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Old 05-29-2018, 10:38 PM
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Default 2006 Crew Cab Silverado Install Ideas

Dear Forum Members,

A while ago, I recently acquired a 2006 Crew Cab Silverado. I have a Yaesu FT-7900 that I would like to install, but am looking for tips, tricks, and ideas.

Initial idea is to remote mount the control head into the center console, which has a cubby hole that's nearly perfect for the control head. This would require the RF deck/ main body of the radio to be mounted behind the back seat, probably.

Any ideas on best locations to mount the RF deck? Was figuring on mounting it on the driver's side, behind the back seat, with the cooling fins facing out, to allow air flow.

Regarding antenna mounting, had thought about doing a fender mount, near the A pillar, but probably won't get very good ground plane in that location.

Alternatively, was going to do an NMO body mount on the roof, for better ground plane, and radiation pattern. Antenna will be a 5/8 wave dual band Larsen, most likely, in either case.

Had considered using a 1/4 wave 2 Meter antenna, since it will also be roughly 3/4 wave on 440. Where's the best spot for drilling the roof, dead center, slightly to the rear of the cab?

Was thinking about running the radio switched with the ignition, and was looking for tips on how to best get that set up.

Also, any ideas on running the cables (pathways, etc)? I'd like to split loom and zip tie what I can, for a nice, clean, professional appearance.

Somewhere in the front seat, it'll probably be a good idea to mount a speaker, and any ideas are appreciated.

The pictures are more of a proof of concept than anything, not exact locations for mounting. The antenna would go further forward on the fender, for example, and the control head would be more squarely mounted.

Any and all ideas are welcome, if you have any. Sorry for the lengthy post, and all the questions.

Respectfully,
Brts96

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Old 05-30-2018, 10:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brts96 View Post
Dear Forum Members,

Initial idea is to remote mount the control head into the center console, which has a cubby hole that's nearly perfect for the control head. This would require the RF deck/ main body of the radio to be mounted behind the back seat, probably.

Any ideas on best locations to mount the RF deck? Was figuring on mounting it on the driver's side, behind the back seat, with the cooling fins facing out, to allow air flow.
Another option is to mount it on the floor, underneath one of the front seats. If you mount it behind the back seat, point the back of the RF deck(where power and antenna connect) to the roof. This will aid in heat dissipation.

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Originally Posted by Brts96 View Post
Regarding antenna mounting, had thought about doing a fender mount, near the A pillar, but probably won't get very good ground plane in that location.

Alternatively, was going to do an NMO body mount on the roof, for better ground plane, and radiation pattern. Antenna will be a 5/8 wave dual band Larsen, most likely, in either case.

Had considered using a 1/4 wave 2 Meter antenna, since it will also be roughly 3/4 wave on 440. Where's the best spot for drilling the roof, dead center, slightly to the rear of the cab?
There are lots of specific hood mounts for modern trucks. If you decide to mount it on the hood, mount it further towards the front, away from the A pillar.

Your best performance will always be dead centre of the roof. Mounted on the fender will make the antenna somewhat directional, due to the compromised ground plane. FYI the NMO 2/70 is a slightly shortened 1/2 wave on VHF. A 1/4 wave on VHF is approximately a 3/4 wave on UHF but it will have a funky radiation pattern.

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Also, any ideas on running the cables (pathways, etc)? I'd like to split loom and zip tie what I can, for a nice, clean, professional appearance.
There are cable runs under the door jams, the plastic molding pops off. Nice easy place to hide the power, control and antenna cables.

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Somewhere in the front seat, it'll probably be a good idea to mount a speaker, and any ideas are appreciated.
You WILL want an external speaker, the internal speakers on hammy mobiles SUCK. Even with an external speaker, when I had a diesel work truck, with the tires I had on it, at highway speeds, some quiet talkers were very hard to understand, even with the volume cranked all the way up on my FT-8800.

FYI, if you have RJ11 crimpers and 4 conductor RJ11 plugs, you can custom make your own control cable to length, rather than coiling/zip tying the excess cable.
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Old 05-30-2018, 1:11 PM
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Kayn1n32008,
Great ideas, and great points. Mounting under one of the front seats might be the best idea, after all.

I'll check into the cable runs under the trim pieces, and see what kind of options they offer.

Any ideas on how to work around the big console in the middle, for routing wires and such?

For power, I was thinking about connecting to the positive feed from the alternator, and grounding to the firewall. The idea is to make it switched with the ignition, so I can't forget to turn it off. Thoughts, ideas?

You're right on the best performance being from the center of the roof. I have the part ordered for the hood mount, but may still decide to drill the roof. I'll maybe see how it looks mocked up on the fender, before mounting it.

Might even end up installing one of my bigger Motorola speakers , if the small MFJ speaker doesn't cut the mustard. Trying to keep everything reasonably low profile and professional.

I don't have the crimpers, but it's a great idea to make my own cable. I might have to check into it, and see about cancelling the order from the local shop, since I have pretty much everything I need already (except the fender mount and separation kit).

Respectfully,
Brts96

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Old 05-30-2018, 2:28 PM
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I had even thought about modifying a spot in the dash to fit the whole radio, but am concerned about heat, and the radio not getting enough air mounted in this location.

Still thinking that under the seat might be a good location for it.
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Old 05-30-2018, 2:37 PM
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I'll check into the cable runs under the trim pieces, and see what kind of options they offer.
The trim should just pop up. You may want to investigate how exactly they should be removed and re-installed.

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Any ideas on how to work around the big console in the middle, for routing wires and such?
Never owned a Chevy/GM, all my work trucks have been fords, with that stupid centre jump seat. worse case, drill a hole and assemble the remote mount cable after it has been fed through the plastic. Google may be your friend, if you can find a video on how to disassemble the console.

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For power, I was thinking about connecting to the positive feed from the alternator, and grounding to the firewall. The idea is to make it switched with the ignition, so I can't forget to turn it off. Thoughts, ideas?
take your power right from the battery, and if you really want ignition switched, use a continuous duty relay that is rated for at least 12v/20A and find some switched power in the fuse box.

You're right on the best performance being from the center of the roof. I have the part ordered for the hood mount, but may still decide to drill the roof. I'll maybe see how it looks mocked up on the fender, before mounting it.[/QUOTE]

You wont find a better place on the roof, or a better antenna to put on the roof.

I noticed you have the closed coil version. its a good antenna, just be aware, I have seen those antennas melt the loading coil in the middle of the radiating element. If money permits, buy the open coil element. same thing, only it will not melt after years of salt, dirt and water intrusion.

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MFJ
MFJ aka: More F**king Junk. go with the Motorola speaker. They will sound better and not look as gaudy.

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I don't have the crimpers, but it's a great idea to make my own cable. I might have to check into it, and see about cancelling the order from the local shop, since I have pretty much everything I need already (except the fender mount and separation kit).
I made a separation cable with my FT8800 when I first put it in a vehicle. I never ever did use the factory cable I don't think. Either way I hope it works out for you.
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Old 05-30-2018, 4:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brts96 View Post
Dear Forum Members,

A while ago, I recently acquired a 2006 Crew Cab Silverado. I have a Yaesu FT-7900 that I would like to install, but am looking for tips, tricks, and ideas.

Initial idea is to remote mount the control head into the center console, which has a cubby hole that's nearly perfect for the control head. This would require the RF deck/ main body of the radio to be mounted behind the back seat, probably.
My brother in law had a GMC about that year. He had an Icom UHF radio mounted in that same slot. I think he had to cut out the back of the box, but it fit in there just fine. However, that was the radio deck, head, everything. Never had an issue with it overheating.

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Any ideas on best locations to mount the RF deck? Was figuring on mounting it on the driver's side, behind the back seat, with the cooling fins facing out, to allow air flow.
See if there is room behind the rear seat. This is where I usually mount RF decks in pickups. Mounting them with the RF connector facing up usually helps with heat dissipation and makes getting to the connectors easier. You may have to custom fabricate a bracket to hold it in that position, but it works well. I've currently got a CDM-1550 VHF RF deck mounted behind the rear seat of my personal F-350. On my previous truck, I had it installed the same way.

If I recall correctly, that radio has a fan, so it should do OK with cooling. Just make sure it doesn't get blocked.

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Regarding antenna mounting, had thought about doing a fender mount, near the A pillar, but probably won't get very good ground plane in that location.
You won't get good results from that. It's kind of a poor location for an antenna given the options. It's an "easy" location for hobbyists and those that don't want to drill, but that's about the only benefit. You can -easily- do better.

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Alternatively, was going to do an NMO body mount on the roof, for better ground plane, and radiation pattern. Antenna will be a 5/8 wave dual band Larsen, most likely, in either case.
MUCH better solution. It will work better, and it looks better.
My brother in law is using that same antenna (actually he's been using it since the late 1990's), good choice if you don't mind the length.


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Originally Posted by Brts96 View Post
Had considered using a 1/4 wave 2 Meter antenna, since it will also be roughly 3/4 wave on 440. Where's the best spot for drilling the roof, dead center, slightly to the rear of the cab?
I've used the VHF 1/4 waves as dual band antennas and in my specific case, they work well. A 1/4 wave will have very broad usable bandwidth and a nice even radiation pattern on VHF.
On UHF, the radiation pattern gets a bit funky and tends to have lobes that aim above the horizon. This can work against you on UHF in very flat areas where the receiver is a long way off.

Best location is top of the cab in the center. At minimum, you want a quarter wave length of ground plane on the lowest frequency all the way around the antenna, so about 20 inches from the rear of the cab is as far back as you should go.

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Was thinking about running the radio switched with the ignition, and was looking for tips on how to best get that set up.
kayn has some excellent advice.
Always run your positive lead to the battery positive. That will get you plenty of nice clean power. Tapping into existing wiring can introduce noise.

Using a relay controlled by the ignition switch will work. You can also look at a Lind power off timer. These are basically an ignition controlled relay with a delay timer. It'll supply power when you turn on the ignition, and keep the radio powered up for a selectable period of time after you shut the ignition off. I use these on my personal and work truck. I can leave the windows down, get out of the truck, and the radios stay on for about 30 minutes, then shut themselves off.

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Also, any ideas on running the cables (pathways, etc)? I'd like to split loom and zip tie what I can, for a nice, clean, professional appearance.
Been a while since I worked on a truck of that vintage, but here's what I recall:

There should be a large grommet on the drivers side near the brake master cylinder. You may have to make a new hole, but you can snake your power wire through there. That'll get you the path from the battery to under the dash.
From under the dash, you can run down behind the parking brake pedal and under the door sill. the door sill plates should pull straight up. There's a trough under there with existing wiring. Follow that to the rear of the cab.

On that note, here's something to think about…

The stock power wire that comes with the radio will be too short, so you will need to extend it. It's a real good idea to upsize the wire for the longer run. If you ever plan on adding more radios or accessories to the truck, this is the place where you can save yourself some headaches and labor.
Get some 8 or 6 gauge SAE rated battery wire. This will allow you to run more than one radio if you want, and also makes sure the voltage drop is kept to a minimum.
Install a large Maxi-fuse, 40 amps for 8 gauge, 50 - 60 for 6 gauge, or a similar sized circuit breaker near the battery.
At the back of the cab, install a fused distribution block. That'll make adding more later on way easier.


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Somewhere in the front seat, it'll probably be a good idea to mount a speaker, and any ideas are appreciated.
Since the speakers on these radios are on the RF deck, and that will be buried somewhere, the speaker is a really good idea, verging on an absolute necessity. A big speaker will really improve volume and intelligibility.

The Motorola speakers are your best bang for your buck. You can buy them used pretty cheap.

Where you mount it will be up to you. Under the seat can work well, just make sure it's well secured and won't interfere with the seat movement.
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Old 05-30-2018, 4:16 PM
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Kayn1n32008,
Great ideas, and great points. Mounting under one of the front seats might be the best idea, after all.
Not sure how clean/dry your truck stays, but mounting under the seat can expose the radio (and fan) to a lot of dust/dirt/moisture. Maybe not a concern if you look after the truck, but for some fleet applications, a less than ideal location.

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Any ideas on how to work around the big console in the middle, for routing wires and such?
From the sill plate under the door, you can fish across under the seat to the center console. In fact, if I recall correctly, there is existing wiring taking that route. You may have to loosen up the mounting bolts for the center console to get the wire under there easier.

In fact, there may be a bit of space under there to mount the RF deck.
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Old 05-30-2018, 5:47 PM
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Gentlemen,
You've convinced me to mount the antenna on the roof, and to probably install the RF deck on the driver's side, in the back seat.

Not looking forward to taking the headliner down enough to install the antenna mount.

My other truck was pretty easy, by comparison. It's an extended cab '04 Silverado, and it's got the roof mounted NMO VHF 1/4 wave hooked to a Yaesu 2800, love it.

MMcKenna, the antenna I'm using is also from the late '90's. Been pretty good, so far.

We'll see what develops, though.

Thanks for the ideas.

Respectfully,
Brts96
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Old 05-30-2018, 7:16 PM
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There shouldn't be any reason to remove or drop the headliner.

You can remove the dome light and access that way.
Or you can snake the cable towards the rear of the cab.
Or loosen the trim/gasket around the door and lower the edge of the headliner enough to fish the cable out and down the pillar.
But I never had to drop the headliner on one of these trucks.

After having antennas all properly mounted on the roof, I'd never go back to any other way of doing it. Anything else is a compromise. If you need a radio in your truck and you expect it to work well, the extra effort with the antenna install is absolutely worth it.
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Old 05-30-2018, 10:13 PM
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MMckenna,
Never thought about removing the dome light, and fishing things through that way. Should be a decent project for my next batch of days off. Hopefully, I won't run into too many roadblocks along the way.

Lots of things to consider on this build, and hope it comes out well. Thanks everyone for the ideas and advice. I'll try to post pics, once it's installed.

Thanks again, everyone.

Respectfully,
Brts96
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Old 05-30-2018, 10:44 PM
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You've got a couple of things going in your favor:

- It's hard to beat full sized domestic trucks for ease of installation. The few installs I've done on sedans and small SUV's can really turn into headaches. Full sized pickups are fairly easy. Think of the tens of thousands of these running around in utility and municipal services with radios installed.

- Knowing the benefit of a properly installed antenna puts you well ahead of many. After doing my first one I knew I'd never go back to anything else.

- Running power directly off the battery as well as proper grounding will prevent some possible issues. Doing it right the first time saves labor.

- There's a lot of experience, not only on this site, but many others. Lots of installs done on these trucks. Lots of good documentation. Probably a fair number of people just on this site running those trucks.

It'll be some work, but it's an easy truck to work in. Lots of room, much easier than trying to squeeze into some econo-box or mini-SUV. Having sufficient room on the dash makes life easy, too.
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