Low-profile 2-meter mobile suggestions

A fellow blogger, Brick O’Lore, wrote me with a question that I don’t have a good answer for.  Would anyone care to weigh in on this?

I’d like to add a 2M mobile rig in my wife’s car. Sounds simple enough, but the trick is that I need something that is as small as possible and will have a really neat installation. I’d prefer to have a mobile rig that I can wire in (power and an antenna) and see the display (versus cobbling together something with an HT). A detachable  faceplate/remote would be fine. I want 2M to hit the repeaters – any other bands or advanced features would be a bonus, but not required. The car is a 7 year-old Audi A4 and there is very little room in the footwells. It does have a neat feature – a drawer under each of the front seats. So what’s small and installs such that it will score well on the WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor) scale?

My suspicion is that there are a lot of good choices — and none are going to be particularly “affordable.”  If you have a photo of your creative radio installation that might help others, send it to me (editor at amateurradio dot com) and I’ll attach it to this post.  I think that would be especially helpful.  If not, your insight and tips via comments are always very much appreciated!

Matt Thomas, W1MST, is the managing editor of AmateurRadio.com. Contact him at [email protected].

9 Responses to “Low-profile 2-meter mobile suggestions”

  • Chad KJ4VYI:

    my guess is wait for the wouxon dual bander mobile unit to come out — i want to say i read somewhere that it has a remote head — so mount the brain into one of those drawers and mount the head below or above the radio or to the side of it on one of those panavise brackets ( made for cell phone brackets or the mobile electronics bracket with a suction cup — look them up http://www.panavise.com/ great stuff) mag mount an antenna on the trunk and your off!!!

    good luck

  • AE5NO:

    Most VHF mobile 50 watt transceivers have a detachable head. They almost all have mobile mounting kits too.

    You can mount the body of the radio almost anywhere in the car (trunk, under seat, etc.). The head usually has a mounting plate to attach it to any convenient place on the dash or console. The control cable is usually long enough to allow it to be dressed carefully so it is out of sight.

    My radio body is mounted on the passenger side of the transmission hump and the control head was attached to the dash just below the broadcast radio. All the cables are dressed out of sight.

  • w9xml:

    I have an 07 Audi S4… and have mounted a Yaesu FT-7800 in the trunk, on the right hand side in the opening for tools and stuff. It has a 12v accessory socket RIGHT THERE!

    I have the remote head mounted to one of those “flexi-neck” mounts that stick into a cup holder…. in the center console. I run a remote speaker from the trunk to under the passenger seat with an extension audio cable.

    Works well… and when I need to leave the car somewhere “suspect”, I just unplug the head, and remove the entire mount from the cup holder.

  • Tom Phipps, KA4CSG:

    If you can find one, the Yaesu FT-90 is about as small as you can get. It has the detachable face plate, that you can move just about anywhere. Simple wire extension cable, without special connectors. I put the body of the radio under the passenger seat, and attached the head to a very smallmount (on an ashtray). Managed to put the cabling inside the center console. Great hidden install.

  • Matt W1MST:

    Side question: are there any radio heads that can communicate wirelessly (via bluetooth?) with the main mobile unit?

    My thinking would be you could mount the radio in the trunk and avoid having to supply anything but a power source to the head.

  • Tom AJ4UQ:

    I have a Yaesu FTM-10R in my Honda Accord. The attraction is that the control head, microphone, and speaker are all in one piece. The main unit fits nicely into the center console. Throw the control head and wire into the center console, and there’s nothing left to see. There is a bluetooth headset option for the radio, but only for audio — not control.

    My original intention was to have something that I could string out the window and use on public service events, even in the rain. Fortunately we’ve had good weather for everything I’ve worked.

    The downside to the radio is that the audio is a bit low and the controls are complex, even for Yaesu. But I’ve been happy with it.

  • Rick KD0WDP:

    I had the same problem. We have a 2001 Olds Alero and it has virtually no room to mount a mobile rig. We were recently at a ham flea market and I found an Icom IC-338H mobile 2 meter radio that was perfect. Its small enough and fits just right on the side of the center console. It has 45 watts output and I have a 1/4 wave magnet mount antenna on the trunk. I can hit repeaters as far away as 50 miles with it. This is a good radio and you can find them on ebay pretty cheap.

  • Rick KD0WDP:

    Sorry, I meant to say it is an Icom IC-228H.

  • Ra Leete KG4QFZ:

    Has anyone tried to design a low profile 2-meter antenna that would be applied to a cab of a pickup truck I would be much appreciated-.

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