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2nd Generation GE8 Specific Fit I.C.E. Sub-Forum Threads discussing in-car electronics including audio, video, security and navigational systems in the 2nd generation GE8 Honda Fit

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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 03-19-2009, 11:51 PM
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Old 03-20-2009, 07:52 PM
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Here's how I routed the coax:

Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.

Here's more detail of the antenna:

Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.


Radio mounted to the carpet:
Click the image to open in full size.

It will stay out of the way of the magic seat, and even peoples' feet back there.
Click the image to open in full size.


Here's some of how the radio head/face sits, and what all is around it. The power jack is completely usable still, as are both cup holders for shorter beverages. Luckily cup holders aren't in demand in this car.

Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.


I quickly discovered after first turning the radio on that the speaker under the seat wasn't going to work at all. So at first I was routing it through the stereo's aux jack. This worked, but since the radio only outputs mono audio, I only heard the rig's audio come out of the left side of the car, AND I couldn't listen to NPR while driving anymore. Even more frustrating is that all of the local nets pick up after I'm almost to work in the morning, and begin again after I'm home at night, so I'd wind up listening to nothing.

I went into radio shack and picked up a Radio Shack 19-318, mini speaker. It'll handle 3 watts, and the rig puts out enough to drive it to the level of pain in the front cockpit. I mounted it in the little cove where I normally put my sunglasses because it fit perfectly, it doesn't even move around unless you push pretty hard on it. Audio sounds better out of this than it did out of the stereo.

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Ok, I'm sure I'm forgetting something, so someone pipe up and tell me what I didn't do!
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Old 03-20-2009, 10:00 PM
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get rid of the extra coax you have zip tied up down there...but measure it out and figure out the length for swr before you cut and re-terminate
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Old 03-21-2009, 08:52 AM
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get rid of the extra coax you have zip tied up down there...but measure it out and figure out the length for swr before you cut and re-terminate
Nah, that zip tied stuff isn't coax, it's the excess cable from the Separation Kit for the head of the radio, along with the excess cable from the speaker.

I actually get 1.3:1 on 2m at 20W, I don't know about 70cm, because my swr meter won't do higher than 200mhz.
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Old 03-21-2009, 04:14 PM
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Again, FINE JOB sir, looks awesome! Thanks for outlining your cable routes etc. If/when I'm able to purchase a similar transceiver, I will likely get the exact same antenna setup etc. and will definitely use this thread for reference. You should make a video of your mobile rig in action some day! That would be cool! Thanks again for sharing, nice work - I'm sure you'll put it to good use.
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Old 03-21-2009, 05:09 PM
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Great looking, thanks for the photos. Got me thinking about different options for radio mounting/Xm/ham antenna, etc, etc. Looking at your 8800 has me thinking I might switch the radio from the house to the car (Icom version that looks just like your side-by-side dual band) instead of the old Standard under the seat unit with mic controls. On the speaker question, I have used a Kenwood mobile speaker for 15 plus years that is flat in shape, about an inch thick, 3 inches wide and 5 inches long. I mount it on the door pillar to the left of the driver seat so it is only a few inches from my left ear and the wire can be routed behind the plastic cover. The only issue has been on cars with side air bags to make sure the speaker does not become a projectile mounted on top of a cover designed to split open (Hyundai Santa Fe), the Honda looks like it will be an easy mount. This allows me to use a very low volume to listen to the HAM rig while the little missy can still listen to the CD/Xm stereo. It also allows you to split the bands with one coming from the ext speaker toward your left ear, and the other coming out of the head unit/mic/under seat unit, whatever your model allows for. Can come in handy if you are listening for different calls, emergency services, RACES, etc, type of thing. The other thing I learned from living in both very hot locations (NV) and very cold locations (UT) is to use the Superlock Fasteners from RadioShack. The glue holds much better in heat and the plastic locks will hold much more weight than normal hook and loop fasteners. Also they come in clear which on other cars that had tan interiors was helpful. Again nice job.

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Old 03-25-2009, 10:24 PM
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Here's the part number of the part that I drilled the holes in:
77290-TF0-003ZA

It's $3.85 at Bernardi Parts.

Last edited by awptickes; 03-25-2009 at 10:26 PM..
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Old 04-08-2009, 01:03 PM
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I've been debating whether to get the glass mount or not. Seems like it would be the simple way to go, but I've read mixed reviews on them on both their performance and durability. I've been researching ways to use the existing FM antenna mount but it was only today I discovered Honda uses a preamp at the antenna's base. I'm also not sure what type of cable they use between the antenna and the radio or what impedance it is. I thought the hardest part was going to be tracking down a diplexer that would allow me to use the AM/FM radio and VHF/UHF ham on the same antenna. Now it looks like I'd have to gut the amplifier assembly and perhaps even replace the entire antenna cable. While aftermarket car stereo install kits make an adapter to go between Honda's proprietary jack to male motorola, I doubt it'd be easy to find one which does the opposite. I definitely don't want to drill a proper NMO mount. The XYL must approve If anyone has any info that could help me, I'd be very grateful.

For HF, I'm considering picking up a screwdriver antenna using a standard hitch mount. XYL wants me to put in a hidden hitch anyway for a bike rack so an easy on easy off hitch mount HF antenna could be in the future!

For the audio, I might build a VOX relay circuit that would have a 3.5mm stereo female jack, a 3.5mm mono female jack and output into an audio cable with a 3.5mm stereo male plug on the end. The circuit would normally pass through the stereo audio (coming from Sirius Satellite Radio), and then would switch to the ham rig when triggered by audio. Might add a 3 second hang timer, too.

Thanks for the photos. I have an 07 so the interior is a bit different but it gives me something to go off of.

73!
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Old 04-08-2009, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by vo1one View Post
I've been debating whether to get the glass mount or not. Seems like it would be the simple way to go, but I've read mixed reviews on them on both their performance and durability. I've been researching ways to use the existing FM antenna mount but it was only today I discovered Honda uses a preamp at the antenna's base. I'm also not sure what type of cable they use between the antenna and the radio or what impedance it is. I thought the hardest part was going to be tracking down a diplexer that would allow me to use the AM/FM radio and VHF/UHF ham on the same antenna. Now it looks like I'd have to gut the amplifier assembly and perhaps even replace the entire antenna cable. While aftermarket car stereo install kits make an adapter to go between Honda's proprietary jack to male motorola, I doubt it'd be easy to find one which does the opposite. I definitely don't want to drill a proper NMO mount. The XYL must approve If anyone has any info that could help me, I'd be very grateful.

For HF, I'm considering picking up a screwdriver antenna using a standard hitch mount. XYL wants me to put in a hidden hitch anyway for a bike rack so an easy on easy off hitch mount HF antenna could be in the future!

For the audio, I might build a VOX relay circuit that would have a 3.5mm stereo female jack, a 3.5mm mono female jack and output into an audio cable with a 3.5mm stereo male plug on the end. The circuit would normally pass through the stereo audio (coming from Sirius Satellite Radio), and then would switch to the ham rig when triggered by audio. Might add a 3 second hang timer, too.

Thanks for the photos. I have an 07 so the interior is a bit different but it gives me something to go off of.

I'd whole heartedly reccommend using a glass-mount antenna, but don't use the MFJ or Tram antennas, as the same antenna and it's cheaply made. Get a Larsen VHF/UHF glass-mount. I'm completely happy with the glass-mount antenna. When properly installed and tuned, the glass-mount antennas will radiate as much as the equivalent whip. Just make sure it's installed properly, and hooked up with good coax, the coax that came with my antenna was the garbage rg-58, now it is using rg-8.

About the factory antenna, I seriously doubt that the coax will hold any kind of power, but you could use the coax with a tuner, IIRC, it's 300 ohm; just replace the whole cable. I'm not too sure about the strength (or exsistance) of the preamp in the head-unit, which makes me hesitate to do anything to it or the am/fm preamp. The only way I could see turning the am/fm antenna into a usable am/fm/vhf/uhf antenna is by gutting it, and putting an NMO mount, and a dualband vhf/uhf whip on top. Then you could get the biplexer, and use it as an (albet a lossy) AM/FM antenna.

Not having a mobile HF rig myself, I can't attest to this, but there are complaints about the noise generated by the electronic power steering servos. Putting the HF antenna on a hitch-mount would help that, but then you've essentially turned it into a directional antenna, and compromised the ground plane too.

The VOX circuit sounds cool, I'd like to see more on it. I installed the speaker in my setup, because when I'm driving I like to listen to NPR, and hear the ham radio when there's activity. I guess I just listen to both at the same time, heh. I'd have to have it switch between the radio, and the aux-in, which in my case doesn't exactly work.... Oh well. I'm happy with my setup.

Not a problem for the photos, I'm glad to help. When I got an estimate on tint, the guy asked where I got the radio installed, because he thought it looked really professional.
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Old 04-08-2009, 05:24 PM
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I'd whole heartedly reccommend using a glass-mount antenna, but don't use the MFJ or Tram antennas, as the same antenna and it's cheaply made. Get a Larsen VHF/UHF glass-mount. I'm completely happy with the glass-mount antenna. When properly installed and tuned, the glass-mount antennas will radiate as much as the equivalent whip. Just make sure it's installed properly, and hooked up with good coax, the coax that came with my antenna was the garbage rg-58, now it is using rg-8.
I was originally put off by the price of the Larsen, but with all the trouble and potential cost of getting the Euro FM antenna mount to work it's looking like more of a viable option. I'd rather put up the money and do it right than having something that only half works. Also, I wasn't too impressed with the gain characteristics 2/4.2 over isotropic, however one must wonder what effect having a whip rated at 5dBi/9dBi mounted at a 45 degree angle to the ground plane would have on it's gain and radiation pattern. The more I think about it the more I think I'm talking myself into the glass mount.

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About the factory antenna, I seriously doubt that the coax will hold any kind of power, but you could use the coax with a tuner, IIRC, it's 300 ohm; just replace the whole cable. I'm not too sure about the strength (or exsistance) of the preamp in the head-unit, which makes me hesitate to do anything to it or the am/fm preamp. The only way I could see turning the am/fm antenna into a usable am/fm/vhf/uhf antenna is by gutting it, and putting an NMO mount, and a dualband vhf/uhf whip on top. Then you could get the biplexer, and use it as an (albet a lossy) AM/FM antenna.
I'm pretty sure the preamp is in the base of the antenna. Isn't there +12V supplied by the head unit sent up to the antenna base along side of the antenna coax? Not too concerned about the loss on FM. The rubber duck they use now has to have an inherant 3 to 6dBd loss. The hole in the roof that's already there isn't NMO sized I bet but larger and differently shaped and would have to be patched up somehow to prevent leaking. I wish there was some detailed drawings or a picture of this general area more so than what they've got in the online parts catalogue so I don't have to do exploratory surgery just to find out of this is a viable option or not.

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Originally Posted by awptickes View Post
Not having a mobile HF rig myself, I can't attest to this, but there are complaints about the noise generated by the electronic power steering servos. Putting the HF antenna on a hitch-mount would help that, but then you've essentially turned it into a directional antenna, and compromised the ground plane too.
My last vehicle I had an Outbacker Stealth Plus in the middle of the roof just for that reason. With mobile HF, no matter how you do it there are going to be compromises made. For one thing, you're going to have to have an antenna with a load for anything lower in frequency than 12 meters. Even a quarter wave at 12m on top of your roof is tall enough to hit tree branches and who knows what else. The Outbacker sacrifices efficiency in exchange for small size (4 feet for all bands 2 through 75m). My grounding system was compromised since I didn't want to drill any holes so I used copper adhesive tape from the antenna base to an area of bare metal underneath the weather stripping and covered it up with black electrical tape to match the car's colour. Noise was a little bit of a problem but bearable on most bands other than 10m. Noise blanker helped a lot. Regardless it was a LOT of fun, kept me company on long road trips, worked a lot of good DX and even operated contests (with a couple of awards too!). Anything is better than nothing. Back to compromises. The size of most screwdriver antennas is just too large to put on top of a vehicle. If not for height reasons (taking out electric lines, etc), then for wind loading. Those things are quite thick and I could see one day driving down the highway in a stiff wind the roof peeling back like a sardine can. Now there are mini screwdrivers and I think Tarheel makes one but they don't handle as much power, don't have the same overall bandwidth and its short physical length is a compromise in efficiency (air cooled dummy load). The fuller sized tarheels are thicker at the bottom where the load coil is and the Fit would be blocking this part. The majority of the whip would be up in the air. This reduces wind loading and the hitch is obviously going to be stronger and you can obtain a good ground if you do it right. As far as a ground plane, centre of the roof or on the hitch, pick your poison. Either way it's inefficient as you are supposed to have at least a quarter wavelength in all directions around the base. You're not going to achieve that on a Fit on any ham frequency lower than 2 meters no matter where you place the antenna. Best you can do is assure you get the base of the antenna as good of a DC ground as possible. A big ground strap to your radio is important, too. The lower the frequency, the more important it is. You can even add ground straps between the doors and the frame, the engine block and the frame, any piece of metal making sure it is all is really well electrically connected.

Quote:
Originally Posted by awptickes View Post
The VOX circuit sounds cool, I'd like to see more on it. I installed the speaker in my setup, because when I'm driving I like to listen to NPR, and hear the ham radio when there's activity. I guess I just listen to both at the same time, heh. I'd have to have it switch between the radio, and the aux-in, which in my case doesn't exactly work.... Oh well. I'm happy with my setup.

Not a problem for the photos, I'm glad to help. When I got an estimate on tint, the guy asked where I got the radio installed, because he thought it looked really professional.
I'm just kind of thinking out loud right now with it. It's pretty low on the priority list. Just getting the radio in there and working period would be the best. In my last car, I had an audio A/B/C switch I got from Radio Shack on clearance that I used to switch between Sirius, Ham and an MP3 player and if I pushed in two at once I could hear both at the same time. Not sure if I'll go that route or the VOX circuit route. I could make it so that it would just lower the volume of the one. They both have independant volume controls so maybe just mixing the two is the answer.

It's good to see there are other hams out there putting radios in their Fits!
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Old 04-08-2009, 07:39 PM
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I'm pretty sure the preamp is in the base of the antenna. Isn't there +12V supplied by the head unit sent up to the antenna base along side of the antenna coax? Not too concerned about the loss on FM. The rubber duck they use now has to have an inherant 3 to 6dBd loss. The hole in the roof that's already there isn't NMO sized I bet but larger and differently shaped and would have to be patched up somehow to prevent leaking. I wish there was some detailed drawings or a picture of this general area more so than what they've got in the online parts catalogue so I don't have to do exploratory surgery just to find out of this is a viable option or not.
I committed the exploratory surgery early on. However, the metal of the roof didn't look like it could handle the deflection, so I just put the headliner back in, and replaced the trim pieces. The hole was a little smaller than a NMO mount.

EDIT: the hole was actually about the size of a dime, possibly a little smaller, if memory serves. I didn't put an NMO connector on there, because I drive too fast, and I didn't want to hurt the car.

Last edited by awptickes; 04-08-2009 at 07:46 PM..
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Old 05-14-2009, 11:28 AM
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Awptickes,

The roof metal does seem on the thin side, would need some larger washers on both sides of that NMO to give it some strength. I reckon the Larson is the way to go for a permanent mount (I currently use a short mag mount for trips), especially given it is mostly short range repeater stuff. Do you have any feel for your window mount in the FIT vrs whatever your other mount in your previous car was in terms of quality of signal/ability to still hit your normal repeaters? Most of those gain specs get lost in real world use, especially around hills, so I would be more interested if you are still able to hit the same towers you could in the past?

Thanks,

Joe
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Old 05-14-2009, 08:00 PM
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Awptickes,

The roof metal does seem on the thin side, would need some larger washers on both sides of that NMO to give it some strength. I reckon the Larson is the way to go for a permanent mount (I currently use a short mag mount for trips), especially given it is mostly short range repeater stuff. Do you have any feel for your window mount in the FIT vrs whatever your other mount in your previous car was in terms of quality of signal/ability to still hit your normal repeaters? Most of those gain specs get lost in real world use, especially around hills, so I would be more interested if you are still able to hit the same towers you could in the past?

Thanks,

Joe
W5RJK
Because I have never used a mag-mount antenna on this radio, I don't know how the glass-mount antenna compares, but I've completed some rather long QSO's on this rig, and I've used a couple other rigs, but this is probably hands-down the best setup I've used.

I have no problems hitting repeaters with 5W, I actually hit more repeaters with this setup than I did with my RS tri-band scanner mag-mount antenna (big surprise.) I've used it for a few QSOs on simplex too, and I always get extremely good signal reports, even with low power levels.

I took down the headliner, and I didn't trust the thin metal, and I couldn't find a suitable location to drill a hole for an NMO mount, so I just gave up. I'd say my glass-mount has the ERP of about 80-90% of input power, it doesn't get very warm, even when rag-chewing on the 2m simplex.

I haven't had any problems with it coming off either, and I drive relatively fast on the freeway. Last weekend I also went to an autocross event, and forgot to take the antenna off, which only further affirms my thoughts that it's going to stick there for a loooooooong time.

The larsen glass-mount is really nice, just make sure that you have both the sides of it, and the glass heated to above 80F before you apply it, then run a thin bead of silicone around the outer edge of the radiating element's base to keep water from seeping into the adhesive. I see that many folks have the coax exit the interior box at a 90deg angle to the radiating element, and mine exits at a 180deg angle, but I don't have problems. I'm probably backfeeding the coax a little bit, but the swr came out alright when I tuned it, so no worries.

I was worried about the proximity to the airbags, but after several months of use that's proven to be a non-issue.

The bottom line with me was "they still make glass-mount antennae for a reason, because they fill a need in the market." I just happened to fit into that market-segment.

Best of luck on your install.
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Old 06-08-2009, 02:39 PM
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I used a Larsen KG-144 1/2 wave, 2 meter glass mount in the past and it worked well. If anyone is interested in amateur (ham) radio, check out http://www.wedothat-radio.org/

A great site for radio installation is K0BG's excellent site at
Welcome to KBG's Web Site

Billy, N5EVD
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Old 10-04-2009, 09:42 PM
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Today on my way back from Philly Airport, I got multiple 59 signal report while traveling 85mph. The longest QSO was roughly 50 miles north of me, also heading southbound on I-95.

Two of the contacts said that they'd never heard a glass-mount sound like mine. Make sure that you phase the coax properly, and you'll see the difference it makes.
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Old 10-05-2009, 01:38 PM
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I've been away from the forum for awhile but was glad to see that amateur radio has made some posts. I thought I would share my radio install in my 2007 Fit. It is a work in progress. I'm happy with the controller unit install, speakers, and antenna but may find a new home for the main unit when time permits.

Honda Fit 2007 - Icom IC-2720H Radio Install

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Old 01-02-2010, 03:40 AM
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I know they say there are no stupid questions, but I'd be willing to put this one on the line-

Do you need to have an external antenna to use a cb/ham radio? I was looking into getting a CB but I reallly do not want to get an external antenna... is it something that I should just move on from? It wouldn't be for anything serious, just kinda something to play around with and maybe fill up some of the boring alone drive time...

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Old 01-02-2010, 09:52 AM
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You could get a magnetic antenna. I wouldn't want to be in a metal box with a 5W HF transmitter, that's a lot of radiation that could be avoided by putting the antenna outside.

Something like this would work well: Amazon.com: Wilson Magnetic Mount Little Wil CB Radio Antenna: Automotive
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Old 06-18-2010, 09:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by awptickes View Post
Today on my way back from Philly Airport, I got multiple 59 signal report while traveling 85mph. The longest QSO was roughly 50 miles north of me, also heading southbound on I-95.

Two of the contacts said that they'd never heard a glass-mount sound like mine. Make sure that you phase the coax properly, and you'll see the difference it makes.
A year later are you still pleased with the glass mount? With summer I'm putting the kids surfboards on the roof a few mornings a week and moving the mag mount has finally got me to the point of going with your set-up. Do you have the fuse location/number of the 40A looking wire that you tapped for power?
Thanks Awptickes.
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Old 07-08-2010, 12:38 PM
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I still get 59 signal reports from people over 20 miles away on just 5W. There are very few repeaters I can't hit.

I like it so much that I'm planning on getting a wideband antenna of the same make to use for a scanner.
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