Which Mobile HAM for APRS

  • Hi Guest, you may choose a LIGHT or DARK theme that works best for you with the "Style Chooser" button at the bottom left on this page!
  • HTML tutorial

Reid Adventures

Rank III
Member

Off-Road Ranger I

658
Rogue River, OR, USA
Member #

15115

Ham Callsign
KI7BHH
Hello All. My wife and I are planning our first trip in January to Death Valley and Yosemite. We are going it alone so we will remain mild mannered and not TOO far off of beaten paths.

I am a licensed HAM but haven't done anything with my license as of yet. I am looking to purchase and install my first mobile unit and would love some advice.

The radio install will be permanent but the antenna will be temporary until my roof rack is delivered so will most likely be a magnet NMO mount in the middle of the roof. I already have a Diamond Super Gainer Dual Band Antenna from what was to be a previous install I never got around to.

Qualifiers:
-Mid tier affordability. Doesn't have to be the cheapest but not looking to go too crazy.
-APRS. I hear great things and think I would like the ability once I learn it but is it worth the extra $ for the radio
-Detachable head unit. Not much room up front in a 4Runner

I have heard good things about the Yeasu FTM400 but it doesn't look like anyone has one available. Not sure if they still make them.

Are there any considerations I am missing in my ignorance on the subject?

Thanks,
Jonathan
 

Kent R

Executive Director
Staff member
Moderator
Member
Supporter

Off-Road Ranger I

4,099
El Dorado, Ca
First Name
Kent
Last Name
Reynolds
Member #

1632

Ham Callsign
K6KNT
Without a doubt TerryD is right this is the best deal out there right now! And its a great radio.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Reid Adventures

whiskey7backroads

Rank VI
Member

Influencer I

3,089
Olympia Washington
First Name
Brent
Last Name
Conklin
Member #

13675

Ham Callsign
W7BR
Order placed. Much cheaper than I was expecting. You and Ken are awesome! Now to learn how to use it!
I recently set a FTM400 up in my expedition rig and have APRS working. If you run into trouble let me know and maybe I can help. There is an alternate manual that you will need to download from the website for wires and APRS. Brent
 

Reid Adventures

Rank III
Member

Off-Road Ranger I

658
Rogue River, OR, USA
Member #

15115

Ham Callsign
KI7BHH
I recently set a FTM400 up in my expedition rig and have APRS working. If you run into trouble let me know and maybe I can help. There is an alternate manual that you will need to download from the website for wires and APRS. Brent
Thanks Brent. I may be taking you up on that
 

Reid Adventures

Rank III
Member

Off-Road Ranger I

658
Rogue River, OR, USA
Member #

15115

Ham Callsign
KI7BHH
If you haven't seen it yet, we have a weekly HAM Net on Fridays at 5:30pm PST. All the details are located on the Rally Point. Would love to have you join. Brent
I have seen that and am wanting to join in as soon as time permits. Being a Retail Store Manager as my day job, I just try to survive the 4th quarter and look forward to January
 

Najman

Rank I
Member

Off-Road Ranger I

263
Laval,Quebec,Canada
Member #

15847

Ham Callsign
VE2VLZ
I too ordered a ftm 400 xdr unfortunatly in canda they are sold out of the recent xmas sale ,will get it in January
 

Reid Adventures

Rank III
Member

Off-Road Ranger I

658
Rogue River, OR, USA
Member #

15115

Ham Callsign
KI7BHH
I too ordered a ftm 400 xdr unfortunatly in canda they are sold out of the recent xmas sale ,will get it in January
That’s a bummer. I am having to practice patience with my holiday orders for my 4Runner. Almost everything I have ordered I have been told “6 to 8 weeks” except for the roof rack which is a minimum 16 week lead time.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Najman

Najman

Rank I
Member

Off-Road Ranger I

263
Laval,Quebec,Canada
Member #

15847

Ham Callsign
VE2VLZ
That’s a bummer. I am having to practice patience with my holiday orders for my 4Runner. Almost everything I have ordered I have been told “6 to 8 weeks” except for the roof rack which is a minimum 16 week lead time.
Lucky me i managed to lock the discouted price .
Most companies especially offroad overland they produce in limited quantities so patience’s is a must
 

Eagle One

Rank I
Member

Off-Road Ranger I

263
Corona, CA
First Name
Jeff
Last Name
V
Member #

15379

Ham Callsign
N6JSV
You are going to love the FTM 400 It is a great radio. Do yourself a favor and purchase the RT Systems software for programming. It is well worth the $25 and will make programming the radio so much easier.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Najman and TerryD

TronYota

Rank III
Member

Advocate II

628
Rhododendron, OR, USA
Member #

16116

Hey all, I will be getting my HAM cert soon, and will want a unit out in my rig. I am not good at wiring and such though. Where would you all reccomend I take it for an install?
 

Prerunner1982

US Southwest Region Member Rep
Member

Traveler III

2,902
Navina, Oklahoma
First Name
Jon
Last Name
B
Member #

16274

Hey all, I will be getting my HAM cert soon, and will want a unit out in my rig. I am not good at wiring and such though. Where would you all reccomend I take it for an install?
Unless your harness is not long enough for where you want to mount your radio it's really not hard, a good time to learn. You should just have to put two eyelets terminals on the end of the wiring harness (preferably solder, but you could crimp and heatshrink) and connect it to the battery. The harness should come pre-fused.
 

TerryD

Rank VI
Member

Off-Road Ranger I

3,145
Covington, Virginia, USA
First Name
Terry
Last Name
R
Member #

3710

Ham Callsign
KT4OZ
Unless your harness is not long enough for where you want to mount your radio it's really not hard, a good time to learn. You should just have to put two eyelets terminals on the end of the wiring harness (preferably solder, but you could crimp and heatshrink) and connect it to the battery. The harness should come pre-fused.
One issue with this is that most leads are only fused near the radio. I personally think that having a fuse near the battery is safer since wire routing can be iffy sometimes. That way if you rub through the power wire going through the firewall, it'll pop the fuse at the battery and not turn your power lead into a heater and possibly start a fire.

It's not hard to put a fuse holder under the hood near the battery. They sell ones with stud connectors for the maxi-fuse style blade fuses I believe.
 

Prerunner1982

US Southwest Region Member Rep
Member

Traveler III

2,902
Navina, Oklahoma
First Name
Jon
Last Name
B
Member #

16274

One issue with this is that most leads are only fused near the radio. I personally think that having a fuse near the battery is safer since wire routing can be iffy sometimes. That way if you rub through the power wire going through the firewall, it'll pop the fuse at the battery and not turn your power lead into a heater and possibly start a fire.

It's not hard to put a fuse holder under the hood near the battery. They sell ones with stud connectors for the maxi-fuse style blade fuses I believe.
both of my Yaesu's had fuses near(er) the battery end of the wiring harness. I can't recall right off on my Kenwood HF radio so I guess I was going on the little experience I have with the radios that I own.
 
  • Like
Reactions: TerryD

TerryD

Rank VI
Member

Off-Road Ranger I

3,145
Covington, Virginia, USA
First Name
Terry
Last Name
R
Member #

3710

Ham Callsign
KT4OZ
both of my Yaesu's had fuses near(er) the battery end of the wiring harness. I can't recall right off on my Kenwood HF radio so I guess I was going on the little experience I have with the radios that I own.
I've never owned a radio with the factory power leads so the same could be said for me. :grinning: I was just trying to caution against long runs of unprotected wires under the hood.
 

TronYota

Rank III
Member

Advocate II

628
Rhododendron, OR, USA
Member #

16116

Unless your harness is not long enough for where you want to mount your radio it's really not hard, a good time to learn. You should just have to put two eyelets terminals on the end of the wiring harness (preferably solder, but you could crimp and heatshrink) and connect it to the battery. The harness should come pre-fused.
My only other concern is a I already have an apple car play head unit that’s taking up the space and wiring.