I thought I was going to be all smart and save myself having to do a mod on this one. No such luck
I got a Midland 75-822 for Christmas last year. the great part about it is that you can use it either as a handheld or quickly plug it in your vehicle via the cig lighter and a standard CB antenna.
I thought I could get away with using the handheld antenna and not have to install anything. Yeah... that doesn't work. I get dead silence on the freeway, and on the trail I've got an effective range of about 5 feet.
Since this is yet another adventure down the road called, "Stuff I know nothing about", I went down to D&R Communications in Clackamas.
The guy there really knows his business, and gave me all the gear to get an antenna installed. Once I'm done, I can go back and get tuned for free. Sounds good.
First up, I need a place to mount my in-cab connection. I had to make sure that when I pulled on the radio, I wasn't pulling the cable out. I chose the right side coin pouch because the cord gets tension from the cig lighter plug before the coax. If you have this radio, you'll see what I'm talking about. If you don't, then you probably aren't doing anything like this.
I used a 7/16" bit if I remember right. Ignore the dirt, I haven't cleaned it up yet.
Toyota was nice enough to give me a target
I sent the rest of the cable through the factory hole near the steering column, just above the driver wheel well.
I originally wanted to go with a custom mount off the rear corner of the tailgate area, but learned that is a big no-no: It turns your antenna into a directional antenna and you get totally crap signal from anything in front of you.
As a a result, I went with a hood mount. However, the one I bought is designed for a T100, and is completely incompatible with the 2nd gen Tacomas without serious modification
I was completely out of options, so I turned to TW for help. I found a guy who had a interesting design... wasn't what I really wanted at first, but I was desperate. It involved a piece of plate metal mounted to the hood screws and bent so the antenna stud sat near the base of the driver's wiper. Since I was already headed down to RelentlessTaco's place for other work
, I thought I'd work with him on this, too. For a prototype, I think we came out with a success!
I unfortunately don't have a pic of the piece off of the truck because I was in a rush to get it mounted, but you can see well enough in the pictures to follow. It's a piece of scrap steel that Eric had cut and CNC bent, and I hit it with a layer of primer and two layers of gloss black. I used a heat gun to speed up drying. Note that I scraped some paint off near the antenna stud and one of the bolt holes for grounding, and scraped some paint off the bolt hole on the hood.
First, I took care of my cable management. With CB wire, you can't cut it to length, and you can't spool it up (UPDATE:
I was wrong, read here
. Correct length is whatever gets to the stud and back to your radio, no need for this 18' increments BS). You should run it the length of the engine bay back and forth. I routed my cable so that it would go to this area near the battery, back to the firewall, and back again. I ziptied the bundle against the factory wires.
Next, I attached the custom bracket, wrapped a bit of the cable in plastic shroud with zipties, and attached the cable to the antenna stud. To help protect the wire, I routed under the rubber strip before attaching to the stud. Notice that the mount attaches to the hood's factory bolts. DO NOT TAKE BOTH OUT AT THE SAME TIME
. Take out one bolt, attach bracket with that bolt, take out other bolt, swing bracket into place and tighten up both bolts.
When I put the hood down, I noticed the wire gets squeezed between the mount and the plastic sill. It's not a big deal, as the sill flexes a bit, the wire is protected, and the bracket isn't going to budge. It's hard to tell in the pic, but the bracket isn't touching the hood, there's clearance between the two pieces.
Antenna mounted finally!!! It's a Wilson 4' Flex with a tunable tip.
Yes, the antenna is canted a bit forward and passenger, but remember it's a prototype and there's some really odd, tight angles to watch for. I think Eric did an OK job - install was cake, part is sturdy, and it worked great on the trail last week. You do notice the antenna being there, but it isn't enough to get in the way of driving.
Out on the trails, the setup did great. Driving the highway, I can get plenty of chatter. I will say the Midland is hard to use in the dark. It has a momentary light for the LCD screen, but it would be nice to have something always lit and bigger. There's also too many buttons... not that you need to use them, but if I had to do it over I would try getting something like a Cobra 19 DX IV or a 25 LTD and see about mounting it under the stereo...