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Advice on proposed new mobile install

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deniselucas

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Hello! I'm a n00b with my technicians license (six months now). I purchased a Yaesu FT-7900 for my car off Ebay - found out that it was the European version (FT-7900E), which isn't that big of a deal except the antenna connector is N type plug instead of the M type for US. I have a local car stereo shop that will install the radio, but they only know CB radios. So, I have to give them very clear, explicit directions. I am considering installing the radio in the back cargo area of my 2009 Ford Escape with the remote faceplate up in the front seat, with an extended speaker. I like the idea of the truck/hatch mount and have spec'd the following for antenna and mount:
NCG Comet CP-5NMO
NCG Comet SBB-5

Is this a good setup? Will it work together? Do I need to purchase any connector adaptors? Is there anything else you can suggest or recommend?

Thanks,
KF5WKR
 

popnokick

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They'll work great together. But some things to go over with the installer:
- As you noticed, the radio has a type N coax connector. Make sure they know that, can work with putting N connector on the coax (no adapters!), and you know what they plan to do.
- Unless you regularly park in a low clearance garage, mount the antenna on the highest place of your car that you can.
- Be sure that the trunk lip mount will work properly at the high point you selected to place the antenna, and that the coax is not crushed when you close the gate, door, or lid.
 

deniselucas

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So what connector would I need to order for the Coax? I do park in a low clearance garage but I plan on mounting the antenna as high as I can, plus the antenna does fold over 90 deg. so that should help. I also have a web site that I am going to have the installers look at that is the type of installation that I want. Hopefully, they will not mess things up.
 

popnokick

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Assuming you'll use RG58 coax and that the back of set connector is an N-female, then an N-Male will work. Get the soldered variety, not crimp-on. Example:
http://www.tessco.com/products/displayProductInfo.do?sku=56820
Don't forget to fold your antenna down when you go into the garage. Easy to forget, and if hits the antenna low enough (below the foldover) some real damage can be done.
 

mmckenna

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I installed a 7800 in a 2008 Ford Escape, then ended up replacing it with a Motorola CDM1250. Photos are here:
http://batboard.batlabs.com/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=79401

I went permanent install NMO for the antenna. I know others that have done the mount off the back of the hatch. Personally, I don't like the look of of the hatch mount, so I took the time to do a permanent NMO mount on the roof. The benefit of the better ground plane and, what I think is better aesthetics, makes up for the extra work.

I've seen stereo shops do some questionable installs, so watch what they are doing very closely. Pay very close attention to where they get the power from. Ideally you want it directly from the battery. Don't let them tap into anything under the dash, or you risk noise issues getting into your radio via the power feed. It's difficult to get through existing firewall grommets, but it can be done.

The radio itself will fit just fine in the bottom of the center console. Drilling a hole in the front of the bottom of the console will allow cabling to pass through into the center console.

An "N" connector on the coax is your best bet, but in all honesty you won't notice an adapter. Just make sure you properly secure the cable to protect the jack on the back of the radio. The exact type of connector will depend on which coax you are using. Make sure the stereo shop has the proper crimping tool for the coax and connector you are using. Improperly installed crimp connectors can lead to issues. Make sure you check it afterwards. Remove the antenna and check with a ohm meter to make sure there are not any shorts in the connector.
 
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DisasterGuy

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You will likely be happier with the results using a 2-way shop or even doing it yourself over a car audio shops work. They are very unlikely to have the correct tools for antenna mount drilling, crimping, etc. They will also likely charge more for the install that what you could by all the tools for to do it yourself. What did they quote you for the install work?


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Stereo shop,…NO! Go to a mobile radio shop that has the know how and proper equipment. It'll be worth any extra money you pay. Find out who your local utilities, cops, fire dept. etc. use. You may even find some local hams who would help you through the install (learning op) and have antenna analyzers etc.
 

hill2jb

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Do it yourself

Watch some youtube videos, and do it yourself. Better yet, get a local Ham who knows what he is doing to guide you through the process. It shouldn't be hard in your area to find at least ONE Ham who knows how to do mobile mounts. As for the wiring, exactly what others have said. Do it striaght from the battery. Get a RigRunner and some of the wire and connectors that go with it. This will facilitate any other later Ham radio goodies you might want to install.
 

w2xq

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If you have the 7900E, I think the transmit coverage is limited to 144-146 and 430-440 MHz. Assuming you are in NAm, you may want to exchange it for the 7900R. Yaesu E and R models have different coverages; E=Europe. HTH.
 
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deniselucas

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Hi Everyone! I thought I'd would let anyone who is interested know how my install turned out. Well, I did let the car audio place install it - they wanted 100.00, told me they had installed lots of ham radios. That was not exactly the truth. They screwed up the install, even going so far as the break off part of the connector post inside my antenna. So, I took a deep breath, gave them a date that I would be back, researched what kind of antenna and mount I really wanted, and HOW I wanted it mounted. Purchased my gear (NCG Comet SBB-5 antenna, NCG Comet CP-5NMO hatch mount, and a vertex mls-100 external speaker), printed out similar installations for the tech to follow (radio installed in the cargo hatch of my Ford Escape, antenna mounted high up on the hatch back, front face plate installed to the right of the drivers console, external speaker installed slightly to the side by the glove box), and marched myself back into the car audio place and told them they were going to fix the screwed up install now. It wasn't pretty, it finally broke down to me raising my voice, cussing a little, and saying some very unkind things about their collective intelligence. Finally, I was able to use my radio in the car - receive and transmit is as clear as a bell, and everything is laid out where I can access it fairly easily. I learned a lot from this - one thing - treat it as I would any project - research it and make my decisions after I learn everything I need to know, two - talk to the installers repeatedly - don't let them get away with putting me off or not doing what I tell them to do. Lastly - I love ham radio - it's really a lot of fun!
 

SCPD

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You will likely be happier with the results using a 2-way shop or even doing it yourself over a car audio shops work. They are very unlikely to have the correct tools for antenna mount drilling, crimping, etc. They will also likely charge more for the install that what you could by all the tools for to do it yourself. What did they quote you for the install work?


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Yep, use a two-way radio shop. Never regretted using one even though it costs a bit more.
 

mmckenna

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Hi Everyone! I thought I'd would let anyone who is interested know how my install turned out. Well, I did let the car audio place install it - they wanted 100.00, told me they had installed lots of ham radios. That was not exactly the truth. They screwed up the install, even going so far as the break off part of the connector post inside my antenna. So, I took a deep breath, gave them a date that I would be back, researched what kind of antenna and mount I really wanted, and HOW I wanted it mounted. Purchased my gear (NCG Comet SBB-5 antenna, NCG Comet CP-5NMO hatch mount, and a vertex mls-100 external speaker), printed out similar installations for the tech to follow (radio installed in the cargo hatch of my Ford Escape, antenna mounted high up on the hatch back, front face plate installed to the right of the drivers console, external speaker installed slightly to the side by the glove box), and marched myself back into the car audio place and told them they were going to fix the screwed up install now. It wasn't pretty, it finally broke down to me raising my voice, cussing a little, and saying some very unkind things about their collective intelligence. Finally, I was able to use my radio in the car - receive and transmit is as clear as a bell, and everything is laid out where I can access it fairly easily. I learned a lot from this - one thing - treat it as I would any project - research it and make my decisions after I learn everything I need to know, two - talk to the installers repeatedly - don't let them get away with putting me off or not doing what I tell them to do. Lastly - I love ham radio - it's really a lot of fun!
Not a surprise. Stereo/alarm install is quite a bit different from 2 way radio install. I haven't run across a stereo installer yet that didn't think he was God's gift to the electronics industry. We had our bus fleet try and save a few bucks by having a local stereo shop install some of their 2 way radios. We found a lot of critical issues that indicated they had no clue what they were doing.

Glad it worked out in the end. Sucks that you had to resort to yelling to get them to do a good job.
 

deniselucas

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I had been warned, but honestly, I really couldn't conceive of the arrogance, and I work in information technology. When I saw where the first installer had ripped a piece off my original antenna (Chamleon VHF/UHF) and then installed it - after I had provided them the adapter - I flipped out. On the re-install, the front desk guy made it look like he was taking my car to the garage bay, and I noticed he kept coming in through the front door to wait on people, so I asked him where my car was - he had it on the side of the building because they didn't have a bay free. This after I had given them two weeks notice I was bringing my car back in for them to fix the install. I went and looked at my car and the guy had left it with the trim laying on the parking lot, with all the doors and hatch open, and my radio and gear laying in the cargo hatch - open to anyone to just walk by and take my stuff. I locked the car up and told him not to touch it until a bay became free and an installer could pull it into the garage and work on it and before he touched a thing to come talk to me. After they got it into the bay, they told me the installer was having lunch and would come talk to me when he was done. After an hour I asked what happened to the installer and they told me he had already re-installed the radio and was working on the antenna. Then I totally lost it. I still do not understand why it was so difficult for them to talk to me, understand what I wanted, and do it. Finally, they did fix it - charged me 50.00 for installing a new antenna - even though I pointed out they ruined my original one. Argh - talk about a lesson in frustration.
Something interesting - when I was sitting in the car stereo place - I was there 8 hours - a gentleman was waiting on his car asked me why I was there. He didn't know what ham radio was but did understand short wave radio. He was surprised and told me he thought all that old technology had died out with cell phones. It is interesting that there isn't one ham radio shop in the major metropolitan area I live in, no one to do installs, and to purchase gear must be done over the internet. Yet my local clubs membership has almost doubled this last year.
 

DisasterGuy

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While there may not be a ham shop I am sure there is more than one commercial shop that could have done the install in under 30 minutes. Keep inundated as well that even if installers are certified there is a HUGE difference between a commercial radio shop's installers (CET) and an audio shop (MECP).


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rescue161

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Even actual two-way radio shops are not without flaws. I work in the communications industry and we routinely have to fix installs that were contracted out (to save money). I've seen coax cable spliced together with Butt-Connectors from so-called reputable shops.
 

kayn1n32008

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I Have seen Butt connector crimpers used to crimp PL259 Connectors...
 
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