Ultraspaz

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Trying to put transceiver/Antenna installation ideas in one location. Please move to appropriate place if needed.

Looking for location and wiring ideas/discussions/examples for both the radios and the antennas on our Bronco Sports.

Ford has some documentation on the subject that may be of use. Much of Fords info is based on the ARRL handbook concerning the routing of antennas and power leads.

Galvanic corrosion attachment will help anyone installing dissimilar metals to the body (antennas) to prevent corrosion if you start drilling the roof for your install.

UPDATE:

Trying to get this thread going so here is my install even if it may be temporary until I find a better solution.
Transceiver is a VGC VR-7500 Dual Band that you probably never heard of mounted in the depression under the drivers seat with velcro.
Xcvr.jpg


It's an unusual radio in that the only front end controls are an on/off switch. Volume and channel selection is though the mic I mounted on the center console.
Mike.jpg


The majority of the controls are by Bluetooth through a dedicated spare android phone that also monitors an OBD2 dongle. Still looking for a good spot to mount spare phone.
Ham display.jpg


My antenna hasn't been delivered yet but the mount is a Diamond K9000LRM motorized mount I attached to the rear OEM luggage rack crossbar. Close to the Owners manual position 2 but not perfect. (NMO mount covered in silicon tape till UPS deliverers my antenna). Up/Down control for mount is next to microphone (see two pictures up). Power for antenna motor is though cigarette lighter power port for now but will be hard wired into fuse panel.
Diamond motor mount.jpg


Power for the radio is directly wired to the battery by going through a grommet in the firewall directly behind the battery.

Firewall.jpg


I was going to run the power leads to a 6 gang relay box I installed (in blue) but instead have the Pos. and Neg. going directly to the battery (yellow). Use caution if you decide to attach the Neg. lead to the body grounding post (right of the yellow line). With all the current going through all the electrical systems even with ignition off, you will get sparks if you loosen the body ground nut. I got sparks, all the light came on and I thought I shorted something out. I usually disconnect the Pos. terminal during electrical work but after reading the manual it appears some systems will require you recalibrate some of the systems if power is disconnected. I skipped the disconnect and it worked fine. I used an Automatic Power Off (APO3) box from APRS World LLC that turns on the radio power by sensing when the vehicle starts. It shuts off ten minutes after the engine is shut down. Just in case I forget to shut the radio off.
Inked20210209_185631_LI.jpg


For the antenna coax I used 3 meters of RG 316. The small coax made in easy to run in the seam along the luggage rack and then down along the liftgate entering into the BS at the bottom.

Route 2.jpg


I used Goop to hold the coax in position so it wouldn't get caught/pinched in any liftgate mechanisms. After the coax entered the rear of the BS I was able to hide the coax almost completely under interior molding to under the drivers seat.

My biggest concern's are coax type, a few hard 90 degree turns and running the coax parallel to a power lead for a few feet. Once I receive my antenna I'll see how bad I did with the SWR meter.

I'm a new Tech. licensee who has a lot to learn and I know some of the things I've done in this install are not best practice.

I hope others will post their Bronco Sport installs so we can all learn something and actually get some results when we google "Bronco Sport Ham radio installs".





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JamesT

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Trying to put transceiver/Antenna installation ideas in one location. Please move to appropriate place if needed.

Looking for location and wiring ideas/discussions/examples for both the radios and the antennas on our Bronco Sports.

Ford has some documentation on the subject that may be of use. Much of Fords info is based on the ARRL handbook concerning the routing of antennas and power leads.

Galvanic corrosion attachment will help anyone installing dissimilar metals to the body (antennas) to prevent corrosion if you start drilling the roof for your install.
Thanks for doing this. I’m eager to compare notes, esp once I get our BL
 

NavyBOFH

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The galvanic corrosion issue is really one that has been hyped up more than it needs to be. The aluminum Ford models CAN have such an issue - but is mitigated by the fact that said body panels are coated in a type of electrostatic zinc coating. Add an NMO mount like the Larsen NMOKHFUD which is zinc/nickel coated over the brass... the point becomes moot.

The biggest thing to ensure in ham radio installs that can lead to some... weird... issues is some Yaesu/Kenwood radios love to put a fuse on the ground side of the power wire. Clip that out and you'll never have a possible voltage issue of any sort. The issue I have personally seen is the ground wire fuse will blow... and the radio will use the RF ground as the new DC ground. No bueno.

As for location of drilling - I am looking at the one I just picked up because I will be installing my radios back in this vehicle as soon as possible. My thought is either going to be an NMO straight into the roof about 18-20" from the shark-fin antenna, or I might just run a fender mount off the front so I can run a taller antenna like the Comet SAR model without making the Bronco look like an RC car.

My install will end up being a surplus Sti-Co multiplexer, a Motorola XTL5000 110w VHF, and a Motorola XPR5550 50w UHF. Both are on handheld control heads which I will be (hopefully) finding a decent mounting solution for.
 

JamesT

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The galvanic corrosion issue is really one that has been hyped up more than it needs to be. The aluminum Ford models CAN have such an issue - but is mitigated by the fact that said body panels are coated in a type of electrostatic zinc coating. Add an NMO mount like the Larsen NMOKHFUD which is zinc/nickel coated over the brass... the point becomes moot.

The biggest thing to ensure in ham radio installs that can lead to some... weird... issues is some Yaesu/Kenwood radios love to put a fuse on the ground side of the power wire. Clip that out and you'll never have a possible voltage issue of any sort. The issue I have personally seen is the ground wire fuse will blow... and the radio will use the RF ground as the new DC ground. No bueno.

As for location of drilling - I am looking at the one I just picked up because I will be installing my radios back in this vehicle as soon as possible. My thought is either going to be an NMO straight into the roof about 18-20" from the shark-fin antenna, or I might just run a fender mount off the front so I can run a taller antenna like the Comet SAR model without making the Bronco look like an RC car.

My install will end up being a surplus Sti-Co multiplexer, a Motorola XTL5000 110w VHF, and a Motorola XPR5550 50w UHF. Both are on handheld control heads which I will be (hopefully) finding a decent mounting solution for.
send pictures as you go!
 

BobH

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Still waiting for my BS BL (since late July). After retiring from the USAF, I spent about 24 years maintaining and installing 2 way radio equipment for a local dealer and then Black Hills Power Co. Been a ham since '68. Once I get my hands on the new vehicle I can get a better idea on how I am going to install my equipment. Looks like your phone is mounted where I would like to mount the control head of my Icom ID-5100. I also want to put the body under the drivers seat. What are you using as a ground plane for your antenna?. Also, shouldn't be a problem running the coax near the power cable. The sharp turns on the coax can cause the center conductor to migrate toward the shield if it gets very warm. More of a problem with solid center conductors. Need to find out info on using the modem and built in wifi on my data plan. I want to use it with my open spot 3 to work D-star reflectors while I'm traveling.
 
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Ultraspaz

Ultraspaz

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Still waiting for my BS BL (since late July). After retiring from the USAF, I spent about 24 years maintaining and installing 2 way radio equipment for a local dealer and then Black Hills Power Co. Been a ham since '68. Once I get my hands on the new vehicle I can get a better idea on how I am going to install my equipment. Looks like your phone is mounted where I would like to mount the control head of my Icom ID-5100. I also want to put the body under the drivers seat. What are you using as a ground plane for your antenna?. Also, shouldn't be a problem running th!e coax near the power cable. The sharp turns on the coax can cause the center conductor to migrate toward the shield if it gets very warm. More of a problem with solid center conductors. Need to find out info on using the modem and built in wifi on my data plan. I want to use it with my open spot 3 to work D-star reflectors while I'm traveling.
Looking forward to seeing your experience show how an install should be done. I'm definitely winging it here. This new hobby I'm trying has a long learning curve

The motorized mount uses a ground Independent antenna. I went with one of the recommended antennas, a Diamond NR770HBNMO. If the motorized mount doesn't work out I can use it with a magnet mount. I'm hoping someone will come up with a suitable lip mount for the liftback or maybe eventually get the courage to drill.
 

NavyBOFH

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That VGC was a fun little radio when it came out - but I haven't seen one in person yet! It seems to be quite a winner to have VHF/UHF/APRS in one body - if it still does APRS versus when it was being promoted.

The 90s in the coax and it running parallel to the power shouldn't be an issue. RFI won't find its way in easily unless you have massive coils of spare power or coax which act like an inductive pick-up.

That space is about where I thought of mounting a 50w Motorola deck - though its about twice the size of the VGC. The antenna mount I haven't thought of though - that might be a winner.
 

JamesT

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Still waiting for my BS BL (since late July). After retiring from the USAF, I spent about 24 years maintaining and installing 2 way radio equipment for a local dealer and then Black Hills Power Co. Been a ham since '68. Once I get my hands on the new vehicle I can get a better idea on how I am going to install my equipment. Looks like your phone is mounted where I would like to mount the control head of my Icom ID-5100. I also want to put the body under the drivers seat. What are you using as a ground plane for your antenna?. Also, shouldn't be a problem running the coax near the power cable. The sharp turns on the coax can cause the center conductor to migrate toward the shield if it gets very warm. More of a problem with solid center conductors. Need to find out info on using the modem and built in wifi on my data plan. I want to use it with my open spot 3 to work D-star reflectors while I'm traveling.
Cant wait to hear and see what you think. I just got my BL+BL last week. Want to install a yaesu ft8900. Some interesting ideas have been posted forum about mounting antenna on a bracket at A pillar.

73
 

BobH

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Cant wait to hear and see what you think. I just got my BL+BL last week. Want to install a yaesu ft8900. Some interesting ideas have been posted forum about mounting antenna on a bracket at A pillar.

73
The antenna is the hard part. I am considering a lip mount on the lift gate between the glass and the tail lite but I can't tell it is too curved to use one there. One possibility would be a 40 inch lite bar made of metal. I would put an NMO L bracket on the back of it in the middle. Run the coax where the power cable for the lite bracket runs. There are rubber strips that run between the words " Accessory Ready" and the roof rails. I have heard that the can be pulled up and maybe there are access holes underneath. I don't know if that is true because I don't have anything to look at yet. Still, if you can't bring yourself to drill a hole, take it to your local 2 way dealer. Most of them are willing to work with Hams cause a lot of them are Hams. So far my 03/01 build date made it thru bloody Thursday. Good luck on your install. 73
 

JamesT

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The antenna is the hard part. I am considering a lip mount on the lift gate between the glass and the tail lite but I can't tell it is too curved to use one there. One possibility would be a 40 inch lite bar made of metal. I would put an NMO L bracket on the back of it in the middle. Run the coax where the power cable for the lite bracket runs. There are rubber strips that run between the words " Accessory Ready" and the roof rails. I have heard that the can be pulled up and maybe there are access holes underneath. I don't know if that is true because I don't have anything to look at yet. Still, if you can't bring yourself to drill a hole, take it to your local 2 way dealer. Most of them are willing to work with Hams cause a lot of them are Hams. So far my 03/01 build date made it thru bloody Thursday. Good luck on your install. 73
NavyBOFH posted an interesting idea about using Rigid mounts at the A-pillar. I am still looking at that. I don't want something tall on the roof if I can help it.
 
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Ultraspaz

Ultraspaz

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So. I'm having my first actual long conversation on my radio installed in the BS. About 15 min. into the conversation I get an error on dash stating:

"Intelligent Cruise Control Speed Sign Recognition Not Available" (Co-pilot 360+ installed)

Everything seems to work fine but I try to reset by shutting off cruise control and turning it on again. It takes 3 tries for cruise to work with same warning each time. Also, speed doesn't change at speed sign changes like normal. I stop the Sport , shut it off and restart to see if this makes a difference. Nothing.

I go on to my destination and on the way the i get a no GPS (GPS in a circle with a line through it) warning on center console . By now I'm wondering if I somehow compromised a wire while installing power for transceiver but I didn't have any problems before I had the long rag chew.

I unplug power to radio and shut down the Sport. An hour later everything is back to normal. I'm now a bit nervous about putting power to the radio. I had no problems before with a 5 watt HT on a magnetic mount near the BS antenna.

Expert advice needed. Has anyone else had problems? Is the 50 watts transmission causing the problems in my electronics? Antenna is 27 inches ahead of the BS antenna. Definitely not in one of the recommended mounting areas. Another thought is: Could the radios power cord I ran through an existing grommet induce currents in the large wire bundle in the grommet?

When I get a chance I'm going to try reduced power outputs. Also going to look inside the grommet to insure no damage to wire bundle and try running power from a different source. Will also try old mag mount antenna and coax reroute.

If I can't find a solution I'm going back to the handheld instead of risking damage to the vehicles electronics and voiding warranty.
 

JamesT

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So. I'm having my first actual long conversation on my radio installed in the BS. About 15 min. into the conversation I get an error on dash stating:

"Intelligent Cruise Control Speed Sign Recognition Not Available" (Co-pilot 360+ installed)
<snip>

If I can't find a solution I'm going back to the handheld instead of risking damage to the vehicles electronics and voiding warranty.
That's unhappy.
 
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Ultraspaz

Ultraspaz

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I changed antenna to a Nagoya UT-73 Mag mount and moved it to roughly Fords recommended position number 2. It's now about 3 inches forward of the BS antenna instead of the 27 inches previously. I also rerouted the coax in the interior in case that mattered. I didn't change anything with power supply yet.

Started out at 25 watts transmitting multiple times on empty UHF and VHF Freq. while driving and no problems. Held my breath and switched to full power (50 watts) and so far no problems.

I still don't know if I had a temporary glitch in the Bronco or something caused by RF interference. For now I'm sticking with the current layout and monitor for any other glitches.
 

JamesT

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Has anyone else done installs? Thoughts? Weather is just starting to warm here and I’m considering. Would welcome ideas. K7JRT
 

BobH

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I ordered an A-Tach #509268 mount off of ebay. Should have it on friday and my BS should be here at the same time. I think I will go with a lip mount on the rear lift gate. More as it all happens.
 

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