OAUSA Net - 8/3/17 - Mobile Radio Installation

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OAUSA Net - 8/3/17 - Mobile Radio Installation


Post by DaveK » Mon Jul 31, 2017 11:51 am

For those who operate mobile radios, your installation requires special attention for a number of things, including attachment devices, location, wiring, and power requirements. Sometimes, even legal considerations must be taken into account. To a large extent, mobile radio installation is a personal thing, depending on the vehicle and the location which best serves the driver. There are a number of things, however, which apply to any installation, regardless of the vehicle or the driver.

We need to hear from as many as possible on your installations - what works and what doesn't. Pictures are always a plus.

There are a lot of subjects to cover for this topic, but I will start off with one of our golden rules - it doesn't pay to buy cheap. As always, quality will pay dividends, the most important of which will be reliability and durability. Both being important considerati0ns when your travels take you far from home and when you may need to depend on your gear to get help. This may be a continuing list, but we will start here:


The parts of your radio set-up which are usually most vulnerable are the ones exposed to the elements. Taking the time to protect these parts and spending the money to buy equipment that will survive the worst that weather and use can dish out, are one big step to ensuring that your radio will work, and work well. All these precautions are especially important if you live in a wet climate or are near the beach. Make no mistake about it, however, protecting electrical connections, for example, are of utmost the importance no matter where you live or travel.

1. CO-AX Seal

It is not uncommon for a radio to be completely disabled due to corrosion on the co-ax connections. A great way to protect electrical and antenna connections comes in the form of a black tar-like material marketed under the name of Co-Ax seal. It works well and it lasts a long time. With just a little bit of patience, it comes off without leaving any trace of the material.
Coax Seal.jpg
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This is one area that could take months worth of nets to cover, so we will mention just a few. The point here is to highlight the fact that high quality parts are not difficult to find as well as pointing out how easy it is to find just what you are looking for, with a little bit of research. In keeping with the section above, this section will deal with radio equipment that is exposed to the elements and includes:

Co-Ax cable
Mounts for antennas
connectors (e.g. NMO mounts)

We will discuss these in more detail on the net but here are a few examples of products that meet our criteria:

Breedlove Mounts. I discovered Breedlove Mounts some time ago while equipping the Ham radios in my vehicle, (https://www.breedlovemounts.com/home.html). If you are looking for heavy duty, solid, and well made mounts and related gear, you should consider Breedlove. If you don't find exactly what you want, he can make something to suit your needs.

I run a Scorpion HF antenna (6M-80M) when on the trail, and as the picture below demonstrates, the antenna is quite large. Given the brush and tree choked trails that we usually encounter, there is no way that I would be willing to run the antenna in the "up" position while traveling. The solution was to make or find a fold over mount that would allow me to run the antenna in the "down" position while traveling and make deployment easy, once we reached camp. Breedlove had the answer with their "fold-over" mount, made of solid 6061 aluminum, and it is about as heavy duty and solid as you can get. For the gadget minded traveler, Breed love makes an electric (12V) fold-over mount.

Breedlove Antenna Fold Over (Large).jpg
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Breedlove also makes a great selection of NMO's, ball mounts and quick disconnects, all of which are made from solid brass.
Breedlove NMO Mount.png
Breedlove NMO Mount.png (104.58 KiB) Viewed 1040 times

Co-ax cable sometimes is one of the most neglected parts of your radio set-up, and usually for good reason - once installed, the cable is usually out of sight and therefore, out of mind. If you installed the co-ax in your vehicle, chances are that it runs under the carpet or between the roof and headliner. There is no question about it - making a clean installation of co-ax cable is a PITA. Between the difficulty of installation and the benefits of buying quality co-ax, there is no good reason to go cheap. An additional benefit of running quality cable is the greater power that can be run and the improved frequency capabilities that it offers.

There are various types of co-ax on the market, and while I don't usually recommend against a particular brand, I will say that it is a very good idea to avoid the inexpensive very thin co-ax cables. We have been doing these nets for over 9 years and for most of these years, we have used a 25 foot RG-142 cable to connect the 8800 to the Elk Antenna. It gets installed and removed every week and has withstood everything we dish out. Cable Xperts sells this in pre-cut lengths or any length you specify, see: http://cablexperts.com/cfdocs/cat.cfm?I ... ship=1&c=0.

Here is some interesting information regarding RG-142, from Allied Wire and Cable : http://www.awcwire.com/productspec.aspx ... rg142specs

Use in the military

The RG142 cable was specifically built for the United States Military in the World War II era. It has a military equivalent part number of M17/60-RG142. This part number gives the United States Military an excellent option to use the highly reliable RG142 in their satellites, systems, and other tactical operations and equipment. Because of the obvious importance in these cables, the military requires them to have minimum and maximum dielectric adhesion values, specific shrink back allowance, eccentricity standardizations, stress crack resistance tests, and many more specifications that add to the durability and reliability of the RG142. All trusted manufacturers will produce the same high-quality RG142 because of its high QPL, which demands stability and rigidity in the testing and construction of specs and authenticity.
Benefits of the RG-142

RG142 meets all MIL-C-17 specifications and utilizes standard connectors, so proprietary or exotic pieces are not required to build its infrastructure. RG142 also has good shielding effectiveness (between 40 and 60 db) and has Low Passive Intermod (PIM) degradation of signal quality which is kept to a minimum. Since the RG142 is made with a solid dielectric this allows a high rate of crush resistance, which makes it the coax of choice for tactical operations and applications. Even though the RG142 isn't your most phase stable wire, the phase stability can be enhanced through preconditioning in the specific temperature ranges of your project.
RG142-coax-cable_200.jpg (3.18 KiB) Viewed 1038 times

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Re: OAUSA Net - 8/3/17 - Mobile Radio Installation


Post by DaveK » Wed Aug 02, 2017 8:42 pm


The semi-auto pistol has become the most predominate personal defense weapon in the US, eclipsing revolver sales by a huge margin. If you own handguns, you probably own at least one, and if you are in the market for one, chances are good that it will be a semi-auto.

So for everyone who owns one and who will own one, you need to practice, practice and practice. Without delving into all the things that you need to do once you own a semi-auto, I will only mention one - make sure that it hits where it's aimed. So, that means learning how to properly use the sights is a must. Different loads, different bullets, different guns, and different people will mean that some adjustments to the sights on your pistol will need to be made.

Most pistols these days have adjustable dove-tail sights, often up front and in back. Moving them, to adjust the point of impact, is not something that most shooters can do (at least easily with average tools, without damaging the guns finish or the sight itself.) There are basically two options: 1) do it your self or 2) find a competent gunsmith to do it for you for a fee. Since most of us won't bring our smithy to the range to make adjustments while we practice, that means that we need to find a means to make the adjustment, WHILE AT THE RANGE!!!

Jennings Machine and Tool has the answer, http://www.sightpushertool.com/. They currently offer three versions of sight adjusters, capable of working with most semi-autos, including Glock, S&W, 1911s, M&P, H&K, and others. This is a a must-have tool if you expect to get the most from your gun.

From their website:
The NEW JMT Mk lll Mod l "Xtream Duty" sight pusher is a heavy duty tool for moving very tight sights.

Though originally designed for 1911 and S&W autos, it works on most pistols with flat slides and dovetail sights, including: Glock, HK, XD, M&P, including the Shield, Ruger, and Taurus. Those with slide mounted safeties must have the levers removed
Jennings Sight Adjuster B.jpg
Jennings Sight Adjuster B.jpg (8.44 KiB) Viewed 1113 times


From their website:
The JMT Mk V is a completely new design which allows its use on pistols with odd shaped frames such as the XDm. It incorporates a unique suspension system to hold the slide, and can be used with existing JMT accessories, such as the M&P pin set. Needless to say, it also works with traditional slides as well. The frames are made from heavy wall steel tubing that has been powder coated. The swiveling screws that contact the slide are made from Delrin to help protect the finish.
Jennings Sight Adjuster A.jpg
Jennings Sight Adjuster A.jpg (92.89 KiB) Viewed 1113 times

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Re: OAUSA Net - 8/3/17 - Mobile Radio Installation


Post by toms » Thu Aug 03, 2017 7:32 am


Having "clean" power is important for a good radio install. A "good practice" is to establish power for the radio directly from the battery for both positive and negative. Grounding through the vehicle frame is not recommended in today's vehicles.

The steps here take some time but can be done in advance of most of the other parts of the install.
I recommend the use of a RIGrunner terminal block so the basic steps are:
  • Pack a spot for the RIGrunner inside the cabin
  • Determine the wire size you will use
- a little extra capacity is good.
  • Pick a spot to go thru the fire wall
- be sure to use a grommet!
  • Then make an end to end connection (Battery to RIGrunner)
When you are ready for power to your radio, use Anderson power poles to plug it into the RIGrunner.

This chart for 12v DC current is a bit complicated at first. It is showing you the gauge wire needed for amp requirements but also shows the impact of the length of the wire.
DC_wire_selection_chartlg.jpg (623.47 KiB) Viewed 1079 times
As you do you connectors remember to side shrink wrap on the wire for a nice clean sealed look.
Shrink wrap.jpg
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I am a big fan of incorporating a RIGrunner distribution block from West Mountain Radio http://www.westmountainradio.com/rigrunner.php in my mobile radio vehicle installs. The model 4005 with 5 outlets is small enough to fit easily into the vehicle (6x3 inches x 1.4 thick) and give me one more outlet in the same space as the 4004 model (unless you need a USB port). I like the idea that that as I discover the need for more radios I didn’t know I couldn’t live without, I already have a clean power source to plug into. The use of30 amp power poles makes it easy for others to tap into the power if they need to.
This model will handle up to 40 amps and each outlet is separately fused.
You will need Anderson power poles also.
4005-bigZoom.jpg (40.18 KiB) Viewed 1079 times
Here is where a RIGrunner was tucked up out of the way on a 2004 Jeep Wrangler. The bolts used are the end protruding from the door hinge.
SAM_2159.JPG (3.18 MiB) Viewed 1079 times
Fire Wall
If you drill thru the fire wall a step drill bit works best on the thin metal. Be sure to use grommets when even a wire goes through a metal hole.
A nice solution is the Day Star Grommet. You need to drill a larger hole but it will allow you to fish additional wire you didn't know you would need, through at a latter day. The "nose" can be cut back to fit the size wire you use.

Daystar Wiring Boot.png
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Daystar Wiring Boot 2.png
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If you prefer use a simple grommet. Most hardware stores will sell you just one of any size you need for a few dimes.
Grommets.jpg (4.06 MiB) Viewed 1040 times
Anderson Power Poles
Anderson power poles are an item you need to be aware as an option for your mobile radio installed.

Quote from the Manufacture
Anderson Power Products are becoming the new standard in DC power applications by the amateur radio community, radio control (cars, planes and boats), automotive winch installation and many other industrial DC power applications such as forklifts, wheelchairs and UPS battery backup systems.

Anderson Powerpoles have been adapted by most RACES (Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service) organizations and ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Service) units. Our
Please check our Help Center page for quick answers to Powerpole Frequently Asked Questions and other common customer support issues.
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TRIcrimp_lrg.jpg (11.46 KiB) Viewed 1040 times
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Re: OAUSA Net - 8/3/17 - Mobile Radio Installation


Post by lrsrngr » Thu Aug 03, 2017 9:21 am

KK6CTT for the on-line check-in please.


1. Carry the right sized screwdriver bits & Allen wrenches and don't forget to look for set screws that are used to lock the sights in place before your range session. It will save some frustration when you realize your multi-tool isn't quite up to the task.
2. If the sights have been set for a long time, consider putting a little "helper juice" to soften the load when you start moving things around.
3. Brass and steel drifts, small pieces of non-marring material. Leather or tool drawer liner (limited slip qualities) for example.
4. A soft and regular mallet/hammer.
5. A way to mark your reference/starting point (e.g., marker/white out)

When trying to drift a dovetail sight, it doesn't help to do that on a mushy surface like carpet. It sounds nice to protect your investment but it is counterproductive. Use something solid with that piece of leather to provide protection. Moving the rear sight to the right will shift the impact of the round to the right and left to go left. Just about any adjustments you do on the rear sight move the strike of the round in that direction (up for up and down for down). Just remember then, the opposite is true of the front sight.
Last edited by lrsrngr on Thu Aug 03, 2017 8:17 pm, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: OAUSA Net - 8/3/17 - Mobile Radio Installation


Post by Voodoo Blue 57 » Thu Aug 03, 2017 11:56 am

Early checkin. I'll be able to monitor the net but out of talking range with handheld.

Another thing to consider when mounting a radio:

If you where polarized sunglasses make sure the radio head is 90 degrees from line of sight. In my case, I was able to see the radio display at night and durning the day without sunglasses but with polarized sunglasses the display was unreadable. After about a 5 degree (not much) adjustment the display was readable.
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Re: OAUSA Net - 8/3/17 - Mobile Radio Installation


Post by Jeff-OAUSA » Thu Aug 03, 2017 2:40 pm

Early Check In Please.


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Re: OAUSA Net - 8/3/17 - Mobile Radio Installation


Post by KK6GFF » Thu Aug 03, 2017 2:57 pm

Internet checkin pls.

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Re: OAUSA Net - 8/3/17 - Mobile Radio Installation


Post by KK6DYO » Thu Aug 03, 2017 4:54 pm

Please check me in. Thanks.

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Re: OAUSA Net - 8/3/17 - Mobile Radio Installation


Post by HsuuJrt » Thu Aug 03, 2017 5:49 pm

Early check in please.
James kg5pmn

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Re: OAUSA Net - 8/3/17 - Mobile Radio Installation


Post by KA9WDX » Thu Aug 03, 2017 6:05 pm

Early check in please - Thanks - Bernie

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