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Thread: installing a mobile radio

  1. #1

    Exclamation installing a mobile radio

    I have an older Azden 220m mobile radio. I have been away from this hobby for decades and have recently gotten interested once again now that I have retired from working as an EE. My previous mobile installation was in a Chevy S10 pickup. In those days you could look under the hood and see the battery, run a power cable inside to the dash, mount an antenna to the roof and string the cable inside the roof and walls to get to the main unit which was mounted on the dash board.

    I have no idea how to do this with a newer car!! The engine compartment is completely full! Putting a power cord into the passenger section from the battery is almost impossible! Putting an antenna mount on the roof is going to destroy the cars value. Getting the antenna cable from the antenna into the dash board is nearly not a good idea because of all the upholstery that you have send the cable through. Modern cars have none of the space to do an installation.

    ARRL aught to publish a book just on how to do a mobile installation on the newer cars!

    I would love to hear from anyone who knows how to do this!

  2. #2
    Super Moderator m0bov's Avatar
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    I've had similar issues with my CX5. I'd suggest a small modern multi band radio, a stick on glass aerial or "nano" mag mount. Then put the radio body under the drivers seat, run it off a battery booster/charger power pack. You can get cheap mobile phone or GPS mounts from various places like ebay. Its all temp or semi perm and you dont need to drill anything!
    73
    James
    http://www.m0bov.co.uk
    HamRadioForum founding member and moderator

  3. #3

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    Look, just because you have a license, doesn't mean that you have acquired the skills necessary to be a mobile radio installer.

    When there are things in this world that I cannot do, I solicit the advice and help of people more knowledgeable than I.

    Go online, find yourself a 2 way radio shop, that has a mobile installer service, pay them to install your rig in your vehicle professionally.

    A NMO mount in the roof, punched with a Greenlee Punch, does not damage the vehicle, does not decrease the value of the vehicle and allows you to use that mount to attach antennas from 1ghz to 28 Mhz directly to the roof - where it belongs.

    YES, TAKING DOWN THE HEADLINER IS NOT A JOB FOR THE TIMID, BUT NO - STICKING A PIECE OF COAX BETWEEN THE DOOR AND ROOF - WON'T HURT THE VEHICLE EITHER. It might hurt the radio when the coax becomes damaged and it shorts out.

    HOOKING ANY RADIO TO THE POWER SUPPLY IN A NEWER VEHICLE IS MUCH MORE THEN ROUTING A CABLE TO THE BATTERY.

    SOME VEHICLES HAS CHARGING PORTS, WHILE OTHERS HAS SPECIFIC PLACES IN THE HARNESS WHERE THE POWER CONSUMPTION IS NOT MONITORED. SOME INSTALLS - HOOKING THE WIRE IN THE WRONG PLACE, WILL DAMAGE THE CHARGING SYSTEM AND BATTERY.
    Last edited by R2D2; Sat 18th Jul 2020 at 15:32.

  4. #4

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    The Azden radio wasn't a very good radio. You will find that in the 30 years since it was made that the technology has changed.

    We now have digital modes such as Yaesu System Fusion, Icom - D-Star, APRS.

    You can now buy radios that does multiple bands vs the one band 20 channel radios that were common 30 years ago.

    Today's radio features a removable face plate, remote mounting, Umbilical cord that allows you to put the radio almost anywhere.

    Some multibanded mobile antennas works very well for what they charge - less than $100 for a complete outfit.

  5. #5

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    On a few vehicles in the past 10 years including a 2020 Mustang last month I ran the power cables from the battery into the upper part of the left/right fender then through the front of the door ( if you can’t find a hole on the fire wall ). The radio is velcroed to the passenger floor mat with a mag mount antenna.

  6. #6

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    I once worked for a General Motors dealership. My background includes ASE Certifications, all of the newer General Motors vehicles - made after 2000 have a built in chassis computer and body control modules that monitors the power consumption of everything on the vehicle.
    This is how it knows that there is a burned out bulb, and which bulb it is.
    Even back in the day when I had my 1984 Monte Carlo - the alternator looked at the voltage present at the battery and determined when to turn on the voltage regulator and adjust the voltage / amperage going to the battery.
    When it sensed a discharge it produced a larger charge - which could over charge the battery.

    Sometime after that - I noticed it in my 1992 Chevrolet truck that they put a red box under the hood with a lug, the purpose of the lug was to move the terminal away from the battery so you could jump start the vehicle without igniting the offgases released by the wet cell battery - when a discharge state occurred.

    Technically at that time, the only wire in the harness not monitored by the computer was the cigarette lighter plug.

    By 2002 Chevrolet started putting extra cigar lighter ports in the console to operate computer lap top chargers, GPS, etc..

    My 2014 Silverado even came with a 120 vac port in the console.

    The problem is that the Body Control Module shuts it off after a pre determined period of time - less than 10 minutes.

    Below 32*f the body control module wakes up every couple of hours to monitor the systems - which creates a discharge state - after 2 weeks in extremely cold weather it will kill the battery.

    These are considerations that must be taken into account before you install a radio in any new vehicle..

    Some dealerships will warn you not to do it, while other dealerships will advise you the proper way to install the radio so it will not damage the battery or the charging system. I do have a cigarette plug adapter that I purchased off Ham Radio Outlet that is designed to power my Yaesu FT 8900R radio. Its not the proper way to do it, but it does work...

    Some newer small cars it is almost impossible to hide an older Aztec radio, im sure I have one or two somewhere around here in a box in the shack, just haven't had a need to use it in a very long time. I apologize if I was rude, they were a good radio when they were new..
    Any radio is better than no radio at all.. 220 band is probably the best band there is for FM because it offers the best of both worlds.

    It travels like 2 meters and its quieter than 2 meters, much like 70 cm.

    I would put up a 1.25 M repeater if only I could get some people to buy radios and use it. But manufacturers don't make them anymore and people are reluctant to buy radios for something no one uses.. Where I live we have zero participation on 2 meter repeaters other than a once weekly net on a couple of semi local repeaters..

    A person with a walkie talkie would quickly die of loneliness.

    Please post what u decide to do and a picture of your final install..

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