Back on October 13th, I bought a new vehicle (more info here). Since I bought it, I have been working on some electrical “quirks”. Well, today I got enough of them worked out and fixed that I was also able to get the quad-band (10m/6m/2m/70cm) radio and the SSB 11m (CB), radio installed. I’m pretty happy with the installation of both. There’s just a few extras that I’ll need to add.
I mounted the quad-band radio near the mid section of the van and ran the antenna out to the back. Right now, I’m using a Tram dual band (1/4 wave 2m) mag mount, and it does pretty well. The control head of the radio is mounted above the windshield, directly in front of, and slightly to the right, as I sit in the driver’s seat. The display is easy to see and control as I drive. The microphone hooks to it’s mount on the ceiling, just to the right of the driver’s seat.
I mounted the CB radio just below the drink holder that protrudes from the top of the dog house. I used some custom mounts, so that the radio tilts up a little more than it would have with the stock mount that it came with. I wanted to mount it so that the face of the radio would “aim” at me while I sat in the driver’s seat, but instead decided that it looked better “flat”… or facing directly at the back of the van. The display is big enough and easy enough to read, and all of the controls are easy to use, so mounting it that way made more sense.
The one thing that I know that I’ll need to add, at this point, is an external speaker for the ham radio. Since the radio sits about 3 feet behind me, near the floor, the speaker is a little hard to hear, unless I really turn up the volume. If I do that, and there’s passengers in the back, they might get really disturbed. Even the passenger gets the audio from the speaker louder than I do, now. An external speaker should mount just to the left of my head, and slightly behind, without getting in the way, at all.
The next thing (which may be down the road, a bit) is a couple NMO mount antennas. Right now, they are both magnet mount antennas, but they do the job. The NMO mount antennas will look much cleaner on the outside, and should perform better than either of the ones I have, now. At that time, I’ll feel much better about getting a 5/8 wave 2 meter antenna.
There’s still a lot of other things that I want to change/add on the van. I’m also learning a lot about how the whole van is wired for power. I’m starting to feel a lot better about removing and/or changing circuits to do different things than they do, now. I might want to wait until I get the second battery and the isolator installed, though, before I change too much.