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Old 12-11-2012, 10:09 AM
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New Ham - Input on rig?

Hey, all. Looking for some input from some of the ham operators here. I am new to ham (still studying, test in January), and am researching a mobile rig for the JKU. My primary uses for the radio will be for:

- Emergency communications
- Check in/stay in-touch while travelling (trying to convince one or more daughters to get license with me)
- Mobile information (traffic, weather, etc.)
- General radio interest/social aspects

My plan will be to eventually have a mobile rig, HT, and a base station at home, but I'm starting with the mobile rig. Based on all the reading I've been doing so far, as well as the available bands in the places that I do, or am likely to, travel to, I'm looking at a dual band 2m/70cm set up. If I get into, or need HF, then I'll look at a radio upgrade down the line. I'd like to have cross band repeat functionality, as that seems to extend the range of an HT in situations where the rig is acting like a base station (camping, hiking, etc.) APRS looks neat, but for my application, I'm thinking this is an upgrade down the line if it becomes more than a nice to have.

Right now, with all the reviews I've read, and looking at what I want to do with the radio, I'm looking at the Kenwood TM-V71A, and pairing that with an NMO mount Diamond NR770H dual band antenna. My plan is to mount the radio base under the passenger seat, with the faceplate mounted either on a cup holder mount, or somthing rigged up for top of dash. I have a Teraflex spare tire antenna mount, and I'm hoping that I can repurpose this mount for my ham antenna (enlarge the hole to accept the NMO?)

I'm still in research phase, so would really appreciate any input that you might have based on your experience. Comments on the radio I'm looking at? Suggestions for alternative units that would fit the bill? Antenna or mount suggestions? General things that come to mind that you would mention to someone investing in their first mobile kit?

My neighbor is an active ham, so I'll be hitting him up for some information as well, and will probably attend one of the local club meetings with him, too.

Thanks in advance for any input!

Rich

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Old 12-11-2012, 03:38 PM   #2
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What you are looking at is good stuff. I do not know what type of wheeling you do but I would try to mount the radio higher. Under the seat is a low part of the Jeep. If you get any water in there, you have a chance of getting the radio wet. I mounted mine on the drivers side in front of the wheel well. I use a Tereflex passenger side (behind tail light) antenna mount. I had to make the hole bigger for the antenna. I just used a Dremel tool.Most radio's these days have software for computer programming. Make sure, when you mount the radio, you can get to the port on the radio easily for programming.

Picture of where I mounted my radio.


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Old 12-11-2012, 07:02 PM
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Scott-

Thanks for the reply. I had thought about water issues with an under the seat mount, but it seems to be the best/only location for an "invisible" installation of the main unit. I'll give it some additional thought, but may just need to make sure that I'm wary of any water crossings (I don't wheel hard at all, so they wouldn't be intentional.....more of an emergency thing.)

What kind of antenna do you have mounted to that Teraflex mount? The Diamond one I was looking at is pretty short, so I'm concerned about it having enough height to perform well (I have a Gobi Stealth rack, so have about 3-4 more inches to clear than the standard wrangler roof.

Thanks again for your input!

Rich
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Old 12-11-2012, 11:18 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rgreenberg2000 View Post
Scott-

Thanks for the reply. I had thought about water issues with an under the seat mount, but it seems to be the best/only location for an "invisible" installation of the main unit. I'll give it some additional thought, but may just need to make sure that I'm wary of any water crossings (I don't wheel hard at all, so they wouldn't be intentional.....more of an emergency thing.)

What kind of antenna do you have mounted to that Teraflex mount? The Diamond one I was looking at is pretty short, so I'm concerned about it having enough height to perform well (I have a Gobi Stealth rack, so have about 3-4 more inches to clear than the standard wrangler roof.

Thanks again for your input!

Rich
I keep the Jeep in a garage so I am not that worried about theft. If the Jeep will be used for a prolonged time for daily use I will remove the main unit. I do have tinted plastic windows for winter and it is hard to see the unit. For summer, I have the duster cover and it completely hides the unit. I leave the Ham Antenna on all the time and have no issues. I also have a cheap CB mounted in the front and it is still there too.

I have a Diamond NR770HB antenna. The antenna barely goes higher than the top. I have had no issues with TX/RX.

One way to get it higher and be on the back is to make a mount for the spare tire carrier. Possibly mounting the antenna on the roof rack?
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Old 12-12-2012, 09:21 AM
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Thanks, again, Scott. Yeah, my Teraflex mount is one of the spare tire ones, so it is probably a bit higher than your brake light mount already. I'll bust out the trusty measuring tape and see where things are at. Would prefer the NR770HB, as it would have a low profile above the roof, but don't want to compromise RX/TX either.

Thx.

R
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Old 12-12-2012, 03:35 PM   #6
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I would not worry about keeping it invisible. It's a black box with wires, nobody knows what that is.

I've got mine mounted on the passenger kick panel.

Read up on cross band use. There are some ID details to consider.

Good luck with your exam.
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Old 12-12-2012, 07:13 PM   #7
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I just went out and looked at my antenna height. From my mount the antenna is about 6-7 inches abovr the top. Hope this helps.
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Old 12-12-2012, 10:57 PM
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Sparky, thanks for the input. I'm also thinking of out of the way places where the radio is less likely to get smacked by kids or loads (or kids throwing around loads of gear!) Kick panel may work, too.

Scott, thanks for checking that out. That seems like it would work out ok, though the dimensions on your TJ are probably a little different than the JK. I'll work it out, and will try to snap some pics along the way to share once I get it going.

Thanks again, guys!

Rich

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