Yaesu FTM-100 install in my LR Defender

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El-Dracho

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Bjoern
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Eldracher
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Hello!

When looking for information about installing a 2m / 70cmradio in the Defender Tdci, I didn't find that much. So I thought to myself, I'll document the installation a bit. Maybe it will help someone here.

When I bought the radio, I was looking for a 2m/ 70cm dual band with APRS and a dechable headunit. The cockpit in the Defender is not such big and I have a lot of devices such as some gauge, mobile phone, Tablet, Garmin GPS and so so on there already. So not much space left.

This is the radio:



It came with nearly everyting for installation. I just bought the antenna and an external speaker in addition.
 
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El-Dracho

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Since I am a big fan of the fact that cables are invisible and not laid across the cockpit, the installation had to be carefully considered.

I am quite new to HAM communications. So I asked an experienced amateur radio operator to help me with the installation. nd something like this is more fun for two than alone.

Let´s start with the antenna mount. I know that the best solution is maybe on the roof, but our 4x4 rigs are often quite high already and going through the bush the antenna might be hit and damaged while on the roof. So considered first to get rid of the car radio antenna and install the HAM antenna mirror image of the CB antenna on the fender near the a-pillar/ rollcage. But then I would have had to find a new place for the car radio antenna. Maybe later.

Then I came across an antenna mount for mounting in front of the hood. So the antenna sits here now:



Happy with that position at the moment. Maybe room for improvement later.
 

El-Dracho

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Now it was time to run the cable through the firewall. I already have practice from other projcets regarding this and there are some free grommets. Easy job.

Now we looked for a good place for the device. We have found a place for the devoce on top of the seat box under the seat. There it is hidden and the way o the battery is quite short as the battery lives in the seatbox in a Defender.

I have decided to fit the device with Velcro so i can still take it off if it should ever be necessary.

 
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El-Dracho

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Eldracher
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20111

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All other cables were quickly laid behind cockpit and carpeting and tighten with cable ties were necessary.

I wanted the headunit to be in the field of vision if possible. So I simply put into the cockpit with the included holder and double-sided adhesive tape. I drilled a small hole for the cable and passed the cable through with a rubber grommet.



Everything connected and a quick check made - Great, everything works as it should!

If anyone has any questions, I will of course be happy to answer them. I can also submit more pictures.

Thanks to @JL Lou for sharing his installation here: Yaesu FT-7900R install in my 2020 Jeep JLUR That gave me some ideas how to do it!

Cheers, Bjoern
 

M Rose

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Hello!

When looking for information about installing a 2m / 70cmradio in the Defender Tdci, I didn't find that much. So I thought to myself, I'll document the installation a bit. Maybe it will help someone here.

When I bought the radio, I was looking for a 2m/ 70cm dual band with APRS and a dechable headunit. The cockpit in the Defender is not such big and I have a lot of devices such as some gauge, mobile phone, Tablet, Garmin GPS and so so on there already. So not much space left.

This is the radio:



It came with nearly everyting for installation. I just bought the antenna and an external speaker in addition.
So why the FTM-100 and not the even smaller (and new) FTM-300DR? Curious minds want to know.
 
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El-Dracho

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Bjoern
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Eldracher
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20111

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DO3BE
So why the FTM-100 and not the even smaller (and new) FTM-300DR? Curious minds want to know.
Good question. When I bought the FTM-100 I was thinking about the FTM-400 also, but decided to get the FTM-100, because of the smaller front pannel. The FTM-300 was only available here a few weeks later. So didn´t know about the FTM-300 at the time I purchased mine...
 

M Rose

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I was just curious, it’s a great radio, although word on the street is that Yaesu has plans to discontinue it within the next year or so.
 
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scrappy wolf

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hi M Rose, and @El-Dracho can i ask what you think of all the different areials and radios please, also what watts or where to put them please. i have read above and found it very informative. i have heard its best to keep on roof by some people and then on the front, side or rear of the vehicle by others etc. little bit confusing. i have also heard people saying that you can have 5,25,50 watt machines but i am now confused. was wondering if people can help me please.

many thanks scrappy wolf.
 
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M Rose

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La Grande, Oregon, USA
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Michael
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Rose
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hi M Rose, and @El-Dracho can i ask what you think of all the different areials and radios please, also what watts or where to put them please. i have read above and found it very informative. i have heard its best to keep on roof by some people and then on the front, side or rear of the vehicle by others etc. little bit confusing. i have also heard people saying that you can have 5,25,50 watt machines but i am now confused. was wondering if people can help me please.

many thanks scrappy wolf.
I’m going to start with the radio itself.
The Yaesu FTM-300/400 radios are both 50 watts on 2m, with a low power setting of 5 watts. So you will have 5 watts on low, 25 on medium power, and 50 watts on high power. This is all on the 2m (144 MHz ) band. Without pulling up the specs, I don’t know the output on 70cm (440 MHz) band for these radios.

Antenna:
The antenna mounting location is determined on several things. First, the most ideal spot for the antenna is the center of the roof. But if you have a fiberglass or aluminum roof you won’t have what is called a ground plane. So either a full 5/8 wave antenna is needed (48-50”), change mounting location to front, back, or side depending on which way you want your signal to transmit away from you, or lastly build a ground plane.

My rig has both a fiberglass and steel roof. The front is steel, and from the passenger seat back is fiberglass. I’m using a 1/4w 2m antenna (19”) on a 75w radio mounted in the center of my steel roof. Set on low power, 2.5 watts for my radio, I can send and receive about 50 miles. If I move my antenna to my front bumper I can’t receive any signals from behind. If I move my antenna to the rear bumper I can’t hear anyone in front of me and they can’t hear me.

Shark Antennas just came out with a dual band magnetic mount stainless steel whip antenna that by spec looks to be a very good zero compromise antenna with a dBi gain similar to a common J-Pole base station antenna.

now I’m going to STOP right here. Any more talking about this will just confuse you further. As a wise Elmer told me as I started: “Worry about getting your license first. Then worry about the radio. And the most important part of the system, the antenna, will present itself to you as you figure out what you and your radio need for what you are trying to accomplish.”
 

BCNP4runner

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hi M Rose, and @El-Dracho can i ask what you think of all the different areials and radios please, also what watts or where to put them please. i have read above and found it very informative. i have heard its best to keep on roof by some people and then on the front, side or rear of the vehicle by others etc. little bit confusing. i have also heard people saying that you can have 5,25,50 watt machines but i am now confused. was wondering if people can help me please.

many thanks scrappy wolf.
Hi Scrappy Wolf,

TLDR: More transmit power is nice, but it's better to have a high quality antenna (2-3dBi gain for hill country, 5-6dBi gain in the flat lands) and to do a good job installing and matching it to your radio. The difference between antenna mount points is a compromise is only one part of the balance - fender vs roof isn't the end of the world.

The LONG version:

Comparisons like this can be a little complicated, so let me first introduce a relative unit of measurement for the power of a signal (also known as "gain"): decibels (isotropic) or "dBi" - we use this to measure relative radiated power, nominally versus an "isotropic" antenna (an isotropic antenna is one that if you put it in the center of a spherical shell, it would radiate its signal evenly across the inner surface of that shell), but dBi can also be used to compare either full systems (radio, antenna cable, antenna, antenna mount) or components of the system. dBi is measured on a logarithmic scale:

dBi difference​
signal power ratio​
+20 dBi​
100x​
+10 dBi​
10x​
+3 dBi​
2x​
0 dBi​
1x​
-3 dBi​
0.5x​
-10 dBi​
0.1x​
-20 dBi​
0.01x​

So, when we compare a radio with three different transmit power settings of 5W, 25W, and 50W, we can think of these +0dBi, +3.3dBi, +10dBi settings. A 3 dBi difference in signal power is enough to be able to notice the difference, 0-2 dBi differences aren't usually enough to notice.

Next, we look at antennas. A 0dBi (aka isotropic or omni) antenna spreads the signal evenly across a sphere enclosing it. Antennas with "higher gain" basically "squish" this spherical pattern so that less signal is radiated up or down, and more signal is radiated toward the horizon (the equator of an enclosing sphere instead of the poles). For mobile use, if the gain is very high, the narrowly squished signal might "miss" a receiver on higher or lower ground. High gain (5-6 dBi) antennas are usually most useful on level terrain, whereas moderate gain (2-3 dBi) antennas are generally better on hilly terrain.

propagation.jpg

All other things being equal, the 3 dBi difference in gain equates to about a 2x (or 0.5x) difference in signal power and this represents a transmit/receive range difference of between 1.2-1.4x, if there are no ground clutter obstructions to the signal path. In practice, VHF/UHF radios are more generally limited by "line of sight" (the signals don't bounce off the upper atmosphere like HF signals). Ground clutter and line of sight (radio horizon) will usually limit radio range before power. (This is why repeaters are located on tall mountains, towers, buildings - to improve line of sight - a repeater antenna on a tall mountain can been "seen" 50-100 miles away.)

The coax cable connecting the antenna to the radio will also have some "loss" associated with it as will each connector. It varies based on the type of coax (there are dozens) but usually in the range of a few dBi per 100ft - don't bother chopping 5ft off your coax antenna cable, you won't notice the difference, but avoid adding extra connectors if you can - one piece, long enough, one connector at each end.

And finally there's the mount point - the "best" antenna position and mount is specific to each antenna. Of the two antennas I carry (one 6 dBi and one 3 dBi), one "likes" center of roof and one "likes" corner of roof. Finding the "perfect" place to mount an antenna on a particular vehicle usually requires a fair amount of testing, but in general consider the following diagram as a rule of thumb for comparison. For an antenna that "likes" the center of the roof, the largest difference in mounting position will only be ~3dBi, reflecting a difference in the radio range of ~1.2-1.4x.


antenna placement loss.png

Combining the radio power setting with antenna placement in this example to compare 5W w/roof-center antenna versus 25W (+3.3dBi vs 5W) w/mag-mount on the trunk corner (-3.4 dBi vs roof-center) tells us that these are about the same (3.3-3.4=-0.1 dBi).

This works for comparing antenna gains as well: what about a short 3 dBi gain antenna on my roof (which *will* fit in the garage) vs a longer 6 dBi antenna mounted on the front fender? The front fender antenna loses about 2.4 dBi, so 6-2.4=3.6dBi vs 3dBi on the roof - a difference of 0.6dBi, meaning the 6dBi fender antenna is slightly better, though not noticeably so (on flat terrain - remember the signal pattern differences).

How important can all this be? Consider a few combinations of 5W or 50W transmitter with omni (0dBi gain) or moderate gain (3dBi) antennas, mounted on the rear fender (-3.4 dBi) or the roof (0dBi) with a poor SWR (-2dBi) or a good SWR (-0.1dBi).

5W, omni on rear fender, poor SWR
0+0-3.4-2dBi = -5.4dBi

5W, omni, roof, good SWR
0+0+0-0.1 = -0.1dBi

5W, mod-gain, roof, good SWR
0+3+0-0.1 = 2.9dBi

50W, omni on rear fender, poor SWR
10+0-3.4-2dBi = 4.6dBi

50W, mod-gain, roof, good SWR
10+3+0-0.1 = 12.9dBi

The difference, worst to best is 18.3dBi which is about 67x difference in signal strength, about half (10dBi) due to the 10x power difference and about half (8.3dBi) due to the better antenna/install - while this won't change the line of sight, it might help the signal "punch through" some ground clutter (trees, buildings, rolling hills). Comparing "more antenna" head to head aginst "more power", the difference is only 1.7 dBi - not quite noticeable.

So why not just purchase the most wattage you can? More radio wattage ONLY allows you to transmit further, it doesn't help you *receive* from further - this is the magic of antenna efficiency - it improves both transmit AND receive. The HF guys who talk and listen around the world are typically doing so with radios running in the 5-50W range, but they are using extremely efficient antennas (along with a wave length that bounces off the upper atmosphere). My former Baofeng handheld (it died) with 5W and a rooftop antenna could use a mountaintop repeater ~50 miles away (with nice clear line of sight, clear dry day). My FTM-400XDR does the same on 5W, but if the line of sight is heavily obstructed, even 50W won't help. The difference? At 5W, neither quite managed full FM quieting and the Baofeng signal wasn't very "clean". At 25W the FTM-400XDR manages full quieting with a solid strong signal, 50W is unnecessary for this 50mile link, but I could likely still reach it from 70+ miles at 50W if the line of sight was good enough, while at 100miles, I can often still *hear* a repeater (they're often 100+W), but my signal isn't strong enough to to transmit clearly through it.

So, I tend to worry less about the radio's transmit power (the difference between 25W and and 50W is just noticeable) and I think more about the antenna (moderate 2-3dBi gain for hilly terrain, higher 5-6dBi gain for flat areas), antenna mount type (appropriate to the antenna), antenna mounting position (experiment), and antenna matching (SWR), since a good antenna system can easily "gain" you more dBi than additional transmit power.
 

BCNP4runner

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@BCNP4runner you don’t wanna scare off the guy before he even tries to get his ticket.
Amen, Mike. I saw your post AFTER I hit the "post" button on mine - your Elmer was wise.

Scrappy Wolf: apologies if my "long" was more than needed. Go back to Mike's post and save mine until later. Just know there are resources here to help when you need it.
 
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scrappy wolf

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hi M Rose and BCNP4runner

thankyou both for your information.
it was great and very useful. i have been reading up on the subject so i can do my ticket here in he united kingdom. been reading some information on the RSGB here in the united kingdom. since i have looked at this information it has helped me understand what you guys have written.

BCNP4runner, dont worry about it being long, the more info the better, many thanks scrappy wolf.

M Rose, thankyou for the information, going to ask about the ticket tomorrow if i can. on there website we will do so many hours theory and then the test. it saids a multiple question test. then we just send off for our ticket once we have got our call sign and certificate. i am looking forward to it.

many thanks scrappy wolf.
 
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M Rose

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Rose
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hi M Rose and BCNP4runner

thankyou both for your information.
it was great and very useful. i have been reading up on the subject so i can do my ticket here in he united kingdom. been reading some information on the RSGB here in the united kingdom. since i have looked at this information it has helped me understand what you guys have written.

BCNP4runner, dont worry about it being long, the more info the better, many thanks scrappy wolf.

M Rose, thankyou for the information, going to ask about the ticket tomorrow if i can. on there website we will do so many hours theory and then the test. it saids a multiple question test. then we just send off for our ticket once we have got our call sign and certificate. i am looking forward to it.

many thanks scrappy wolf.
Yes, the test will be multiple question, multiple choice. We have 35 questions here, but I think you have more questions. Good luck with getting your ticket. Some of my favorite YouTube channels at in the UK. “DX Commander” comes to mind right off the top of my head.