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Author Topic: 2009-2011 Honda Pilot Installation "do's and don'ts"?  (Read 5329 times)
AUSTINKYSERK9GEM
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« on: June 29, 2010, 04:22:54 PM »

I just picked up my 2011 Honda Pilot EX-L w/ Nav.

Radio's - Icom IC-7000 and Yaesu FTM-350R
Antenna's - Little Tarheel II and Diamond SG7900A with K400 mount's off hatch
Additional HW - RigRunner Power Distribution, and TurboTuner

Searching the web, I found some interesting ideas by N9JIG (http://www.n9jig.com/Pilot/).  I don't have as many radio's as him, but I like the idea of using the "Trunk space" in the back to hide them.  Given that I haven't had this vehicle a week yet, I would like to keep the drilling of holes to a minimum, and even then I will go have them professionally done.  Same goes with the running of the wires.  While I don't have a YL nagging me about the radios in the car, I do have to take business customers to lunch regularly and thus have to keep things as neat and professional looking as possible.

Any advice as to power, grounding, potential RFI issues, etc. would be greatly appreciated.

90% of the time, I will just be doing casual mobile operation.  But I do want to get back to Rover Contesting and Mobile Field Day Operations, so I need to take that into consideration in what I do here.  During a contest, I will be adding an FT-847 to the mix, along with addtional smaller radios for additional bands.  I have a unique roof rack mounted Antenna setup (http://www.qsl.net/k9gem/Sep99_Mount1.JPG) that I will be improving upon for VHF/UHF Contesting.   I should note that all rigs will be run "barefoot".  I don't foresee any 1kw amps in my future.

Somewhere I was reading that with all of the new electronics and air bags in new cars now, grounding is much more important than ever to avoid a very unfortunate accidental triggering of the air bags.  Needless to say, sheer panic starts to set in at just the thought of the cost to replace the air bags, let alone the dire consequences if it occurred while driving down the road.

Some quick questions...

1.  Should I install a second battery as my primary power source and then use the car electrical system for charging this battery?  If so, could I not use the rear power outlet in the cargo area to charge the battery?  Yes this is probably overkill for my normal operation.
2.  If I do this 2nd battery configuration, do I "ground" the radio chassis to the closest ground point on the vehicle?
3.  If I use the car battery for power and run both positive and negative from the RigRunner back to connect directly to the battery, do I "ground" the radio chassis to the closest ground point on the vehicle?

Thanks for any and all advice that you can share.

Austin


« Last Edit: June 29, 2010, 04:31:03 PM by Austin Kyser » Logged
WB0KSL
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« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2010, 05:27:28 PM »

I am about half way through an Icom 706MkIIG install in a 2008 Honda CR-V.  Similar project to yours.  I have the VHF/UHF up and running just fine.  The Tarheel II is next.  I had a Motorola Two-Way shop run the power for me (Though capable of doing it myself, the aging process has taken the fun out of that part of things for me).  They ran dual 8ga wires from the vehicle battery plus/minus to the rear of the CR-V, where I mounted the main radio section. Front panel mounted remote near the front seat cup holders.  Both leads fused right at the battery.  The 8ga power leads feed a Rigrunner, which feed the 706, etc.  It all works just fine.

The VHF/UHF antenna is a dual bander, mounted on the roof, NMO mount (genuine Mortorola NMO, or you'll do it twice ;-).  Cable fished though the headliner and down the right rear pillar.  The tarheel will go on next, though I plan on using some mount design a bit more robust than the Diamond you referenced.

K0BG's site www.k0bg.com is a goldmine of info.  Read it start to finish.  Alan urges no compromise in a mobile install, but life's rarely like that, and my HF install will be a bit more of a compromise than he likes (starting with the Tarheel II ;-)

For An IC-7000 and the Yaesu you mentioned (0.5A on rx, 10A on xmit) I really think that a second battery is not needed.  You don't plan to xmit on both at the same time, do you?  Let us know your experiences, I'm learning as I go, here,too.

73, John - WB0KSL
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AUSTINKYSERK9GEM
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« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2010, 07:00:59 PM »

Thanks John.

I am concerned about the Diamond mount as well, but I am trying to keep an open mind.  Both the sales guy from HRO and the TarHeel website recommended this mount so I decided to give it a chance.

While I agree that the 2nd battery is overkill for my general day to day operation (No I am not talented enough to drive and talk on two different radios at the same time), my thinking was two fold...  1) isolation from the vehicle's electrical system.  2) more available power during a contest when more radios will be in operation.

I will definitely check out K0BG's site.  Thank you again!

Austin
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K0BG
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« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2010, 05:53:44 AM »

You don't want to ever use existing vehicle wiring! In the case of the Honda, the wire size is #16, and that's just too small to power a 100 watt radio. The specs given above are a little off. For example, on 6 and 10 meter FM, the radio draws right at 23 amps, and 26 amps if the fan switches to high speed. On SSB, the average might be 10 amps, but it could be more depending on your voice.

A second battery isn't needed, unless you're going to be running high power. However, you still have to keep voltage drop to a minimum (<.5 volts under full load).

As mentioned, the Lil Tarheel isn't a great performer, especially when mounted on a K400 mount. If you want the best out of it, a better mounting scheme will be needed.
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WX7G
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« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2010, 07:52:27 AM »

To help make up for the non-ideal antenna consider an RF amplifier. I use an Ameritron ALS-500 at 400 watts CW and it makes a huge difference in what I can and cannot work.

If you haven't already ordered the Little Tarheel II (200 W PEP) you might order the Little Tarheel HP (500 W PEP) so you have the option of adding an amplifier.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2010, 07:55:28 AM by DAVE CUTHBERT » Logged
AUSTINKYSERK9GEM
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« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2010, 08:41:42 AM »

Unfortunately everything is on order and arriving today.  I am a little dismayed because I spent over $3200 yesterday in excitement of getting back into the hobby.  Initially I was going to go with a FT-857D and ATAS-120 combo, but got talked into an IC-7000, Little Tarheel II, and Turbo Tuner combo.  I even ordered the 56" extended whip. 

So to my initial question, I should have a #8 or #6 gauge wire with fuses on both positive and negative run directly from the main battery back to the "trunk area" where it will be connected to a RigRunner for power distribution to my rigs.  I am going to have the power run down the driver's side of the car,  and the remote heads and microphone cables run down the passenger side of the car.  Not sure if it is truly required knowing this is DC, but sounds good anyway.

The only remaining question is the chassis grounding of the radios.  I am a little confused on this.  Do I need to ground the radio chassis?  I am getting mixed information.  Some people say absolutely... if you don't you risk setting off the airbags.  And others that say if you ground the chassis, then you could have a ground loop.

I have never grounded my mobile rigs before, but given this is a brand new automobile I want to do everything right.

-Austin
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K0BG
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« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2010, 01:02:29 PM »

If you ground the chassis, and it cures a problem, then something else is amiss. Typically, that's common mode, which should be taken care of at the antenna. Otherwise, it really isn't necessary, but most folks do, even if inadvertently in some cases. The one thing to be careful of, however, is creating a ground loop. That can occur even if the ground feed to the battery is adequate. If you have unexpected problems, which appear to be ingressed RFI, that's the first place to look.

Amplifiers do help, but they don't do much for receive. That's why you strive to do the best you can with the antenna.
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WB0KSL
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« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2010, 08:17:00 PM »

Guess my post was poorly worded. The specs on the yaesu you mentioned are 0.5A rx and 10A xmit. the 706 I have (and I believe the 7000 is similar) is supposed to be 2A rx at max audio, and 20A xmit.  I believe Alan when he says as much as 26A xmit when the fan is on high!  that fan is a serious fan!  I used 8ga wire, and I believe that is quite adequate.  As in most things, bigger is better, but 6ga wire is BIG!  I have zero desire to run an amp, so I'm pretty sure the 8ga will do fine.   I did ground the radio case to a nearby chassis bolt.  Easy enough to do, where I mounted my radio...

73

John WB0KSL
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K0BG
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« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2010, 05:59:06 AM »

The specs say 22 amps at 13.8 vdc on transmit. That's just over 300 watts in, which seems a little high, even including the fan. Regardless, stick a ammeter on the DC input, and key down into a decent dummy load. When the fan comes on high speed, after about 3 minutes or so, measure the current. You might just be surprised.
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N5XTR
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« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2010, 08:12:02 AM »

K9GEM,
Do the best install you can with what you have.
Then just go have fun with it, that's what this hobby is about.
You have a nice rig, nice antenna, and a nice tuner.  You WILL make contacts even if the system
doesn't have K0BG's seal of approval.
Go have fun and welcome back to the hobby!! I hope I get to chat with you on air sometime.
73 and safe mobiling.

Joel - N5XTR
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AUSTINKYSERK9GEM
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« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2010, 07:20:32 AM »

Thanks!  I am getting pretty excited.  And I do appreciate everyone's advice and guidance.

I am going on vacation for 10 days, so I have some time to re-think the mounting scheme of the antennas.  My installer suggested drilling a hole in the roof and mounting it there.  But I can't see over the top of the Pilot (I am 6'), and I can't imagine putting this LT-II with a 56" while up on top of that.  To me that is just asking for trouble.  Plus I need to keep the rack area clear for mounting all of the other antennas during contest weekends.

So we shall see.  I have the install scheduled for the 14th after I get back from Vacation.

73s and again thank you to everyone for the advice.

-Austin
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