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Finally ditched the mag mount and drilled some holes!


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#1 WRAA720

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Posted 17 April 2018 - 08:50 PM

Being one of the last cool Saturdays left before summer hits here in Phoenix, I finally got around to drilling and mounting some antennas on the roof of my 2013 crew cab F-150 4x4, 3.5 EcoBoost.  The truck has a sun roof which significantly limits antenna placement. With the sun roof fully open, I was able to place both antennas 12" from the rear of the roof to clear everything. Not ideal, but it works MUCH better than the mag mount I had been using.  Stretches of highway on my commute that were completely deaf to our local repeater when using the mag mount antenna I can now hit easily.

 

Here's the final result:

 

vUpNsJz.png

 

I picked up a Laird X-ACT hole saw from a local radio shop and it worked great.

 

YQvc1HX.png

 

Holes marked and masked - measure twice, cut once!

 

7YnQ7mj.png

 

I got a great tip from a fellow AGRC member which was to put down a protective layer above the headliner when it was dropped down in order to catch all the mess from drilling and sanding; I laid down an old towel on top of the headliner before I got started. I used gorilla tape to keep the coax from flopping around, and ran both cables behind the rear passenger side airbag (super important!), down the rear pillar and under the door trim up to the center console.

 

aHqk98I.png

 

Antennas installed - in the photo is a Laird QWD144 1/4 wave 2m on the right and a Larid BB4502N 1/2 wave UHF for GMRS on the left:

 

rSyO0w2.png

 

I also have a Larsen 150/450/800 on the front fender for my scanner:

 

pzUnslw.png

 

I currently have a Uniden BCD996P2 and a Motorla CDM1250 installed in the truck; an Kenwood 2M rig will be in there soon:

 

FMQElXD.jpg

 

Action shot!

 

xBq3sBj.jpg


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#2 Elkhunter521

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Posted 17 April 2018 - 11:54 PM

Hi Mat, looks very good. Would you tell us about the radio mounting console?

Thanks, Keith T.
Be vewy vewy quiet.
I'm listening to my wadio!

#3 WRAA720

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 12:31 AM

I built the mount myself with 3/4" plywood and 1x2 pine.  The base drops into the center console, and I attach each radio at the base with some bolts and wingnuts.  Here's a pic before I painted it black

 

Vk1jxIC.jpg


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#4 Elkhunter521

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 09:19 AM

Ok, in the center console under hinged lid. Out of sight means you keep your radios longer.
Be vewy vewy quiet.
I'm listening to my wadio!

#5 WRAA720

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 10:36 AM

Yep - here's a better picture of the radios as I was programming the scanner:

 

TN6veGY.png

 

That is one benefit of the center console armrest install - the radios are out of sight, and they don't attract any unwanted attention.  That's kind of the theme/look I'm going for with my install.  I'm not really trying to advertise the radios anywhere on the truck.  The all black antennas are barely noticeable at a distance, blending into the background or the black color of the truck itself, and no radios are visible from the outside looking in.


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#6 Durake

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 01:54 PM

I can't thank you enough for attaching all the pictures, I'm planning on doing the same thing next week, just waiting for the coax and mount to come in the mail. 

Good install!


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#7 Jeff-WRAP646

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 10:05 AM

How does the audio sound with the arm rest cover closed? I'm guessing you have a slit in the cover, where you pull the mic cable through so you can talk with the arm rest cover closed?
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#8 WRAA720

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 11:36 AM

It sounds OK with the arm rest closed and audio is still intelligible, but it is a bit muffled obviously.  There is room for the mic cable to be fed outside when the arm rest is down, presumably put there by Ford for phone chargers and such.  Sometimes I leave the armrest up, especially when operating the scanner.  What I am planning on doing though is taking the truck to a shop that specializes in interiors, and seeing if they would be able to modify or build me something custom that will allow me to completely remove the arm rest so I can set it aside and have easier access to the radios, and pop it back on when the radios are not in use.  


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#9 axorlov

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 11:50 AM

Nice! Your "Bob Villa - style" brackets remind me of the time in early 90-s when, being a poor student, I built myself a nice PC in a discarded wooden 20-bottle vodka case. 486SX, I remember it like it was yesterday.

 

Seriously speaking, I drilled the holes in a few cars of mine, and in the long run it works so much better than the magnetic mounts. Cannot agree more on: be very careful routing coax around airbags in modern cars. You already addressed that - super important!! Nobody wants a piece of coax flying into his/her/their head should airbag deploy. In my last install (2014 Durango) I had to route the coax all the way to the rear hatch opening, to avoid over 9000 airbags in this car.



#10 mainehazmt

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 02:55 PM

Good job. But. Your pictures don’t have any snow. In jelous. And temps of 40 lol
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#11 skylloga

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 11:37 PM

It sounds OK with the arm rest closed and audio is still intelligible, but it is a bit muffled obviously.  There is room for the mic cable to be fed outside when the arm rest is down, presumably put there by Ford for phone chargers and such.  Sometimes I leave the armrest up, especially when operating the scanner.  What I am planning on doing though is taking the truck to a shop that specializes in interiors, and seeing if they would be able to modify or build me something custom that will allow me to completely remove the arm rest so I can set it aside and have easier access to the radios, and pop it back on when the radios are not in use.  

 

If I can suggest something, contact a local shop that does conversions of police cars. They might be able to help you setup a external speaker that uses your factory sound system. The local pd here has a couple of the new cars setup this way. They hear the local dispatch on the left side and the county on the right side. I have a 05 with the shallow armrest that I really want to convert into my radio box. Your pictures have given me a couple ideas on how to do it now. 


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#12 PB92

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Posted 20 April 2018 - 03:11 PM

Outstanding!! Like the NMO mounts. From my experience with NMO holes, I would recommend this on the bare metal on that roof. It will rust. Been there done that. Its called NO OX ID. I have two NMO mounts on the trunk lid of my Crown Vic Police.

 

 

I can't post a link form some reason. It's top of the line stuff.



#13 WRAA720

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Posted 21 April 2018 - 08:03 PM

I can't thank you enough for attaching all the pictures, I'm planning on doing the same thing next week, just waiting for the coax and mount to come in the mail.
Good install!


Post some pics of yours when it's complete! What vehicle are you installing the radio(s) in?
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#14 Durake

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Posted 23 April 2018 - 03:37 PM

Post some pics of yours when it's complete! What vehicle are you installing the radio(s) in?

 

I'm putting an NMO on the center roof of my 2010 Ford Fusion, moving it from the trunk lid mount. As far as the radio "install" is goes, it's pretty much already complete. Basically just stuck between the center console and the passenger seat, works like a charm tho, never heats up....and I talk..a lot.  :D

 

But once I get it done this week I'll be sure to upload 'em!


Drake Robinson | "Motoballa"

EMS Dispatcher @ Mount Hope, WV

Dallas County REACT183

 

 

 

#15 WRAA720

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Posted 30 June 2018 - 09:22 PM

I was finally able to complete the mobile shack install, here's some pics.  Radios, from top to bottom:

 

Uniden BCD996P2

Kenwood TK-8180 (GMRS)

Kenwood TM-281A (2m)

 

epm9ziV.png

 

vVALytp.png

 

xicGF2o.png

 

I also keep a spare CB radio in the truck, just in case:

 

XQ35n80.png

 

Check out the complete install thread on RadioReference:

 

https://forums.radio...lariat-4x4.html


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#16 wrcu379

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Posted 03 February 2019 - 05:46 PM

Matt, just catching up here... your instal is top notch! Great job!


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#17 russwbrill

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Posted 15 February 2019 - 01:49 PM

Very Nice install Matt... I prefer permanent NMO mounts to mag mounts also. One problem with mag mounts, the coax gets pinched between the car door and door frame causing an impedance bump in the feedline. I have also experienced coax problems with Trunk Lid mounts as well...






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