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  1. Ryan Harden
  2. JL Lights and Electric
  3. Tuesday, 06 August 2019
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So my journey of the radios is nearing completion. Here is the documented journey of the Black Knight comms.

When I mounted the Stryker SR-955hpc 10 Meter Amateur Radio and Yaesu FTM-400XDR 144/430MHz Dual-Band Analog/Digital Mobile Transceiver with System Fusion I paired those with the Firestik MU-8R18 EZ-Install 18' CB Radio Antenna Coax W/K-4R Stud Mount for the Stryker and the Browning 17 foot WSPBR1015 Enclosed NMO 3/4 Hole Mount for the FTM400. For antennas, I originally went with the Comet SBB-5NMO 2M/70cm Dual Band Mobile Antenna for the FTM-400XDR and the K40 for the SR-955hpc. The mounts for the radios comes from Topsy Products, they are the best mounting options for the JL hood and mics. Here's the review of the Topsy mounts.

I routed the wires under the panels, carpet, etc. I ran each radio on their own AUX power switches (1 and 2 because they are higher amp circuits). I ran the power up the passenger side mid-rail and the coax on the driver's side mid-rail. I ran the coax through the firewall on the driver's side and simply unscrewed the firewall cap (standard on the JL for no drilling access) and fished them through.
Mounting the wires.jpg

After reinstalling everything, I decided to zip tie the radios up top to try a few different configurations. Good thing too, because I ended up changing the 955 so that the heat sync is not facing the passenger side. Jess Harden or I didn't want a bloody head I guess... I can then permanently mount these to the molle rack with some screws this week, now that I know which way to mount things.
Radio-Configuration.jpg

One other thing I'm going to install if there is room is the weBoost Drive 4G-X 470510 Cell Phone Signal Booster that I had in the JK. This really helps boost the signal of the cell phones for faster data and longer receive and transmit between towers. Before I do this though, I'm going to get a better antenna. Here's the forum post about all that.

After running this configuration for a few days, I noticed some RF (Radio Frequency) noise coming from the engine bay. It wasn't a whine or thumping so it wasn't the alternator or a ground issue I don't think, but when I turned the engine off, it went away... you see the problem with all the electronics in the new vehicles, it's sometimes very hard to figure out where to mount antennas and such. You can use things like Ferrite Cores which I had to help out or get a DC Line Noise Filter which I now also have to help figure this out.

This got me thinking... could I run larger coax up the windshield on the inside or outside to keep the wire from the noisy engine bay? I started researching what wire I could use and began to measure. It looks like I could go all the way up to LMR-400 wire, that's twice as thick as the wires I had! So I picked up some wire and hardware to do the install. I got 12 feet of US Made LMR-400 Coaxial HF VHF UHF Double Shielded Cable (could have gotten away with 6 feet I think and I may cut it down once I get the LMR400 crimper tool) for each side and then a NMO-3-1 NMO to UHF (SO-239) Female Adapter and some 50ohm 90 Degree Jack Connectors.

I then proceeded to see if the wire would fit. Taking the windshield down with the Hi-Lift hood mounts was a bit nerve-racking. Luckily I had some foam from the new bumper laying around to hold the glass up. Then I removed the door ding panel... not sure of the real name of that, but when someone's door flies away, that's the first thing the mirror hits and wrecks it. Oh, ya.. it's the cowl, here's a sample cover that looks pretty cool.. when you see these covers, it's usually to hide a door mirror ding, but I digress.
Shield-Down.jpg

After removing the cowl and taking the shield down (in the JL that takes all of 5 minutes unlike a half hour with the JK), I ran the wire and BOOM it fit! To make sure the window sealed, I carefully cut out a bit of the seal so the wire would sit flush. Don't cut all the way down on the seal if you do it or the end of the seal could fall off I'd think. The LMR 400 wire fit between the shield and the frame just right without any pinching or stress on the glass. If you feel stress, adjust the cable a little bit to run between the shield and the frame. It does fit without any drilling. Again, just with a little trim of the seal so the glass frame sits flat.
Behind-the-Cowl.jpg
Trimming-the-Seal.jpg

The end result is amazing low-loss, low SWR radio lines that'll provide years of service. This install would have been a ton easier if I would have done the thick cable in the first place, but I didn't think it would fit. Hopefully, this post helps save you a lot of work. It'd work the same with smaller wire if you went that route as well.

Lastly, I ordered a Stainless Steel Hustler QD-2 Antenna Quick Disconnect. This is so I can quickly change from low profile CB whip to high profile 10-meter whip when I'm out trying to make long-distance contacts. While the 10-meter band isn't so hot right now (low end of the sun cycle) it can broadcast into Europe and Australia when the atmosphere is more active. The antenna I went with was the Shark S-F10 for the "sit and make contacts".
Before I loaded the extra weight on those stainless steel hood mounts, I did tap in a few more screws. At 70mph, the antenna did just fine, but it's so tall, it's going to hit trees and such. Best to keep that one off the rig until calling CQ. Driving around with that monster just looks silly.
Shark-Antenna.jpg

Overall, this is a massive upgrade for the radios. Here are a few pictures of what the exposed area looks like.
NMO-Side.jpg
10-Meter-Side.jpg
Hustler.jpg
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Here's a video showing the antennas.

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