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Author Topic: Chevy Suburban  (Read 1099 times)
KC2YU
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Posts: 58




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« on: May 01, 2004, 12:38:49 PM »


Hi,

We're about to purchase a Suburban and was hoping to hear from others on antennas, wiring, and mounting issues.

Would an on-glass windshield 2m/440 antenna work (i.e., is the windshield glass that anti-capacitance stuff)?

Where's the best place to mount a rig (FT-8800R) -- in dash, in between the front seats, under the seat and velcro the contoller?

How best to bring current from the battery -- would like a fused block accessible in the cabin, to power an inverter as well as a rig?

Thanks!

Joseph R. Skoler, kc2yu
joseph@compuhelp.com
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K0BG
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« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2004, 04:32:58 PM »

Glass mount antennas are not very efficient on 2m or 440. You're always better off with a good-quality dual bander. If you can't mount it on the roof, then a front fender maybe a better option for you. The best mount style is an NMO as they are more rugged than other types.

Alan, KØBG
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K0BG
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« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2004, 04:35:43 PM »

As I reread your post, I have another comment. NEVER EVER use velcro to attach anything inside a vehicle. In a crash it can come loose with predictable results.

If you need help with wiring, then see my web site.

http://www.k0bg.com

Alan, KØBG
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KC2YU
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Posts: 58




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« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2004, 06:41:24 PM »

I'm surprised to hear this -- I've heard people rave about these antennas.

I wouldn't mind putting an antenna on the roof -- actually, to the = luggage rack  on the roof with a ground strap to a screw.  But, I often go in low places, and thought the window antenna would be a better solution.

I also thought velcro was the preferred attachment method for radio heads -- quick attach/detach.  What's the alternative?

Thanks!
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K0BG
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« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2004, 09:17:45 AM »

Joe, antennas that are coupled through the glass are not efficient even at cellphone frequencies albeit you see millions of them in use. You have to deal with defroster wires, and to boot some glass is semiconductive.

Performance is realitive. If you want the best in communications, you have to take the plunge and drill holes. If your operation is causual, buy the glassmount and put up with the marginal urban performance.

Alan, KØBG
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N8EMR
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Posts: 235




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« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2004, 09:18:55 AM »

Through the glass are a compromise antenna. If you never talk simplex and always in close range to what you talking to then ok, they work. You noted you go into high restricted area. A through the glass isnt going to take any beating. If there is any chance that your going to hit tress or apply any stree on the antenna then it not a good choice.

Other option depending on the type of rear door you have. Lip mounts work well on the barn doors or the lift door. A good NMO mount through the roof over one of the overhead lights or console makes for easy entry into the cab. There are some quick on/off adapters for nmo as well as tilt over antennas.

The console needs to be securly mounted. Velcro doesnt count.  You didnt say if the burb was new or used, but dont forget the overhead console If you dont have the rear heater controls the front of the console works great. Some of the newer burbs have a floor console that you could mount a head to. Under the front passenger seat is a good place for the body. Also under the rear seats will work for base mounting, but you may want to come up with metal skirt to keep little kids from kicking junk into the radio area.


Power, You can pull power off the left driver side of the vehicle, Next to the fuse block there are some popouts and plugs to get power through. Bad part, the battery is on the right side so you have dress the wire around, unless you happen to have a dual battery system.

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KG4GXI
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« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2004, 05:35:50 PM »

What year Suburban? 2000 and newer have an empty cubby or a cassette player that has the perfect opening for a dual-band rig.
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K3ASF
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« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2004, 08:19:56 AM »

I used a PanaVise Model #951 hump mount to install my FT-8800R. It swivels 45 deg and turns a full 360 deg. Works perfectly in Dodge Pick-ups  w/little or no room between cup holder and seat. Check out cheapham.com
Better price that I paid. Very well constructed. Or contact panavise.com and they will send you a catalog.
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KC2YU
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« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2004, 07:47:10 AM »


Thanks so much, everyone!

We're getting a new 2004 Suburban, without the cassette player.

Performance is important, but not critical, and far less important than the desire NOT to drill (the goal is to do nothing that would cost a lot of $ to fix when I screw it up (;-).

Does the group think that a windshield on-glass is a better or worse performer than a rear liftgate lip mount?

Are the pop-outs holes in the firewall?  Is there a good path for the cable inside the engine compartment to get from the right to left side?

The between-seats-hump area sounds great.  Perhaps, though, the velcro-mounted there (and the radio under the driver's seat) -- that way, it's facing somewhat up and won't fly off during jerks forward/back?

Thanks very much!

Joseph R. Skoler, kc2yu
joseph@compuhelp.com
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KC2YU
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« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2004, 08:57:54 AM »


Just thought of another issue:  Audio

If I mount the rig in the dash will I be able to hear it or will I need an external speaker (hope not)?

If I mount the rig under the driver's seat will I be able to hear it?

Thanks,

Joseph R. Skoler, kc2yu
joseph@compuhelp.com
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N3ZKP
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Posts: 2008




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« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2004, 12:11:07 PM »

<< Performance is important, but not critical, and far less important than the desire NOT to drill (the goal is to do nothing that would cost a lot of $ to fix when I screw it up (;-). >>

Drill holes and do it right. In 35+ years of having various kinds of radios installed my my vehicles, I have never lost more than $100 in trade-in value because of holes.

As for the external speaker - yes, use an external speaker unless what you are installing has a front mounted speaker that will be pointed right at you. Anything else will generally unintelligable at highway speeds.  

The point is, it's better to do it right the first time that to have to do it over. Smiley

Lon
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KC2YU
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« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2004, 02:40:43 PM »


The problem is that I've never done it.  I'm not concerned with a $100 loss in trade in value; I'm concerned with messing it up (wrong or ill-shapen hole, drilling through something I shouldn't, etc.).

Any suggestions for an external speaker that's as unobstrusive (i.e., invisible) as possible?

Can't make the thing too much of an attraction to the local (NYC) car thieves.

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N3ZKP
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Posts: 2008




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« Reply #12 on: May 06, 2004, 04:03:56 PM »

Geez, NYC. Sorry buddy. Smiley

I'm not sure about unobtrusive speakers. The rig is going to be more visible that any speaker would be.

I have two speakers (1-dual band rig and 1 HF rig) mounted on the side of the overhead console on my Windstar. That puts them about a foot from my ears - no problem hearing under ANY circumstances. What I am using came from cell phone installations. They are about 3"x5". My full size Motorola commercial speakers sound better but they are considerably bigger. These are a good compromise.

As for drilling the holes., use the correct size bits and make sure they are sharp! Before you start drilling where you aren't sure what's underneath, make a trip to the local Chevy bodyshop and ask. Virtually every car I have driven has hard plastic, or even metal, underneath the 3/8" or so of dash padding.

As for antenna holes in the roof, the ONLY mount worth using is the Motorola 3/4" NMO mount. Forget UHF connecter-mount antennas. The simply don't hold up under heavy use. To put the hole in the roof, first drill a 3/8" hole and then make the 3/4" hole with a 3/4" chassis punch. If you aren't comfortable with this, or don't have access to a punch, try one of the local commercial radio shops. They can even run the coax through the headliner for you, if you can't figure out how to do it. BTW, properly installed, an NMO mount will NOT leak, even in the worst storms. I have probably installed 30+ of these things with no leaks ever.

Good luck on the project.

Lon
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K5AD
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Posts: 6




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« Reply #13 on: May 15, 2004, 05:42:39 PM »

Joseph,
 I wouldn't be too discouraged about the thru glass antennas.  I have a Larson on my '95 Yukon.  I can hit the local repeater at 45 miles out on 20 watts, which is as good as anyone else does.  I think the Larson may be a bit superior to some other brands; the thru glass connector is fairly large and I think this represents a pretty robust inductor connection.

You can always use the glass mt. for a while, then add something else when you feel more secure about drilling holes.  I'm not sure if the glass on the newer ones has metallic component or not, the old ones didn't.  Height is an issue with roof mts as the things are so tall to begin with.  Even the glass mt. hits on some parking lots; I have to flip it down not infrequently.

 I'm about to get a new 'burb and don't really relish drilling a hole in the roof, don't mind the firewall or floorboard as much.  I'll probably put the Larson on it for a while.

 I'd like to go whole hog and put in a FT-8900, Icom 706, GPS for APRS, etc.  Need to do some planning as to where I will install all of it....  Almost wrote the check yesterday, but the ones they had on the lot didn't have all the options I wanted.  It's a buyer's market right now, there must be 50 or so on the lot in our small town (80,000 pop) plus they bumped the rebate up another $1000 this week.

73,
 Joe K5AD
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AB2MH
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« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2004, 10:03:36 PM »

>>Can't make the thing too much of an attraction to the local (NYC) car thieves. <<

You'd be surprised to know that car theft is down in the city.  I'd be more concerned if you live in the southwest since the stats for car theft there are pretty high.

What I do is I simply unscrew my antenna and put it in the trunk when I leave the car.  

The other problem I see (unrelated to auto theft/vandalism) is if you drive on parkways.  Commercial trucks are not allowed on parkways for a reason, and that reason is that the overpasses on parkways can be pretty low.  I've seen motorized mounts being advertised to raise/lower your antenna. You may want to consider something like that if you drive around the city.  
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