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dbv

Ham Radio Install

9 posts in this topic

I have owned my 2017 TC now for a day, so I haven't had time to research much yet.

My intention is to mount my Yaesu FTM-350 radio in the van.   I usually run a pair of #4 leads from the battery to the radio main unit, which is located somewhere unobtrusive but with ventilation.  Then I need a small cable like a LAN cable that runs from there to the control head/mic package, wherever that might sit, and a coax cable from the main deck to the antenna location which will be an NMO mount.

I'm wondering who else on here might be a ham, have done such, and could share pointers.  I do have the actual NMO drill/saw for the mount, so that part will be a breeze, but I need to be sure of the location.  I think ford makes some sort of guide for this, but I haven't found it yet.

Obviously the #4 cables are a BIT of overkill, but I don't want the voltage at the radio to dip.  Full power transmit will draw about 8 to 9 amps.  Fuses in both leads at the battery.

Incidental to that, I have a set of jumper cables that terminate in a large powerpole connector, and I will want to install the matching pigtail at the battery.

Locating the head unit will be interesting as well, everything is sculpted in the dash area and of course I don't want the air bags shoving the radio up my nose!

 

Edited by dbv

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Welcome dbv.

This thread will be useful:

#4 AWG for 10 amps is way overkill. Use #8 and it will be much easier to attach the cables to the BJB and run it through the vehicle. Unless you have 40 or 50 feet of wire, you will not have any voltage drop problems.

 

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Hello dbv. There are a few Hams that are forum members, including myself but all seem to be first generation owners. First, as Don has replied, he has documented the place to draw you voltage. I used a Icom hand held in my Transit Connect standing in the cup holder between the seats with a external speaker in front of the shifter, although the overhead shelf was a perfect place for a larger rig. Look at my gallery on how I mounted my antenna. It will not work for you since the second generation Transit Connect has a totally US designed third brake light position, but it might give you some ideas. Also, many years ago, around 2011, a ham used a NMO mount on a bracket mounted on the drivers mirror to avoid drilling a hole in the van.

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That's where I got into conflict with CarToys.  I want #4.  It's their job to do what I want.   I ended up doing it myself, and there was no reason that #4 couldn't be done and in the end it was not difficult.  

I'll start looking at places and spaces.  Dad's IC-7000 is sitting here too wanting a spot.  I've not worked HF mobile in many years, but I have no doubt that's what he would have wanted.

 

BSUPC likes this

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As I get more information, the install evolves.

I am looking for info now on clearances between the headliner and the roof.   My thinking is that the FTM-350 and IC7000 main decks will live below the drivers seat, and I will need three coax runs up into the roof.  Forward position will be NMO for the FTM-350 VHF/UHF antenna.  In the middle, where Ford suggests roof vent mounting will be another NMO for the IC-7000 VHF/UHF side.   In the back, near the hatch, an SO-239 for the IC7000 HF side.  That will work with the Diamond HF antennas on SO mounts, and also with any longwire or loop I might set up when camping.  

The SO-239 mount in the rear is likely to need some extra clearance, as I will probably do what I did on the Expedition, with reinforcing plates on top and under the roof.  Last time it was a large washer on top, and a Ryobi weed eater blade underneath.  That let me run the SG-7900 antenna without any real flexing, even though the roof metal on the Expedition was apparently reinforced tinfoil.  This might be the most interesting installation of the bunch.  I need find a good right angle bulkhead mount for that one.

The control head mounts have made a ton of progress though I was away at a conference all weekend and I think I'm ready to print those in ABS for the final (?) version.

This week while waiting for the main unit mounting brackets and the control head mount for the 7000, I will mount the 350 head, confirm the main unit mounting positions, and run the separation cables.

I wasn't overkilling the power as much as I thought.  The 7000 can draw 22A, and the 350 can draw another 12A. #8 would cost me half a volt with both transmitters running. #6 about 0.25V and #4 about 0.125V.    I'll need to check out the path for the power wires real soon.

So that's my current thinking.

Attached, a view of the current version of the FTM-350 mount that will attach under the shelf and above the visor on the drivers side.  It's done in OpenSCAD. I can share the files if anyone is interested.  The IC-7000 version is just a different front hole pattern, but I won't know that till I have that mounting bracket in hand. It's currently clearing customs in SF.  I think I have the downtilt angle on the bracket right, but I will mount it today and drive for a while like that before I commit.

FTM Mount.png

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I doubt you'd be running both transmitters at full power at the same time very often, would you?  Many hams and boaters run high power HF transmitters on sailboats where the power source is a bank of 12 volt batteries and no engine running.  With the battery at 12.6 volts a 30 amp draw would load the battery voltage to around 12 even if the main power cable was a #2 wire, so running the transmitters on 12 volts can't be bad for them, can it?  They must be designed for 12 volts.  In the TC with the engine running, the power source will be 14 volts, so even if you occasionally (both transmitters running) lost 1/2 volt, you'd still be running them on 13.5 VDC

I wouldn't worry about the 1/4 volt drop using a #6 wire at all and it will be much easier to run.  But, overkill can be fun too, at least until you try squeezing that #4 lug into the BJB in the TC

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Both radios will be on.  The FTM-350 transmits automatically and it can be short intervals between transmissions. If I am transmitting on the 7000 it is fairly likely that the 350 will transmit at the same time.  

While it won't "hurt" the radios, the lower voltage will cause variation in the output power which can be audible.

 

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Pic of the 350 control head on prototype bracket.

14925380223121858750197.jpg

Sorry for the bad focus, I'll do better later.

The shelf doesn't look like it's going to have any issue with the weight.  I'm still adding details, but I wanted to ride around with it in this config before I commit.

 

Edited by dbv

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Ok, the day is getting closer.  I ordered the NMO and SO-239 mounts, and the tuner, and three single band HF antennas.

The mounting brackets are here.

I need to know how to delicately pull down the headliner so I can install the three antenna mounts.  Is this documented somewhere?  It appears the whole shelf (pictured) needs to come out for this, but I could be wrong.

I see airbags up there as well. 

Currently printing the 7000 mounting bracket for test fit, and probably next  up is running the power.

Edited by dbv

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