N9JIG 2023 Mobile, New but is it really?

N9JIG

Sheriff
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For the last 4 years or so I have been happily driving a 2019 Honda Odyssey minivan as it is the only car I. have found with the luxury stuff I want (built-in Nav system, leather interior and all the modern automotive gadgets) that also had space for the radios without needing to use remote heads. I thought to myself that this might be my first 10-year car absent a crash. In the time I have had it the only thing I have changed on it at all is replacing the BCD996P2 with a second BCD536HP. If you know me then that is a miracle. Please see this thread on that install: New 2019 Odyssey Install

Now, with over 4 years I only had 45,000 miles on it, since I either worked from home or was retired and being garage kept it was in great condition. The only thing I did was get new tires in March of this year and routine oil changes. I know I needed to consider new brakes, getting the radiator and transmission flushed and AC serviced so I was planning on making an appointment to do this and trying to decide whether I do it at the dealer (who has been very good to me since I have bought there twice) or a local shop.

While musing over this the wife and I were shopping the other day in the midst of the worst heatwave in Arizona history. For over a week it has been over 110 degrees every day and we have set all-time record high LOW temperatures in the upper 90's. Yes, the overnight LOW the other day was 97°. It is hotter than ever even by Arizona standards. As we were driving the AC in the car failed. I then decided it was time for new wheels.

I did some research and confirmed that the only vehicle available that would allow my radios to be installed in a wife-approved fashion and still provide the creature comforts we are used to was again the Honda Odyssey. So off to the dealer we went.

We ended up with a blue 2023 Elite model Odyssey. There is not much choice this late in the model year as they ramp up for the 2024 models. Research showed that there are no substantial changes in the 2024 so I felt comfortable getting the 2023.

I had already pulled the radios from the old car, it took only 15 minutes or so. I snipped the NMO's off at the roof and popped in rubber plugs and removed the radio stack by tilting it towards the driver's side and sliding it out. I snipped off the antenna connectors from the near end of the cables and popped them into the small hole in the back wall. A little vacuuming and a wipe down later and you couldn't tell there had been radios there at all.

When we got the new car home the other day I popped in the radio stack as it was, connecting the power lead to the cigar lighter socket right there and popped on 3 mag-mounts that will hold me until I can get my guy to install drilled NMO's and a proper power lead connected to a relay. For now though this will work fine, and since I have a trip to Idaho coming up this weekend I have my radios working.

First the antennas: Until I can have the proper hole-mounted NMO's installed these will do. I hope I placate the mag-mount haters! BTW, I will have 4 NMO's installed for 2 reasons. One is to allow the use of an additional HH radio at times, like when I am railfanning and do not want to run down the battery by leaving the radios on. The second is that I need a step ladder to reach the center antenna, having all nearer the edge of the roof allows me to reach them from the ground at the car wash.
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Radio Stack: The rack as pictured in my 2019 thread fits nicely between the center console and the dashboard. The wife likes this as the radios are out of the way and when she is using the car they don't bother her. The towel is used to cover the radios when parked to protect them from the sun and prying eyes.
IMG_6965.jpeg

Close-up of the radios: The scanners are BCD536HP's. The other radio is an Alinco DR638 used for GMRS and 2m/440 ham use. I also use it for railfanning by leaving the local Road channel in the sub-band. (Yes, I have the RR and PS freqs programmed in it set to RX only.)
IMG_6964.jpeg

Please see the 2019 thread for the construction of the rack, it was pretty simple and (IMHO) pretty ingenious.
 

OhSixTJ

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Why not just leave the NMO connection on the roof instead of loose ends that are likely to cause a hard-to-find rattle for the next owner?
 

N9JIG

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Why not just leave the NMO connection on the roof instead of loose ends that are likely to cause a hard-to-find rattle for the next owner?
I asked a couple car salesmen friends and they said the plugs are better as they are less visible from the ground.
 

03msc

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Hey, you're using mag mounts exactly how they were intended to be used - as temporary mounts. No hate from here. You have plans for proper mounts and that's what matters. Glad to see you were able to get 'on the air' easily in the new ride.

Congrats on the new van. Enjoy! Always fun to work up a new install...as you well know!
 

Craigmoe

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Also, your Alinco DR638 is not approved (as far as I know) for transmitting on the GMRS service. Nice setup however...
 

03msc

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Also, your Alinco DR638 is not approved (as far as I know) for transmitting on the GMRS service.

Not certain about that one way or the other (I haven't checked the FCC) but keep in mind there is an LMR version of that radio and an Amateur version. If he has the DR638 it's the LMR version with factory TX 136-174 and 400-480.
 

N9JIG

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I had an installer here yesterday to install the NMO's. I don't like drilling into roofs like this with moonroof's, side airbags, DVD player screens, AC ducts etc. They were done by a professional radio installer with insurance and experience. He did it at my garage since it has AC, important during the Arizona Monsoon. With 110 degree temps and high humidity due to a storm the night before it was pretty much unbearable outside so he was happy to do it in the garage!

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As I mentioned in the first post I had 4 antennas installed, one for each of the two scanners (536's), ham/GMRS (DR-638) and a spare for portable and/or future use. This also made it practical to put them nearer the edges so I can pull them off at the car wash without a step stool.

As for the antennas themselves I am currently using EmWave VHF quarter waves for the scanners, they seem to work very well for my needs. For the Alinco dual-bander and the spare I use Comet dual banders, they work great and are fairly small. All the antennas are black so do not stick out much on my dark blue van.
 

03msc

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Those Comets are surprisingly good in my experience, as well. Small but have a reach. I'm not sure what magic potion Comet put into them but they surpassed expectations for me.

Antennas look good. Always good to see properly installed antennas, of course.
 

03msc

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if the antennas are all to scanners would you consider a single antenna and splitter, just for the sake of the thread

That would only eliminate one antenna since, based on his antenna post, two are to scanners, one to a radio, and one on standby for another radio. Might as well make it symmetrical. lol
 

N9JIG

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if the antennas are all to scanners would you consider a single antenna and splitter, just for the sake of the thread
I have done this in the past but kept blowing the protection diode's on the multicouplers with the transmitters. Like @03msc also points out that would only save me one antenna.

I decided to go with 4 either way as with 3 I could not reach the center one from the ground at the car wash and I wanted an extra for a handheld or big trips.
 

N9JIG

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Updated the dual band to an Anytone D578UV-III Plus. I had to do a little erector set construction but it fits right in where the Alinco was.

I may at some point reconfigure the mobile rack to put the 578 at the top of the stack but will see how it works out where it is for now.

I did try to squeeze an SDS200 to replace one of the 536's but there just wasn't enough room. The 536's work fine for what I am doing however.

image1.jpeg
 

sallen07

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I really like that radio. I originally purchased it for my shack when I was really into DMR, then moved it to my truck when the CCR DMR radio I had in there finally drove me crazy. Sadly my whole DMR phase ended (different story) but I still like having it in the truck. Having dual receivers is great (as opposed to dual-watch) but the best feature in my opinion is the use of zones, which allows me to (for example) have one set of repeaters for home, another for traveling, another when I'm at my Dad's in Virginia, etc. Makes it a more complex to program but well worth it.
 

N9JIG

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I am already used to having Zones, having had a 868 for the last 5 years or so as well as having dealt with various Motorola radios in my past life. For a long time I just used one Zone with my channels but eventually got around to creating multiple Zones for different use cases, it really helps!
 

sallen07

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I am already used to having Zones
LOL. Oh I figured you were and sorry if I implied that you'd have a challenge programming that radio! :)

But you have to admit it IS more complex than a simple analog-only radio where you just plug in the frequency, offset, squelch code, and name! (Create the zone and scan list, add the 'channel' to them, add the scan list to the channel, etc.)
 

N9JIG

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Believe me, the first time I encountered the concept was when we were programmed some older Motorola mobiles that I had never done before. I added some new channels and couldn't figure out why they didn't appear after writing to the radio. The three of us working on this had been used to GM300's and never dealt with that. Once we figured it out all was well with the world again.
 

Elpablo

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I like your setup in your Odyssey. I am looking to do a new install in my 2024 Pilot. Since you're in AZ, don't you have to deal with simulcast issues on the 536s as most everything is P25 trunked simulcast out there? I am challenged to fit a SDS200 in the console of my Pilot but a 536 would fit well (single DIN vs. double DIN). However, that radio doesn't handle simulcast very well from my experience. Just wondering about your experience with that radio in a mobile, simulcast environment. Thanks in advance.
 
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