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5th Generation (2015) Ham Radio Install

Discussion in 'Ham Radio - CB - Trail Communications' started by TheSauce, March 18, 2015.


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    1. TheSauce

      TheSauce New Member

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      Greetings Forum!

      I just picked up a 2015, and I'm happy with it, but I'm not at all that sure how to wire this thing up with a two way radio. In the absence of a dedicated thread, I'm hoping to get some advice, and perhaps this thread can serve as reference for future 2015 installs. I'll also update the thread with pictures before/after.

      Now, I've spent 2 days going over this forum and other sites seeking info on installing a Yaesu FT8800R in a 2015 Explorer and I haven't found much.

      So here are the areas, my thoughts, and challenges:

      Remote Head Location

      At first glance, ideal remote head locations seem pretty sparse. I've consider over head, under the visor; while there seems to be enough room with limited affect of visor usage, the mic cable will be a pest.

      http://i.imgur.com/OBMiDWb.jpg

      The dash center console doesn't offer much room, nor does the usb/power bay forward the shifter. The space does allow the remote head to fit flush, but only if you don't want to plug in the mic. So, nogo there either. Placing the remote head off to the side will block the usb and 12v access, and also prevent anyone with large hands from working the left side of the radio.

      http://i.imgur.com/cUHa36S.jpg

      http://i.imgur.com/SPtqSYC.jpg

      Left of the center console seems do-able; just affix it with 3M adhesive or a custom bracket, but this is likely to get in the way if you are a larger person, and the likelihood of spilling a beverage on the radio is very high.

      http://i.imgur.com/zUaT97r.jpg

      Placing the radio vertically on the left side of the dash console also seems do-able, with minimal obstruction for your right leg. I can see that it may get in the way if you're picking your leg up or shuffling around in your seat.

      http://i.imgur.com/D2Md1KV.jpg

      Inside of the center console storage seems do-able. Not sure how I'd get the wiring in there, but I'm sure there's a way. This is ideal because its completely stealthy and out of the way. There is some risk involved since the radio is not really usable while driving, sans the use of the mic controls.

      http://i.imgur.com/2U8no9L.jpg

      Putting the radio on the left side of the dash, under the headlamp control is possible, but won't work well for right-hand talkers.

      http://i.imgur.com/I8rzLaU.jpg

      It is looking like a goose-neck or similar mount off the driver or passenger seat bolt, but I'm not all that thrilled about the visibility or interference with passenger comfort/space.

      There is also the option of the glove box shelf, but that seems kind of far away for reaching and viewing the display

      http://i.imgur.com/NGE7IF9.jpg

      So with regards to remote head location; which one might be recommended?

      Have I considered all options or is there another location that's not obvious?

      Power Through Firewall

      I've looked the driver and passenger well over and over and can't locate a firewall pass through hole or plug. Likewise, from the engine compartment, it doesn't look like there a easy way to pass the power through.

      I would also like to put in an amp/subwoofer in the rear, so knowing this would help me there eventually as well.

      I've very reluctant to drilling holes into the firewall. Is there an existing pass through wire bundle or boot I could tap?

      Unit Location

      It looks like both driver and passenger seat floor have ample room to mount the radio unit. This will probably be very easy, but does anyone have any tips or alternative location to suggest?

      Ext Speaker Location

      I'm thinking that I will mount this speaker in the driver well under the steering column. This should put the speaker close enough to hear at reasonable volume and keep it out of sight and out of the way. I read that the speaker could also do well under the seat. What do you think?

      Antenna Mount / Location

      I've all but convinced myself to drill the hole and put in a flush NMO mount rear of the backseat moon roof. The model I have has that material that allows you to cover both front and rear moon roof.

      I am assuming this material is rolled up on some device rear of the back glass and that the space behind it (towards the back of the vehicle) is suitable for access and drilling. Is this correct to assume?

      Alternatively, I could put something on the hood (yuck) or on the rack with some grounding issues. I am not sure the back liftgate will allow for a mount, but I may be wrong. Any insights here would be greatly appreciated.

      --

      Thanks for any advice in advance!

      Cheers,
      Mike
       
      Last edited by a moderator: May 23, 2015
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    3. rizzjc

      rizzjc Scubajoe - Radio Mod Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      Ok, wow, that's a lot of info. I don't have a newer explorer, but I do have an FT-8800 in my Ford Focus. If it can fit in there, it can fit in an explorer. I put a gooseneck mount on the passenger seat bolt, and the radio sits over the right side of the center console. It's tight, but I even have a 5-speed, and can still shift. Radio is mounted to the floorboard under the passenger side dash. Mic just sits in the cup holder, until I figure out a place to mount it. I have no external speaker, but probably need to add one as done people are tough to hear. My wife complains about it, but it's really not that bad, and this is my commuter car, so 90% of the time I'm the only one in it.
       
    4. TheSauce

      TheSauce New Member

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      Thanks for the reply! Do you remember the model of the mount that you use?
       
    5. rizzjc

      rizzjc Scubajoe - Radio Mod Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      I don't. I got it from Amazon, so I'd have to look back I'm my account. The Lido mounts are probably the best ones, but I found this and it was a lot cheaper. If you don't mind spending the money, I'd try the Lido. I think it might be sturdier. This one is ok, but the pivot on the top that the faceplate attaches to moves too easily. I'd rather have it be stronger. I'm not sure about the length difference, but I could use another inch or so for better clearance.
       
    6. logullo

      logullo New Member

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      Wonder how your install went

      This weekend I'll be headed down the same path you were on when you started this thread. Wonder how it turned out... where did you finally mount the head?
       
    7. OV1Aviator

      OV1Aviator New Member

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      Mike,

      What did you end up doing? I have a 2015 Explorer Sport and have the same questions you had.

      Thanks,

      Gary K5GLB
       
    8. jmrdv

      jmrdv New Member

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      Mike, How did you eventually end up> I just got my 2016 explorer and am about to install my Tm-V71a Kenwood. I'm open to any ideas.

      I had hoped to install the unit itself under the 3rd seats but there is no room there. I'm wondering if I can remove the seat cushions since I have zero use for 3rd row seats while the extra space would be really nice

      John
       
    9. JakeBlues232

      JakeBlues232 New Member

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      I just bought a 2016, too, and am looking mainly for a route from the battery through the firewall. Have you guys come up with anything yet?
       
    10. RonRN18

      RonRN18 New Member

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      It has been a couple years since this was written and looking to find follow-up. I have a 2013 Ford Explorer (4WD Limited) and contemplating installing a two-way radio in it. While I'm a ham (WE6BB), the radio is actually a commercial VHF (Part 90), Kenwood TK-7360H with optional GPS installed. I'm a Search and Rescue communications volunteer and we are about to start using FleetSync II with GPS and I want to set up my vehicle as a mobile test-bed for the technology. I've been looking all over for where to install the radio itself and at the moment, I'm looking at installing it on the passenger's side center console cover. I'm thinking for the antenna, of a Larsen GPS with NMO Mount and placing it between the 2nd row moonroof and the vehicle's original antenna. I have no idea what nasty things to expect with placing the antenna there. I was hoping to learn from someone that has installed a 2-way in a 5th generation Explorer. I am also needing to know where to run power to the battery and where the best place to tap for ignition sense is located. I haven't yet received the wife's "go-ahead" with the project but trying to make sure it goes as painlessly as possible once I get her approval.

       

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