N9JIG 2016 Expedition

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N9JIG

Sheriff
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Part 1: The Radio Shelf.

Last week I had the antennas mounted and power run on my new 2016 Ford Expedition. (see http://forums.radioreference.com/ra...orum/336729-2016-ford-expedition-limited.html). So now we move from the Install forum to the Pictures forum.

The installer put in 3 NMO mounts, one centered toward the front just behind the moonroof cavity and 2 on the rear corners. He also ran a power lead thru a relay connected to the ignition sense.

Today I went to Lowes and bought a piece of 2x12 plank. I cut 2 30-inch pieces and a couple 2x4's to match the width.

I mounted the 3 radios (2 996XT's and an Alinco DR638) to the board and assembled it as an open front (and back) box. This allows me to still put grocery bags and other cargo on top.

I think the weight of the wood and radios will be enough to keep it from bouncing, if not then I will look into securing it down somehow. I know that the hook part of Velcro sticks like SuperGlue to the fabric of the cargo area floor. That should be plenty strong enough to keep it from any sliding action.

The cover on the shelf comes off with 6 cabinet screws in case I need to swap a radio or something.

Below is the shelf in the workshop before the top went on with the radios mounted.


The labels are for my inventory database. All my electronics are listed with serial numbers, values, dates etc. and labeled.

I put the radios in that layout so I can match the antenna locations to them. The antenna on the right goes to the radio on the right...

Below is the box in place in the vehicle with the 3rd row seats down:



Here is the same view with the seats up.


Just to the right of the box is the barrier strip for the power leads. The coax for the antennas comes out the bottom row of the the vent.

This weekend I will mount the control heads and run the cables forward. There will be 2 RH96 cables, a Cat-5 for the Alinco head, 3 remote speaker cables and a 12VDC line for the RH-96's. I have the cables ready and color coded. Red for one scanner, green for the other and yellow for the Alinco IIRC.

I will also create the wiring harness for the 3 radios and the GPS for the scanners. I will probably use a little PowerPole block between 2 of the radios.

Last I will put the antennas onto the mounts. I have a couple Comet rubber dual-banders for the scanners and a stiff metal one for the Alinco. I also have a couple A/S MON-51 for use on trips or when skip is up. These are too tall for my garage however so I won't use them much. My garage has 8 foot doors so I can go in and out with the dual banders without whacking them but 4 foot tall antennas ain't gonna make it, especially on a full-size SUV.

More pics and updates as they are ready.
 

W9WSS

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Smart having the front and back open, Rich. This way you get a little extra ventilation for the trunk units. Whereas in the past, you had them buried in the compartment in back with a cover (spare tire compartment). We spoke about the heat issue, and it looks like you solved that issue with your custom mount installation. Another job well-done, NOT cooked well-done!
 

N9JIG

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Completed!

This morning I woke up early so I got to work. I created the wire bundle that goes from the radios in the rear to the heads up front. This includes 3 sets of RH-96 cables (1 spare), 4 speaker leads (also 1 spare), the Cat-5 cable for the Alinco head and a power lead for the RH-96's.

After I made the bundle I encased it in split-loom and put it in place. I connected the various cables to the radios and then went to work on the heads.

For one RH-96 I cut a piece of 2x4 a couple weeks ago and painted it black. This piece was cut to fit by compression in a little cubby above the cigarete lighter socket on the dashboard. I don't know what this cubby was intended for, it is too small for sunglasses or a cellphone and oddly placed but it works fine for the radio head.

The other RH-96 and the Alinco head were mounted to another 2x4 pained and cut to fit the little tray between the gear shift and the lower section of the dashboard.

When the gearshift is in Drive the radios are in an unobstructed view, when it is in Park I have to kind of look around the shifter to see the display of the lower RH-96.

I then installed the whips on the antenna mounts. For now I am using VHF 1/4 wave whips for the scanners since most of my listening is on VHF. I keep a couple dual band whips in the car so I can swap them out if needed.

After I had everything in place but before I buttoned down everything I tried things out. Everything was fine except one of the BCD996XT's was pretty much deaf. I could barely hear the local NWS station that was full scale on the other scanner and the dually. I suspected antenna issues but after testing everything and trying different antennas I figured the radio was at fault. I swapped in another 996XT and that one works fine.

Here are the control heads:



Here are the antennas:



Tomorrow I am going up towards Wickenburg so I will see how they all work out.
 

W9WSS

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Rich, is there any option for expansion (another radio)? Or would you have to totally re-engineer the wooden structure in the rear where the current radios are mounted? I'm not saying 12 NMO's like I currently have on my CVPI, but if you decide to get D-Star, MotoTRBO, Fusion, NextEdge, or P25?
 

03msc

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Rich, is there any option for expansion (another radio)? Or would you have to totally re-engineer the wooden structure in the rear where the current radios are mounted? I'm not saying 12 NMO's like I currently have on my CVPI, but if you decide to get D-Star, MotoTRBO, Fusion, NextEdge, or P25?
I was wondering the same. By the way, there's no T in NEXEDGE.

Great install, Rich. I stared at the pic for awhile, wondering if there were other options, as I'm sure you did while sitting in the vehicle. Looks like you did about all you could. Being a bit OCD about symmetry I might have put both 96s together down low and the Alinco up top but that's just me. The fancy consoles and such in these new vehicles (well, of the last several years) sure makes it difficult to install a group of radios like some of us like to have. On the flip side, the symmetry on the roof looks nice!
 

N9JIG

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I did run an extra set of cables for an additional RH-96 in case I decide to add another scanner. I found that I rarely used the IC7000 in my last vehicle so I decided not to retain it for this one.

If I do add another radio I would have to use a multicoupler for the scanner antennas, with all the stuff in the ceiling/roof area it is tough to get additional antennas (AC, moonroof, airbags etc.) so I might have to use a mag-mount if I really need another.

As for the radio itself, if it supports a remote head I could mount the shelf unit on top of the existing box or replace the 2x4 with larger vertical pieces to create height.

As for the scanner heads, I originally wanted to put the 2 RH-96's together but there just wasn't enough room. I have plenty of slack in the cables so I can move them around. I figured since I usually have one radio scanning and another searching I can have one further away since it is less in need of attention.

It is funny: the larger vehicle (Expedition) has much less "radio room" than my much smaller Pilot. I think the Pilot was made for radio installation with tons of room for heads and shelf units as well as a huge well in the back for the shelf units.
 

sefrischling

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May I ask, why in the rear cargo area rather than under the rear seat? Or so you never use the full cargo space in the rear of your truck?
 

N9JIG

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May I ask, why in the rear cargo area rather than under the rear seat? Or so you never use the full cargo space in the rear of your truck?

I do use the rear cargo area, and if I put the radios there then I wouldn't be able to fold the seats down.

There is a small storage area under the cargo shelf for the tire jack tools and I could possibly squeeze them in there but it is tight and then I would need to reaccommodate the tire tools. That might come down the pike...
 

N9JIG

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why would you not mount the radios behind all that plastic panelling in the rear must be loads of room, thats what i always do

Phill, UK
I thought about it but getting back there is tough and makes it hard to get at the front panel for programming.
 

firemedic2150

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Rich I was wondering if you have had any clearance issues with the B-10 or whichever short dual-band you have on the roof, I have a Escape and I am worried about knocking it off.
 

N9JIG

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The truck is 76 inches from ground to the roof, the "8-foot" garage door clears 95 inches, which gives me 19 inches of antenna clearance. The short dual-bander is 11 inches and the VHF quarter-waves are 17 so I still have a few inches for both.

The area I live in has few low hanging trees (cactus outnumber leafy trees 10-1 here...) so I don't whack trees often. With your Escape I wouldn't worry too much unless you use a Mon-51 or Austin Spectra.

I have and use Mon-51's on occasion, like when skip is up or if I am going over to Cali. I whack drive-thru canopies or trees here and there with them.
 
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