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Has anyone installed their ham radio yet? I'll start tomorrow since I got the antenna today. Have to use shorter antenna to fit in garage

Going to use the roof rail threaded stud above the tailgate cover as starting point.

I'll post pictures
 

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Has anyone installed their ham radio yet? I'll start tomorrow since I got the antenna today. Have to use shorter antenna to fit in garage

Going to use the roof rail threaded stud above the tailgate cover as starting point.

I'll post pictures
Yes, please document your project!
 

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Here it is, no Drilling or Blasting.

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The 2 meter transceiver is an Icom 229H from way back! Blow by blow description follows. That thingy in the cup holder is a "Stubby" Cup Holder Mount from Ram Mounts.

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As it arrives to your home it might not quite do the job. There are rubber fins around the circumference. If the weight of your rig is on the heavy side, do the following. Break out a roll of black electrical tape. What ham operator doesn't have any in the junk box? Wrap the bottom of the "Stubby" first! Bend the fins tight against the body of the "Stubby". Use just enough wraps so the "Stubby" fits snug into the bottom of the cup holder. The cup holder is tapered. The top wrap will have to be a little larger in diameter.

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The above jpeg shows a double composite socket swivel & ratchet arm from Ram Mounts. This little do/dad will let the transceiver be aimed towards the driver and keep the weight of the transceiver centered above the "Stubby". Read less vibration.

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Any mobile rig I've played with has a bracket to attach the rig to something. Ram Mounts also manufactures a "B" size diamond ball base. This completes the rig. Next is power.

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Gotta have DC power! Philmore Lighter Socket Plug Adapter has binding posts and is rated for 10 amps. To date I haven't measured to voltage at the socket in the Passport. The tag on the covers states 12V/180 watts are available. Do the math and this might be good for 15 amps. On the other hand if the socket is good for battery voltage, 13.8 VDC; drop down to about 13 amps. My Icom 229H at 25 watts RF output draws 7.5 amps DC. Next up, the RF hose.

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Somehow RF needs to start at the transceiver and arrive at the antenna. That hose in my case is manufactured by Diamond Antenna, product # C213SMA. Quite a nice hose at that. The jpeg above show the transceiver end. Left is a PL259 to SMA adapter. One side connects to the rig. Of course the other side connects to the SMA attached to the RG-316 coax. The RG-316 coax has the same diameter as 14 gauge THHN wire, read small. That little SMA connector let you pass the coax through tight little places as in the rear hatch of the Passport.

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Ok, I had to crop the jpegs in order to make this post. That hinge is the left one facing the rear hatch. The left wire is 14 gauge THHN going to the bracket of the tailgate lifting device. RG-316 to the right.

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The antenna mount I'm using should be grounded. The 14 gauge THHN has connections on both ends, soldered/crimped.

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Not quite pretty, but works. The Diamond K550 mount is attached to the rear cross rail. The RF hose (coax) is 13.5 feet in length, plenty long enough. The mount is maybe 2 decades old, works. It comes with a rubber protector to go around a luggage rack. I've added a layer of electrical tape. The C213SMA ships with a protector cap to use when no antenna is connected.

Next step, the antenna. My two Diamond antennas have been cut to length and the VSWR was good enough for the old Chevy Blazer. Not so for the Passport. Almost 2-1/2 to 1 SWR, not good.

More work ahead..............

Stuck,
 

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Well done!
 

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Looks great, where did you pass the coax thru the body where it won't leak?
Refer to the 7th jpeg down. With the SMA in hand, start at the left of the liftgate hinge. Pass SMA and coax to the right of the hinge and tuck under the plastic trim. That jpeg shows the THHN tucked under and the coax along the right edge of the plastic trim. The trim will hold the coax in place. The diameter of the coax is small enough the flexible seal around the liftgate, seals. I've put the water hose all over that area, no leaks. But also as in the old Chevy Blazer and this Passport, the coax has to pass through the storage area, under the rear seats, and to the right of the center consul. Watch where one tosses stuff into the storage area!!!!

I can keep the vehicle in the garage most of the time. Being retired, picking dry days, no snow is easy. It is the volcanic pumice that gets into everything.

Stuck,
 

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Hi, all, I've had my Passport only a few days, so the ham and CB antennas are in the planning stage. I don't want to drill the body and I don't like magnetic mounts. Some of the Diamond and Comet mounts come with RG-316/U coax cable, which is considerably thinner than the typical RG-58/U, so it should be possible to snake it in somewhere.

The ground connection to the antenna mount has to be really short, though. For example, a 20 inch ground wire is about a 1/4 wavelength at 144 MHz, so it won't really function as an RF ground. I'm looking for a place to anchor a really short copper strap or braid. Maybe there is a grounded screw on the roof rail somewhere. Some of the 1/2 wavelength antennas on the market don't require a ground.

There appear to be plenty of places to install a radio. Ideally, I shoud pick up power directly from the battery, but I don't plan to run a lot of power, so I think that one of the power points in the cabin will suffice.

With all the electronics in the Passport (light years more advanced from the 1992 Explorer that it replaced) EMI to and from the vehicle remains to be seen.

73,

Bob WB2VUF
 

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Hi, all, I've had my Passport only a few days, so the ham and CB antennas are in the planning stage. I don't want to drill the body and I don't like magnetic mounts. Some of the Diamond and Comet mounts come with RG-316/U coax cable, which is considerably thinner than the typical RG-58/U, so it should be possible to snake it in somewhere.

The ground connection to the antenna mount has to be really short, though. For example, a 20 inch ground wire is about a 1/4 wavelength at 144 MHz, so it won't really function as an RF ground. I'm looking for a place to anchor a really short copper strap or braid. Maybe there is a grounded screw on the roof rail somewhere. Some of the 1/2 wavelength antennas on the market don't require a ground.

There appear to be plenty of places to install a radio. Ideally, I shoud pick up power directly from the battery, but I don't plan to run a lot of power, so I think that one of the power points in the cabin will suffice.

With all the electronics in the Passport (light years more advanced from the 1992 Explorer that it replaced) EMI to and from the vehicle remains to be seen.

73,

Bob WB2VUF
I'd look at fabricating or buying a clamp mount arrangement you attach to a roof rail. No the ground won't be perfect but anything less than a home in the roof is a compromise. I would not sweat the coax, your door jam has a rubber seal and usually RG 58 sized coax will fit between the door and frame. You can "kluge" an arrangement like this to try different locations and mounts. My guess is that there probably will not be a lot of difference between them.

If your need a better arrangement because of being in fringe coverage, you will have to step up for better solutions but for cruising in "normal" coverage areas, not much more than a clamp arrangement probably would be OK.

All new cars are nothing but noise generators. I'd try a cigarette lighter power source, drive around and listen. If you have too much noise then I'd go directly to the battery for both + and - leads. Most likely you can find a grommet hole in the firewall to feed a 2 conductor #14 stranded wire cable through. That would be good enough for a 30-50 watt radio I imagine.

Good luck and let us know what you do and how well it works.


Greg - W7MY
 

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Thanks, Greg,

I have the factory roof rails and crossbars, so right now I'm leaning toward a Diamond K515 roof rack mount. Since the Passport is pretty tall, a fold-over mount is a requirement. There seems to be a natural channel from the rear of the roof rail to the hatch. I can go in through the hatch weatherstripping, then along the edge of the deck lid or possibly under the lid. Then, I run the coax discreetly under the rear seats and floor mats up to the console. This should be much easier than the setup in the old Explorer where I ran the cable down through a gap around the bumper, along the frame rail under the truck and up through a drain hole under the driver's side door sill plate.

I have a half-wave antenna, which theoretically doesn't need a ground plane, but I think I can pick up a ground under the roof rail end cap where the rail bolts to the roof (I downloaded the roof rail installation instructions from the College Hills Honda web site). The screw that attaches the end cap to the rail may also be grounded. I'll get out there with an ohmmeter, when the weather here improves. Until then, if I really need to go mobile I have one of those little Opek low profile magnet mount antennas, the one with the base that looks a little bigger than a Hershey's Kiss.

Thanks again and 73,

Bob WB2VUF
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