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Author Topic: Any Ham Radio Installation Companies Near Magnolia, TX????  (Read 22448 times)
KG5BRE
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Posts: 8




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« on: August 01, 2014, 04:06:30 PM »

Does anyone know of a company that installs mobile ham radios in the Magnolia, Texas area? I got my Technician license a few months ago and recently upgraded last week by passing both the General and Extra exams, and have been itching to get my Kenwood installed in my GMC Sierra. The problem has been that my current work schedule has been brutal and all I've been doing for most of the past year is working and sleeping, with very few days off. I was referred to a company in Houston, Texas but kind of got the run around when trying to get some answers before making a 60 mile drive to their facility. I won't name the company but here is the review I just left on their webpage:

 Called to see about installing my 1st ham radio and couldn't get an estimate even when providing any details and factors used to make an estimate. When I asked if they could give me just a ball park estimate, the guy started naming ball parks like Fenway, etc. and said "What, that's not funny?" I said not when I have to drive 60 miles to get an estimate. I then asked if their store hours and if I drove there tomorrow and we agreed on an estimate, if I could get it installed at that time. He said that there were people on a stand by waiting list, so probably not. If the person that talked to me actually worked for me, I wouldn't let him answer my business phone ever, and would likely fire him for being so rude to a potential customer. These people may be the very best in what they do, but even if they were, I'd never do business with them after the way I was just treated on the phone.

 Guessing I will have to wait until I have more time off from work and the weather will cooperate before I'll do the install myself, unless there is actually another business in my area that can help me. Thanks to anyone who can provide any help with my dilemma.
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N5VTU
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Posts: 388




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« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2014, 07:23:17 PM »

If you absolutely insist on having it done by a company, contact Houston Amateur Radio Supply near I-45 and FM1960.  Otherwise, you're just down the road from me and about 40 other hams who could probably help you figure something out.  Send me an email - mycall at arrl dot net

Stephen
N5VTU
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KG5BRE
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Posts: 8




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« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2014, 08:00:46 PM »

Thanks for the reply!  e-mail sent.
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K5LXP
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Posts: 6165


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« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2014, 07:16:05 AM »

Instead of asking for a "ham radio" installation just call it a "2-way radio", and enlist the services of a commercial 2-way shop to do it.  To them it doesn't matter if it says Motorola, Bendix, Relm, Vertex, Kenwood, Yaesu, Icom, et al on the radio, to them it's just power, coax and your antenna of choice.  As a second option, stereo installation shops can sometimes do the job as well (to them it's drilling holes and running wires which they do all day long), so you could call around to a few of those to see what they can do for you.

It's a toss up between the time and trouble to do it yourself, vs the time, expense and potential problems of someone else doing it.  I like the control you get over fit and detail when doing it yourself but dropping your vehicle off in the morning and picking it up in the evening ready to go does have appeal.  The key I think is finding a shop you have confidence in to do it right.

Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
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N6AJR
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« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2014, 10:21:12 AM »

even a "stereo" install shop could do it.
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AA4PB
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« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2014, 12:04:00 PM »

Two-way shops and stereo shops aren't likely to have any experience with HF antenna installations so I'd be careful if that's what you want. It's probably best if you know exactly what you want and can tell them exactly where you want it mounted. Both types of shops should be pretty experienced in getting wires routed around the vehicle for you. I wouldn't recommend that you just drop your car and a box full of equipment off and come back at closing time.

For me, ham radio has always been about learning so I always like to do some research and try to figure it out myself, then get someone with some experience to make recommendations and show (teach) me how to do it.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2014, 12:09:01 PM by AA4PB » Logged

Bob  AA4PB
Garrisonville, VA
KG5BRE
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Posts: 8




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« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2014, 06:16:21 PM »

All excellent comments guys!  It is very much appreciated!!!!  Thank you!!!!
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N5TWB
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Posts: 50




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« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2014, 09:40:38 AM »

Another place to consider as an install resource would be an outfit that does emergency lighting installs on police cars since they work the vehicles from stock to outfitted. They know where wires and cables should be run and how to do it without damage to critical components, like air bags.
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KT4NR
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Posts: 571




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« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2014, 12:47:33 PM »

For my first install it cost me a steak dinner for the ham's family and some beer for the guy to wash it down. Best money I have spent on an install as I learned a lot. First HF rig install was the same, sans the beer.

The best thing to do is always work through the local clubs and nets. They will help you get on the right path.

Glad to see someone here was able to help you. (Assuming so at least based on previous reply.)
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K2FOX
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Posts: 113




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« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2014, 07:44:38 PM »

If you absolutely insist on having it done by a company, contact Houston Amateur Radio Supply near I-45 and FM1960.  Otherwise, you're just down the road from me and about 40 other hams who could probably help you figure something out.  Send me an email - mycall at arrl dot net

Stephen
N5VTU

N5VTU - Way to go Stephen, for reaching out and offering to help a new HAM.  I thing Michael will appreciate it more by doing the install himself (with help from the locals) rather than having a shop do it. It can be a learning experience for him at the same time.

Have fun and 73's,

Jay
« Last Edit: August 07, 2014, 07:48:32 PM by K2FOX » Logged
N5VTU
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Posts: 388




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« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2014, 08:41:08 AM »

Thanks Jay for the kind words.  if it hadn't been for AC5Z (sk) reaching out to me 25 years ago, I may have never entered this hobby.  I still enjoy seeing excited new hams play with their toys just like I did.

Mike, the OP and I, exchanged several emails the night I saw his post, and I have provided him with my phone number and an invitation to our club meeting on August 14 to see if we can get him all set up.  I think Mike took one of my suggestions and ordered a vehicle specific NMO antenna mount for his truck, so now it's just a matter of helping him to get the radio installed if he hasn't done so yet, and he should be off to the races.

Stephen
N5VTU

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KG5BRE
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Posts: 8




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« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2014, 01:54:59 PM »

Thanks Stephen and Jay!!!!  I received my mount and coax yesterday and while I believe I'm capable of doing the installation, I would REALLY welcome any assistance; even if it's someone with knowledge looking over my shoulder....   73's  KG5BRE Mickey  PS:  If it helps, I am actually off work on the 12th, 13th, and 14th.
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M6GOM
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Posts: 1050




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« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2014, 02:28:45 AM »

even a "stereo" install shop could do it.

Really they can't. They don't have the gear to test an antenna install. They've never heard of SWR or bonding.

Mickey, everything you need to know is on Alan K0BG's website. In your install take the time to do the bonding, it makes a world of difference to a HF install. If you can borrow an antenna analyser take before, during and after readings for the HF side when you're doing the bonding and you'll actually see it doing something as you watch the resonant point of the antenna and the feedpoint impedance altering as you add bonding.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2014, 02:32:52 AM by M6GOM » Logged
KG5BRE
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Posts: 8




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« Reply #13 on: August 11, 2014, 01:30:43 PM »

Outstanding!  Thank you very much for your suggestions!
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