NorCal FJs

FJ Cruisers of Northern California

So I decided to redo my HAM setup in the FJ.


My original setup was a Yeasu FT-7800r dualband mobile (144/440 Mhz) matched to a Comet SSB-7 antenna on a Bandi Mount (made by Bandi) I would also run APRS (Amateur Radio Packet Service). The main limitation to this is while the 7800 is a great radio you are limited to single band operation, so I could either talk or run APRS but not both at the same time. The other issue with the setup was I never had the faceplate mounted well. I tried using a window suction mount for awhile but the UV from the Sun ended up destroying the plastic over time.


The new setup is a FT-8900r in addition to the FT-7800r.


The FT-8900r is a quadband mobile radio 29/50/144/440 Mhz over all the radio is a bit overkill and a little limited on 29 & 50 Mhz since it is FM only rather than All-Mode (AM/FM/USB/LSB) I will be mainly using the radio on 144/440 Mhz. The FT-8900r is now matched to the Comet SSB-7 antenna.


The FT-7800r is now relegated to APRS duty primarily and a second voice radio if necessary. For APRS I am using a TinyTrak 4 with a Bluetooth adapter and APRSDROID as the controller and GPS. It allows for a small footprint in the rig, In the past to run a full featured APRS setup it required a laptop. I had to add a second antenna so I picked up a Comet SSB-1 which is a short flexible whip that I mounted to my ARB roof rack on a Diamond right angle mount that is bolted to the front of the rack.


I decided to mount the control heads properly this time around. So I built a custom mounting bracket that attaches over the rearview mirror and there is enough room from the roof to the top of the mirror that both control heads fit perfectly without affecting visibility to the rear view mirror. I used some flat stock aluminum that I hand bent to the appropriate angle, since it is a short piece there is very little vibration and the radio heads are very secure.

The radio bodies are currently placed under both the driver and passenger seats with power running to my SPOD so the radios are switched from the dash and the battery is protected since my SPOD has the low voltage disconnect. I also ran a remote extension for the mic so the mic isn’t hanging from the radio head above the mirror. One of the really nice features of these 2 radios is that the remote cable and the mic use a standard 6 pin modular connector so it’s very easy to build custom cables. (If anyone wants to make custom cables for their own setup I have over 100 connectors and the proper crimper)

The top radio head is the FT-7800r and the lower head is the FT-8900r

Mic remote mounted. I added a hook to the back to the mic and I'm using a 3M no mark hook so I don't have to drill any holes. You can also see my Gammatronix Multimode Programmable Battery Monitor

Not a great picture but you can see the new antenna I added for the 7800r.

My current APRS setup with the Tiny Trak 4 and APRSDROID. I need to rebuild the power/data connector.

Future plans.

Ram Mount for a Nexus 7 LTE tablet, this will run APRSDROID and mapping software on the trail on a larger screen than my Galaxy Nexus.

Second Battery

Rig Runner that will attach to the second battery for I can add additional radios like my IC-706 all mode HF radio.

Antenna mounts to the holes in the ARB Bumper to attach HF HAMStick antennas so I can run mobile HF.

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Replies to This Discussion

Looking good. Nice job

Very cool set up Josh. I want to start playing with APRS. There have been a few times trying to find people at night APRS would have been helpful. 

I'm running it almost all the time now you can track/stalk me at KD6WJX-9.

I've found some good write ups about talking the AFSK audio from APRSDroid to a BaoFeng radio both the UV-3 and UV-5. I've got some cables on order and I'm going to test that setup. If all goes well I will publish here a punch list that can get someone into APRS for under 50 bucks if they use already has a Android phone. My goal is to have APRS on multiple rigs on trail runs.

NIce !!

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