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Old 12-15-2008, 9:33 PM
CCHLLM CCHLLM is offline
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Greensboro, NC
Posts: 972

I have mounted radios in several Subarus over the years including several municipal leased vehicles for public works people. The last one I did is the Yaesu 7800 ham radio in my granddaughter's 2008 Outback. As far as mounting a radio goes, Subarus are only different in the details from every other vehicle out there. If you can figure out how to do it properly safetywise and without putting a hole in anything, go for it.

You can try sticking the rough side of adhesive backed Velcro to the radio for mounting on a flat carpeted surface under the seat or such and putting a sufficiently sized tether to the seat frame or whatever other substantial anchor as a back up in times of the dreaded accident and flying objects. The carpet acts as the Velcro fuzzy side for the rough side stuck to the radio, and the anchor assures it'll stay where you put it. I used a piece of 1/8 x 3/4 strap bolted across the top of the radio mounting bracket and drilled a 1/4 inch hole in the seat bracket. Then I bent the other end of the strap to match the surface of the seat frame and bolted that through the 1/4 inch hole. Just make sure none of this interferes with the movement of the seat and that none of the wires get into the seal slide rails or latch/release mechanisms.

If you're going to mount the radio on a vertical surface with tape/Velcro/Twin Lock, try to keep it in a low, cool, well ventilated area and on a hard smooth plastic or metal surface so that the adhesive won't be so likely to give up in the heat and the radio can cool, but don't put it where it's in the way of your feet or loading just because the surface is right. You may also find existing bolts under the dash areas that will allow you to drill the mounting bracket to accommodate the bolt spacing, or you could use a combo of a bolt and Velcro. If the bolt is too short, hit a fastener store for the right lengths.

For the control head and mic, there are "vent mounts" and dash mounts that use either existing dash fasteners or adhesive mounts and may come with swivels, depending on how elaborate you want to get. Just remember that these vent mounts can make great collision targets for your face and other body parts if not located in a safe place, and some brands and varieties are worth far less that what you'll pay for them. Choose carefully.

You can mount any of the radio components with things like double sided tape or 3M "Twin Lock" or other types of adhesive mounting creations, but the combo of summer heat and the volatile oils in the vinyl dash surfaces will usually cause the adhesive type mounts to fail at an inconvenient moment if the entire weight is supported by the adhesive on a vertical surface. Ask me how I know. Down in the console area, adhesive foam tape works well if the head fits into a space where the back surface is tilted back a bit or is flat so that the weight isn't all on a vertical surface.

A heads up: most amateur radio lcd displays aren't visible from any angle that is much "below" the middle of the display angle, so if the head is flat on the console surface and is located so that the view is from what would normally be the bottom of the control head, the display may not be visible. I don't know if the 700 has a contrast adjustment to correct for this or not.

Antennas are another game. I have no use for a mag mount due to the fact that the cable is going to be compromised by a window or a door closing on it and magnets don't work at interstate highway speeds when combined with really gusty winds. Ask me how I know that. You could preferably use a dual band no-ground plane unit (Comet or Diamond would be a good place to start) on a bracket mounted at the hatch, but you're still dealing with passing the cable through the hatch opening. Luggage rack mounting may not provide sufficient ground or ground plane for the antenna to work properly, but at least with a no-ground plane type you have more options to work with in finding a sweet spot.

A lip mount on the hood could work with the antenna cable passed through the firewall at a grommet like the power wires, but keep in mind that the cable will have to be routed to protect it from underhood heat or the feedline will quickly become something other than 50 ohm cable. Ask me how I know that one, too.

One thing you won't be able to get around is the proper attaching of power wires to the battery. They've still got to go to the battery, and they've still got to pass through the firewall to get to the battery. Don't even think about skirting the manufacturer's instructions and using the half-assed cobbled-up method of trying to tie to the fuse panel or use a power port. Neither is designed to accommodate a transceiver's power requirements. I used an existing grommet by checking clearances first, then pushing a small Phillips screw driver through the flexy part of the grommet next to the harness to make a small hole for the power wires. The wires are run under the edge of the console and down to the radio through the seat frame in the space next to the seat belt anchors. The Forester may have those seat belt anchors located differently, but you get the picture.

Sorry to be so verbose and long in the post. Hope some of this helps.

PS: Forget the built-in speaker and get yourself an external speaker and find a place to mount it. You'll thank yourself for that.

Last edited by wx4cbh; 12-16-2008 at 10:15 AM..
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