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dbv

Ham Radio Install

15 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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I am trying to obtain info from Ford on removing and replacing the headliner, and whatever info they would provide to someone doing a police/fire/etc build.

Dealer sent me to Ford Fleet,  Ford Fleet referred me to the dealer..

Fleet is now telling me I need to purchase "IDS" software to access the information??   I think this has gone off the rails somewhere.   Who actually has this info, and how do I get it?

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"Dealer sent me to Ford Fleet,  Ford Fleet referred me to the dealer.."This mirrors my experience at both Ford dealerships closest to my home  -  It seems none of them know much about TC's and they have little interest in learning.  It's all written in their computerized books, but they're not going to read it themselves to help out a customer  -  Instead, they want to sell you the software so you can read it yourself!

I bought a rear cargo cover for $135 and it arrived broken  -  I wasn't the first customer to receive this broken part . . . . the box had been opened and retaped closed several times.  My wonderful dealer offered to order me another and when I refused because it was clearly a piece of junk and not worth half the $135 I paid, he charged me a 20% 'restocking fee' to send the broken part back.  I read on-line about another buyer who received it later (or a broken one just like it) so I guess it did get 'restocked'.  Needless to say, that's the last time I'll ever go there for anything.  The $27 he ripped me for was more important to him than my repeat business.  My TC needs recalls done and regular maintenance, but I'll have to go elsewhere.  Don't even ask me about the next Ford dealer I went to

These people evidently don't care at all if you ever buy another Ford

Don

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Afternoon update:  The dealer referred me to an installer, but I don't want or need anyone to do this for me. 

Back to the dealer, and they say they have no idea what document(s) I might be referring to..

So, I will re-engage with fleet.  (sounds like a Star Trek episode)

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I have a 2015 TC and have a Yaesu radio in it. Sounds like you just need to take your time and remove the headliner and run the cables for the antenna.

Your choice of a 4 guage power supply wire will work great just dont put too large of a fuse on it. Also, putting a fuse on the ground wire is never necessary. Just make sure the positive wire is fused.

I have searched for the service manual for my model. All I have found so far is a dvd on Ebay for around $300 that covers the TC. 

 

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There is a section on removing the headliner, but it is involved. It is probably easier to remove the plastic buttons in the middle and carefully pull it down for limited access.

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In the expedition and the Suzuki, I was able to drop an overhead console at the antenna point, and that gave me access to drill upward, and to mount the connectors.  No such luck on the connect.  I am worried that I won't be able to get enough access with just pulling the headliner down a bit, especially in the front.  I can probably use the position above the middle dome light for the middle antenna.  I haven't looked at the back position much yet.

All the parts are in, and I could theoretically start this week, but the weather here is going to be snow or rain all weekend, so it looks like I will be pushing to next weekend at best.

Fusing:  No worries, that's one reason I choose larger gages. I want the wire to be rated significantly in excess of the fuse current.  In a typical fault, the wire will have rubbed on something which shorts through the insulation into a small point of contact on the wire, with high local heating.  The large gage acts as a heat sink until the fuse blows.  This article by LittleFuse is excellent: http://www.littelfuse.com/~/media/automotive/catalogs/littelfuse_fuseology.pdf

From the graphs, it appears that a 25 or 30A maxi fuse may be what I need. That seems wrong, but look at figure 2 which shows the time to blow for a 30A fuse at various currents. Two seconds at 100A, and basically "never" at 50A.(!)  Section 6 says that I should not exceed 47A for under the hood applications with a #6. Fuses are tricky.  I will of course have spares on hand and this is open to revision.

Related:  I had a run in with this phenomenon in my day job a couple years back, and I highly recommend a read of the article "Low Voltage, the Incompetent Ignition Source". In my case it was a PCB which had passed all applicable UL testing, but was capable of igniting and sustaining a flame under certain conditions. The brick power supply detected the fault, and was in "hiccup" mode, but the PCB couldn't quite dissipate all the heat from one pulse before the next one hit, and the temperature got high enough. Don't underestimate the ability of low voltages to cause fires.  They show one case where a lithium coin cell caused ignition on a PCB.

The two radios in transmit could draw as much as 38 amps.  I've decided on a #6, which will probably be about 10 feet or less.  Powerstream has a nice table that tells me that #6 will do 38 amps all day, (literally) and will sustain 110A for short periods. The chassis wiring rating is conservative, but does assume that the wire has air surrounding it rather than being bundled or enclosed with other wires. I will have something like 0.004 ohms in series with the battery, so IR loss is 0.15V.  It's all about the I^2R losses. Assuming a 40A fuse current the I^2 term is 1600A, and the resistance is .004 for this length of wire, so 6.4 watts of heat lost in the wire over its total length. That's nicely conservative.

I will at least temporarily use the chassis as the ground return until I get better info on the implications in this vehicle. I can always run a ground return if needed.  If I need to run that wire it will be fused, to protect against wiring faults like open battery-ground cable which could subject my ground lead to more current than it can sustain.  The likelyhood of this is near zero, but it is not zero.  Depending on where the battery current sensor is, that ground would terminate either on the battery, or on the point where the battery grounds to the frame.

Diamond recommended their C213 cable for the HF antennas, so it's their antenna, their mount, and I can't much argue with that.

http://www.diamondantenna.net/c213.html

The mounting of the two radio main bodies and the tuner will be an interesting problem. One option might be to locate the tuner in the drivers side back pocket near the jack, and save space under the seat. 

I've got the mounting brackets for the control heads printed in PLA now, and that all looks good. I will have to re-print them in ABS or some other high temperature filament before summer, but that's a ways off yet.

One of my smaller problems is finding a home for the two microphones, but I'm not too worried about that.

 

I'm looking for some doc that will tell me the relative safety of mounting two VHF/UHF antennas in close proximity. I worry about the receive front end in one radio being damaged by the other transmitter.  I will not have a lot of options in locating the center antenna, and somewhat less on the front and back antennas.

 

Edited by dbv

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