2013 Sierra Install

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I realized that though I have posted some pictures of components here and there, I haven't really posted anything about the how it's coming together as a whole and after reading brewerywgn1's 2004 Sierra-Redux. Anyway, here goes nothing.

So I started with a mostly stock (one of the previous owners installed a sub system and then removed the amp and box, dual exhaust, cheap chrome fender flares and then removed them, and leveled the front end the cheap way) 2013 GMC Sierra SLE-1. Desperately needed a tire upgrade from the OEM Goodyears but that's a story we won't waste time on.


So within the first week I had the pickup I went ahead and mounted my first antenna on the truck. A Panorama Sharkee with single band Nitol whip. For those that don't know, the Sharkee has a quad-band cell antenna, 2.4/4.9 GHz antenna, GPS (active) antenna in the fin and then a standard (for Panorama) antenna threading. I have a tri-band whip on order, but currently I'm just running the 1/4 wave.


As a temporary solution, I ran a Motorola PM400 VHF radio which was powered through the accessory port under the center console as I had already made an agreement with a friend to purchase his VHF Motorola Astro Spectra. So I did and have since fallen in love with the thing (even though I want to upgrade already).


The main radio body is mounted under the passenger rear seat (the picture does depict current setup) with the control cable running down the passenger side trim panels (there is actually a control cable track that is a factory standard on GM which keeps the cable tucked out of the way). I modified a Panavise InDash mount to house the mic clip which is where the W3 resides.

So in the near future, I will be adding two more items. One is a Simoco SDM620 for UHF with a HHCH that looks very similar to that of the W3 and the other (which will be installed before the Simoco arrives) is a Wireless Pacific X10DR wireless speaker-mic. Both will be installed using Panavise mounts (which have already been orderd) as my dash setup allows for 3 Panavise mounts.

Currently I'm still debating whether or not I want to add a low band radio (I have a Motorola Syntor X9000 stuffed away in a closet as well as a Kenwood TK-6110 laying around) to the truck as I actually plan on acquiring a new 1 ton in the near future and don't want to try and track down another low band radio for the truck I'd be driving the most. Anyway, that's currently where I am with the pickup currently.
 

brewerywgn1

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PKY,

Your '13 is very clean! I keep thinking about upgrading my '04 but I don't think I could get all these radios tucked in one of the newer trucks the same way....one of these days, lol!! I have a Lo band GE Orion that i would love to install but I'm pretty much maxed out on space. I have a Hi band W3 Astro Spectra as well, which I plan on putting in my wife's vehicle. It's looking great, keep us updated as you make changes.
 
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The only radio upgrade I'd truly consider for this truck is upgrading the Astro Spectra to an Astro Spectra Plus. I'd do it just to get MPL too. I've got a W4 dash mount I was thinking about converting to a W3 dash mount and putting in my father's truck. My Jeep is about to get the full blown AVA/W3 install with convertacom amp. I'm pretty fond of the W3…

So I think I'm going to end up diplexing the 2.4/4.9 GHz antenna so I can use the X10DR on 2.4 and then have 4.9 for a mobile broadband system my boss and I have been talking about building off his 5.8 GHz WISP service (one of the benefits to providing a 4.9 system is that you have to be able to "maintenance" the thing). It'll be interesting to see it finished out (and about that time I'll probably be starting a new one).
 

jim202

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You can put the Syntor X9000 on either 10 meters or 6 meters, or even both and then just have to change antennas. There is a 6 and 10 meter dual band antenna available, but it's tall and may not fit your style or the height you can live with.

You can set the Syntor X9000 up with a number of features. One is multi PL which comes in handy if you do much traveling.

The radios generally come from the factory with either 16 or 32 channels. If you change the EEPROM in the radio, you can get them to go to 255 channels. That also comes with some restriction on the last channels at the top end for the alpha numeric tags on the channel display on the control head.

If you are long winded like many of us, you might wand to consider cutting back the TX power something about 75 watts. This gives some relief to the heat sink and extends the life of the PA transistors.

These are find radios and not that hard to program. Just need the software and a computer with a serial port running pure DOS. You can make your own programming cable or put the connections inside the radio with a programming connector that you can mate eventually with the DB25 on the RIB. The other way is to locate a siren cable that has the dual connector adapter and rewire the connector with your programming cable. This way you pull off the control cable, plug in the dual adapter and then plug the control cable into the adapter. Have made a number of them this way.
 
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I was planning on diplexing the antennas (Motorola style) but I can't decide if I really want to make the plunge on that truck for low band. I also need to pick up a control cable for the radio.
 

03msc

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Looks good! Can't help but asking the obvious question here...what's with the antenna being twisted around on itself in the pic? Just showing off the ultra flex?
 
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Yea. There was a thread somewhere where someone attempted to ream me for suggesting a Sharkee quoting Panorama's whips were too stiff/fragile...I replied with that picture and never heard from the guy again.

Its very similar to a Sti-Co Flexiwhip. If I didn't mention there are about 15 different whips offered by Panorama for the Sharkee (including a tri-band that covers 145-174/440-480/780-894).
 

03msc

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Yea. There was a thread somewhere where someone attempted to ream me for suggesting a Sharkee quoting Panorama's whips were too stiff/fragile...I replied with that picture and never heard from the guy again.

Its very similar to a Sti-Co Flexiwhip. If I didn't mention there are about 15 different whips offered by Panorama for the Sharkee (including a tri-band that covers 145-174/440-480/780-894).
OK, I understand. Yeah, I had one of those Sti-Co Flexi Whips cut to 145MHz but it didn't seem to have very good reception in my situation, at least at highway speeds. I chalked it up to it bending back too much in the wind as I was driving. I saw someone else say the same in another thread. But that was just my experience.
 

k9wkj

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The only radio upgrade I'd truly consider for this truck is upgrading the Astro Spectra to an Astro Spectra Plus. I'd do it just to get MPL too. I've got a W4 dash mount I was thinking about converting to a W3 dash mount and putting in my father's truck. My Jeep is about to get the full blown AVA/W3 install with convertacom amp. I'm pretty fond of the W3…

So I think I'm going to end up diplexing the 2.4/4.9 GHz antenna so I can use the X10DR on 2.4 and then have 4.9 for a mobile broadband system my boss and I have been talking about building off his 5.8 GHz WISP service (one of the benefits to providing a 4.9 system is that you have to be able to "maintenance" the thing). It'll be interesting to see it finished out (and about that time I'll probably be starting a new one).
MPL ? Is that like a head run PL selection?
Ohh my
In have a astro spectra w9 I'm starting to mess with
I'll stay tuned!

Sent from my Transformer TF101 using Tapatalk
 
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MPL ? Is that like a head run PL selection?
Ohh my
In have a astro spectra w9 I'm starting to mess with
I'll stay tuned!

Sent from my Transformer TF101 using Tapatalk
That's exactly what it is. The analog Saber and Spectra had it but Motorola strangely left the feature absent on the Astro radios. The Astro 25 radios had the feature again though...

An Astro Spectra Plus is simply an Astro 25 radio inside a Spectra housing and therefore has the MPL feature.
 

HummerMike

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Just for thoughts, there is a chip out now for the X9000 Syntors that will replace the current chip that will allow you to scan as many channels as you want instead of the normal 16 max.

Mike
 

wcu02mpa

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Syntor X9000

I ran a low band Syntor X9000 for many years. I still have it but it won't fit in my Subaru. I did a dual antenna setup with an antenna switch. That radio is the most awesome thing ever. I am in North Carolina and actually talked on 29.600 to Japan last year (I have an audio and video recording). I talked all over the country and the world with that radio. I used Motorola spectrum low band coils and fine tuned the length so almost perfect SWR. I used a telephone style mic. I will post a few pics. I miss that radio and loved the way it scanned and the MPL feature.
 

Durandal1224

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I Drive a 2014 Hyundai accent and I have greatly considered getting an astro spectra, albeit I have only seen them in 100 watt variations. In your experience is the 100 watt hard on the electrical system? are you able to bump it down any to maybe 25 or 50 watts? I am very scared to run that high power a rig in my car. Although they are absolutely legendary and would love to have one.
 
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I Drive a 2014 Hyundai accent and I have greatly considered getting an astro spectra, albeit I have only seen them in 100 watt variations. In your experience is the 100 watt hard on the electrical system? are you able to bump it down any to maybe 25 or 50 watts? I am very scared to run that high power a rig in my car. Although they are absolutely legendary and would love to have one.
I haven't noticed a problem with it. The way Motorola intended for the radios to be setup, ignition has to be on to transmit (so theoretically the engine is running). The high power radios can safely be backed down to 50W (but they will run all day at 50W).

Here's a dash mount I picked up for $125 and put on a desktop base (speaker is in the base). It's 50W with low power being 25W.



I actually found a company selling what they thought were HP Spectra bricks that were actually HP Astro Spectra Plus bricks for $35. I ended up with one and got it running in the pickup (just swapped bricks) and then tried to update the firmware and am having to trouble shoot again (so the AS brick is back in).
 

cmdrwill

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I actually found a company selling what they thought were HP Spectra bricks that were actually HP Astro Spectra Plus bricks for $35. I ended up with one and got it running in the pickup (just swapped bricks) and then tried to update the firmware and am having to trouble shoot again (so the AS brick is back in).
There is the real rub, trying to 'update' the firmware or change control head types.
 

Durandal1224

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I haven't noticed a problem with it. The way Motorola intended for the radios to be setup, ignition has to be on to transmit (so theoretically the engine is running). The high power radios can safely be backed down to 50W (but they will run all day at 50W).

Here's a dash mount I picked up for $125 and put on a desktop base (speaker is in the base). It's 50W with low power being 25W.



I actually found a company selling what they thought were HP Spectra bricks that were actually HP Astro Spectra Plus bricks for $35. I ended up with one and got it running in the pickup (just swapped bricks) and then tried to update the firmware and am having to trouble shoot again (so the AS brick is back in).
Thanks, I'm in the process of a trade for one. My only challenge I forsee is the thick @** power cables running through my trim from the trunk to the battery. I will have pictures up in the coming weeks for sure. Is the Spectra friendly to external stuff, I.e I have a one way RICK setup currently with my CDM. Thanks again W5PKY.
 
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There is the real rub, trying to 'update' the firmware or change control head types.

Yea. Took the flash…just don't have any audio now and can't figure out why. It was working just fine before the flash but after is a no go. I did see a model number with a W7 come up during the flash but didn't think anything of it. Radio still thinks it's a W3 though as far as I can tell.


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mgolden2

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I ran a low band Syntor X9000 for many years. I still have it but it won't fit in my Subaru. I did a dual antenna setup with an antenna switch. That radio is the most awesome thing ever. I am in North Carolina and actually talked on 29.600 to Japan last year (I have an audio and video recording). I talked all over the country and the world with that radio. I used Motorola spectrum low band coils and fine tuned the length so almost perfect SWR. I used a telephone style mic. I will post a few pics. I miss that radio and loved the way it scanned and the MPL feature.
I'd love to see pictures and videos of your radio! You can PM them to me if you'd like. Thanks.

And to the original poster of this thread, you have a great looking truck. I like the clean look and install. I look forward to seeing what you do in the future. Those Spectras are nice radios for sure!



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