2020 Ford F350 Kenwood Dual Band Install

amoking

Echo
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Sep 9, 2013
Messages
61
Location
Contra Costa
First of all. Thank you, thank you to mmckenna on here for all of the guidance and patience. I owe you a beer.

I'm a 2m/70cm guy. My truck is a 2020 Ford Super Duty Diesel which is essentially the same as the 17-19 when it comes to radio installs. Although I did not use the pass through wires or upfitter switches for this radio, note that for 2020 it is all on the passenger side now. Here is my primary equipment list:

  • Kenwood TM-V71A
  • Bulletproof Diesel Dual NMO 3rd Brake Light Mount
  • Road Pro RPSP-15 speaker
  • Stinger SK46101 10 Gauge 4000 Series Power and Signal Amplifier Installation Kit
  • Diamond NR770 Dual Band Antenna
  • Kenwood PG-5F Extension Cable Kit
  • Built Right Industries Rear Seat Back Storage Panel

    This antenna mount is real nice. Sandwiches between the OEM brake light and the body. Remember that these trucks are aluminum. Also, I have the panorama roof so drilling was not viable or desired. Cables run into the cab through the brake light opening and down the side panels. Clean and solid. I have 2 NMOs as I also run a Uniden BCD996P2 scanner in my center console. I have caps on them in this pic.
4.jpg

The mic is located in my center console and connected by a bulkhead ethernet connector that I bought off of Amazon. When in use I can close the console lid and put the mic in one of the cup holders. Cabling to this is the Kenwood stuff (not offbrand) that runs down the passenger side door sill and cuts across as the front passenger door. I did not need to remove the entire center console. Just the cup holder/trim assembly. Don't mind the black/white USB.
3.jpg

I don't use the cubby charging pad feature so I put the head there with double sided tape. Not seen in the pic is a .4" hole in the cubby to the right side of the power button. I routed the control cable down the passenger door sill, up under the dash and around to the hole. I did this as the same time the trim piece was out for the mic install. I can close the lid and it is out of sight.
1.jpg


Regarding power, I was going back and forth on an upfitter switch connection but opted not to. The radio's APO feature ensures that it powers off after 30 mins. The red cable is connected straight to the passenger side battery with a 15 amp fuse. Even on 50w you are still around 13 amps with this rig. To get the cable into the cab, I cut a small slit in the firewall boot as seen here which is in plain view on the firewall behind the passenger battery and fished it through with one of my rifle cleaning rods. Go slow but firm and you'll be through in seconds. The cable then travels down the door sill to the Kenwood. Don't mind the blue wire.
5.jpg

These speakers are mounted to the underside of the passenger seat's metal frame. One is for the Kenwood and the other is for the Uniden. They came with brackets and small screws are so shallow that you can't damage the seat. The wire runs from the main Kenwood chassis down the door sill and cuts across at the seat under the carpet. Audio is great and I have bad ears. Don't mind the cables in the bottom right of the pic.
6.jpg

At the last minute I accidentally found this rack by Built Right Industries. USA Made and installs behind the passenger rear seat or my crew cab. I mounted the Kenwood chassis on it and it's perfect. I used some basic 50 cent rubber insulators from Ace to mount the radio to the rack to keep vibration down. You can see the red 10 gauge power cable in the bottom of the pic. The ground is attached to the big seat bolt on the right. The antenna cable is in view with a 90 degree connector on it. The head unit cable is on the left with a label on it. The chassis is mounted with the heats sinks out for (potentially) better cooling.
2.jpg

Final Notes:

  • SWR: I'm sitting at 1.01 across 2m and 1.03 on 70cm regardless of power level. I was nervous that the brake light mount might make for issues but it is engineered for this. I was driving through Central CA and into Los Angeles the past couple days and was getting compliments on my signal.

  • Label ALL your cables for you and the next guy. The Kenwood head unit and mic cables look identical and a small label at the radio chassis and every few feet along the routing makes a big difference on knowing (and remembering in a few years) what is what.

  • Keep generous slack in all of your cables during final install. You may want to adjust something by an inch or a foot. That's why they created zip ties.

  • Buy a $10.00 trim piece removal kit that has a BRIGHT COLORED cable snake in it. This made running cables under carpet and up into consoles a breeze. Bright coloring helps you see the snake under the dash etc.

  • Use the Kenwood brand extension cables because you will know they are wired properly to their connectors. I could have saved 50 bucks and bought eBay or Amazon stuff but I didn't want to have to undo all of my work if something wasn't working right.

  • I used Anderson power connectors from Powerwerx instead of the T-connector at the back of the radio. I cut off the T-connector altogether. The main reason I did this was because I have 10 ga power and ground cables which would not reliably seat into a replacement T-connector. In the end I would do it again with the Anderson connectors.
 
Last edited:

mmckenna

I ♥ Ø
Joined
Jul 27, 2005
Messages
14,668
Location
SNCZCA01DS0
First of all. Thank you, thank you to mmckenna on here for all of the guidance and patience. I owe you a beer.


You are welcome!
And maybe someday if I'm up that way and the whole COVID thing is over, we could do a meetup. I like beer.


Final Notes:

  • SWR: I'm sitting at 1.01 across 2m and 1.03 on 70cm regardless of power level. I was nervous that the brake light mount might make for issues but it is engineered for this. I was driving through Central CA and into Los Angeles the past couple days and was getting compliments on my signal.
Sounds like that mount is working well. Positive signal reports are a good sign. Turned out looking really good.

  • Label ALL your cables for you and the next guy. The Kenwood head unit and mic cables look identical and a small label at the radio chassis and every few feet along the routing makes a big difference on knowing (and remembering in a few years) what is what.
For sure. It may seem like you'll remember after staring at your own install for a long time, but memories fade and one cable can look like another. Labeling all your cables is a great idea and makes troubleshooting down the road much easier.

  • Keep generous slack in all of your cables during final install. You may want to adjust something by an inch or a foot. That's why they created zip ties.

  • Buy a $10.00 trim piece removal kit that has a BRIGHT COLORED cable snake in it. This made running cables under carpet and up into consoles a breeze. Bright coloring helps you see the snake under the dash etc.

  • Use the Kenwood brand extension cables because you will know they are wired properly to their connectors. I could have saved 50 bucks and bought eBay or Amazon stuff but I didn't want to have to undo all of my work if something wasn't working right.

  • I used Anderson power connectors from Powerwerx instead of the T-connector at the back of the radio. I cut off the T-connector altogether. The main reason I did this was because I have 10 ga power and ground cables which would not reliably seat into a replacement T-connector. In the end I would do it again with the Anderson connectors.
All good advice.

Really turned out looking nice. Congratulations!
 

03msc

RF is RF
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jun 3, 2011
Messages
3,119
Location
Arkansas
Looks great! So do you just have one antenna up top or are you using two? Mount looks slick, I would just wondering if two antennas would be far enough apart to not cause issues...?
 

amoking

Echo
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Sep 9, 2013
Messages
61
Location
Contra Costa
Looks great! So do you just have one antenna up top or are you using two? Mount looks slick, I would just wondering if two antennas would be far enough apart to not cause issues...?
I run one or 2. The passenger side is connected to my uniden bcd996p2 and driver side goes to the Kenwood. I have no Rx or Tx issues.
 

amoking

Echo
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Sep 9, 2013
Messages
61
Location
Contra Costa
Can you post the link to that mount?

Thanks,
Robert
 

03msc

RF is RF
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jun 3, 2011
Messages
3,119
Location
Arkansas
I run one or 2. The passenger side is connected to my uniden bcd996p2 and driver side goes to the Kenwood. I have no Rx or Tx issues.
Good to know. Typically it’s advised to keep transmit antennas as far away from scanner antennas as possible since scanners don’t have stout front ends but hopefully it won’t blowout the rx on it being that close.
 
Top