Ham Radio Install

Discussion in 'Ford Raptor Audio/Video/Electronics Forum [GEN 1]' started by BigJ, Oct 9, 2010.

  1. BigJ

    BigJ FRF Addict

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    Anyone installed a Ham radio antenna yet?

    I installed a CB and hated it. With my bed cover, I was pretty much forced to use the bumper as a mount location for the antenna (didn't want to drill holes in the body, or use a magnetic mount). The best I could get was maybe 1 mile range. And that was on flat wide open freeway. Not good.

    I'm fortunate in that I live close to a Ham radio specific store, so I stopped by there today and spent perhaps 2 hours just talking with the guys, learning, discussing, brainstorming... I ended up buying a few things (and signing up for a class to get my license). I'm going to install the antenna using a mobile door frame mount, but off the back of the truck, on the passenger side of the tailgate. I'll take some pics and throw 'em up when done.

    Anyone gone down this road yet? How'd you mount things up? Happy with the setup?
     
  2. MagicMtnDan

    MagicMtnDan FRF Addict

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  3. BigJ

    BigJ FRF Addict

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    As I understand it (which is admittedly not well), we can expect around 2 miles out of our handhelds, assuming no line of sight. If you mount an antenna on the truck, we should be able to expect between 4-6miles. Permanent mount radio units can drive far more power and get far more range, but for our purposes I'm thinking 4-6miles with no line of sight should be plenty good.

    Experts by all means correct me if I'm wrong.
     
  4. BigJ

    BigJ FRF Addict

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    All done! This turned out better than I expected. Here are a couple quick iphone pics:

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    These two set screws and pressure plate are amazing. These are the only things holding the mount in place (no holes drilled anywhere). Once installed and cinched down, I was able to grab the base of the antenna and rock the truck back and forth a bit. That's how secure this mount is.
    [​IMG]

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    I played around a bit in my driveway (townhome surrounded by other townhomes) and I was able to connect to a repeater 10 miles away, and listened in on a conversation between two guys separated by around 60 miles. Pretty damn cool stuff.

    Here's the parts list:

    Radio: Yaesu FT-270R
    Antenna: Comet SBB-7NMO
    Mount: Diamond K412SNMO

    Note; The mount comes with a 13.5ft lead which turns out to be around 6 feet too short to reach me in the cab at a comfortable holding/moving around distance. I had to add an SMA Male/Female extension cable.

    As for the routing, I took a pretty straight forward approach; I went down under the truck, up and over the gas tank, tied to the diff breather tube then came into the cab thru a pressure relief grommet hidden under the kick plate, back behind the driver seat. Then it was a simple matter of connecting my extension cable, hiding the extra under my WeatherTech floor mats, and bringing the lead up along side the center console. The whole install took maybe an hour.
     
  5. LVdezertdawg

    LVdezertdawg Full Access Member

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    J,

    That looks like a great setup. Nice install. I just bought the cb and mag antennae and am now having second thoughts after seeing your setup.
     
  6. BigJ

    BigJ FRF Addict

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    'dawg you *might* be ok with a mag on the roof of the truck. Still though, all my 'real world' research says I could have expected around 2 miles, tops, out of my CB setup. And that assumes perfect antenna placement and perfect line of site between me and who I'm sending to.

    In my case, I bought a Cobra 75 WX ST, and I wasn't willing to (illegally) pump up its possible output power. I wanted a discrete install, and I didn't want to drill holes in the cab, so the 75 was pretty much my best choice. And like I said with a 5ft Firestick antenna mounted on the bumper I barely got a mile, and couldn't be well heard even at that. I'm positive much better results can be had with a more powerful CB radio and that antenna mounted to the roof.

    But I gotta say, now that I'm (just barely) starting to figure out this ham stuff... CB's are a thing of my past, for sure.
     
  7. MarkT

    MarkT FRF Addict

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    Nice setup! I really like that mount!

    Hmmm... this is something I'll be looking into as well...
     
  8. AndyR

    AndyR Full Access Member

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    I run a 55w 2/70 in the Jeep and a 5w Tri-band Icom in the Raptor & RV using the same mount as you. Got it from HRO in Sunnyvale. I can get from Panamint Springs to the Porter mine above Ballarat on 5w.

    Dan, you can pass the test with minimal time invested - look at Qrz.com/ham or www.hamtestonline.com

    Andy KI6FJM
     
  9. MagicMtnDan

    MagicMtnDan FRF Addict

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    Way out in the boonies the only thing CBs are good for is talking to one of your buddies with one on the trail. It doesn't offer much, if anything, in the way of security and comfort should something go wrong (from getting lost to getting in deep ****). CBs are better than FRS radios but Ham tops them both.

    Thanks for the link Andy.
     
  10. SVTRay

    SVTRay FRF Addict

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    I used to be in some CB clubs when I was younger and over time one by one all the members made the switch to HAM. I never did my self, as I was studing for the test my life or hobbies changed directions. Anyhow, you can get some range with a CB using questionable tactics but HAM radios offer better quality radios and freqentcies. Now 4-6 miles sounds about right for a 2m w/o heat or repeaters but I believe you can legally run 25wts on a 2m...keep in mind HAM radios you use only enough power to get the job done. So you probably wouldn't use the extra power around town but out in the middle of no where, it could come in handy.
     

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