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Author Topic: Installing ham radio and antenna in a Ford F-150  (Read 17339 times)
KK4MRN
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Posts: 97




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« on: June 10, 2014, 08:44:25 AM »

I bought a used ICOM dual band VHF/UHF mobile transceiver that I would like to install in my Ford F-150.  Any suggestions?   

Any idea how to run a wire directly from the battery to inside the cab.  I plan on putting the radio under the seat.  The radio has a control head that separates.  I have the control head cable.   And I would probably mount the control head on my dash via a Lido mount.  I've seen cup holder mounts too.  I may need a mic extension cord though.  Then somehow get the coax outside the cab to where the antenna is.

Lido mounts
http://www.lidomounts.com/homepage.html

I have a Comet antenna screwed in a so-239 mag mount that I could put on top of the cab, but I have heard there are better options to consider.

I am considering a STK Pro Rack to hold the antenna and any future antenna instead of going with a mag mount.

STK Pro Rack
http://www.buyautotruckaccessories.com/product.cfm/cf-bin/pn.stk-pro-rack-cab-guards

STK Brackets - see the STK Antenna Bracket - need a bracket for each antenna
http://www.buyautotruckaccessories.com/product.cfm/cf-bin/pn.stk-light-brackets

Then there is the issue of grounding the antenna to the metal of the truck.
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N6AJR
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Posts: 9927




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« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2014, 09:18:34 AM »

Look at my " page" on qrz.com and see what I did on my 1994 f-150.  N6AJR
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K0BG
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Posts: 9896


WWW

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« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2014, 10:44:03 AM »

There are about a dozen examples in the photo gallery on my web site.
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WV4L
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Posts: 143


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« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2014, 05:04:17 PM »

2004 F-150

http://s1339.photobucket.com/user/resopkr24/library/WV4L%202004%20F-150%20Mobile?sort=6&page=1

73

Wayne C.
WV4L
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W5LZ
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Posts: 477




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« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2014, 05:42:24 AM »

There are quite a number of examples, pick the one you think is 'best' and go for it.  Placing the antenna on the roof is very nice, but it also introduces a few potential problems, as in hitting stuff.  I've also mounted antennas on the front bumper/hood with good results.  What can you do, what will be 'liveable' for you?
 - 'Doc
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W2EM
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Posts: 28




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« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2014, 04:56:55 PM »

If you need to get power or cables into or out near the back of the cab there are vents on the back wall.  One on each side of the back of the cab.  If you go under the truck and feel up between the cab and the bed the vents are about 8” in from the sides and 8” up from the bottom. They are behind rubber weather flaps.
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M6GOM
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Posts: 1012




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« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2014, 04:07:04 AM »

There are quite a number of examples, pick the one you think is 'best' and go for it.  Placing the antenna on the roof is very nice, but it also introduces a few potential problems, as in hitting stuff. 

Not if you use something that bends. I've never found it a problem with my screwdriver antenna and the whip on that puppy is 6ft tall and hits a tree twice daily as well as going under many low height barriers in car parks and drive-thrus in its time.
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AE5QB
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Posts: 273




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« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2014, 08:16:04 AM »

I have 2006 F150.  The VHF/UHF install was pretty easy.  Power was run from the battery along the passenger side fender, across the firewall, down and through a rubber grommet either for or near the brake pedal area. Worked fine.

Now HF is another story. When the truck is running, I have S9+ noise that wipes out everything on all bands 10-40. I don't think it is coming in on power as I tested with a small battery connected directly to the radio. I have also bonded all of the major body parts to the frame. I am told the Ford electric fuel pumps inside the tanks are very RF noisy. Since I am traveling, I haven't had time to pursue it. Not sure how to tame that beast.

Anyway, good luck with your project. Keep us posted on the issues that crop up and how you address them.
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KO4MI
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Posts: 26




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« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2014, 06:14:15 AM »

Ford has manuals for the F- and E-Series vehicles for radio and other electronics installations. They support people that base utility vehicles (like ambulances) on Ford trucks. Very helpful.
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K5BBC
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Posts: 25




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« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2014, 12:09:51 PM »

I just started the install process on my 2013 F150 Supercrew.  I'm bringing the power in through the back of the cab, via #8 wire that runs in a loom/harness from the battery, across to the driver's side, then along the other factory wiring harnesses toward the rear. At the back of the cab I drilled a 7/8 inch hole, just below the vent that W2EM mentions above. I prefer a dedicated route for the harness/wires. There will be a separate hole for each radio's remote head cabling that will run in looms back up to holes under the front seat. No visible wiring in the cab, no lumps or bumps under the carpet, and plenty of slack in the remote cabling to work with.

I have seen the vent used as a passthrough, but you are forcing the outflow vent to stay open. Not a major issue, but, this permits dust/debris to backflow into the area behind the seats when you drive with windows open. I've seen that result in a couple of other folk's installs, and want to avoid it.

Shoot me an email if you'd like a photo of the entry point.

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AB1OC
Member

Posts: 19




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« Reply #10 on: October 13, 2014, 01:51:33 PM »

I have a project going to install a mobile HF setup in a Ford F-150 truck. You can see what we did my checking out our blog -

http://stationproject.wordpress.com/?s=Mobile+HF&submit=Search

- Fred (AB1OC)
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N7WR
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Posts: 46


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« Reply #11 on: October 13, 2014, 07:29:41 PM »

BBC
A recommendation based upon experience.  If you are going to run the cable for the remote head on the radio under the vehicle body put it inside some flex tubing to protect it.  I have seen such cables, installed as you propose, destroyed by rocks and gravel.  Those cables are very thin and have little jacketing to protect them.  I am in the process of helping a ham friend run 50 feet of antenna cable under his motor coach from the drivers area to the back bumper.  Even though we are using heavy coax with a fairly thick jacket we are still running it through flexible rubber tubing to protect it.
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K5BBC
Member

Posts: 25




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« Reply #12 on: October 14, 2014, 07:18:26 AM »

I wouldn't do it any other way.  I didn't have the topper store wire the 3rd brake light and dome light for the reasons you state. Did it myself, loomed all the way. I second your advise to anyone else reading this.

BBC
A recommendation based upon experience.  If you are going to run the cable for the remote head on the radio under the vehicle body put it inside some flex tubing to protect it.  I have seen such cables, installed as you propose, destroyed by rocks and gravel.  Those cables are very thin and have little jacketing to protect them.  I am in the process of helping a ham friend run 50 feet of antenna cable under his motor coach from the drivers area to the back bumper.  Even though we are using heavy coax with a fairly thick jacket we are still running it through flexible rubber tubing to protect it.
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