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#1 Savage

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Posted 20 September 2020 - 09:34 AM

Hi all,

 

This is my first post so please be gentle. :)

 

I decided the family needed an alternative means of communication and started reading about the options, deciding on GMRS.  I'm a total newb - bought the Midland GXT1000 3 pack and the MXT115 for my car (and just got my GMRS license).

 

I'm doing tons of reading to learn about how GMRS works and this forum is awesome... but I'm having trouble here and on the web/youtube finding something that shows how to do a clean radio install for an automobile, more specifically, the antenna cable.  

 

Since I'm seeing the cable and antenna for the MXT115 aren't that good, I'll certainly be replacing them before doing anything destructive to my car, but are there any tips for doing this and/or good links that walk through it?  I'm mechanically inclined so should be able to do this myself but if the answer is "take to a radio shop" I'm open to that too because what I don't want is to end up with rattles and noise because I didn't put panels back in right (though I do find sometimes that the care I take for doing various jobs is better than the pros because I do lots of research and *care*).

 

That's a lot of words to ask about an antenna (oh, any recommendations on the antenna are also welcome) but figured I'd introduce myself too.

 

Thanks all,

 

Bob



#2 kidphc

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Posted 20 September 2020 - 09:42 AM

Not sure of the connector type or antenna that comes with it. If it is a standard pl259 style connector. You could always go with a better mag mount and antenna or drill a hole for NMO mount.

Personally, with what I have experienced I would look into a nice 5/8th antenna where any coils are going to above roof racks or other obstructions.

You will get a much better ground plane with a properly installed drill type nmo. Which can lead to better reception and transmit range and quality of signal. 90% of this type of mount is getting over the worries of the install

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#3 Ian

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Posted 20 September 2020 - 08:02 PM

First:  WELCOME!  Welcome to the forum, welcome to the hobby.

 

Second:  The Midland magmount is disposable.  The environmental sealing around the magnet lasts about a year, then the magnet rusts and the thing falls apart.  

 

Third:  What kind of car do you have?

 

Fourth:  What do you mean by "clean install"?  Do you want it in-dash, or just screwed to it with a bracket?  Me, for example, I went for the MXT275 and a passthrough mount.  When done, it'll look utterly factory and stealth.  Other options I've considered was ripping out the stock head unit for a single-DIN unit with CarPlay, and a single-DIN two-way radio below it.  (None of the links constitute an endorsement, just an example.)

 

Fifth:  Nagoya now makes an antenna specifically tuned for GMRS.  This may be your best bet.  (This is an endorsement)


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#4 Savage

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Posted 20 September 2020 - 08:25 PM

Thanks Ian!

 

The hobby has already gotten my attention.  Who would have thought there was so much to getting some walkie talkies for the family.  :)  It's becoming quite interesting.

 

Disposable, nice!  Looking at posts, it seems it's not very good either so...

 

I've got an 2013 Acura RDX.

 

By clean I mean an installation that doesn't have cables running visibly.  So running everything underneath panels/channels, etc.  The MXT115 is small enough to fit in either of two center console compartments, both of which have power (although I've seen posts saying these type of power outputs cause noise...), so for the time being I'll probably just stick it in there.

 

That said, now that I'm thinking about it, I'm wondering if I shouldn't hold off on going full install for the time being, since I am brand spanking new to GMRS and probably need to learn more before doing any destructive installations.  I'd still love to hear how people are going about this though, as I suspect at some point I'm going to be at a point that I want something more permanent.

 

That Nagoya looks great and they have a mag mount for it (https://www.buytwowa...ya-rb-mjpl.html).  Question: Do people using mag mounts leave them on 24/7 or put them inside when parked/not in use/etc. to keep them from getting stolen?

 

Thanks for the input!

 

Bob

 

First:  WELCOME!  Welcome to the forum, welcome to the hobby.

 

Second:  The Midland magmount is disposable.  The environmental sealing around the magnet lasts about a year, then the magnet rusts and the thing falls apart.  

 

Third:  What kind of car do you have?

 

Fourth:  What do you mean by "clean install"?  Do you want it in-dash, or just screwed to it with a bracket?  Me, for example, I went for the MXT275 and a passthrough mount.  When done, it'll look utterly factory and stealth.  Other options I've considered was ripping out the stock head unit for a single-DIN unit with CarPlay, and a single-DIN two-way radio below it.  (None of the links constitute an endorsement, just an example.)

 

Fifth:  Nagoya now makes an antenna specifically tuned for GMRS.  This may be your best bet.  (This is an endorsement)



#5 wayoverthere

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Posted 20 September 2020 - 11:34 PM

Question: Do people using mag mounts leave them on 24/7 or put them inside when parked/not in use/etc. to keep them from getting stolen?

Thanks for the input!

Bob


That was my biggest reasoning for the mag mount, as my truck lives outside. I have a convenient gap in the door seal the wire can tuck behind, and with so much less driving this year, the antenna gets tucked behind the seat on the passenger side. Radio itself is tucked behind the seat in the center, and I just pull it over and plug it into the 12v outlet. No noticeable noise from that source, but it is an always on, vs on with ignition. No real mount either, the slide mount fits really well onto an ice scraper I have jammed between the seats, and holds it at a good angle too.

(99% of the time in the truck, I'm solo anyway)
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#6 Savage

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 09:30 AM

That was my biggest reasoning for the mag mount, as my truck lives outside. I have a convenient gap in the door seal the wire can tuck behind, and with so much less driving this year, the antenna gets tucked behind the seat on the passenger side. Radio itself is tucked behind the seat in the center, and I just pull it over and plug it into the 12v outlet. No noticeable noise from that source, but it is an always on, vs on with ignition. No real mount either, the slide mount fits really well onto an ice scraper I have jammed between the seats, and holds it at a good angle too.

(99% of the time in the truck, I'm solo anyway)

 

You read my mind and with work from home I'm driving so little I actually thought about powering this thing up in the house.  :)



#7 wayoverthere

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 11:35 AM

You read my mind and with work from home I'm driving so little I actually thought about powering this thing up in the house. :)


You can go that route as well. Being 15 watts, the 115 doesn't need a whole lot of amperage to run. (I think 12v outlets are generally 10 or 15a max draw). Grab a decent power supply and figure out a temporary antenna placement and have fun with it.

i started on a very similar path, but picked up the btech for "base".

#8 Savage

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 11:39 AM

You can go that route as well. Being 15 watts, the 115 doesn't need a whole lot of amperage to run. (I think 12v outlets are generally 10 or 15a max draw). Grab a decent power supply and figure out a temporary antenna placement and have fun with it.

i started on a very similar path, but picked up the btech for "base".

 

Nice!  Think I'll go this route for now and it's easy enough to throw in the car without hassle.  And the story of my life, as I'm reading this forum I'm already foreseeing that I want to try out something "more" than the Midland.  The "what's in your car" thread has me looking at the Kenwood 8180.  Such a newb...


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#9 wayoverthere

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 12:18 AM

Nice!  Think I'll go this route for now and it's easy enough to throw in the car without hassle.  And the story of my life, as I'm reading this forum I'm already foreseeing that I want to try out something "more" than the Midland.  The "what's in your car" thread has me looking at the Kenwood 8180.  Such a newb...

(3 tries to reply, but my phone wasn't having it...on the computer now...)

 

that's learning and growth :)

 

and the versatility of the lighter plug is the beauty of having a lower power radio.  i already had my eye on the btech, so i went for this 30 amp Alinco

 

for some reference on power draw, the btech claims 50 watts output on high, with the meter showing just over 13a during transmit, and maybe 1milliamp receiving.  haven't tested the draw on the 115, though i have a wiring setup for the lighter plug.

 

havent checked output power of either to see if the claims are accurate, though.



#10 mire

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 05:14 AM

I do all sorts of automotive work for a living, including up fitting. Give me an idea of what you’re working with. To power my radios, I just use fuse taps. I recommend powering it off a circuit which isn’t a node or any other component connected directly to the CAN BUS or LIN BUS system. Cigarette lighter/12V socket is a good one to tie into. Stereo system can work, so long as it’s the main power to the head unit, and not the stereo node (which can tie into the LIN BUS and/or CAN BUS in current vehicles).

Coax… what kind of antenna mount? They tuck away pretty easily.
2x Kenwood TK-3180
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Kenwood TK-3700
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Kenwood TK-880
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Kenwood TK-8360

#11 kidphc

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 07:33 AM

Second:  The Midland magmount is disposable.  The environmental sealing around the magnet lasts about a year, then the magnet rusts and the thing falls apart.  

 

 

 

Really, haven't found one that doesn't rust. Even my Nagoya Ut82,is rusting up and fading after 1.5 years. That with how badly pinched the coax gets over time, is why I don't recommend it.

 

Well except for family caravans, where family may actually use the license. Then I am throwing up 3-4 on different cars connected to hand helds and hand mics.



#12 Savage

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 09:44 AM

(3 tries to reply, but my phone wasn't having it...on the computer now...)

 

that's learning and growth :)

 

and the versatility of the lighter plug is the beauty of having a lower power radio.  i already had my eye on the btech, so i went for this 30 amp Alinco

 

for some reference on power draw, the btech claims 50 watts output on high, with the meter showing just over 13a during transmit, and maybe 1milliamp receiving.  haven't tested the draw on the 115, though i have a wiring setup for the lighter plug.

 

havent checked output power of either to see if the claims are accurate, though.

 

Midland has a page about this:  https://midlandusa.c...e-base-station/

 

The power supply they recommend for the MXT115 doesn't get glowing reviews:  https://www.amazon.c...uct_top?ie=UTF8

 

Is it safe to assume something like this would get too hot?  https://www.amazon.c...r/dp/B078RZQ9WY



#13 Savage

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 09:46 AM

I do all sorts of automotive work for a living, including up fitting. Give me an idea of what you’re working with. To power my radios, I just use fuse taps. I recommend powering it off a circuit which isn’t a node or any other component connected directly to the CAN BUS or LIN BUS system. Cigarette lighter/12V socket is a good one to tie into. Stereo system can work, so long as it’s the main power to the head unit, and not the stereo node (which can tie into the LIN BUS and/or CAN BUS in current vehicles).

Coax… what kind of antenna mount? They tuck away pretty easily.

 

Thanks mire.

 

I think I've decided to keep it simple for now and just use the aux power in my center console (I have a Midland MXT1150) and probably, just get an adapter so I can use it in my house to learn for the time being.



#14 kidphc

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 09:48 AM

Just buy a decent power supply for a base station. Probably won't be your last base station radio and you can never have too much excess available amperage. But not having enough is common. Just buy a used switching ham one (ashtron are cheap used) or just wire it to a old car battery you can charge back up (venting needs to be resolved with this method, you don't want hydrogen gas buildup in your shack).

 

For the car simplest is just to wire it to the battery with some type of quick disconnect around the radio. Think deans or power poles. Then you can disconnect everything and take it inside.


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#15 wayoverthere

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 10:46 AM

Midland has a page about this:  https://midlandusa.c...e-base-station/
 
The power supply they recommend for the MXT115 doesn't get glowing reviews:  https://www.amazon.c...uct_top?ie=UTF8
 
Is it safe to assume something like this would get too hot?  https://www.amazon.c...r/dp/B078RZQ9WY


Good find on midland's page, that gives a better number on current requirements. The transformer you linked may be sufficient current, but the other problem that can come into play is noise. I have something similar to that transformer that came with a mini cooler, and it definitely adds a "buzz" that isn't there when hooked up in the car

  

Just buy a decent power supply for a base station. Probably won't be your last base station radio and you can never have too much excess available amperage. But not having enough is common. Just buy a used switching ham one (ashtron are cheap used) or just wire it to a old car battery you can charge back up (venting needs to be resolved with this method, you don't want hydrogen gas buildup in your shack).


The car battery was my first route as well, when the weather was nicer and it was tolerable in the garage. The harness I used to build my 12v receptacle would be perfect to use the 115 direct on a battery, would just need clamps. (It was a noco, via Amazon).

That said, good power supplies last, and if you're thinking on more radios/more power in the future, having that headroom is helpful down the road, if finances permit (a "buy once, cry once" kind of thing).
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#16 Savage

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 12:27 PM

Good find on midland's page, that gives a better number on current requirements. The transformer you linked may be sufficient current, but the other problem that can come into play is noise. I have something similar to that transformer that came with a mini cooler, and it definitely adds a "buzz" that isn't there when hooked up in the car

  
The car battery was my first route as well, when the weather was nicer and it was tolerable in the garage. The harness I used to build my 12v receptacle would be perfect to use the 115 direct on a battery, would just need clamps. (It was a noco, via Amazon).

That said, good power supplies last, and if you're thinking on more radios/more power in the future, having that headroom is helpful down the road, if finances permit (a "buy once, cry once" kind of thing).

 

I'm probably not buying just yet, which would you go for of these two or would you go with neither?  Budget is a problem, as I have none so anything I spend right now is more than I should. :)

 

https://www.amazon.c...lv_ov_lig_dp_it

 

 

https://www.ebay.com...353.m1438.l2649



#17 BoxCar

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 01:05 PM

Neither one. I would put that into this: https://www.trcelect...NP-180-12.shtml It's a true commercial power supply that should handle a 50W radio without straining,


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#18 Savage

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 01:08 PM

Neither one. I would put that into this: https://www.trcelect...NP-180-12.shtml It's a true commercial power supply that should handle a 50W radio without straining,

 

Better and less expensive - love it. 



#19 Savage

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 01:13 PM

Neither one. I would put that into this: https://www.trcelect...NP-180-12.shtml It's a true commercial power supply that should handle a 50W radio without straining,

 

While I'm asking rookie questions, any idea where might I find power adapters to go from this device to the MXT115?



#20 tweiss3

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 01:20 PM

While I'm asking rookie questions, any idea where might I find power adapters to go from this device to the MXT115?


It's a screw terminal on the back, so you just stick the stripped ends of your radio power cord in and tighten the screw.
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