A couple months ago I traded in my old Honda Pilot (see Pilot Radio
) on a 2012 Honda Odyssey. I had a couple ideas on installs, including a custom cabinet that was to have been made by a friend of mine. (Coming Soon: New Honda Odyssey
I decided a bit more conventional install similar to that in my former Pilot. That worked very well for me so I copied it with some modifications.
Phase 1: Stuff in the back
I finally got my antennas and main power leads run by my install shop (MPC Communications of Northbrook, IL). They installed 5 NMO mounts on the roof of the van.
They also installed 3 power leads (Ground, battery and switched positive). The battery lead is protected by a circuit breaker under the hood. The switched lead comes from an auxiliary fuse block near the rear door.
All leads and cables were run to the rear cargo area, in the pit where the third row “60/40” seats stow away into:
I cut a piece of ¾ inch plywood to fit the pit’s driver’s side partition. This allows me to still stow the passenger side seat in case I need to haul a long item. The board was fitted with rubber feet and cut so that it fits very snugly. I then test fitted the radios and marked the locations for later mounting.
I then removed the radios and board, sanded the edges and trimmed a corner to allow it to fit better. I then started mounting the radios. The radios include:
2 CDM1250’s (1 VHF, 1 UHF);
Stridsberg MCA204M multicoupler.
All 7 radios will use remote heads.
As I learned from my prior vehicle (2009 Honda Pilot) the scanners were set at a higher angle for easier access to the front serial port. I had difficulty accessing them in the old car for programming and reinsertion of the remote head cable.
After the radios were mounted I started working on the wiring. I had mounted studs for the power leads so the radios were then wired to these studs. I made a couple simple harnesses, reusing some of the articles from the old car. One of the harnesses I had to make was one to share the GPS data among the 4 scanners.
My old Garmin GPS-III finally bit the dust after more than a decade. One of the batteries leaked out and it would not work even after a thorough cleaning. I leave the GPS connected to the car battery so that I don’t have to manually turn it on every time I get in the car. I keep AA batteries in the GPS so that it remains on when the car starts and the voltage drops the GPS remains on.
I had found an old Garmin Street Pilot at a hamfest for next to nothing some time ago just in case I needed to replace the GPS-III. It worked out well since the connections are identical so I could just swap out the units. The harness I made used 4 Uniden serial cables with the radio end cut off connected to a Garmin cable and power lead.
After all the radios were mounted and wired I placed the board into the seat well and connected the antennas and power leads. It fit perfectly. Eventually I will construct a shelf to mount above the radios to hid them from view and allow for groceries etc. to be carried on top. I plan on using a wood shelf covered in the same fabric as used in the car.
Phase 2: The front stuff
For the control heads I will use 2 mounting locations. 2 of the scanners and the Alinco will be mounted to a pull out tray below the stereo system.
A simple set of mending bars hold up the assembly. The two RH96’s are Velcroed together and the Alinco’s control head tacked on below these.
The other two scanners and the Motorola’s will be mounted to a mounting board that fits in the well of the center console. I cut two pieces of leftover plywood, one to fit the well and another as a riser. The RH96’s will be mounted with Velcro to the raised section and the Motorola’s to the lower part.
Phase 3: The bridge.
After working on the rear section with the radios and the front part with the control heads, they need to be connected together to be operational. The Motorola’s have a 10-conductor cable and speakers in the control head, the other radios require speakers run to the front. The Alinco uses a phone style control head cable while the scanners use a 3 conductor cable, with the control head end uses a standard stereo plug so if the cable is too short I can use an extension cable. I will also need extension cables for the 5 speakers (4 scanners and the Alinco). Also run forward will be a power lead for the scanners control heads.
All these cables will be bundled as a unit and run up the center of the vehicle in a wire loom. This will help reduce damage and tripping that was an issue on the last car in which the loom was run up the right side.
I always get asked the same question: Why so many radios? I use all of them all the time. The two Motorola’s are my work radios for the most part, they operate on the frequencies used by the agency I work for. The Alinco is used for various ham radio operations.
The scanners each have a purpose. One 996 is dedicated to StarCom21 and statewide systems used in the Midwest. The GPS feature is invaluable for this, I have the statewide systems for Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio all set up with GPS and never have to touch the radio. The other 996 is used for various local systems using P25.
One BC15 is dedicated to CloseCall operations. This allows me to find nearby transmitters. I have found hundreds of new (to me…) channels in use during my travels with CloseCall. The last BC15 is used mostly for aviation and railroads.
I hope to complete the install this weekend, more pics to follow as the job continues!