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Your Questions Answered (Mobile Install, Inexpensive Radios, Power Supplies) – Ham Radio Q&A

Your Questions Answered (Mobile Install, Inexpensive Radios, Power Supplies) – Ham Radio Q&A

– Today on Ham Radio Q&A,
I dig into the mailbag and answer your questions. So please, keep watching for more. (soft upbeat music) Hi, I’m Michael, KB9VBR,
your host for Ham Radio Q&A. I’m on a mission to inspire and educate the armature radio community,
so if this is your first time watching please consider
hitting that subscribe button. Well, let’s just jump
headfirst into these questions. My video on the Subaru
Outback Ham Radio install generated a lot of questions and comments. Both on Outback owners looking
to add a rig to their car and also other vehicle
owners with general mobile radio installation questions. One such question was from Rizal. Great video, I Just got an Ftm-400 and I installed it in
my 2001 Jeep Wrangler. I did notice a bit of alternator noise. Anything I can do about that? Alternator whine can be
a tricky proposition. It may be a signal that one of the diodes in your alternator has gone bad and the power isn’t as
clean as it should be. Considering the age of the
alternator in a 2001 vehicle that very well could be the case. A common solution consist
of using a brute-force filter near the alternator. This would be a large capacitor and chokes to filter the power
but simpler methods do exist. First, take your power
directly from the battery, both positive and negative, so you’re not subject to the
vehicle’s power system noise, and second, make sure you have a good ground for the antenna. The ARRL has some additional resources, on mobile radio installs
that you may find useful. I’ll link a link to that in
the video description below. In reply to that comment, I
did receive another question as to why we wanna fuse the negative in addition to the positive, when pulling power
directly from the battery. And, there’s a couple
schools of thought on this. You fuse the negative, in
addition to the positive, when you make a direct
connection to the battery in order to protect it from wiring faults related to your install. But there is also a concern
that if there is a ground fault, the fuse on the negative line
would blow and potentially cause energy to seek an alternative path, which would be directly
through your radio. Fortunately, ground faults are quite rare if you follow good practice
and not route the power cables in places where they’re
gonna bind, fray, or wear. That means using grommets
to protect the cable from sharp edges and not running power through pinch points like your doors. With that said, I believe
the general consensus is that the fuse that leads for
a duel battery connection and fuse only the positive
if you are pulling the ground from the chassis. But even newer cars with aluminum bodies and engine idle shutdown
and cause more issues and I found a handy webpage by K0bg, that has some great info
on wiring modern vehicles. I’ll through that link below
in the video description. My only caveat is that, if
you start searching online for help on wiring, there’s
a lot of old information on the internet about vehicle
power for radio equipment and automobile technology
has increased greatly in the last decade. You should follow your
vehicle manufacturers recommendations for wiring any
types of accessory equipment. And, this would include
armature radio gear. Alright, next up, a couple of questions
about the microphone. And, Mark writes, hi, Michael, one thing I must stress in regards to mic placement is when not
using, as in the microphone, make sure you don’t put it in
a cubby hole in the console. I did that and found my mic was keyed up, fortunately I noticed
quickly and removed it from the cubby hole. Speaking of cubby holes I
have one in my Chevy Traverse that I simply cut our a piece
of wood that would fit snug and mounted it to the back
of the control head bracket. I’m using the FT7900, so when I feel I need to
remove the control head from view I just unplug the cable, and pull the head out of the cubby and put it in the glove box. My external speaker sits on
the console under the arm rest to give me good audio. Oh and as far as the radio
under the drivers seat, make sure there aren’t any heat vents for the back seat passengers
located under the drivers or front passengers seats. The radio will not like the heat! Now, these are are some
really great points. Make sure you put your
microphone in a place that is not your not gonna have a stuck
mic or open mic problem, and also if you’re sticking your radio under either the driver or passenger seat, make sure you have an adequate airway, both so the radio doesn’t overheat, and so the passengers in the back still receive heat from the car. Next up, I installed an Icom 2370 in my 04 Tacoma, and recently started
using a Nite Ize Steelie to hold my mike to the dash. While they are spendy, they work well, and I can just grab and pull, rather than having to
lift it off of the hook, yet the magnet still holds strong enough for a washboard mountain roads. Thanks for the recommendation,
a magnetic holder like the Nite Ize sounds
like a really good solution for the microphone. I’ll put a link for that device in the video description if others wanna utilize
something like that. On mic extension cables, Scott writes. The mic extension, is that
a standard phone cable with a junction box? Okay, the Yaesu FTM-400XDR uses a six pin RJ12 modular plug and cable for the microphone. They sell a mic extension kit, but the cable is like three meters long and it’s a little pricey. I went to Amazon and I bought a four foot, six conductor cable
with RJ12 six pin plugs, and a six pin inline coupler. Total cost, was about $11. Other radios use the six
pin modular connector for their microphone too, so
you can make a custom length extension cable for your
Icoms and Kenwoods also. In my video I mentioned that I needed to add an external speaker
for better audio, Chris asks. Okay, can you not output your
audio to the car speakers? Okay, I made that consideration, and I might do a little research
on my options of running the audio through the sound system before I add an external speaker. I do like to listen to
the FM broadcast radio when I’m not talking on the mobile, so I’d have to figure out
how the two can coexist. But one neat feature of the FTM-400XDR is that its audio out is in stereo, so the A band goes to the left channel and the B band goes the right. If you do decide to run your
audio through the car system, you can leave it like that, otherwise, Yaesu supplies an adapter
to mix the channels down to a mono signal. Enough about the mobile radio installs, let’s move on to another question. Daniel writes, I want to
buy my first ham radio. Can you recommend a
good radio for a novice? It doesn’t have to be
the cheapest, thanks. The cheapest isn’t always the best deal, and you get what you pay
for in terms of quality. The good news is both Icom and Yaesu have some excellent deals going on from now until the end of the year. For a handheld, I’m gonna
recommend the Yaesu FT-4XR for $99 or the FT-70DR for 159. The FT-70DR includes
system fusion digital, which may be appealing to you if you’ve got a fusion repeater nearby. For mobiles, the FTM-3200DR is only $145. Even better deal is the Kenwood TM-281A which is two meter analog and
65 watts our for only $132. All these prices I found at They’re current as of December, 2018. If you are budget minded, the only analog Chinese handheld radio
that I’m gonna recommend is the Btech UV-5X3 for about $59. Although, I’ve seen it
sell for as low as $45 on Amazon during the holidays or when they run a special sale event. Speaking of cheap radios, I received this comment from Stephen. Nice test and review as always. He’s referring to my Retevis RT-95 review. Most cheap Chinese radios
do have a bad receiver. Can you say something about that? Well, thanks for the comments. Yes, inexpensive radios
rely on direct conversion for detecting the RF signal. The direct conversion circuits are crammed onto one or two microprocessor chips and they can be pronged
to poor sensitivity and overloading because they
lack the proper filtering in the receiver stages. I don’t have any fancy test equipment, but I am planning to do
a video that demonstrates kind of, in a real world situation the differences between direct conversion and the more traditional
superheterodyne receiver types. Last question, Patrick writes. I’m looking at purchasing a
Yaesu FTM-3200DR for home use. What kind of power supply
would I need to run it? Well, the FTM-3200DR is a great rig and it’ll do up to
about 65 watts of power. At full power, the radio
will pull about 14 amps. My recommendation is if
you’re looking to purchase a power supply is to consider a 25 amp switching power supply. Street price, they’re
around a hundred dollars. A 25 amp supply will
give you plenty of power for two VHF/UHF mobile
radios, or 100 watt HF rig, so you’re gonna have a little
bit of growth capacity there. And why a switching
supply and not the more traditional linear supplies? Well, the big difference is weight. This is a switching power supply, relatively lightweight,
under two or three pounds, about three pounds. And this is an equivalent
20 amp, linear power supply. This thing weighs about 20, 25 pounds. So there’s a big weight
difference between the two. Now, the linear supplies are gonna be very quiet, no noise or
ripple or things like that. But, modern switching supplies in addition to being
lightweight and inexpensive. They’re also pretty
well-filtered with little RF hash and are more energy efficient
than linear power supplies. I’ve been moving away
from the linear supplies towards the switching supplies myself. And now, some quick announcements before I close this episode, the year is rapidly coming to a close. So that means my annual
year-end countdown is only of the 10 best videos will
here in a few short weeks. This year, I’m planning to do a poll for a Peoples Choice Award, so watch for that pole to appear
either on my Facebook page or here on YouTube. And also, coming up in January, on Saturday, January 5th, 2019, I’ll be at the West Allis
Radio Amateur Club’s Midwinter Swapfest in Waukesha, Wisconsin. That’s at the Waukesha Expo Center. I’m gonna have a table set up selling my VHF and UHF antennas. And also, I’ll just be available to chat. Love to talk to people
that stop by the booth. It’s one of the bigger
Hamfest in the upper Midwest, so if you’re in the neighborhood, please consider stopping by. And as always if you like this video, give me that big thumbs
up, I really appreciate it, and also check out some of my other videos that are recommend here. And don’t forget to hit
that subscribe button. Pressing subscribe, and
pressing in the green, that little notification
bell will remind you when future videos are released. Well, I’m Michael, KB9VBR,
have a great day and 73. (upbeat music)

9 comments on “Your Questions Answered (Mobile Install, Inexpensive Radios, Power Supplies) – Ham Radio Q&A

  1. I use a bluetooth to FM adapter for my late model BMW 745Li. I bet you don't see too many 7's with a ham radio in them. : ) No need to feed a speaker wire through the car as I have my ID-5100 mounted in the trunk. The optional bluetooth module for the 5100 works perfectly. – KC3HUL

  2. hello sir, i just got a BAOFENG UV 5R radio and i am trying to set my HYT TC 320 pmr446 frequency but it dont work. can you help me on what to do. thanks

  3. No kidding building a codeplug is difficult as well as extremely educational…… teaches you how to curse 😉 Old joke, but the sentiment isn't. I think you can tell foretell my vote.

  4. What handheld would you recommend that has removable battery pack for extended field use with extra battery packs when recharging is not available?

  5. Question, I'm looking for a good portable AM/FM, NOAA, Short Wave radio to take on my sail boat. Rechange batts or plug into 12 volt. What recommendations from anyone? Thanks.

  6. I have a FT520 Kenwood. is it possible to install some kind of digital read out on this Transmitter…aside from buying an updated Xtmr. WA6FYV

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