2EQUIPMENT Kenwood TS-B2000 with RC-2000 Remote head SGC SG-500 SS amplifierHi-Q 5/160RT SS AntennaTurbo Tuner antenna controllerCLR-ClearSpeech DSP Noise Reduction SpeakerTarheel Perfect Match Shunt coilSCS PTC-IIex Pactor ModemDell B130 Laptop with RAM Laptop MountDiamond 144/440 VHF/UHF Antenna
3GETTING STARTEDFirst and foremost, I must credit Alan Applegate K0BG for a lot of what I have learned about proper mobile installations. His web site can be found at It is the best resource I have found and frankly I go to it often for free advice! Alan is always willing to help with a question. I recommend his site to anyone contemplating going mobile. Over the years I have found the mobile installations are always a work-in progress!The first thing I did was to determine the best position for the radio and determine the wire size based on the run from the battery.
4WIRING AND FUSINGHere are the fuses at the battery. These are connected to 4 gauge wire via 175 Anderson power poles. The fuses are 80 Amp fuses (opened to illustrate). In this picture you can see the 1/0 gauge red power cable that runs to the high power alternator (250 amps).The 4 gauge wire from the battery runsto the back seat to another set of fusesto the radio. I used marine power cablewhich is very flexible and easier toWork with.
5WIRING AND FUSINGThe SGC SG-500 amplifier draws anywhere from 60 – 90 amps on transmit so I installed an auxiliary battery in the back seat. The fuses are on the side of the battery box (gold)
6NOISE ABATEMENTMy Ford F-150 uses COP (coil over plug) technology and these can be big noise makers. I used copper tape on each plug and grounded each one. (You can see a ferrite bead on one of the fuel injectors too)
7NOISE ABATEMENTSome of the biggest noise makers are the electronic ignition components. “Sniff” around using an AM radio and you can pinpoint the noisiest and go to work.I used shield from RG-213 to solder to each component and ran this to ground to create the most effective shield. I still have more noise to conquer!!
8NOISE ABATEMENTFerrite beads are placed on each wire going to the COP and the fuel injectors. Most mobile radios use remote control heads. I also do not spare any expense in using ferrite close to the rig and the control head.
9SAFETYSafety while mobile is of primary importance and the operating position and radio placement must not interfere with vehicle controls.Here you can see my operating position. The laptop mount allows me to swing the laptop closer to me if I need to use the keyboard and is firmly attached to the vehicle should I need to move. The radio control head is clear of all controls and is easily accessible. The microphone is placed in a safe position (on side of console).
10OPERATING CONVENIENCES External noise while mobile can make operating most difficult. Here you can see I have installed a digital speaker just below eye level. This helps hearing everything in spite of all the road noise.
11OPERATING CONVENIENCES It’s important that you can change frequencies on the fly but you need to keep your eyes on the road. I use an automatic antenna tuner that uses circuitry in the radio to stop the coil movement when resonance is reached.I also created a switch box to enable me to change from soundcard to TNC without having to undo cabling at the rear of the radio
12ANTENNA PLACEMENTLast but certainly not least is antenna placement. I have placed the antenna as close to the center of the truck as possible. It’s important to remember the second half of a vertical antenna is the ground or a radial system.
13ANTENNA PLACEMENTWe are already using a compromised antenna so we need to provide as much conductive area as we can. In this picture you can see the coil is above the roof line of the truck.
14ANTENNA PLACEMENTI mentioned bonding of the vehicle before. Proper bonding of the entire vehicle provides the coupling we are looking for to increase antenna efficiency.Here are examples of door bonds – doors, truck bed, tail gate are all bonded.
15ANTENNA PLACEMENTDue to the larger size of mobile antennas today, solid mounts are important. This mount allows you to angle the antenna to operate NVIS or lay back fully. The smaller unit is a remotely adjustable shunt coil.
16ANTENNA PLACEMENTTo provide better antenna efficiency especially at the lower frequencies we use, a cap hat helps. This sits just above the coil about 1 – 2 feet. You get plenty of double-takes by other drivers with this attached!