2016 F150 2 Meter/ 440 Mhz Amateur “Ham” Radio Install

In October of 2016,

First Instagram #2013Fusion

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I traded my 2013 Ford Fusion Titanium (amazing car, loaded with technology, It practically drove it self, in someways it did) for 2016 Ford F150 4×4 Lariat EcoBoost.

#frontclipfriday #leds #f150 #recycledbeercans #ecoboost #hairdryers

A photo posted by Tripp Williamson (@twilliamson3) on

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Now, It was always my intention to install a Radio in my car, i just never got around to it. I had my eye on the Yaesu FTM-400 as it featured LCD display and would match seamlessly with the styling of the Fusion.

 

Looking back i think the only thing that stopped me from doing that install was the cost of the radio. Shortly after i purchased that vehicle came the purchase of a Engagement Ring followed by my (our) first house.

Nowftm-350ar_thumb, back to the story. Just before i purchased the Fusion I purchased the then, top of the line Yaesu FTM-350 (i think i paid close to 7 bills for it) and installed it into a Explorer Sport Trac. Now that i have the new Truck, I no longer need the Sporty, as it is affectionately known, so that left me with a suitable radio to install in the new truck.

 

 

The Challenge. 

The 2015 F-150 is more capable and more efficient because it will be up to 700 pounds lighter, thanks to a smart application of materials and elements.

Aluminum body, Guess that rules out any chance of a mag mount on the roof.

NMO mount in the roof of my new truck, i dont think so, even if i have drilled dozens of holes in the roofs of other peoples trucks.

Bed mount  well, that about my best option. One of the first things i did to this truck was to install a Bed cover, specifically a undercover flex fiberglass panel based cover. With that cover in in the way I was very limited since ford didn’t include any front stake pockets and the rear would just look goofy, i couldn’t use any of the breadlove mounting options. So out came the calipers and a sketch pad. This is what i came up with.

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The bracket is designed to mount over the front of the bed and clamp to the folded over portion, it would then sneak under the front gasket of the bedcover and be attached with a couple of self drilling screws, were they would never be noticed.

I fished the coax assembly through one of the rear cab vents, I don’t expect to have any leaking issues as the way the flaps lay it pretty well sealed, but time will tell. I installed a Diamond NR770HNMO (1/2 wave on 2m and 5/8 on 440) and connected the MFJ antenna analyzer.

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I knew it wasn’t going to be the greatest results due to its close proximity to the back glass (covered in metal on glass defrosters and other gadgets) and the roof line. The analyzer i was using was only capable of VHF measurements but at 146mhz I was sitting about a 1.5:1 SWR. It wasn’t perfect, but decent enough. I moved the antenna to another vehicle with a mag mount base and it was flat as a pancake 1:1 match. I messed with the adjustment back on my mount but really couldn’t get it much lower.

 

The Radio Install 

(coming soon)

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