Technical Articles

Ham Mobile Install: A Few Things to Consider about Transceiver Placement and Detachable Heads

In this installment of Ham Mobile Install, we will talk about selecting a radio, where to mount it in the vehicle, and placing a detachable head.

When choosing a mobile transceiver, first assess your wants and needs. Do you want VHF, UHF, HF? Are you considering digital modes? How much power do you think you will need? Most likely, the more capabilities you want, the bigger the radio’s footprint will be in the vehicle. You’ll also want to consider the quality of the rig’s construction. Is it rugged enough for off-roading? Is it built to resist water and dust penetration?

Regardless of how many features you desire in your mobile radio, there are three main things you’ll want to consider when mounting it:

  1. Choose a location that is easily accessible and within reach while driving.
  • Ensure the location has adequate ventilation to prevent overheating.
  • Make sure the radio is secure.

Modern mobile transceivers typically feature removable front panels that allow operator controls to be positioned in a more convenient, ergonomic, and safe location with a smaller footprint. A thin separation cable links the control panel to the main radio chassis, which can then be located elsewhere in the vehicle. Therefore, the display, buttons, and knobs can be installed to best suit the radio operator and their particular vehicle.

All mountings should be secure so the transceiver does not come loose and bounce around the cabin in the event of an accident. Also, consider air bags when locating all radio controls. You don’t want to disturb the sensors during installation or have a bag deployment hit you with radio parts in a collision.

Happy mobile radioing!

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