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VHF Installation

VHF Installation

Postby iandvl » 16 Sep 2015 11:07

I received a new VHF unit from F_D a couple of weeks ago. However, since I've been killing myself work-wise and thesis-wise, I've not installed it yet. Since my conference presentation went super well, I thought I'd spoil myself a little and start installing the unit - especially since I've got the dune trip coming up shortly.

Now the thing is : when I installed a similar unit in the Hardbody, the bit I battled with most was getting the unit to fit properly in the second DIN slot above the factory FM radio. I've still not worked out why vehicle VHF radios have also not adopted DIN standards, as this would make things so much easier, but that is beside the point. In any case, I learnt a lot from the last exercise with the Hardbody, and managed to get the unit installed without many problems.

VHF.jpg
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As far as the Patrol goes, I'm stumped with two issues:

Firstly, I have sort of decided that the best place to mount the antenna will be on the fender-flare on the right hand side. Sadly, this area is pretty much sealed - meaning that I've got to work out how I'm going to tighten the antenna once I've got the 19mm hole cut.

Secondly, I'm battling in terms of where to run cables through the firewall. With the Hardbody, there was an unused electrical gland just above and to the left of the steering wheel, and routing the cables through was trivial. Also, the Hardbody is a 2.4, and the space in the bonnet is fantastic - you can get just about everywhere around the engine. This is not the case with the Patrol. The 4,5 straight six, electrical harness, air pipes and similar take up pretty much all space in the engine bay, and there is very little room to work and similar. Also, I've yet to find an unused cable gland through the firewall. The other glands are all chock-full of the harness, and I'm not sure that I will be able to safely route the antenna and electricity cables through them... :(

So, in short : has anybody done an installation like this by themself ? How / where is the antenna mounted ? If it is on the fender, how did you tighten the unit ? Where are the cables routed ? Is there an unused gland between the firewall and the engine bay ?

Sorry for all the questions, but after peering around the engine bay for hours last night, I haven't been able to work out a thing about installing the unit...
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Re: VHF Installation

Postby Bruin Beer » 16 Sep 2015 11:21

Ian,
I unfortunately don't have the answer to your question but would like to sit with a similar "problem" any day. :pray:
Also would fancy a VHF radio but they are still relative expensive. Seem like you struck gold.
Sure you will soon get the answer here.
All the best.
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Re: VHF Installation

Postby iandvl » 16 Sep 2015 11:27

Riaan,

Having discovered the benefits of VHF radios when touring locally, I'm sold on them.

Yes - they are relatively expensive, but since first introducing the wife to the joys of being able to seamlessly communicate with other persons in our convoy when we travel places, she is normally the one who asks "did you remember the radios" when we leave for any place.

As such, the VHF unit was on my list of "must-haves", and the wife did not need any convincing... :woo: :woo:
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Re: VHF Installation

Postby offroadbiker » 17 Sep 2015 07:34

Had my VHF antenna fitted for the river trip, got a thinga magic :surprised: ie bonnet clamp which meant no drilling of holes into the body of the vehicle and if required one can take the Arial off.....
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Re: VHF Installation

Postby iandvl » 17 Sep 2015 08:05

Dirk,

Thanks - trust me - I've considered that option. I decided not to opt for it due to two issues:

1: My understanding, is that the "base" of the aerial needs to be properly earthed. Whilst there is nothing wrong with the "bonnet clips", I don't see the earth being as effective as a permanently installed antenna. Also, as a result of the proper installation of the antenna on the Hardbody, the transmit and reception range I have are incredible and I'd personally like a similar installation on the 'trol. I'm not very worried about "cutting holes" into it to install the antenna, because the vehicle cannot depreciate more than it already has and I'm planning on keeping it for a very long time in any case.
2: The cable issue. How do I route the power and co-ax cables from the engine bay to inside the cabin.

In any case, I think I may have identified a gland I can use for this purpose. If so, I'll post my solutions with pictures, as there don't seem to be (m)any threads regarding DIY radio installation here. :biggrin:

I shall keep everyone posted.
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Re: VHF Installation

Postby ChristoSlang » 17 Sep 2015 19:23

I did my own installation - will take photos this weekend!

PS: You're right - those clip-on antennas don't work as well as the ones that are bolted onto the body-work...
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Re: VHF Installation

Postby Stefan » 17 Sep 2015 20:14

My 29MHz antenna is mounted to the right-hand side fender.
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Re: VHF Installation

Postby iandvl » 18 Sep 2015 09:07

ChristoSlang wrote:I did my own installation - will take photos this weekend!

PS: You're right - those clip-on antennas don't work as well as the ones that are bolted onto the body-work...


Christo,

Please post photos - I'd be interested in seeing your set-up. However, I've managed to figure out how to do things. I even cut the 19mm hole for the antenna mount last night.

The antenna will be mounted on the fender relatively close to the cabin (so that I can get my hand in to tighten the thing). The cable will be routed to the engine bay through the port where the cable for the side indicator runs. There, it will be routed along with the power cables to the cabin, entering the cabin through the gland in the top middle of the firewall.

Have checked, double-checked and triple checked, and I think that is the best option.

Will photograph everything as I move on and post here in any case.

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Re: VHF Installation

Postby iandvl » 21 Sep 2015 09:11

Right - since I got it all sorted, a few photos. I've edited one or two of them to indicate some things, but please excuse my zero-day photoshop skills. I'm terrible with photo editing... :)

1: Antenna was mounted on the right hand fender near to the door where there is at least a slight gap between the cabin and the fender which I could get my hand in to tighten the antenna.

R1.jpg
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2: Atenna cable was routed through the fender, through a gland where the right-hand indicator cable runs. Sadly, as can be seen, I damaged the gland a bit when routing the cable through it, but I've patched it with silicon and it should be relatively water tight.

R2.jpg
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3: Antenna (red) and power (blue) were covered in sheathing, and routed through the engine bay.

R3.jpg
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4: The new radio "harness" was routed through a gland in the center of the firewall which comes out (conveniently) just behind the centre console.

R5.jpg
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5: Connectors were all connected, and my VHF is now working \:D/

R6.jpg
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I've not done a range test or anything on the radio yet. However, performance seems to be similar with the Hardbody as I get very good reception on ORRA 8 (no tone) of a security company which is quite a distance away. I'll do a range test at some point to work out exactly how nicely it is all working.
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Re: VHF Installation

Postby ChristoSlang » 21 Sep 2015 21:07

Cool stuff!

Did yo get your antenna trimmed properly for the ORRA frequencies?
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