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DIN mount HF rig - get rid of that chicken bander.




 
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Author Topic: DIN mount HF rig - get rid of that chicken bander.  (Read 4056 times)
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Patrick J. / KD5OEI
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« on: January 13, 2011, 11:39:52 PM »

I have a Chevrolet Silverado. It comes with a 'double DIN' size radio. It is therefore possible to replace that with two single DIN size radios or other equipments using a commonly available installation kit.

I thought the IC-706 or the Alinco DX-70 would fit, but they are slightly too tall at the front (2.25" and 2.3125" resp.). Furthermore, their bodies are taller as each has a bulge underneath for a board, so they won't fit the hole and even going with a new DIN size car radio and mounting just the HF set's control panel in the other hole is not going to work.

DIN is 7" x 2", or 50mm x 180mm.

There is enough space behind the stock radio's 'hole' to arrange cooling air from the a/c vent in case the radio's panel is non-detachable.

Does anyone know if there is a HF set that will fit in the 50x180mm space, or with a panel that will fit in the space?

Otherwise, how can I mount a decent HF set in there so it does not stick out and say "lookit that fancy CB radio" to any thief that walks past?

#1 it has to be where I can work it without being distracted and taking my eye from the road. That is simple with the under-dash CB having three knobs, but not with a ham rig. Under-dash is not going to work if I want to be frequency and mode-agile and not take my attention away from driving.

What have others done?

Thanks in advance for suggestions!

p.s. I have not decided between a screwdriver -or- keep the CB whip, base loading it slightly, and using an autotuner. The whip is durable and does not attract attention as much as a screwdriver might. I am going to use an 8-transistor amplifier which I already have.
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« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2011, 01:42:10 AM »

You might take a look at an FT-857, I think they are thinner than the Alinco and IC706. That might fit in the DIN slot. Or, put something in the DIN slot to mount the head on, and put the body of the rig under the seat or further back in the vehicle.

I pulled the between the seats plastic armrest/storage compartment out and built up a box with plywood that sits in it's place. There is a DX70, an MFJ cross needle SWR box modified with an up/down switch an an audible VCO off the reflected power side of the bridge and a switch to route the output of the VCO or the rig to an external amp, a radio shack mobile DSP audio amp to take the audio feed from the MFJ box, a dual band vhf/uhf radio and a CB rig in the stack. The DX70 is pretty easy to run by touch, no menus to sort through for most stuff and my hand falls naturally to the tuning dial. I can glance down to check frequency or the swr, but I can tune the swr without taking my eyes off the road by flipping the switch and listening to the VCO as I tune the screwdriver. When I hear the tone dip, I rock back and forth for lowest frequency and I'm tuned. The RS DSP box provides six watts of audio to an external speaker further back between the seats. A two position with center ground switch goes between the DX70 and the cb to the screwdriver so I can select either radio, or ground the inputs when I'm parked in the driveway and running the Titan in the house so I don't zorch the front end.

I've run a BB3 (later TJANTENNAS) screwdriver and had much much better experience on the lower bands with it than with a whip and an autotuner. In the winter rat I run a whip with an IC706 and an AH-4. I can be heard on 40, but 75 is hopeless. I use a 17 meter whip with the tuner and it will tune on all bands. I can hear on 75 pretty well when the tuner matches it, but my ERP is so low nobody hears me. In contrast, I've had hours long qso's on 75 meters with the screwdriver while driving from CNY to NYC area when using an 8 foot whip on top of it. If I want to get up on 17 and higher, I need to put the 6 foot whip on, which is a bit less effective on 75. 

If you are only going to work 20, 17 and up, then the autotuner and whip are ok. If you want to work 40, 60 and 75, then the screwdriver is the only way to go.  I am interested in experimenting with mobile loop antennas. I've seen reports that they are ten db better than a whip on the low frequencies when implemented properly.
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« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2011, 12:22:43 PM »

I have an 857, and I really like it.  I also have the matching ATAS-120 screwdriver, and it's an antenna.  I like the ease of just having to hit a button on my microphone (I have the DTMF that also controls the radio...  A MUST if you have it mobile..  It pretty much adds the rest of the controls to make it an easy to use radio, in ADDITION to giving you dtmf.  I can control vol, freq, everything even power, from the mic).

It's also SMALLER than DIN.  I don't have a mic here, but I can hit it with the tape measure...

The CHASSIS is 6 3/16" WIDE, 1 3/4 TALL and 9" deep, including rear sink.

The faceplate is ALSO removable, and I can JUST about fit it in the 'pocket' below the stereo on my 2006 Dodge Dually.  It's ALMOST the same size as my Kenwood TM231 2 meter.

All mode, all band 160-70Cm, sans 220.  Unlocking the CPU WON'T give you 220...  It's hard coded out of the radio. 

AM is OK out of the box, but a decent mic and the -3 volts on the ALC will really wake AM up.  Not a plate mod rig, but I've checked into a couple AM nets with the stock 23 watts carrier, and the ATAS dummy load Smiley.

I'd second it.  Decent radio, you can get some good filters (Collins) for it, and it has a removable faceplate.  You can control it via bluetooth if you get the associated adapters, and it's really flexible.

--Toll_Free
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« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2011, 11:08:36 PM »

The 857 looks pretty nice. I wonder if the FM filter (-6dB@9KHz) could be applied on AM for RX? diode magic. I'll have to investigate more.
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« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2011, 12:40:20 AM »

I don't know what the 857 uses for an AM filter, but it doesn't sound excessively narrow. I know the IC706 uses the FM filter and it's too broad. The DX70 has a pretty decent AM filter.

If I get a chance this weekend, I'll see if I can get some sense of what the AM filter bandwidth is, but I'm thinking it's around 6khz at -6db.

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« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2011, 02:28:05 PM »

Out of the three mobiles mentioned, the 706 will be the best for TX audio even with the hand mic. I had an 857 and currently have an ft-100D and both of them have terrible TX audio. I have the AM filter (Factory included with the D radio) in the 100d and it works great on AM rx, but forget talking (Its better WITH the filter, but still no up to snuff). The 706 on the other hand has halfway decent TX audio but lacks on the rx side even with all the filters installed. The best one I found for mobile HF is the Kenmore TS-50. Nice front end so you can actually hear people, and the tx audio is decent. They're a little hard to come by however.

just my .02


ON EDIT: Something I forgot to say is when i ran my 706mkiig mobile (with a Hi-Q antenna), I ran an old Astatic 575m6 microphone into the balanced modulator connection on the rear and it made the audio much better on both AM and SSB.

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« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2011, 09:11:27 PM »

"Otherwise, how can I mount a decent HF set in there so it does not stick out and say "lookit that fancy CB radio" to any thief that walks past?"


well you may need to take your Dog with you but the 857 with -3vdc or so
of fixed ALC supplied via DIN plug on back sounds ok and will fit a DIN hole
in the dash.  Plus (with a couple drops of "circuit writer") does 160- 512mcy
minus the 220 void. That big arse knob does make it look like a fancy CB.
So basicly its your AM/FM/CB/GMRS/VHF/UHF/Marine unit. Removable FP
helps a bit.

/Dan
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« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2011, 09:20:15 PM »

 Clarity Fix.....

 that should have been 160m- 512mcy.


"160- 512mcy"
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« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2011, 09:38:20 AM »

Quote
Out of the three mobiles mentioned, the 706 will be the best for TX audio even with the hand mic.<snip>The 706 on the other hand has halfway decent TX audio but lacks on the rx side even with all the filters installed. The best one I found for mobile HF is the Kenmore TS-50. Nice front end so you can actually hear people, and the tx audio is decent. They're a little hard to come by however.

I think the Alinco DX-70 is pretty similar to the TS-50 that way. I've always had good audio reports on it when mobile. The receiver bandwidth also is pretty good, not too tight, but not FM filter wide (3 QSO's at once) like the stock 706. The 706 can be modified by some cutting and wiring to use one of the filter slots for AM, and an FL-102 in there works well, but hard to find.

The 706 does sound better when driven from the rear port.

I didn't get to measure the 857 this weekend, but I was running it mobile and was listening to a QSO and engaged the DSP to tighten it up. That got me curious so I twiddled the DSP hi-cut frequency. It went out to 6000 hz in the AM mode, and seemed to be making changes all the way out to that frequency, so I'd say the AM filter is at least that wide. I know it feels like a reasonable filter for AM work, it's obviously not the SSB filter and doesn't seem as wide as the FM filter would be.

I've had the opportunity to run the DX70, IC706 and FT857 mobile. For HF only and simple operating the DX70 is often my choice. When I want more capability (including DSP cw filtering and VHF and UHF) the FT857 ends up in the vehicle. For whatever reason the 706 always came in third. YMMV


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« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2011, 08:12:36 PM »

After a couple tries, the IC-706 will fit in the 2004 silverado (classic), but sticks out a little. It will not fit in there on top of a DIN size radio without cutting the dashboard escutcheon which I was unwilling to do. Mounting this up to the screw-holes in the dash requires making from scratch the radio mount and the radio escutcheon. The DX-70 is larger and won't fit. The FT857 would fit but I did not buy one.

I left the good GM radio in the dash and put the IC-706 (less front panel) facing up in the dash behind and partly to the left of the glove box. The front panel was mounted between and above the 12V cigar-outlets. Just thought I'd close this out since a result was arrived at.

Jacob will probably end up with the DIN-mount fancy radio. MP3 was the only thing I cared about anyway. A DVD holds a lot of MP3 time.

The earlier thread before trying it is: http://amfone.net/Amforum/index.php?topic=21864.0
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« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2011, 11:43:21 AM »

I don't know the year of manufacture of your truck but you need to find out if it was equipped with a so-called "GM Class II data bus interface". Mine is a 2005 and does have it. When you replace the radio it's not just a simple matter of out with the old and in with the new. If you don't get an adapter for your new radio you may lose your 3 amp 12 volt switch accessory feature as well as the so-called "retained accessory power" feature. In my vehicle this feature leaves the radio on even though the ignition is off but the radio shuts off as soon as I open the door. It comes back on when I return to the vehicle and start the engine. I know people are thinking "Why did they do that!". I don't know but my 2005 Silverado was a real good deal when I bought it. However the cheap radio left a lot to be desired and I started looking for a replacement only to find out there wasn't any. Or so they said. I did find several double din radios that fit and I bought one. It turns out that unsuitability is not related to physical fit but electrical incompatibility. I bought an adapter to fix the problem. Adapter prices range from about $40 - $80.
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« Reply #11 on: October 17, 2011, 11:59:07 PM »

There's an accessory sold for this, your price is right, and it also makes the key/door chime work. I have this, was advised to get it by the distributor I deal with.

Why they did this on GM I don't know. It should not have been put in the stock radio.
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« Reply #12 on: October 18, 2011, 09:53:02 AM »

There's an accessory sold for this, your price is right, and it also makes the key/door chime work. I have this, was advised to get it by the distributor I deal with.

Why they did this on GM I don't know. It should not have been put in the stock radio.

I would like to figure out how to keep my GM radio in my silverado and ELIMINATE the door chime...I would like to leave the key in the ignition and open the door without the chime going off....(for hunting)
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« Reply #13 on: October 18, 2011, 11:09:24 AM »

The after market adapter mentioned above relocates the annoying chime from the radio sound system to the adapter itself. It has instructions on lowering the chime sound level. However I also plan to use "the handy man's friend, duct tape" as Red Green would say, over the transducer opening to lower it to almost inaudible level. Or so I hope.
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