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Author Topic: Running Mobile Rig sound through car speakers  (Read 1283 times)
KB3CDA
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« on: March 17, 2006, 07:15:57 AM »

Hello all.

In my pursuit for the perfectly integrated mobile rig, I was wondering if anyone has had any luck with running the speaker output of their rig through the factory speakers of the car, while retaining the cars ability to play music as well.

I know you don't want power feeding back into either radio, so I was curious if there was a circuit or filter that could be applied to the outputs to prevent this.

It would be nice to have the output going to at least two speakers, rather than one mono speaker under the armrest.

Thanks all.
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W3LK
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« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2006, 01:52:11 PM »

If your vehicle's sound system has an AUX input it can be done rather easily, but you probably won't be able to listen to the Radio/CD player and your ham rig at the same time.

There is one company that has a "output mixer" for mobile use, but it's bigger than an external speaker and is $250.00 as well as not really being designed to patch into your vehicle's sound system - just handle multiple radios.

FWIW, I tried this many years ago when i was running multiple law enforcement and public service radios in one vehicle and found it was way more trouble than it was worth.

If you really want to pursue this, details are at www.ncsradio.com


73,

Lon - W3LK
Baltimore, Maryland
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AA4PB
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« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2006, 05:56:02 PM »

I did this years ago using a relay with 8 ohm load resistors. The relay contacts connected the speakers to either the ham rig or the car radio and the load resistors across whichever one that wasn't connected to the speakers. The coil was driven by the squelch circuit on the ham rig. I could listen the the car radio but when the squelch opened the speakers were switched to the ham rig. It worked great but it was a lot of effort - much easier to just install a communications speaker for the ham rig. That's how I do it now.
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K7PEH
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« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2006, 06:24:24 PM »

I am running sound through my speakers in my Chevy Silverado Truck.  I have the Bose sound system with the 6-CD in dash changer plus AF/FM with something like 10 speakers.  I use the aux input (the truck has two aux inputs).  The nice thing about this particular truck (2004 vintage) is that there is a "source" button on the stearing wheel for easy access.  This button has a forward backward direction so I can switch once from my regular AM/FM/CD player input to the Icom 706 which a single flick of the thumb -- and back with the same easy motion.  Very nice and convenient.  I have an antenuator between the output of the Icom 706 and the input auxiliary channel to drop the voltage level a bit.
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K0BG
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« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2006, 05:51:55 AM »

If the AMFM has a cassette player, look on allelectronics.com. They sell an adapter for $5.

Lots of people put their amateur radio audio through their in-dash stereo system, and most of them swear by it. I swear at it. A good quality in-dash system has a much wider range of audio response frequency wise than what's needed. The fact is, even with DSP, this added spectrum is more of a distraction than a convenience. If you could compare the "ease of listening" to a good quality mobile speaker (not one of those $15 asian-made units), you would be surprised. Unfortunately, few amateurs will pay $50 for a good mobile speaker.

Alan, KØBG
www.k0bg.com
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KB1LKR
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« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2006, 06:32:27 AM »

But if you lacked space for an additional comm speaker (fitting a radio is tough enough), and wanted to listen to broadcast radio or CD's (or even tapes?) yet monitor VHF/UHF FM and have it override the radio, and if you filtered the audio out of the ham radio hard enough (both low and high) to get rid of any spurious audio frequencies (so much for having FM classical announcer audio from yopur friends -- just intelligibility <grin>) and built a switching scheme (maybe transister switched vs relay) driven by the squelch, it might be of use -- though, as you say Alan, you might end up swearing at it as opposed to by it.

Guess it depends on how much traffic their was to interrupt your stereo programming. I expect a busy repeater would drive you crazy but 146.52, say, might stay quiet for extended times (or course if you heard a call you can always turn the stereo down.
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AB0RE
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« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2006, 07:22:56 AM »

Often times your factory stereo can go nuts if you transmit in close vicinity with your mobile ham radio.  I've made it a practice to just shut my car stereo down before using my ham radio just to be on the safe side.

The other negative thing about piping the sound through your factory stereo is that the wide range of the speakers will allow many of the "sub-audible" tones used on VHF/UHF repeaters to become audible.  Additionally, the way most people have their EQ set on their factory stereo (boost bass and treble) is typically the opposite of what you'd want for ham radio usage (boost midrange where the human voice is at on the spectrum)... so you'd have to constantly adjust your tone controls on the stereo.

73,
Dan / ab0re
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KB1LKR
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« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2006, 01:10:18 PM »

Hence my suggestion (if one were to do it) for high passing (say 12 dB/octave at w/ -3dB corner at 300Hz or so (anyone use much higher tone than about 200 Hz? on repeaters) and low pass at say 2200 to 2700 Hz & 12 dB/octave -- essentially build a two pole stereo speaker crossover network, as is used to drive mid ranges in a 3 way speaker system.

Good point about tone/Eq settings if feeding into Aux inputs, though if speakers were fed directly (using a squelch line driven switching system and the stereo's outputs dumped into a 4-8 ohm power resistors) the EQ would become a non-issue (I might argue that the stereo might sound better too if the EQ was tweaked closer to flat than the settings one hears -- but who am I to judge, and this isn't a Hi-Fi/Stereo reporduction discussion anyway <grin>).

Ferrites on the stereo's power and speaker wires might not be a bad thing too, but if the transmitter's powered w/ heavy twisted pair direct from battery or an underhood, high current powwer takeoff lug (if available), RF shouldn't (alas this isn't the same as *isn't* though) be a problem -- though turning off stereo and using a comm speaker remains the simplest approach (Alan's contention).
       
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KX8N
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« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2006, 09:15:24 AM »

Well, if you can do it for a cell phone, you can do it for a 2M rig...

Get one of the cell phone (or portable cd player) adapters that plugs into the earphone jack and transmits into your car's FM radio.  It should work just fine.  Since you won't be listening to music and working radio at the same time, re-adjust the EQ if the sound doesn't suit you.

Simple, and should cost you around $20-$30 with no additional wiring at all.

Dave
KX8N
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KB3CDA
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« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2006, 04:24:57 AM »

Thank you all for your replies.

I ended up going with a Radio Shack enclosed speaker. It's only 2" square,  but puts out as much as their full-size model, and it fits neatly between my cup holders.  Sounds great, and only requires my rig to be turned up 1/4 of the way to hear even the quietest qso's.

Thanks again.
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KC2OOS
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« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2006, 08:53:11 AM »

This is what I do all the time! It makes hearing everything so much easier. I've never found the added frequency response to be a problem--in fact, I find it helps me pick out weaker signals better.

For my last car, a Volkswagen Passat with the factory stereo, I used a cassette adapter, and with my new car a Jeep Wrangler, I will be installing an aftermarket Kenwood head unit that has the ability to have more than one line-level input (with accessory box). I found the Kenwood EZ-500, which is one of the few aftermarket units that actually remains relatively easy to operate. Kenwood also apparently has the best iPod integration (and it will be nice to have a Kenwood unit, since they actually make ham gear, too).

I also rigged up a little switch box with four stereo input jacks and two DPDT's so that I could switch between two different inputs and two different outputs. I used this in the Passat to switch inputs from my Yaesu FT-100 and my iPod, and outputs between the car stereo and a pair of headphones (stationary only).

With my FT-100, I also needed a mono/stereo adapter to get the sound in both sides, and I also used a mono Y-cable to send the audio to my little MFJ morse decoder. I can't remember if I had an attenuator, since the ext. spkr. output of the FT-100 is speaker level, not line level, but you may want one of those, as well. I think I just kept the volume on the FT-100 down to match my broadcast radio volume.
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