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Everything posted by SonoranWanderer

  1. Free to good home My wife just completed her Technician License and no longer needs her dead tree edition of Craig "Buck" K4IA's "Pass Your AMATEUR RADIO Technician Class Test the Easy Way". The book is good for Technician License tests taken prior to July 1st 2022. It does show the wear of good (successful!) use. It is (in my opinion) an easy read and tells you exactly what you need to know to pass the exam and not one bit more. It is written on Craig's philosophy that you should only ever study the correct answers and never have ever seen the wrong ones (the test is 100% multiple choice). The first part of the book is all the questions with correct answers only in story form written as his journey into and through HAM Radio. The second part of the book is just the questions and correct answers only as review. I tell most people that you need only read this book cover to cover once and go immediately take the test. You will pass. I used an older version of this same book to pass my Technician test and also an older version of his General License the Easy Way book to pass my general. Parting note, the wonderful guys from the Thunderbird Amateur Radio Club (W7TBC) offer the tests for free on a monthly basis.
  2. January 2022: Having acquired a drone (DJI Air 2s) and spinning up through all the legally required steps, you now not only required to have your drone registered with the FAA (registration number on the drone's shell, and a copy of your registration on your person) but you now are required to carry on your person a copy of your TRUST certificate which shows that you learned, or at least clicked through, all those part 107 exception rules and requirements that @4x4tographer listed above.
  3. Let's plan such a trip? I'm interested. A personal goal this year is to test and expand my personal skills, screw comfort zones. And I too have (in theory) a more capable vehicle...
  4. Looking to the far future, the El Camino del Diablo run on 11/11/2022 (through 11/13) is suitable for full-size rigs. The signup list is full, but standby can take as many people who are interested. People on the "in list" drop out all the time for all sorts of reasons. Your biggest challenges on ECdD, because of the stock height, will be: the playa section of the route may be difficult if the rutting on the trail is deep (trying to ride above the ruts is "fun") the section of loose rocks leading into the mine area near the end of the run is probably going to scratch up your underbelly good Outside of those two challenges, and having off-road tires that will withstand driving on tire-shredding lava rock, it's really a 3-day "Sunday drive"*. I have done it in my Jeep Gladiator which is still stock height other than having the factory M/T 33s ("C" load range) replaced with M/T 35s ("D" load range). It really depends on your risk tolerance level and driving skill. * If the the trail is wet, all of this is out the window and the driving level will get more intense (those ruts in the playa got there for a reason). If it's too wet we will reschedule.
  5. Maricopa County gas has a number of additives that have a very short self life, mainly ethanol. These additives, when stale, like to plug carburetor jets. I had this problem with my motorcycles. My Honda Shadow carb was more resistant (not immune) to plugging, but my Yamaha TW200 carb would plug on three month old gas. I found mixing in fresh gas was not sufficient to save the Yamaha, only draining the tank and starting completely fresh. With the Honda, I could usually but not always mix in fresh gas and deal with a grumpy carb for a while until enough fresh gas flow dissolved the gunk. I tried a number of additives, both in arrears and preventive, and found nothing worked for my Yamaha carb. Having the experience of dropping a fuel tank on an old Chrysler K car, I feel for the pain that may lie ahead of you. In my experience, you can safely (properly?) dispose of the stale gas by mixing it in any fuel injected vehicle in small batches. In small doses, in a pressure fed fuel nozzle, it does not create plug problems.
  6. Shelley took a video of the top crane in action and sent it to our nephew, his response is priceless.
  7. Cleaned the Jeep today to remove all the Cherry Creek mud. Discovered that I have sufficiently broken in the paint job with lots of pinstripe. After cleaning, I Installed the next “mod”, a soft top. Picked one up this morning from an online discussion. Got to put the top crane Shelley bought me for the JK to use on the JL. Signed up for the Red Creek run. I’m a happy camper.
  8. Edit: Marking as SOLD Sailcloth, clear windows. Has all required hardware for installation. Includes roll cage brackets so it will install on any year JKU (2007 - 2018) Has a light embedded Sedona red dust coating for a unique color. Asking $100 on FB Marketplace, I’ll let it go for $50 to an ORP member.
  9. Mapping setup with the Garmin 700i inReach and an iPad Mini with Gaia. The phone mount is raised up and turned sideways for quick landscape photos and videos while driving. Normally it sits upright slightly in front of the AC vent to stay cool in the Arizona sun.
  10. A new toy I got, in December actually, but will finally get to play with this weekend, a Garmin Montana 700i (inReach). It comes with Garmin’s standard City Navigator maps and with Open Street Maps along with Garmin’s topography maps. Being an inReach device, it has satellite communications and SOS functionality, with a subscription fee of course. But it is peace of mind for communication in a remote emergency. You can share your location with everyone while also sharing messaging or restricting messaging to a limited set of contacts. You can follow along with me at https://share.garmin.com/SonoranWanderer. I am still learning how to get it to show my location and past path on that map. I mounted it using the D67 Series 55 rail and the Garmin “motorcycle” mount for the 700i. The motorcycle mount has bare wires for power. And I tied those into the Jeep’s auxiliary wiring/switches via a powerwerx quick disconnect plug. The 700i turns on and off with the Jeep’s ignition.
  11. Having lived temporarily out of a vehicle in colder weather, it was then and still is now my policy that I run the vehicle, get it nice and toasty (hot as I can really), turn it off, sleep until the cold wakes me up, rinse lather, repeat. The sleep isn't great, but it beats permanent sleep. I have this policy regardless of new or old vehicle. I do just cannot bring myself to trust being anywhere near emissions and an enclosed space. It is really worth noting that we drive vehicle we abuse to put it nicely. So aside from any potential manufacturer defects in the exhaust pipeline, consider leaks we put in that pipeline with the rocks we drive our vehicles over. I know the resonator approximately under the back seat of my 1yo 2020 gladiator has the ever living crap beat out of it from the last ledge on the Backway to Crown King.
  12. My guess would be the Engine Run Time timer on the EVIC. On the JKs with the advanced EVIC, it's part of the normal data rotation and can be reset by a long press of the Enter/OK button. On the older JKs, with the basic dash, it's in the RPM display rotation and can be reset by holding the rotation button down for an extended press. On the JL and JT, engine run time is part of the A/B trip counters.
  13. If I was going to go with a pure, part 95E certified GMRS 50w radio, the Wouxun KG-1000G GMRS for $369 would be my pick (a serious GMRS power-user radio). Although when you factor in the programming cable and an antenna, it's not actually cheaper than the Midland MXT500. I also like the detachable head. I really don't want a radio body anywhere in the front of my cab. But I am not going to, because I have other 50w radios that can also do GMRS https://www.buytwowayradios.com/wouxun-kg-1000g.html
  14. That's why I put LoD Armor Lite sliders with detachable drop steps, otherwise my wife will never ride in my JL or the Gladiator. Her JL has Amp Research steps.
  15. Think you are cool with the JL or JT's Off-road pages? Well the 4xe has Hybrid Electric Pages. For those keeping score at home, this is the Jeep cruising on Carefree Highway using about 17.5 ponies (HP). And another 2.7 ponies to warn my my cold hands.
  16. This fact is lost on the far majority of Jeep owners. For being a brick on wheels, the Wrangler and Gladiator are both surprisingly curvy. The Jeep designers put a lot of effort into this. And this is why many (most?) aftermarket exterior parts (bumpers, sliders, etc...) bug me, the clash of hard angles and straight lines on what is a curvy body with, from the factory, not one hard edge to be found. It's like some dude wearing a brown sports coat with green pants.
  17. For completeness and a fresh learning note, and something I did not understand until clicking links on the Animated Knots site (thank you @theksmith), is that I should have tapered the rope cut. I will have to pull out the splice and add the taper. Spydura rope (and similar) is significantly compromised in strength at the point where the buried rope ends if the buried rope is squared off instead of tapered. I indeed had noticed that the Warn splice was dethreaded (tapered) as it neared the end (see image, factory rope end on the passenger side of the winch), but I incorrectly assumed this was just a manufacturing artifact. We can all learn something new together (or maybe you, the reader, already knew this). Oh and here is a single-end brummel style lock splice if you are so inclined.
  18. Good to know, and the animation of the knot on that site was nice. If one wanted to recreate a Brummel, one would have to completely despool their 100ft of line... This "one" decide burying more line (there was barely over 1 foot buried with Warn's brummel) was FAR more convenient. I can, and did at the time, see the "lock" aspect of the brummel but without the compression on the buried line, I (too) don't see any additional lateral strength benefit. And I agree if the newly spliced (by me) line were left hanging loose, there would be no self-retention strength in the splice (think "Chinese Finger Cuffs"). Sliding the excess in and out was easier than I mentally expected before doing it, and going in made even easier by the tool (Fast Fid). One of the rare cases where something was *easier* than expected. I think the reason Factor55 has you bury so much line is to allow for some non-brummel-locked slippage during non-tensioned line pulling (eg pulling out line to go hook up), that and to ensure the splice is by no means he weak point of the line. To prevent field-spliced line slippage I would recommend you handle and pull by the rope itself and not by the hook or Flatlink.
  19. This weekend I had to stay home. Just as well, I still needed to install the winch on the JLUR. Nothing ever seems to go as planned. This was no exception. Starting point: factory steel bumper. (Only picture I happen to have handy that shows the factory bumper completely unmolested.) Ending point: Warn Zeon Platinum 10s JCR JL winch plate with fairlead mounting bracket Factor55 hawse fairlead 1.0 Factor55 winch lock Factor55 Flatlink (in grey of course) Factor55 rope guard Factor55 load spool Remove steel bumper's wings Tools involved (for my install of all parts listed above): Plastic expansion pin removal tool 1/4th 18mm deep socket (a "deep socket" with thin walls is essential) very short and medium 1/4 ratchet wrench extensions Dremel, standard steel cutoff wheels, large grinding / cutoff wheels Torx T45 1/4 "socket" 5/8, 9/16, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18 sockets and open-ended wrenches Couple of Hex bit whose sizes I forget Electric impact wrench with 1/4 adapter (not essential, but helpful) Scissors Hammer Screw driver handle that can take hammer hits and hold standard 1/4 bits Factor55 Fast Fid Matte black spray paint and flat black touch up paint Metal coat hanger or other stiff but somewhat flexible wire puller Needle nose pliers (help install synthetic line to winch drum) Short-nose small wire snips (to trip zip ties) Small pile of zip ties Telescoping magnet tool Floor jack and log (or other thing that gives your floor jack lift point more height) Tape measure Ear plugs (really, use these, your older self will thank me) Eye protection 1ft 2x4 block of wood, I'd recommend a 2x6 if you have it I'm not going to reproduce the install instructions of the various parts, but I am going to talk about my experience and the shortcomings of the JCR instructions. Key things to know: The Warn Zeon series barely fits (really doesn't without modification) left to right between the Jeep's frame horns. Cutting and grinding of the frame horns is required. The Zeon does however, on the JCR winch plate, fit nicely fore to aft. Next, despite the instructions from JCR, do not tighten the winch bolts to the winch plate before installing the bumper. You will need to be able to push the winch side to side to install the inner, upper flange nuts that hold the bumper and tow hooks to the frame horns. I do however recommend getting as many turns on the forward winch bolts as you can while still allowing the winch to slide side to side on the winch plate. If you use a smaller/narrower winch, you can disregard this and tighten the winch bolts as per the JCR instructions If you use a Factor55 Winch lock, make sure it replaces one of the rearward bolts on the winch. If using a smaller winch then this is less an issue (see #2). Minor note: the JCR instructions call for using their supplied shims with Zeon series winches. They are not required for Zeon Platinum series (pure wireless) that do not have a manual clutch handle. Not using the shims helped with getting the those upper, inner flange nuts on and tight. However you can still use them at the risk of a bigger fight to install those upper, inner flange nuts. The first thing is to remove the bumper gap trim on the frame between the bumper and the grill (pin removal tool), pull the skid plate (seven 13mm bolts), disconnect the fog light plug on the passenger side frame rail, then remove the eight 18mm flange nuts that hold the bumper on. This frees the bumper to come off. The wheels are turned full passenger to make room to work on the passenger fender liner side to run power cables from the winch up behind the air box and to the battery. I decide to do this outside for some much needed sun exposure instead of in the garage. Sunlight is good for your health, unless maybe you are an albino. Next is to hang the winch plate on the supplied 5/8 bolts that go into the frame skid plate towers, swing the plate up and then support it with the jack and log. Do not tighten the 5/8 bolts until you have the plate's forward mounts solidly up against the frame horn bottoms on both sides. To get a clean contact on both sides I had to apply enough jack lift to slightly support the Jeep's nose weight via the plate, log, jack. I then tightened up the skid towed bolts (first time). With those tightened, I could remove the jack and log. Next was several rounds of test fitting, cutting, grinding, rinse, lather, repeat. The result was two cut and ground frame horns. Images are after I hit the metal with matte black spray paint to prevent rust. I cut just enough to minimize the likelihood that vibration causes damage to the winch body. With several rounds tight fitting, I had to touch up the winch body sides with flat black touchup paint. Although the areas I nicked are well hidden by the bumper itself. One of the test fit passes: Amalfi helping me on this job. Final test fit and line loaded on the spool. The power cable is over the top just to load the line. At this point the winch is still going on and off as various part fitting is being validated. The Warn factory thimble is still on the line. I am going to remove that later. The JCR winch plat kit comes with w fairlead mounting "bracket" (their word). Really it is just a steel plate to cover the bumper holes exposed by removing the factory plastic fairlead hole cover. Something to note here. The bumper is curved across the front. The fairlead plate from JCR is also curved "to match". I quote that because their curve was slightly deeper (tighter radius). What this means is that when you put the fairlead plate on the bumper, do not tool tighten the supplied 4 bracket bolts and nuts, instead go only finger tight. You will use the hawse fairlead and it's inner bolts to flatten the fairlead bracket. Once the fairlead's bolts are tightened and the fairlead bracket radius is forced to conform to the bumper, then tool tighten the bracket bolts and nuts. This also means that you are bending the flat fairlead to match the bumper radius. Footnote, I spray painted the bolt heads of the fairlead bracket matte black. It came out pretty decent since these were hex bit bolts instead of hex socket. I forgot the spray the fairlead bolts, but given the socket would have likely destroy the paint, it was just as well. I used flat black touchup paint on them once I got the bumper installed. Important note on aligning the hawse fairlead to the bumper fairlead opening. It would be instinctive to perfectly center the hawse fairlead opening on the bumper fairlead opening. With a bottom spooled Warn Zeon winch on the JCR winch plate, I do not recommend this. The winch line is going to come off the bottom of the spool, thorough the bumper opening and then the hawse fairlead opening. If you perfectly center the fairlead, the outer few wraps will force the synthetic line to rub the bumper opening hard edge and consequently fray your rope under use. By pushing the fairlead up as high as the fairlead bolts and holes allow before tightening the bolts, the hawse fairlead bottom radius will support the line high enough to prevent this bumper opening rub. Whatever winch, plate, and bumper combination you choose to use, make sure your winch line is properly supported by your hawse or roller fairlead throughout the entire spooling process to prevent rubbing any equipment rough edges. Another detail to be aware of is the fairlead bolts ends on the inside of the bumper. Warn supplied cap nuts for the bolts. It's not highly likely the line will touch those bolts, but they are so close to the line at the spool edges that it is a good just-in-case idea. At least I assume they supplied them for this reason. Now to be honest, this install did not go as smooth as I am presenting. I am writing this as if you were going to duplicate my result. Complications, including having to go buy a tool, made this take more tim than I expected or was called for. Case in point, the bumper had to come off to adjust the hawse fairlead up after I realized the line wasn't properly supported by the hawse fairlead when at full spool. More, the first attempt at finalizing the bumper install was before I realized that there were two flange nuts that were not going to be able to be spun on their bumper bolts. I had to rethink the instructions and loosen the winch to allow it to slide side to side. I also had to move the Factor55 winch lock from a front winch mount to a rear winch mount so it could be tightened after bumper installation. Here are a couple shots showing that upper, inner flange nut fit. Keep in mind the socket that has to go over the nut to tighten it. Both images are of the driver's upper, inner nut. the left/first image is with the winch centered. The second/right image is winch pushed toward the passenger's side. If those flange nuts only held on the bumper, you might just skip the two upper inner nuts. There are six others (three per side) holding the bumper on. But those flange nuts also hold the recovery hooks. You do not want to ever put those recovery hooks under load without all four flange nuts in place, especially the top/upper nuts where the load is strongest. This issue merited completely undoing prior work to remove the bumper and rethink/reengineer the install process. Helpful tool when trying to blind thread a flange nut in a tight place: Safety note: When tightening the bumper bolts, think putting on a wheel. Each nut tightening may loosen another nut as the bumper fully seats against the frame horns. I recommend three passes around each of the four nuts per side in initial install. Once you get both sides initially tight, then go back to the first side and retighten again, then go back to the second side and make one more pass. This should fully seat the bumper with the winch plate mounts sandwiched in. Remember these same flange nuts and bolts hold your winch and front recovery hooks in place (under load) too. Because the winch mount bolts have to be tightened after the bumper is installed, the forward two winch mount bolts are now tightly covered. This is why the winch lock needs to replace an aft winch bolt. The Factor55 winch lock bolt has to be engaged straight on to be tightened. The forward bolts are not only hidden by the bottom lip of the bumper, but also blocked by the winch plate strength cross member. You will have to tighten them with an open-ended box wrench at a slight angle with only a few degrees of turn per pass. This is why you want to get as many spins on those bolts as you can while still leaving it able to slide side to side earlier in the install process. Yet another important detail, make sure your winch is as far forward as it can be when tightening the winch mount bolts. You do not want the winch to slip forward under load. The winch bolts are design to be strongest under static load conditions. If the winch moves relative to the winch plate or bumper under load, additional dynamic load will be added to the bolts that could cause failure. Not highly likely, but why tempt fate? The slip, should it occur, could send a shock wave down your loaded winch line creating unpredictable dynamic stresses to various line contact and connection points. The JCR winch plate includes a forward upper lip that the winch feet should engage when properly positioned. With the bumper installed, the winch pushed forward, properly centered, and winch mount bolts tightened, and finally, the skid plate replaced we can move to cleaning up the winch details, power, winch hook, and any synthetic line modifications. I chose to use the Factor55 Flatlink instead of the Warn supplied factory hook. I did this for two reasons. I think the closed loop line design is smart, more safe, and more convenient actually than hook based connections. Yes the hook may be faster to *initially* connect, but it is slower to use if you are doing what you should to ensure the hook is always properly engaged when loading and changing load conditions. The hook can't be cinched up to the hawse fairlead, that is if you want to not damage the fairlead rope sliding surfaces. I do NOT like the hook on the recovery point look. That exposes critical winch line to unnecessary driving related wear and tear. (UV radiation, rocks scraping, debris impacts, etc.) There are some hook rubber storage covers for hooks to cinch them up to fairleads and prevent fairlead scratching and gouging, but again I don't like the barbaric look, and the hook line loop is still exposed. Another detail is that I want to eliminate the Warn supplied thimble that engages the Flatlink (or hook). Just like the hook, the long, steel thimble has edges that can cause damage to the fairlead's line slide surfaces. Therefore I chose to remove the thimble and install a Factor55 load spool. When you install the load spool in the synthetic line and put on the flatlink, you can cinch up and there will be no metal on metal contact. Another benefit of the load spool is better centering of the line on the Fllatlink pin, ensuing the best properties of "double shear" strength. This choice also meant modifying (cutting and splicing) with the winch line. Yes you will have to cut off a little over a foot of winch line. That's the shortest possible cut. And that is because Warn did something interesting when installing the thimble at the factory. The line that goes around the thimble bend is fed through the supply line as you would expect. But then in a twist, they run the supply line through the excess line post thimble. Then finally the excess line is buried inside the supply line. This image is after I unburied the excess line from the supply side line. This meant (carefully) cutting the excess line at the point where the supply line goes through the excess line loosing a little over a foot of line. once that is done, you can now pull the tiny remaining excess out of the supply line and through the thimble arms to free the thimble. Wrapping the Factor55 load spool into the synthetic line was a chance to use my new Factor55 Fast Fid. Following the length guidance written right on the barrel of the Fast Fid, I despooled enough synthetic line to wrap around the load spool, double pierce the supply line (left then right), and then burry 20 -27 inches of excess line inside of the supply line. I got 25 inches buried. If you look closely you can see where the excess line is buried in the supply line. With the Fast Fid, this actually is a very easy process. Learning note: Use sharp scissors to cut the synthetic line instead of a knife. The scissors create a much cleaner cut with little initial fray. Image of (clean) cut line. Two-ish inches of line were wasted on this lesson. Next was to add the rope guard to the flatlink, then install the flat link onto the load spool. Do yourself a favor if you buy a flatlink or ultrahook, get a ring clip tool (Irwin brand in the picture). Without the proper tool, you risk bending or worse breaking the ring clip, trying to extract it (ask me how I know). Ignore the mallet. You need a real hammer. The rope guard has expanding rivets that you drive into the flatlink, though the holes of the rope guard. In the screwdriver handle is the largest hex bit I have. Bigger is better for solid contact with the rivet pin. Not shown, but this handle has a perfectly flat top, good for striking with the hammer. You have to hit the rivet pins HARD to drive them in and force them the crush and expand. Being careful not to miss the handle and strike your hand, hit the screwdriver head as hard as you can. Learning note: The harder you strike on the first few blows, the more likely you are to get a clean insertion and smooth top to the exposed rivet. This image shows that on one of the rivets, I got expansion outside of the rivet body and now it will not go all the way in. I did not strike hard enough initially on this rivet. Here is a clean rivet. With the flatlink then installed on the load spool and the line wound back up tight, I removed the factory steel bumper wings and the reinstalled all the T45 bolts that were removed to take the steel bumper apart. I picked up metric threaded nuts, flat and lock washers at Lowes to reinstall the winch blank bolts instead of leaving holes in front of the winch. Finished product:
  20. And I forgot to talk about the wiring issue. So included the loss of slack space in the JL design vs the JK, is the area under the driver's side door floor trim. There is far more factory wiring there now, and a shell structure to manage that factory wiring and attach the trim. I will need to take it back apart at some point, likely when I shorten up the excess power and communication cable, and get pictures. What this resulted in is that I had to remove the loom from all the radio related wiring from the point it passed by the forward edge of the front door until it exited the door trim under the seat or passed by the front seatbelt mount aft of the front door. All radio wiring is loomed before and after that point. Even under the dash.
  21. Having (mostly) completed this design and effort, if I were advising anyone else on a radio body mounting solution (assumes a detachable radio head), I would tell them to put the radio on top of or on the front of on of the wheel well trim pieces and probably put the antenna on the tailgate. I'd probably use the passenger side. There are actually some aftermarket storage solutions that mount to the front part of the wheel well trim that could hide the radio. Just make sure you create adequate air flow.
  22. Where to mount a ham radio body in the Jeep. Where indeed. With the JL, slack space is far less prevalent that was in the JK. This new lack of slack space will become an issue with wiring at a critical location too; details later. If you do not have the premium audio, there might be room in the cavity under the steering wheel. But I have the premium audio and there is were the amp resides. That was true in the JK also. Under the front seats in the JK was a great location to stuff a radio body or aftermarket amp or a locking storage bin. But no more! The JL leaves very little space there due to a raised under body rib and a lowered seat bottom, especially if you have the cold weather group option, And more, there is now a rear seat facing heater vent there. Under the rear seat is not an option if you intend to lower the rear seats, and I do, and will regularly. The glove box and console are not great places to put a ham radio due to poor air circulation. And if you put a high powered radio in one of those locations, do NOT put anything else in there. Also keep in mind that the Yaesu FTM-400 has cable connections required for operation both fore (mic, head unit) and aft (power, antenna, external speaker). There is one under seat mounting bracket on the market and it costs over $200. I am not convinced it offers upper clearance for the cold weather group wiring nor lower clearance to allow the heater vent air to flow unimpeded beneath. It is not that I worry about the feet of a rear seat passenger, it is a Jeep, not a luxury limo after all. What I really worry about is the heater warming up the radio. And keep in mind that I do not like to cut on factory equipment that was not designed to be cut upon. Really your options are fairly limited. For me, anywhere overtly visible to a passenger or any location that potentially eats away at leg or foot room up front is right out. So all that is left is to try and squeeze it under one of the front seats or to put it all the way in the back surface mounted on one of the rear cargo wheel wells. Under the front driver seat it goes. Fabrication time. Now keep in mind I lack the awesome capability to (properly) bend metal and perform any welding activity. But I am pretty good at Tetris and pattern recognition. And due to all the recent work on Shelley's 4xe, I happen to have a pile of random parts lying in the garage. Behold! The factory rear bumper driver's side bracket. A marvel of Jeep engineering, ain't it? It so turns out that the right side flat area can be bolted to the bottom of the seat frame, while the left sits on the carpet with the middle section relatively level. The long and short of it was this, mounting underneath would not work. That would put the radio practically on and to close to the floor in case of any water ingress. Mounting on top required a bit of creativity both on the bumper bracket and the radio mounting bracket. You might also immediately notice an inverted V ridge in the bracket put there for rigidity and strength when used as intended to mount the rear bumper solidly in place. I would have to use three washers per bolt between the bumper bracket and the radio bracket to straddle the V ridge. Additionally I would have to lower the radio inside its own bracket by creating new screw holes on the mounting bracket sides. Templating, fitting, and redesigning would take several iterations. The area under the seat is not anything near square to make a clear full measurement set upon. I would have to push the radio back upon the bracket (see extra screw holes) and push the bracket back (see notch to work around the seat mount) to finally create a minimum safe clearance for the seat adjustment handle The power filter is zip-tied off the floor and nicely into the notch/cavity created by the bracket between the flat section that bolts to the seat bracket and a middle metal stem that is part of the bumper bracket design. I need to do more clean up, but it's a good first pass and added to the complications trying to get wiring to fit in a few tight spots, I spent a full day on this. The clean-up includes but is not limited to: 90 degree SMA adapter minimize the likelihood of damage to the antenna cable by a rear passenger foot or floor board cargo Shorten the antenna cable, power wires and head control cables to get rid of the spooled loom pile under the gloves Pushing the radio back on the mount about another half inch. The seat adjustment handle doesn't hit the radio now when sliding the seat all the way back, but it still kisses it. The cable going up is the very loud Yaesu MLS-200 external speaker because the built in radio speaker doesn't work well trying to blast up though the car seat cushion and my or anyone else's touche. And any dirt you might think you see is likely due to the need to go clean your glasses or your computer screen. The zip ties are on as tight as they can go but there is slack in the molle strap. I need secure a soft bushing between the speaker bracket and the seat frame plastic. That was the only location short of screwing it to the sound bar over head that allowed the back seats to lower fully and completely unimpeded through their lowering arc. It is a nice location that should not significantly impact a rare rear passenger. The radio head unit is mounted to the driver's A-pillar grab handle using a Carolina Metal Masters 1" A- pillar grab handle ball mount. The radio head itself has a hollowed-out 1" RAM Mount "B" ball attached using a 5mm x 0.80 pitch bolt (1” long). The RAM Mounts ball solution was what I created back in 2018 when I installed this radio into the 2008 JK. The better solution nowadays is from 67 Designs using their 5mm Offset Mount with the original radio head screw that came with the radio from Yaesu. The arm is a 67D Nano Arm using 1" adapters on both sides. If you used the 67D 5mm Offset Mount and the CMM 20mm ball, you could use a "normal" 67D Nano Arm. The head cable is just naturally thin enough to sit/wedge into the slot between the dash and the A-pillar trim and then carefully loop up into the soft trim edge.
  23. Drop Steps mainly. Secondly, but not really critical, the steel slide plates are replaceable. Shelley's knees need the second, lower step to be able to get in comfortably. We also have older relatives that need the second step. And I need that drop/second step to be removable before going over rocks and I still need an effective, weight-bearing, body-protecting slider that can support the Jeep on a rock or be use to pivot the Jeep against a rock. The modularity is actually quite nice. The Armor Lites bolt up identically to the Destroyers; three body mounts points plus one frame bolt front and mid, two frame bolts rear. The apparent difference in the frame brackets is that the AL's have more of a flat bottom which I find advantageous. Less opportunity to snag up on a pointy rock.
  24. Step one (for me anyway) of installing the FTM-400 was to install the antenna. I originally installed the antenna and ran the cable into the cabin prior to handing the JLUR over to Doetsch. Quick aside, most people prefer an NMO mount. Because of an "accident" in my very first antenna purchase online a number of years ago, I have always used an UHF SO-239 base (PL-239 antenna). I stick with it because it allows me to easily interchange my various sized antennas across my vehicles as immediate transmission/reception range requires. My normal antenna is a 27" spring loaded Comet SS-680SB (see bottom of the page) (on Amazon). I got mine in person from Ham Radio Outlet in Phoenix. You can always order from HRO online too. It is a very flexy antenna, nice for matching the sexy flexy suspension of the Jeep and really good in the Arizona desert brush. As mounted it also rarely touches any of those maximum height clearance bars. The next challenge is to route the antenna cable into the cabin where the radio will be located. My JLUR has auxiliary power already located inside the cab (see minimum feature list in the initial post above), so I only need to route the antenna wire. There is a port on the driver's side if you have an automatic transmission and an actual wiring port on the passenger side behind the fender liner. If you are going to run a normal thickness antenna wire, then you will have to use one of those ports. You can also use super thin RG316 (Diamond C213, Amazon link) or RG174 (Comet CK-3M, Amazon link) and run right through the weather stripping joint on the A-pillar where the door frame meets the windshield frame and cowl panel. Worth noting, it is a good idea to support the cable with a strain relief inside the cowl. I zip tied the RG316 (intentionally leaving some slack) to a factory wiring harness under the cowl panel and this keep pressure off the antenna mount and off the weather stripping entry point (no picture at this time). The weather stripping reseals perfectly around the thin wire. and because the wire is still below the top of the cowl edge, there should be no interference with lowering the windshield if you are so inclined to use that Jeep feature. If you look ver closely in the following image, you may be able to see that super thin RG316 on each side of the weather seal. You remove the two pins at the bottom with a dash tool, then pull the triangular seal up until you get about a half inch into the sticky portion. Push the RG316 or RG174 up into the sticky black sealant and then press the stripping back down and reinsert the pins Because I do not (yet) have any lighting platforms installed on the cowls, I am using the Rugged Radios Antenna Mount (Amazon link). There are some knock offs on Amazon use the same metal shape, but you really want the Rugged Radios edition since it comes with a rubber washer to keep the metal off your paint. I have yet to see that in any of the imitations. The Rugged Radios also comes with two differently threaded screws in case you want to use this on a TJ, JK, or JL/JT. Note: because I use UHF mounts instead of NMO, I had to carve out the antenna mount hole in the bracket. It would be nice if Rugged Radios offered the bracket in both NMO and UHF options. But at least I have a Dremel. I added the fender washer you see in the image. I think they should add this to their package as the screw head is kinda small compared to the slot it has to secure against. The fender washer inner diameter is well matched to the thread shaft and provides great rigidity to the overall installation, an important point if you are going to run your antenna through the thick Arizona desert brush. One downside to the Rugged Radios mount is even with my fender washer solution, it is not rigid enough to support mounting my 62" Diamond Supergainer while in motion. I will have to eventually install a light mounting platform with multiple bolted points of contact to handle not only lights, but the weight and wind torque of a tall antenna. I personally would not go above a 36" antenna with this mount and I would make sure the antenna has a built-in flex spring or self-managing break-away point. Final note: I route the antenna wire back and in from the antenna mount to allow the mount and mount base to protect the wire from brush contact and snagging.
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