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Author Topic: New Dual Band install in Tacoma  (Read 7583 times)
VA7MLS
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« on: November 07, 2013, 11:13:38 AM »

Alright, Here goes  Grin
 I'm pulling the trigger on a dual band system for my 2005 Tacoma;

Yaesu FT-7900R w separation kit.
Yaesu MLS-100 remote speaker.
Larson NMO2/70B.
Larson NMOK hard-mount kit.

I'm concerned about the last one, wondering if I should be looking at a 17ft no solder kit from Comet or Diamond rather than the shorten to length and solder PL-259 kit.. for a newb like myself.

I should mention the radio is going under the drivers seat and the antenna is going on the front fender with a WestCrystal mount.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2013, 12:12:40 PM by VA7MLS » Logged
K5LXP
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« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2013, 11:30:14 AM »

Six of one, half dozen of the other.  You're either bundling up and stuffing the excess somewhere, or soldering on a connector.

Back when I did installs I'd toss the packaged PL-259 into my toolbox and put on a crimp 259.  Faster, easier and less chance of melting a hole in the carpet.  I see the Comet has a 259 that can be removed and reassembled but it doubles the price of the kit. 

Motorola and I think Larsen NMO contacts are very straightforward to solder.  Another option might be to get a cable with the 259 attached and route the line "backwards" from the radio to the antenna, then solder the NMO contact on.

Probably too many options to choose from.  Just pick one and do it.

Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
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VA7MLS
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« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2013, 12:08:48 PM »

Or this 14ft MFJ-341M connectors already mounted..

« Last Edit: November 07, 2013, 12:13:13 PM by VA7MLS » Logged
KK4UVI
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« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2013, 03:03:39 PM »

Or this 14ft MFJ-341M connectors already mounted..
I just put that same antenna on the right mirror of my semi truck. The cheap way was to buy the pre-made cable you linked above, cut off the NMO connector, and install the version for thick mount surface (due to the mounting spot I'm using). The Larsen cable ends are really simple to put on.

The critical part is to measure carefully when stripping the cable end (read the instructions). I also did not have the correct crimping tool for RG58.  Ended up making it work (it's secure) and shrink wrapped it. I would go buy or borrow the proper tool for next time. I got the one with the FSM end on it since there was an adapter available to fit just about anything on it. I'm using an HT at the moment (SMA), but plan to upgrade to a fixed mobile that will have the PL259.
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N5VTU
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« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2013, 07:16:51 AM »


I should mention the radio is going under the drivers seat and the antenna is going on the front fender with a WestCrystal mount.

The mount you linked to says it is for a 2006 and newer model Tacoma.  If yours is a 2005, you should double check that you order the correct mount.

Stephen
N5VTU
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W5LZ
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« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2013, 03:20:43 AM »

I think the best advice you've gotten so far is to just pick one and do it.
Do to how/where the cable has to be run there is usually no easy/simple way of doing it, it's going to take some 'extra' effort in moving things and then replacing them.  Running that cable 'backwards' is one solution, not necessarily easy but just another way to do it.
Selecting the 'right' antenna is also going to depend on what your requirements are, where it has to go, how you have to install it, what you will have to drive 'under', etc.  What may work well for me probably won't for you and visa-verse, so what else is new?  I've ended up using a different brand of dual-band antenna than the one you selected.  It does well, or well enough for me.  Been through the spectrum of dual-band antennas, mine isn't the 'best' by several ways of judging it, but it certainly has done me good enough.  (The biggy was that 'what you drive under' thingy.)
Have fun.
 - Paul

PS - I don't know anyone who hasn't changed antennas at one point or another.  I doubt if you are going to be the first.
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M6GOM
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« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2013, 04:21:51 AM »

You need to learn how to solder on a PL259 at some point. Whilst you can buy made up patch leads etc you will eventually come to the point where you're going to have to put a connector onto a length of coax - its a fundamental skill of the hobby that is unavoidable.

Buy a few PL259s, a length of coax and make up some patch leads to get some practice. Once you're happy, cut the cable to the length you need for the Tacoma install and put a plug on the end of it.

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VA7MLS
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« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2014, 09:31:42 AM »

Update, Radio is in  Grin

So after pestering everyone with this thread in Nov, I finally spent a few hours putting my radio into the truck.
I had ordered the FT-7900R plus the MLS-100 speaker and a Larson NMO 2/70 antenna from Gigaparts before the holidays, and they all arrived just in time for Christmas.

I started by putting on the mount and antenna, and running the wires and coax through the firewall and into the cab.


 
I considered putting it on switched 12v, but in the end I decided to follow the instructions (and advice!) to wire it directly to the battery.

I was able to use the same grommet in the firewall that I used to wire my lights through,
and put together a sheet of plexiglass with both the external speaker and the radio body to hang under the drivers seat;



I was planning to mount the faceplate in the center cubby, or sticky taped right on the dash below the heater controls, but while I wired the base in I set the faceplate down in this spot and really liked how it looked;



The remote wires run out around the front of the seat rail  and then under the center trim.


Only one hole was required to pass the remote cable through and it is completely covered by the faceplate.
I pulled out the rubber liner from this pocket and if I ever pulled out the radio it would be completely stock looking.



Now I need to figure out the local channels and repeaters, and get them programmed..
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VA7MLS
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« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2014, 09:42:29 AM »

Now for the questions!
I got in on our clubs local 2m NET last night and had a few issues;

-The repeater being used for the net is about 18km (11mi) away, I was just able to key the repeater on Mid1 (10w), Mid2 (20w) would produce noise, and High(50w) would barely break through. The other members couldn't hear me clearly but I could hear all of them nice and clear.

After the net another club member and I went to Simplex and could talk fine. We tried the other repeater in the valley 23km (14mi) away and I could barely key it at 20w and make noise at 50w.

So symptoms are;
Receives well, Transmits Simplex well, Trouble hitting repeater from 10 miles out..
Our club has an antenna analyzer so we are going to get together and troubleshoot.

Any ideas off the top of your heads?

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K5LXP
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« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2014, 06:18:16 AM »

Sounds like you don't have a V/U SWR meter.  Do you have an HF or CB one?  You could at least check 2M:

http://www.kb6nu.com/no-vhf-swr-meter-no-problem/

An NMO270 is a "pre-tuned" antenna but mounted on the fender like that could affect tuning.  An analyzer will show that better than an SWR meter but high SWR will be the symptom.

Also, while you're there check DC voltage at the radio while transmitting.  Running straight to the battery you should see very little voltage drop at keydown. 

Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM

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VA7MLS
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« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2014, 06:00:13 AM »

Borrowed the MFJ-259B from the club, plugged it in last night and here's what I'm getting;

@145.92MHz;
R- 7,
X- 12,
SWR- 4.6.

@144.04MHz;
R- 6,
X- 0,
SWR- 4.7.

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KD4LLA
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Posts: 463




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« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2014, 09:20:34 AM »

Now for the questions!
I got in on our clubs local 2m NET last night and had a few issues;

-The repeater being used for the net is about 18km (11mi) away, I was just able to key the repeater on Mid1 (10w), Mid2 (20w) would produce noise, and High(50w) would barely break through. The other members couldn't hear me clearly but I could hear all of them nice and clear.

After the net another club member and I went to Simplex and could talk fine. We tried the other repeater in the valley 23km (14mi) away and I could barely key it at 20w and make noise at 50w.

So symptoms are;
Receives well, Transmits Simplex well, Trouble hitting repeater from 10 miles out..
Our club has an antenna analyzer so we are going to get together and troubleshoot.

Any ideas off the top of your heads?

VHF is primarily line-of-sight.  There is a certain spot in my yard that will allow me to contact a repeater 40 miles away...  Move twenty feet any direction, and no such luck.  Also there will be some directivity issues w/ the antenna mounted on the hood/ fender.  That is why a mediocre 1/4 omni antenna on the roof will out-perform a **gain** antenna mounted in a poor location.

Mike
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N5VTU
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« Reply #12 on: January 26, 2014, 10:48:26 AM »

I would also add that you should be in a relatively clear area when you take your SWR measurements. I see a travel trailer with aluminum siding next to the truck in your picture.  Testing (or operating) in that position could produce all sorts of wacky results.

Stephen
N5VTU
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K5LXP
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« Reply #13 on: January 26, 2014, 11:39:52 AM »

First thing I would do is isolate the problem to the antenna or installation.  Independently verify antenna function on a different mount,  say with a mag mount or on someone else's car or putting a different antenna on your mount.  It's acting as though there isn't a good connection from the "button" of the antenna contact.

Next I would verify the coax, from the PL-259 through to the NMO contact button.  A DC continuity test is good, putting power through it and seeing it at the other end is even better.  I use an NMO test adapter, a wattmeter and a dummy load.

Next on the list is to make sure the L bracket is well bonded to the fender.  The ground is compromised already with this setup so you want to make sure there's a good bond between the bracket and fender lip.

Should be straightforward to isolate it.

Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
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VA7MLS
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« Reply #14 on: January 26, 2014, 09:45:21 PM »

Thanks everyone,

I went out to check that the cable with my meter to make sure it wasn't shorted inside to out or that the connections were all secure.

Here is the mount;


NMO on truck by vicali,

The cable checked out fine, no shorts, continuity between the insides, continuity between the outside, and no leaks across.
Looking at the bottom of the coil didn't look right though;


image by vicali,

The contact was folded right up to the top and away from the NMO mount. I carefully pulled it back down and screwed the coil back on. Plugged in the analyzer and got this;


image by vicali,

Tried it on low and hit the closest repeater, dialed in the farthest repeater that I couldn't key at 50w and worked it fine at 5w..
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