Mobile HAM radio in the truck

I’d noticed that as the summer had come on and the trees had leafed out, my ability to reach some local 2M repeaters was impacted, using my 5W HT and a roof mounted magnetic antenna. For example I was having significant issues accessing the Durham “TV Hill” repeater (fine in the winter), though the newly reinstalled OCRA 70cm was fine, albeit configured much higher and sitting much closer to Chapel Hill. So I decided to install a standard mobile rig. I’d wanted a Kenwood 710G but they are just too pricey, so I opted for a Yaesu FT-7900R. Basically, no fancy APRS stuff, but I’m less enamored of that as time goes on.

The 7900R is the basic “workhorse” dual band, 50W on 2M and 40W on 70cm. One thing I liked about it though was the fact that it came with the transceiver/head separation kit, which was good as I didn’t really know how I wanted to mount it, as my truck has a full complement of electronics and no room for other devices. I didn’t want to drill any holes, but I wanted a nice looking install. A tall order!

So where to put things and how to run the wires?

The transceiver is tucked up under the crew cab back seat, behind the driver’s seat. It’s about the size of a small paperback book, and just sits on the carpet out of the way. I had to pick up some extra 12 guage DC power wire (12′) since the battery in the Silverado is on the passenger side. I ran the power wire via a technique I found googling, going thru the fender, not the firewall, and then thru a small rubber grommet near the emergency brake to get into the cab. I reinforced the fender passage with copious electrical tape. Then pop up the plastic trim along the cab edge to run the cables. I soldered and taped my extension to the supplied power cable, running to the transceiver, and in the opposite direction, the head separation cable toward the dash. For the head (like a small cell phone), I got a clamp mount that sits nicely on the corner of the dash on the left of the driver. Left enough cable there to easily move it around, and unplug and put out of the way when needed.

So what about an antenna? I decided on a Larsen thru-the-glass mount on the cab window behind the driver, after reading about successes there. I was concerned about its efficacy but it seems to work great! Dropped the RG58 down behind the seat.

I ran the speaker extension cable from the transceiver to coil it under the driver’s seat, where I could, if desired, plug into the infotainment system. However, the built in speaker is actually pretty effective.

Have programmed repeaters into the radio and done some tests, reports indicate good audio, and I’m happy with the way it all looks. So far so good, and no holes in the truck 😉

The only issue? Somewhere under the hood of the truck is an small socket wrench adapter that “got dropped” during the process…

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