watts, and that is a lot of power, provided you have good coax, good antennas, and good 13.8vdc power.

N4hhe talked about using up to 45watts on the amateur bands. That's a lot.. I forget what the limit is on 2m.. I let my license expire years ago, and i haven't gotten around to getting it back.

Most people that think their VHF is not working well enough want more power. Most of the time it is not due to lack of power, it is due to poor antenna system. That goes for amateur 2m as well as commercial VHF.

Last edited by elibenson; 05-14-2009 at 06:11 AM. Reason: forgot something
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Old 05-14-2009, 06:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris454bb View Post
This is an amatuer radio? What kind of range do you get out of it? How is it in the bush compared to a VHF?
Considering ham radio??? some info for ya...
(1) its a great group of self policing individuals using radio. rarely will you find any of the moronic conduct that goes on in other public bands
(2) There are MANY bands and priveledges. For mobile use,the most popular is the 2 meter band,which is 144-thru 148 mhz (many many modes of operation.....FM,AM,packet radio,side-band,simplex...etc. ) The most popular use for two meter mobile is FM/repeater mode. A repeater,and there are many "open" repeaters will allow a two way conversation to occur within a 10 thru 30 mile radius of operation...while driving...sometimes even further.
(3) Ham radio was 99 percent hi-techies 20-30 years ago...it isnt that way any longer. Tech knowledge is desired and somewhat required but nowhere near what was required years ago. The mix of individuals makes for interesting conversation...truckers,doctors,techs,bankers,sale smen,unemployed,retired etc all with a common goal,.....fun with radio and providing emergency communications when needed. No commercial activity,no profanity,no harrasment, no "broadcating" allowed.
(4) The test is not terribly difficult to study for and take. The basic equipment is not terribly expensive.



Amateur radio - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 05-14-2009, 06:58 AM
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^^what he said.

Here's a neat site that does practice exams based on the actual amateur test question pools.

AA9PW FCC Exam Practice Amateur Radio Exam Practice

Just for kicks, I did the technician test, and got close to 90% or something. It took the General exam, and got like 80some%..
I've studied for the Technician test years and years ago, but never took it. I have never studied for the General test..

I need to find a testing center around here so I can get my license back.. I have an Icom VHF hand held that I use for local emergency services, as well as the trail ride that I am involved with. There is several 2meter repeaters around here that I could use if I get my license back..
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Old 05-14-2009, 07:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrnecsteve View Post
Considering ham radio??? some info for ya...
A repeater,and there are many "open" repeaters will allow a two way conversation to occur within a 10 thru 30 mile radius of operation...while driving...sometimes even further.
If the repeater is on a hiltop, its MUCH farther!

One of our local repeaters here in Central Ca. is at about 7000ft.. You can talk into if from the Grapevine on the south all the way to the Pacheco Pass on the North. Roughly 175 miles. Another repeater we have is on the Coastal mountain range, you can stand on the pier at Cayucus (north of Pismo Beach) and talk into Fresno (central valley) , 109mi.

Those are direct links thru a single repeater, but then there is the IRLP (Internet Radio Linking Project), which links repeaters thru the internet, and you can talk literally anywhere...
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