My FT-100 Mobile Station
A few years ago, I got rid of my 1990 Buick Regal for a brand new 1998 Saturn SC2 (coupe). Almost immediately, I went through a period of pain because my venerable and reliable Kenwood TS-130S would no longer be suitable as my mobile radio: the new car's front passenger space is so small compared to the spaciousness of the old Buick Regal that there is no way to comfortably position the TS-130S--with or without a passenger in the front seat. So, I bought a Yaesu FT-100.
As you can see from the picture, the radio's remote head sits in front of the gear shift. Just aft of the gear shift I have a the Radio Shack speaker and Whiterook MK44 paddles--the paddles are tack epoxied to the speaker; the speaker is cinch strapped to the emergency parking brake handle and rests on the center console structure. It provides a very stable keying platform. When I'm not 'going mobile,' (i.e., driving around town), I unplug the keyer and speaker and remove them from the brake handle and keep them in a small box in the trunk.
I mounted the radio body under the rear speaker deck in the trunk and ran the necessary i/f cables forward to the front dash. There is little or no suitable open space close to and facing the driver to mount the front panel remote head. So, I cut a piece of 4"x4"x6" lumber and shaped the lower three inches to fit in the center console driver's cupholder just forward of the gear shift and at the base of the dash console. I cut the top of the block such that I could attach the remote head such that it would be looking directly at the driver.
It worked great. The block of wood fits snugly in the cupholder. When I'm driving and look down at the radio, I'm looking at the remote head face facing me directly; no off-angle viewing. I can rest my right wrist on the gear shift handle and tune the VFO with my fingers. As time and experience go on, I'm getting better at using the menu and button controls of the radio without looking.
For an antenna, I started out using my old set of Hustler resonators and mast with a homebrewed trailer hitch mount. In March 2002, I bought a Yaesu ATAS-100 antenna to use on the trip to/from Dayton Hamvention. What a neat antenna. I mounted it on the rear trunk deck and it seems to play very well. Sadly, the full effect and impact of being able to change bands while mobile was not realized on the trip: the bands were punk the whole trip. Only 20m was useable. Subsequent trips have given me opportunity to experience and luxuriate in bandchanging without stopping. :-)
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My FT-100 Mobile Station email@example.comLast Updated: 2002-08-11