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Old 11-09-2017, 9:58 AM
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Default 2017 F-150 VHF/UHF Commercial Install

Hey, all-

Just recently finished installing my radios in my new pickup. The radios are a Kenwood TK-7180 and TK-8180 both with KRK-10 remote mount kits. The antenna is a Laird AB150/450C on an NMO mount in the roof, with a Comet Diplexer to run both radios off the single antenna.

The antenna was a very simple install. I dropped the dome light and had easy access to drill, and fished the coax to the rear above the window, and down the C-pillar to behind the rear seats.









The control heads are mounted inside the multimedia compartment of the center console, under the factory sliding door so they can be out of sight when the girlfriend is riding with me and doesn't want to listen, or when I'm parked where I don't want the radios on display. I don't usually keep the microphones plugged in, I just keep them in the center console until I'm at work or on call and may have the need to transmit, then I plug them in and leave the mic in the storage pocket.







The RF decks and duplexer are mounted behind the rear seats. Fused power (10awg) is routed from the battery across the engine bay and through the firewall on the driver's side, then up the door channel to the C-pillar. From there it splits, fused again, to each radio.



The only thing I may add is an ignition-sense wire for the power control, as right now I have to turn the radios off manually. They sometimes turn on automatically when the truck first starts, and cycle power with the auto start/stop feature. For now, manual control is fine until I find an accessory fuse to tap.

All in all, it was a pretty simple install, all completed in an afternoon. I think it came out nicely, and I'd be glad to answer anyone's questions!
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Old 11-09-2017, 11:00 AM
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Default 2017 F-150 VHF/UHF Commercial Install

If you can, flip the radios so the heat sink fins are up/facing out. I find these radios run pretty warm even in standby. Other than that, this is easily in my personal top 10 for high quality, well thought out installs.

Top notch work sir.

Edit: Are those 25w or 50w mobiles?

Edit 2: I am planning a TM-V71a install in a 2014 TDI Jetta at the moment. I hope mine turns out as nice as yours. Currently thinking of removing the sunglasses holder below my sunroof and installing the control head there. So far its the only place I like the control head. The Jetta is not a very radio friendly vehicle.

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Last edited by kayn1n32008; 11-09-2017 at 11:10 AM..
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Old 11-09-2017, 11:58 AM
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im shopping for a new vehicle soon , thinking of an f150 how is the stop/start working out for you, can you turn it off. very nice install lots of space for radios in that truck
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Old 11-09-2017, 12:05 PM
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Excellent job! Very clean and can be completely out of sight! (Well, not the antenna but you know what I mean.)

I don't see mics connected so do you use them to monitor only or do you have the mic stowed in the console and just connect it when needed?
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Old 11-09-2017, 12:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 03msc View Post
I don't see mics connected so do you use them to monitor only or do you have the mic stowed in the console and just connect it when needed?

He states he keeps them in his console



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Old 11-09-2017, 12:29 PM
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Very nice setup,like the sliding top to hide the radios very cool......
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Old 11-09-2017, 2:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kayn1n32008 View Post
If you can, flip the radios so the heat sink fins are up/facing out. I find these radios run pretty warm even in standby. snip
Very important point. You want the heat to rise up out of the radio.
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Old 11-09-2017, 2:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ericthenerd View Post
All in all, it was a pretty simple install, all completed in an afternoon. I think it came out nicely, and I'd be glad to answer anyone's questions!

I usually avoid commenting on installs, so many of them I see on here really look like crap. Your's is not one of those. It looks great. Nice job, be proud of it.
These full sized American trucks are easy to install in. I just did an install in an 2017 F350, and it was a piece of cake.
You might want to look online at the Ford upfitter manual for those trucks (if they have them for the F150) you may find that there is an easy tie in point for an ignition controlled power feed. The F350 had one behind the passenger side kick plate. I was able to tie in the ignition sense lead there.

I really appreciate it when I see someone who does a proper antenna install. So often you'll see amateur radio operators and other hobbyists that do half way installs, either mag mounts, brackets, on glass, etc. Taking the time to drill the hole, route the cable correctly, and do all the trimmings is really good to see.

As for the microphones….
You can connect the mics to the radio using the rear 25 pin connectors, if you wanted to. It'll take a bit of work to interface the DB-25 to an RJ-45 connector, but you could easily put a small biscuit block with 2 RJ-45 connectors inside the center console. That way your mics would always be hooked up, but not visible.

Also…

Not sure if the mounting screws for the RF decks go all the way through the rear bulkhead. If they do, cover them up with some sealant on the outside so they don't start rusting. Use some RTV or similar sealant.


Looks great, good job!
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Old 11-09-2017, 2:38 PM
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Nice work!
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Old 11-09-2017, 3:31 PM
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Nice job, clean install! Perfect place to mount the remote heads, accessible, but out of sight.
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Old 11-09-2017, 4:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kayn1n32008 View Post
If you can, flip the radios so the heat sink fins are up/facing out. I find these radios run pretty warm even in standby. Other than that, this is easily in my personal top 10 for high quality, well thought out installs.
Thanks to the advice in this thread, I flipped them around this afternoon!


Quote:
Originally Posted by kayn1n32008 View Post
Edit: Are those 25w or 50w mobiles?
The 7180 is a high power, 45w model. The 8180 is a standard 30w model. The 7180 is used for my volunteer agency, which is rural with longer distances to a repeater. The 8180 is used for my job in an urban area with excellent repeater coverage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kayn1n32008 View Post
Edit 2: I am planning a TM-V71a install in a 2014 TDI Jetta at the moment. I hope mine turns out as nice as yours. Currently thinking of removing the sunglasses holder below my sunroof and installing the control head there. So far it’s the only place I like the control head. The Jetta is not a very radio friendly vehicle.
It's really difficult to install in some of these newer vehicles and have it look clean without using some sort of remote mount kit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lou9155 View Post
im shopping for a new vehicle soon , thinking of an f150 how is the stop/start working out for you, can you turn it off. very nice install lots of space for radios in that truck
Honestly I could go either way on it so far... I do a lot of driving in the dark and having the headlights dim each time the engine restarts is a little annoying. The radios will also beep sometimes as the power cycles from the voltage drop during startup. I often diable the feature with the button on the dash (so yes, it's possible to turn off), but it automatically defaults back on when the ignition is turned off then back on. I've seen on the F150 forums that some people have turned it off permanently, though. My dad, however, has a 15 F150 with a TK-7180, and he never complains about it. To each their own, I suppose. As far as the truck goes, it's easily the most comfortable pickup I've ever driven and the 2.7 has a ton of power for being so small. Couldn't be happier with my purchase.

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Originally Posted by 03msc View Post
Excellent job! Very clean and can be completely out of sight! (Well, not the antenna but you know what I mean.)

I don't see mics connected so do you use them to monitor only or do you have the mic stowed in the console and just connect it when needed?
Like I said, I just plug in a mic when I may need to transmit. Other than that they get stored in the center console.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cmdrwill View Post
Very important point. You want the heat to rise up out of the radio.
Done, as of this afternoon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mmckenna View Post
I usually avoid commenting on installs, so many of them I see on here really look like crap. Your's is not one of those. It looks great. Nice job, be proud of it.
These full sized American trucks are easy to install in. I just did an install in an 2017 F350, and it was a piece of cake.
Thank you very much! I like to take my time and be proud of the work I put out. Too many times we see people take shortcuts because they failed to plan or put in the effort needed to achieve a nice final product.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mmckenna View Post
You might want to look online at the Ford upfitter manual for those trucks (if they have them for the F150) you may find that there is an easy tie in point for an ignition controlled power feed. The F350 had one behind the passenger side kick plate. I was able to tie in the ignition sense lead there.
Definitely worth looking into. I put out some feelers on the F150 forums to see if I could get any leads there, but the upfitter guide may be a smarter choice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mmckenna View Post
I really appreciate it when I see someone who does a proper antenna install. So often you'll see amateur radio operators and other hobbyists that do half way installs, either mag mounts, brackets, on glass, etc. Taking the time to drill the hole, route the cable correctly, and do all the trimmings is really good to see.
I totally agree. Lots of people in my area use a trunk lid mount, or a magnet mount, then mash the coax in the door every time it opens/shuts. I can't stand it, and then they wonder why their "radio doesn't work" a few months later, when the coax is busted or flattened. I myself have been guilty of using them in the past, but once I realized how much hassle is saved by just drilling the hole, and how much better the results were, I had to bite the bullet and just do it. Down the road, I know I'll be glad I did!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mmckenna View Post
As for the microphones….
You can connect the mics to the radio using the rear 25 pin connectors, if you wanted to. It'll take a bit of work to interface the DB-25 to an RJ-45 connector, but you could easily put a small biscuit block with 2 RJ-45 connectors inside the center console. That way your mics would always be hooked up, but not visible.
Definitely something I may look into for the future...for now I'm good with plugging/unplugging the mic, but if I have some free time I may explore that option.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mmckenna View Post
Not sure if the mounting screws for the RF decks go all the way through the rear bulkhead. If they do, cover them up with some sealant on the outside so they don't start rusting. Use some RTV or similar sealant.
I scrapped the Kenwood supplied screws and used stainless steel sheet metal screws for the mounting brackets since I knew I would be going through the rear wall. before I tightened them down, each one got a dab of Goop so it would hopefully prevent any issues down the road!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mmckenna View Post
Looks great, good job!
Thank you again for your kind words. I looked at the install you did on your '11 F150 for some inspiration before doing my own. I appreciate the feedback!

Last edited by ericthenerd; 11-09-2017 at 4:21 PM..
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Old 11-09-2017, 4:19 PM
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Yikes!! Is that a shadow of Sasquatch looming over the roof?

Nice install. Looks like you live in beautiful country.
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Old 11-09-2017, 4:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ericthenerd View Post
Thanks to the advice in this thread, I flipped them around this afternoon!


The 7180 is a high power, 45w model. The 8180 is a standard 30w model. The 7180 is used for my volunteer agency, which is rural with longer distances to a repeater. The 8180 is used for my job in an urban area with excellent repeater coverage.
If the cable lengths will allow, you may want to rotate them so the power cable and coax connectors are up. It wont look as nice, but they will shed heat better. Especially for the high power radio. They heat up really fast.

I currently have a NX-700 and a TK-8180HK2, they wont be going in my car though. Great radios, and if I end up with a truck I hope I can get them looking as good as yours are.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ericthenerd View Post
It's really difficult to install in some of these newer vehicles and have it look clean without using some sort of remote mount kit.
I pulled my car into our bay after lunch and started trying to figure out how to pull the sunglasses compartment. It wont be as pretty, and I have to remove the sunglasses compartment to do it but it should be functional at least.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ericthenerd View Post
I totally agree. Lots of people in my area use a trunk lid mount, or a magnet mount, then mash the coax in the door every time it opens/shuts. I can't stand it, and then they wonder why their "radio doesn't work" a few months later, when the coax is busted or flattened!

I use magmounts with company trucks at the moment because I dont have an assigned truck anymore. I have used a mag mount on my car, but dont want to make a habit out of it.


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Old 11-09-2017, 4:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kayn1n32008 View Post
He states he keeps them in his console



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I apologize. I did not see the text in the middle of those photos at all the first time around.
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Old 11-09-2017, 5:08 PM
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Default Nice Work

Congratulations on a great install.
Nice work.
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Old 11-09-2017, 5:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ericthenerd View Post
As far as the truck goes, it's easily the most comfortable pickup I've ever driven and the 2.7 has a ton of power for being so small. Couldn't be happier with my purchase.
That's good to hear. I haven't driven one with the 2.7.
I have a 2011 with the 3.5 ecoboost, and as a former "big V-8" guy, I'm really happy with it. Just about at 100,000 miles and no issues.
We've got a truck here at work with the 3.7l and it really does well. Ford has done a great job on these new engines.

I did just get a 2017 F350 at work, and it's got the 6.2V8. A bit of a beast, but it does OK. I'm glad it's not mine, as it's running about 9-10MPG. It's 4x4 with a service body and probably close to 1000 lbs of tools, parts and gear.

The F-350 has a Kenwood NX-900 and an NX-700. Both remote head, RF decks behind the seats. NX-900 is on my trunked system. NX-700 is for the PD and Fire systems I run. Decent radios and the small heads make them easy to squeeze in.
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Old 11-09-2017, 5:54 PM
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Nice install!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ericthenerd View Post
I scrapped the Kenwood supplied screws and used stainless steel sheet metal screws for the mounting brackets since I knew I would be going through the rear wall. before I tightened them down, each one got a dab of Goop so it would hopefully prevent any issues down the road!
I keep a small can of Rustoleum red oxide primer around just for this purpose. If my install might leave a bare steel edge exposed to the weather, I coat it with a dab of this primer. Of course, you have stainless steel screws going into aluminum, so the chances of corrosion are somewhat reduced.


Quote:
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I have a 2011 with the 3.5 ecoboost, and as a former "big V-8" guy, I'm really happy with it.
I hear you. I waited for the 2011 F-150s to come out to see how I liked the engine choices. I test drove two with the 3.5 Echoboost then drove one with the 5.0 V-8. I loved the sound and visceral response of the V-8, so I bought an F-150 XLT SCrew 5.0 V-8 4X4. Had a lot of fun with that truck (and got a couple of speeding tickets). Traded it in on a 2015 Expedition XLT 3.5 Echoboost 4X4. That V-6 can fly! Put your foot down and you are in the next county before you know it without a lot of drama.
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Old 11-09-2017, 6:11 PM
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I hear you. I waited for the 2011 F-150s to come out to see how I liked the engine choices. I test drove two with the 3.5 Echoboost then drove one with the 5.0 V-8. I loved the sound and visceral response of the V-8, so I bought an F-150 XLT SCrew 5.0 V-8 4X4. Had a lot of fun with that truck (and got a couple of speeding tickets). Traded it in on a 2015 Expedition XLT 3.5 Echoboost 4X4. That V-6 can fly! Put your foot down and you are in the next county before you know it without a lot of drama.
My neighbor has the same truck with the 5.0. He bought it because of the V8 sound, and the fact he's a muscle car guy and just couldn't make himself do the V6.
I've stomped on it a few times and it does just fine. Comparing the torque and HP numbers, it hard to argue with.
I have driven the Ford interceptor SUV's a few times, and I've been impressed with those, although it was "unofficial". Better tires, AWD, etc. Fun to drive.

Last edited by mmckenna; 11-09-2017 at 6:15 PM..
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Old 11-11-2017, 9:59 AM
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Very nice install! I'm currently working on an install of a 2017 F350 CC. I never thought about putting the remote heads in that storage pocket but I am happy with what I came up with. I drilled one hole into the back wall to mount the RF decks and decided that wasn't the right plan for me. mmckenna could you post a link for the upfitter manual? I've asked the local dealer and also did an online search to no avail.

Again great looking install!
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Old 11-11-2017, 3:05 PM
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On the heat issue.
Where he has them mounted, puts them near and in the airflow path of one of two out flow vents. With the windows closed, the cabin air will be flowing across and around those RF decks. The vents are located on both sides of the rear cab wall, anf the grey material you see cut out, ahs moulded channels for the air to flow through. The right side deck in the photo, appears to be mounded near where a part of that channel was cut out. They'll get plenty of air.
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