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Amateur Radio Install Project

Discussion in '2nd Gen. Tacomas (2005-2015)' started by JKD, Jun 19, 2010.

  1. Jun 19, 2010 at 3:59 PM
    #1
    JKD

    JKD [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I've been postponing my installation project while I finish up some other projects. Today, I finally removed the back of the center console and checked to see whether the body of my Kenwood TM-V7a would fit where the factory 110v. inverter would have been installed.

    As you can see from the pictures, this is an absolutely ideal location. I will need to build a bracket to mount to the holes presumably intended for the inverter, but that will not be difficult at all.

    The location includes ample space around all sides, plenty of airflow including the vent in the rear cover of the console (used to vent the inverter exhaust when so equipped). The plug for the inverter is present, but following good amateur radio installation protocols I will run new power and ground wires to the battery and frame.

    Here you can see the radio body sitting (not mounted) in the space. Notice the two unthreaded holes nearest the camera on the console bracket/mount. I assume those are probably the mount holes for the inverter when one is installed. Those should work fine for attaching the mounting bracket I plan to build.
    [​IMG]

    A view from above. Plenty of room.
    [​IMG]

    From the front--again, sitting and not mounted.
    [​IMG]



    Next I am going to see whether I can mount the TM-V7a faceplate to the garage door opener location in the overhead console. If it fits, I will salvage a dashpot from something or make a friction insert to slow the opening of the console door and dampen movement while the truck is in motion.

    I plan to install my SBB5-NMO antenna in a body-seam mount on the driver's side of the hood. I go in too many low-overhang locations to trust a roof mount. My power and antenna wires will run straight forward from the body mount location, and I should be able to keep them away from the airbag control wiring to limit potential interference.
     
  2. Jun 19, 2010 at 6:39 PM
    #2
    ItalynStylion

    ItalynStylion Sounds Gooooood

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    I'm sorry...what does that unit do?
     
  3. Jun 19, 2010 at 7:38 PM
    #3
    mycoma

    mycoma Active Member

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  4. Jun 19, 2010 at 7:57 PM
    #4
    afd23a

    afd23a Well-Known Member

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    The Dynamo of Dixie
    Vehicle:
    05 Access Cab 5 Lugger
    Factory Fog Lights, Removed Secondary Air Filter, Metra Ipod Adapter, Int Wiper Stalk, Wet Okole's, URD Short Shifter, Scanguage II w/Blendmount, Fat Bob's 2.75" spacer lift, ARE topper, SP Performance Pads & Slotted Rotors, 4.10 gears
    It's a HAM radio. It's like a CB but with greater range and more complex.
     
  5. Jun 19, 2010 at 8:12 PM
    #5
    m771401

    m771401 Well-Known Member

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  6. Jun 19, 2010 at 11:18 PM
    #6
    JKD

    JKD [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Ah, that mounting location for the transceiver body is not an option for my access cab. I have a number of other radios, so I don't mind (and actually prefer) making it a very 'permanent' install. Discourages casual thieves.

    How is your radiation pattern with the antenna at the bed corner location? That is not far from where I had my antenna mounted on my previous car (about 12" forward of the rear corner) and I had surprisingly good coverage in all directions.
     
  7. Jun 19, 2010 at 11:33 PM
    #7
    EEtaco

    EEtaco Well-Known Member

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    m771401, where did you get that mount at for the larsen antenna? I'm using a 2/70 on a L-bracket mounted to the metal plate in the bed just behind the tailgate and I find that the mount isn't that sturdy and lets the antenna sway too much.

    I really like that spot JKD. How do you like that kenwood? I've got an icom ic-2200 right now and wishing I had gone with a dual bander with remote head to save on cab space and to get on 70cm.
     
  8. Jun 20, 2010 at 1:15 AM
    #8
    m771401

    m771401 Well-Known Member

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    I completely understand the permanent solution.

    Don't know about the radiation pattern. I have hit a repeater or 2 50 or so miles out. Good enough for me. My problem is that I have a bestop and the frame really messes with the SWR. Thinking about moving the antenna to the front on a hood mount for more consistent results. The other problem I have is the darn parking garage at work is only 6'8"

    Made the mount out of sheet metal. It uses the existing two bolts in the metal portion of the bed. It took some finessing with a vise and hammer to get the bends right but it works... Pretty solid.
     
  9. Jun 20, 2010 at 1:32 AM
    #9
    JKD

    JKD [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I bought this used from a guy on a ham website back in about 2002/2003. I think he had it two or three years at the time. I was a little wary of the stories I had heard about the displays going out, but it was installed in my car from 2002/2003 to last year and I never experienced any problems with it. I have a TH-F6a too; Kenwood seems to make great amateur gear.
     
  10. Jun 20, 2010 at 10:30 AM
    #10
    Jimmyjohn

    Jimmyjohn Well-Known Member

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    My Icom 2720 is located under the Drivers seat. with the face plate mounted in the dash.
     
  11. Jun 20, 2010 at 11:38 AM
    #11
    maxamillion2345

    maxamillion2345 Go home if you don't like guns liquor and whores.

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    Too many
    I stuck my Yaesu on the back of the center console.
     
  12. Aug 28, 2010 at 9:42 AM
    #12
    JKD

    JKD [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I checked the garage door mount location -- I can't mount my remote head to the door and still have it close--the remote head is too thick front to back.

    New plan is to remove the door altogether and mount the remote head there with a bracket.
     
  13. Jun 25, 2011 at 11:18 PM
    #13
    JKD

    JKD [OP] Well-Known Member

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    This project is back under way. I'll have pictures soon. I found that I needed to make an extension for the mounting bracket of the radio chassis, as it would have sat too far back if I used its regular mounting bracket to attach it to the console support.

    I used angle iron, and that is working out well--with one exception. If you attach the bracket so it is parallel with the underside of the console support, the front of the bracket sits too high and the console hits it before it is set down on the console support. I need to drop the front about 1/4" to give it clearance, which I think I will do with stick-on rubber furniture feet. If this makes the mount extension too flexible, I will drill two additional holes in the console support and run small bolts for additional support.

    Standard operating procedure is to run power and ground wiring all the way to the battery; I do not usually do this, I run the power wire all the way to the battery or underhood fuse box main power lug, and run the radio ground to a good body ground near the radio chassis. There are several available under the console. If I get significant engine/electronics noise I may reconsider the ground.

    Speaking of the console, I figured out how to get the main console (the part behind the shifter) out, which involves lifting the front up about 1/4" as you gently tug backwards. If you tug backwards too hard without lifting 1/4", you break off the little hooked tabs that slide into the shifter console. Ask me how I know... Luckily, they don't seem to be terribly important, and the stubs that are left still mate the consoles together OK. I don't want to think about how expensive the console might be...though I will check next week when I take it in for some warranty service.

    I ordered the 2nd gen Tacoma hood channel antenna mount from WestCrystal Radio in Canada. With shipping, ended up being about $35 or so. It is a very nicely made piece, and uses a fender mounting bolt as part of its support--which I think is superior to the 'universal' mounts that just use three sheet metal screws. I will use two sheet metal screws in addition to the mounting bolt. This isn't the most ideal location for an antenna, but I go under enough low hanging stuff and the SBB5 is stiff enough that I just don't want the antenna as high as it would be in a center-roof mounted position. Routing the wiring for the antenna is something I'm thinking about right now. There may be a location where I can bring it in under the cab, in which case I can easily avoid running parallel to any airbag or control wiring.

    The radio head will most likely be going in the overhead console where the garage door opener would go. I will need to remove the door opener door to make that work well. Routing the wiring for this may be a challenge...as it needs to go all the way from the overhead console to the radio body under the center console. Alternate locations include stalk-mounting it or mounting it at the bottom of the center of the dash, but neither of them is as good a location as the ceiling console.

    I will probably run the remote mic plug to somewhere in the front console area, maybe even integrate it into one of the unused switch covers under the HVAC controls.

    I'm going to start off with my original Comet SBB5-NMO antenna, but I also have a Larsen 5/8 wave "NMO 150" that I can swap on to try for 2m. I will be getting some bonding strap (like braided cable with ring terminals) or using old coax braid with ring terminals to bond all of the body panels, engine, bed panels, tailgate, exhaust system, and frame. I got away without doing this on my last car, but this is a body-on-frame vehicle and I just don't think I can get away with it this time.

    I plan on getting a lot done tomorrow (Sunday) so hopefully I'll have pictures and more descriptions available soon.

    For anyone else doing this, in addition to my posts here (obviously), there are far superior references available at www.k0bg.com . I'm not K0BG, but that guy has a TON of radio technical data on his site.
     
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