Amateur Radio Installation

10/14/13

     
Amateur Radio Installation
090807 Update

 

090804 - I'm continuing to work on my radio install, as time permits.  We were up at Chilliwack lake on Saturday afternoon, overnight.  Bill Ronalds gave me a bit of a hand, and double checked all of my work before I hooked up the electrical - to the car battery.  I wanted to be absolutely sure that there was no possibility of a short or other problem.

The SWR is on the high side for the top of the 2M and 440 Mhz bands.  I've added a ground strap, but will need to go back and revisit this when I get a minute.  It is acceptable for now - just not what I like.  I've got the Yaesu 8900R base unit sitting in the trunk right now - need to build a bracket to secure it next.  I will then work on cleaning up the wiring. 

I have been looking for a mechanism to mount the two radio heads in the car's cockpit.  There isn't a lot of room, and it is pretty busy as it is.  I've seen commercial 'stalks' which were used to hold the old fashioned car phones, but have not been able to locate one.  I've fabricated a prototype to see if it will work.  I've used one piece of the wire, with connectors soldered to one end.  It isn't quite 'stiff' enough, so will add a second wire, and then tie wrap and tape them together.  Also, I didn't put the head mounting brackets high enough - so will raise them another few inches - to help clear any passenger's leg. I think this might work - and it was better than nothing until I can find a commercial version to install.

Here are some more pictures - also these are thumbnails - click on them for a bigger picture:

The antenna touches the car, so at a suggestion from one of the Saturday morning breakfast hams, I put some clear shrink wrap tape on it.  Works big time.

The final connection to the battery - still not 100% happy with it, but I think it is safe.  The connection is with some large Anderson Power Poles - rated at 600 volts and 50 amps

My prototype 'stalk' - soldered big connectors to the bottom of the six gauge wire and then fastened them under the seat bolt.  Again, just a prototype - so it isn't meant to look pretty.

First head mounted.  I cut off the excess cable at the top - but I think I may have cut it too short

Finished prototype - Need to add a second support wire on the stalk, and raise the radio heads another couple of inches.  I need to find a location for two speakers, as well as a place to hang the mikes.  I'm thinking that a thin black fabric bag thrown over the head units, and maybe fold the stalk down, it might escape a casual look into the car - stay tuned for some more testing and thoughts

090731 - Installing Amateur Radio equipment in a 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid.  Well, I was pretty sure it wasn't going to be easy, so I went for some help.  One of the local Radio companies was recommended by the Ford dealership.  I gave them a call and went down there.  Turns out they have a couple of hams, some I'd met before, and some not.  Roberto, licensed in Mexico, led the team on my car.  We took a look at it yesterday, and tried to figure out the best way to run the cables - both power and remote cables for the two head units.

I am looking to put a Yaesu 8900R in the vehicle - I typically only use 2 Meters and 440 Mhz - but maybe one day the bands will turn around and 6 and 10 Meters might be worth pursuing.  I also wanted to wire it so I could use my Yaesu 857D in the vehicle.  I know that Hybrids have a wicked reputation for being electrically noisy, but I had a trick or two up my sleeve.  I don't know if they are going to work, but you have to start somewhere.  I'm writing this as I wait for Metro Radio to call me to pick up the vehicle, so don't actually have any experience with out how well the install went - but maybe by the end of the weekend I'll know for sure.  Metro is just installing the cables - I'll be doing the hookup to the batteries, antennas ,etc.

So - first trick.  I came by some absolutely incredible power cable.  It is about 3/4 of an inch in diameter, and fully shielded - and I do mean fully.  It is encased in a very tough outer sheath, and it is rated to be buried.  Inside there is a black and red wire - six gauge and tiny strands that make up the overall wire thickness.  There are two other rubber encased 'things' in the case - which might be fiber or filler?   Don't know.  So - I'm thinking I will take power from the low voltage battery under the hood.  It is rated at 45 Amp Hour.  I've determined, by talking to the mechanic at Ford, that this battery is not used for starting the vehicle (big traction battery does that).  This one does run the AC Fan, the lights, computers, Nav systems, Sat, FM & AM Radio etc.

So my first plan is to try and run both radios off of this battery.  My backup plan, is to install a second gel cell battery in the trunk, and run an inverter and a  battery charger off of the 45 Amp Hour battery.  I could also plug this battery in when I'm near shore power.  I'm figuring a 75 Amp Hour wheel chair battery might do the job nicely.  If I'm on a long trip, I can kick in the inverter, and recharge the battery off of that.  For a day of commuting, I'm pretty sure a 75 Amp Hour battery will meet my needs quite well.  I run a similar set up (just 2 x 75 Amp Hour) in my jeep, with a 2000 watt inverter and a 30 amp charger.

So - the gents at Metro ran the first chunk of this cable from the trunk to the engine compartment.  They then ran from the trunk to the front right Passenger seat.  I like having a power point in the front of the vehicle - I use two different types of PowerPole connectors - the ones I call fork lift connectors - rated at 600 volts and 60 amps - monsters that will just take six gauge - barely, and then the standard ARES - RACES PowerPole connectors.  There is a huge junction box in the trunk to connect the two.  I will also drop another couple of PowerPoles off of this for the two radios, that will be installed in the trunk.  In addition, all of the control cables were run to the front passenger seat as well. 

My intent is to locate a 'stalk' that can be bolted on under the seat - flexible and can be moved around.  I'll build a mount to put the two heads on, as well as to hold the two microphones.  If I can find the right 'stalk' - it will be capable of being folded down on the floor, or I can just throw a black cloth over it and it should pass most casual observations - as the interior is all black.

I asked the team to take some installation pictures - as I'm sure figuring out how to do it was 90% of the install - so I paid for it, you enjoy it and try it yourself.  Send me a quarter if it helps.  I'll post those pictures later today - tomorrow, as time permits.

Okay - here are some pictures - I didn't take them, so hopefully they are self explanatory.  I will take finished pictures as I get things 'finished' off.

Left rear passenger door - bolster pulled out alongside the door - to see where the cables can be run.

Looking aft - from the center of the vehicle - back seat removed - bolster removed - this is the right side of the vehicle

running under the back seat - all of the wires put in a loom, and the power cable heading to the front right passenger seat

Cables and power cables crossing the high voltage lines at 90 degrees

And putting the whole thing back together again

Okay - got it home - and started the rest of the work myself.  It is about 90 degrees Fahrenheit in the shade, and i was working in the sun.  Finally came in, soaked, hit the shower and getting ready for my folks over for dinner.

 

The 'special cable' run and coiled up at the battery.  I'll put the PowerPole connector on it, and then connect it
via another PowerPole connector and fuses directly to the battery.  Backup plan is to use this wiring to run a
charger to a battery in the trunk.  We'll see

You have to look close - but you can see where the Metro team brought the power line through the firewall - and ran it around
inside the engine compartment

 

 

Remote head end and power - before PowerPoles under the front right passenger seat

All of the base to remote head wiring - coiled in the trunk

The trunk power drop - before it has a PowerPole connector put on it

 

Interesting shot - left rear quarter panel of the trunk - there is the distribution block - from the engine compartment.

Notice that the ground braid is terminated here - together.  The other ends are not grounded, as that would create ground loops.

In the trunk - lower left is the bundle of control wires - and the power line.  The team brought a power line from the battery,
and then ran to the front passenger seat, and then to the trunk.  This is the line to the trunk

 

Finished 2m and 440 mhz antenna

Finished connector in the trunk of the car

Flat tray keeps me from lighting fire to anything while I am soldering. 

Finished job - taped and the shield wrapped back and taped

These are a type of PowerPole connector - I think they are rated for 600 volts and 60 amps - these babies stay together when you mate them

Tape on the braid to hold it 1.5 to 2 inches from the connector

 

What I have tried to show here is that I take the shield and tape it back 1.5 inches from the end of the connector
as I want zero chance that it will short circuit the connector.  I then tape back over the braid.

 

 

This site was last updated 08/04/09