Last week I traded in the old reliable 2001 Saturn LS which faithfully served me for almost 200,000 miles never leaving me broken down on the side of the road. I bought a new 2012 Kia Sportage from Kia Country of Savannah (if you’re interested in buying a Kia, I strongly suggest you visit them they provided excellent customer service) and by the end of this week I’m just about finished with installation of the mobile station. So far I’ve been quite happy with the Sportage, it has a lot more room than the old Saturn did. After being without the mobile station for several weeks while in the process of buying the new car, I’m happy to be back on the air!
In the Sportage, I’ve installed the following radio/antenna combinations:
- Yaesu FT-8800 fed by a Comet CHL-72S 2 Meter/70cm antenna
- Uniden BC780XLT with remote head fed by an Antennex ABSCANC antenna
- Yaesu FT-897 fed by an Opek HVT-400B antenna
I decided to forgo the installation of the BCD996T I had in the Saturn. I always have the BCD396XT with me and it will do good enough for monitoring public safety/Fedcom/USCG frequencies. Using a splitter, I will have an extra connection from the ABSCANC to feed the 396 if more range is needed.
The FT-8800 has been mounted in the drivers side rear of the cargo area with the Comet CHL-72S mounted on the hatchback using a Diamond K400 NMO mount. Initially the plan was to roof mount the 2m/70cm antenna but when mounted in a temporary mag mount on the roof the setup picked up too much RFI in the 2m band from the vehicle. I believe that the RFI is coming from the airbag sensor in the passenger seat (it senses whether or not there is someone in the passenger seat and turns the passenger side airbag off or on as needed). With the antenna mounted on the hatch, I’ve noticed much less of the RFI (although there is still a slight amount).
The BC780XLT is mounted under the drivers seat with the remote head mounted on the top center of the dashboard. The remote head for the FT-8800 is mounted on top of it. The ABSCANC is currently on a magmount on the roof but it will be permanently mounted after a roof NMO mount is installed next week. So far I’ve experienced none of the RFI that the FT-8800 has picked up with the BC780XLT.
The FT-897 remains a temporary install just like it was in the Saturn. It sits in the floorboard on the modified laptop computer stand, easy to take out and put back in whenever there is a front seat passenger. With the Sportage, however, I’ve decided to power it off of the car’s battery instead of the marine battery I was using in the Saturn. The HVT-400B is mounted on the passenger side of the hatchback using a Diamond K400 PL-259 mount.
This morning, while on a trip with my nephew to the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge (during which we saw 28 alligators including one feeding on a rather large fish) the BC780XLT/ABSCANC provided excellent milair listening including activity from SC ANG F-16s in the Bulldog MOA, FL ANG F-15s in the offshore warning areas, and F/A-18s working Townsend Range.