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Tactical Joke 06-21-2011 11:36 PM

Yaesu FT8900R Install - 2003 TJ (Pic Heavy)
Note: In deference to our mobile, dial-up, and deployed amigos, I'm using small photos. The smaller photos are hyperlinked to larger ones if you'd like to see them.

I've had a Yaesu FT8900R in my Nissan Xterra for a while. When I bought my TJ, I decided to move it over and install it properly, instead of Southern Engineered like my X. I'm taking my time, and the install is divided into three parts: the radio, power, and antenna.

In the first post, I'll focus on the radio, because while the antenna and power are ran well enough to test the radio, they aren't ready to post... yet. I'm not quite decided on where to put the remote head. Towards the end of the post, I'll put a few snapshots up, and solicit the opinions of those wiser than me. I'm not going to walk through the mundane details. For example, I'm starting the install after removing the front piece of the center console. If you need to know how to do that, Youtube is your amigo.

Here's there area where I'm going to mount the radio under the front half of the console. Notice the bolt just in front of my shifter boot. That's the magic bolt which will hold the radio mount.
Note: I've ran the antenna and power just so I can test the radio.

Next, I installed the FT8900R mounting bracket. Notice I tried to use the bolt just in front and to the right of my final mount location. That position wouldn't fit under the console, so I moved it to the center bolt. I only used one bolt because no drills I have will fit in the rather confined area holding the radio. Because the console itself helps hold the radio and bracket, I'm not worried about it being too loose. I also gorilla tightend the bolt down... it ain't movin'.

Next, I put the front half of the center console on to check for fit. It was good to go. Following that, I installed the radio. Astute hams will notice the FT8900R is mounted upside down with the speaker facing the tub. I did this so my heat sinks faced upwards. Why? Heat, Grasshopper. There's a chance that the area I've mounted the radio in can get rather warm, and I'd rather my heat sink NOT function as a heat absorber and for reasons you shall see below.

I plugged in my remote wire, and ran it under the radio and out the open end of the console.

Here's shot of the radio from the passenger floorboard area. I will actually be able to reach behind the console and plug in a data cable if I want to do some packet radio.

And a view of the back from the driver's floorboard. Notice the remote wire, antenna, and power. It will be a pain, but I an reach behind and remove and plug both power and antenna. The remote cable will likely require me to remove the console.

Here's another driver's side view. Notice that I had to unseat the cable bundle you see just on this side of the radio. It's stable now, but it's a tighter fit than I'd like in the console.

Once the radio was mounted, and all my cables checked, it was time to see if all of this hassle would pay off. Aaaaannnndddd... Profit! Here you can see the radio before I install the shifter's boot. The console is fully seated, and the two mounting screw holes are lined up.[/img]

Most of the time, I do almost no talking, so the radio never gets warm. If I do decide to do some heavy duty cycle stuff such as long rag chews,, cross-band repeat, or run packet, cw, etc., I can just pop the coin tray, exposing my heat sync to fresh air. This is the reason I mounted the unit upside down.

During normal use, I have my coin tray in place.

Tactical Joke 06-21-2011 11:37 PM

That's it for the hard part of the radio install. Now I'm trying to figure out where I want the remote head unit.

Position 1: As far left on the dash as I can get the unit. It's out of the way here, easy to see, and only somewhat impacts my visibility on the trail. Not at all in traffic. My preferred mounting spot. Anyone see anything wrong with mounting it here?

Position 2: Just above the right half of the instrument console. Since it's in the view of the hood, my visibility is not impacted. I'm not a big fan of it here. It feels too exposed, and at night lights *might* reflect off of the display. Another minor thing is I don't know if it's too bright for night driving.

Position 3: Just above my rear view mirror (currently br0k3d). While this seems like a popular spot for 2-way's, it's just not my favorite place. Because this is a popular location, I'd love to hear *why* folks mount it there over other locations.

Position 4: Driver's windshield pillar. I actually like this location a bit more than I thought I would, but it's not as easy to read the display when it's mounted vertical.

I've ruled out the bottom of the dash mounting positions. I had the FT8900R mounted in my X near the bottom of my dash above my shifter. I really didn't like it there, and I'd prefer it closer to my normal driving field of vision. Please, throw in your two cents, nickle, whatever, and suggest any place but the bottom of the dash. I'd love to hear *why* you like the remote head unit where you're suggesting I install it.

When the rest of my parts come in, I will finish up with the antenna and cable installation and power, and hopefully, I'll figure out where I want the remote head by then. :)

Tactical Joke 06-21-2011 11:37 PM

Placeholder for antenna and antenna cable.

Tactical Joke 06-21-2011 11:38 PM

Placeholder for p-p-p-ower install. Stupid 30s rule. :)

Tactical Joke 06-21-2011 11:39 PM

Final placeholder for the remote speaker... I forgot about this. So I guess it's in four parts.

sparky 06-22-2011 08:53 AM

I'm running an FT8100. Sorry no pics, but I mounted the body on the right kick panel. Extension speaker sit in the small tray just above where your radio is. Using a heavy L bracket bolted into coin tray top center of the dash. I have it angled to the left some so I look straight into the display. I can rest my hand in front of the head to use the controls. Those buttons and knobs are small.

Position 1 is fine, out of the way and still visible. Just watch your mic and the cord.
I am a little further right than position 2.
Tried spot 3 at the top of the windshield. Removed the footman loop and used those screws to mount the display bracket. It was out of the way, but actually not that easy to see. had to look up. Using the controls was also difficult.
Forget 4 you can't read anything.

JeeperJake 06-29-2011 10:44 AM

re: "Just above my rear view mirror (currently br0k3d). While this seems like a popular spot for 2-way's, it's just not my favorite place. Because this is a popular location, I'd love to hear *why* folks mount it there over other locations."

Over the years I had CBs in a variety of positions. The place I liked the BEST was in my J20 Jeep pick up....screwed to the ceiling over the center of the seat with the display facing to the driver. Advantages: mike came down from above to shoulder, completely out of the way (unless a tall 3rd rider in cab) and no visibility issues.

Cons: needed hard-top to anchor bracket/radio weight. No problem in the pick-up but doesn't seem feasible for most Wrangler set ups.....although there's a few who have a front windshield bracket connecting to roll bar behind driver.

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