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Author Topic: Mobile Speakers  (Read 1402 times)

Posts: 571

« on: April 29, 2007, 01:09:39 PM »

Other than the old Motorola speakers which are hard to find on the hamfest circuit, what are people using for speakers in their vehicles. I have a little MFJ thing which is perfect for the 2m/440 rig but lousy for HF mobile if I have the windows open. I am at the tweaking stage of the install which is a nice feeling and this is one area that has been getting me going for a bit. I simply cannot hear anything with the windows open.

I would prefer to NOT use an amplified speaker to avoid running yet more power wires in the truck. I do understand that may be the best option so convince me to run the cables if it is. I would like to hear about the results using the Kenwood speakers. As an audio company I wonder if they have decent mobile speakers. I could mount that under the drivers seat.

Again, I run a TS480sat in a 2002 Ford Escape.

Thanks all.

Dan S

Posts: 10248


« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2007, 06:17:10 PM »

The problem isn't the speaker, it is the lack of adequate drive power. Most amateur radios have audio amps in the 1.5 to 2 watt range, except for one new Yaesu with 5 watts RMS. Even this is short.

Most of the after-market speakers nowadays are junk at best. Any mobile speaker with a magnet under 1 ounce just won't have the punch needed, even if you drive it with 50 watts!

I use an old Heathkit mobile speaker, which is a 6x9. The speaker alone weights about one pound, most of which is magnet weight. It's rated at 50 watts RMS. Along with an out-board 10 watt amp, it does fairly well with the windows up.

However, using the stereo speakers isn't the answer either, as they have way too much frequency range.

Alan, KØBG


Posts: 2080

« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2007, 01:43:07 PM »


I use a retired Motorola HSN1000A 6-Watt amplified speaker on my mobile rig.  These have been around for years and years under several part numbers.  They were most often used in school buses so the driver could yell at the kids in the back without parking and getting out of his seat.  They are pretty widely available used.  

Google HSN1000A, TSN6015A or TSN1001A.  You should get enough hits on those numbers to snag yourself a good, commercial-grade, amplified mobile speaker for just a few bucks.  And, you'll have more audio that you could ever use.

Good luck,

Terry, WØFM

Posts: 6165


« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2007, 02:54:25 PM »

Alan, I think running too much mobile HF is affecting your hearing.  :-)

I too agree that just about any mobile speaker you buy marketed as such sucks wind but once that's remedied by a quality, efficient speaker, most radios have adequate drive to wind them up to uncomfortably loud levels.  Efficiency, as Alan notes, is closely tied to magnet weight.

I've grown quite enamored of stereo bookshelf speakers for ham radio use.  Unlike Alan I prefer their wide response even if it means hearing additional hiss from the amplifier.  The audio passband of most receivers (SSB especially, by default) is quite limited already, and I want the speaker to reproduce anything it gets.  I find that in a mobile environment, the high frequencies tend to get soaked up or lost in the ambient road/wind noise, so it's never been an issue for me.

The only challenge is fitting them in the car.  They're boxy and heavy.  But if you have a chance, give one a listen and see if it's agreeable to you.  I have a dozen or so Motorola "pillow" speakers and they're OK, but I prefer the bookshelf speakers to those.  If you can find the amplified Motorola speakers that came with the ConvertaCom line, those might be better yet.  Just a volt or so of audio drive will produce enough volume to make you want to get out of the car.  They were terribly spendy from Circle-M but I see them at hamfests now and again for ~$20.

My standard technique for mounting is way up under the dash on either the driver or passenger side, or both (wherever there's enough room) and point it towards the floor.  Seems counterintuitive, but they work well there, are out of sight and don't take up room you could otherwise use for radios.  In my pickup I have my primary speaker mounted just aft of the dome light on the ceiling.  Being about a foot or so from my right ear as I drive, there is no chance of not being to hear it no matter how much ambient noise there is.  I'm not sure even the XYL could overpower it.

Another option is something like a cassette or RF link audio interface sold for MP3 players.  Then you can use the vehicle's sound system and it doesn't require any separate installation.  

Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM

Posts: 2080

« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2007, 01:52:09 PM »

Hey Mark,

All my radio speakers (company radio, amateur radio and scanner) are mounted under the dash and have been since 1975 (different vehicles).  Since then, I've done some experiments with the direction that the speaker was aimed.  I have come to prefer the speaker pointed UP toward the dash area, rather than down.  It amazes me how much more sound gets to my ears with the under-dash speaker pointed up.  I suspect that the sound eventually hits the inside of the windshied (how it GETS there beats me) and is then directed, more or less, at the driver.  Go figure.

I have three "upward pointing" powered speakers under there now with room for more.  Guess it's time for another radio!  Shocked)


Terry, WØFM

Posts: 35

« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2007, 10:11:23 AM »

I use 1 Kenwood KES5 speaker and with both windows down, i still rarely go over a 1/4 turn on volume. I use a Yaesu 8900R and this one speaker and its PHENOMINAL!!  highly recommended...but now the speaker is a 4 Ohm impedance speaker.
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