One more radio - One more Antenna
With all that being said, this is part one of my project to get my CB installed in my car. If you have read my past posts, you may recall that I mentioned in passing that I had installed another NMO mount (this one), in anticipation of an additional antenna. That mount is for the Browning CB antenna that I purchased from Amazon recently. This antenna will be located on the front passenger side quarter panel. To orient you, the NMO mount you see in the picutre is just in front of the passenger side rear view mirror. I routed the coax through a factory grommet located just behind this point, that ends up behind the passenger side kick panel. For a while, the coax was just coiled up there, waiting for me to have time to get on with the rest of the project.
The next several steps happened over the course of a couple weeks, when I was able to steal an hour here and there to work. I decided to use the center console as the location to mount the CB (I hinted at this in a post back in November when I first got the car.) Because I don't use the CB nearly as often as my Amateur radio, I wanted it somewhere that was out of the way, but was still easily accessible when I did want to use it. To keep it clean looking, and to have a spot to mount a couple future items (like maybe a screwdriver controller....) I decided to make a panel to fit the console, to mount the radio, and any future equipment into.
Step one was going to be brackets to hold the panel. I have all kinds of stuff in my metal scrap/recycling pile, so I dug through and found this, and figured I could make it work:
When I ordered the radio (The Uniden PRO 520XL, from Amazon), I thought it would fit in this space standing straight up, with the display basically flush at the top of the panel (I ordered a new one because my old one was too big to fit here).
But there was a problem! The brackets I cut (the first couple pictures in the post) were wide enough that they actually got in the way of the thumb screws (more like knobs) that hold the radio body to it's bracket. I ended up taking those brackets out, and cutting new brackets from a fresh piece of aluminum angle stock that I picked up at Lowes. I put them in place, a little more strategically this time.
The next thing I did was to pop off the outer trim that covers the center console, so that I could drill two holes for the power and coax to enter the compartment. With the holes drilled, I routed the coax that I mentioned in the beginning of this post, and the power wire that I mentioned several posts back. These wires had been coiled up behind a body panel, patiently waiting for a place to go. Now they have home!
That's it for Part 1
- Put a PL259 on the end of the coax so that it can get connected to the radio
- Put Powerpole connectors on the wiring that will power the radio, and on the radio's power leads
- Connect up the power so the radio will actually work (that helps!)
- Install the antenna onto the NMO mount, and tune it up
- Connect the antenna to the radio
- Do a short road test so that I can verify that I like the location and operation of the controls with the radio in this location.
- unhook everything, take it out, and transfer the panel from the plywood to the black plastic HDPE sheet that will make up the final product (Luckily, I have plenty left over from the other project!)
- Re-install everything, and call it a day!
Depending on the timing of when I can get this stuff accomplished, part 2 may include all of these steps, or it may get broken into part 2, 3, 4...... time for stuff like this can be unpredictable when there is both a 4 year old and a 7 week old in the house. Even though I said at the beginning of this post that I enjoy talking to the truckers on the highway, I enjoy my kids more, so time for this project plays second fiddle at the end of the day!
Do you do any talking on Citizen's Band, or are you strictly a ham radio operator?