This is the second part of the installation, although completed a little while ago now, that covers the VHF/UHF transceiver element of the installation.  Just to recap, the vehicle is a 2001 Subaru Liberty (elsewhere known as a Legacy).  Part 1 covered the fitting of the antenna, mount and installation of the feeder cable from the rear of the vehicle into the passenger compartment.


The primary goal of this installation was to drill as few holes as possible and keep modifications to the wiring harness and vehicle interior to an absolute minimum.  The vehicle is in fairly stock condition, previously only having one owner, so I am attempting to keep it this way for as long as possible.  Furthermore, a semi-permanent installation should facilitate transferring the radio from the vehicle to the shack as and when needed.

Radio location

In keeping with the installation goals, the original vehicle mounting bracket was not used.  Rather I elected to install the radio main body directly into the glove box.  It is affixed in place with to lengths of hook and loop (Velcro) tape in order to stop the unit moving about in the glove box.  All cables where routed into the area from directly behind where there is sufficient space for the DC power cable and feeder cable to reach the radio.

DC power is sourced from a permanent 12 volt DC feed that was located in the passenger foot wall area beneath the vehicle A pillar.  This feed was checked to ensure that at least 10 amps could be supplied to the radio on a continuous basis.

By default I have programmed the radio to operate with 10 watts output on VHF and UHF.  This can be overridden at any time, but provides a good starting point for communications.  I was concerned that restricted air flow in the glove box would cause issues, but as I have very few items in the glove box the air flow is sufficient and with continuous operation above 10 watts the radio does not get too hot.

Radio head unit location

The Yaesu FT-8800R comes with a radio head that can be remote mounted.  Unlike my IC-207H, which can also be remote mounted, the FT-8800R allows the microphone modular connector to be plugged into the head, rather than the radio body.  This is quite neat, as having to run two sets of cables for the IC-207H is quite a put off, and also restricts how and where you can run the cable for the microphone.

Using hook and loop self-adhesive tape, the radio head is 'stuck' to the passenger side of the main centre console.  All cables are tucked up into the plastic centre console trim to ensure that the passenger does become entangled in the radios control cables.

To overcome the low audio levels, due to the radio being placed in the glove box, a communications extension speaker is located underneath the passenger seat.  This is driven in parallel to the in-built radio speaker, to boost the audio levels as much as possible in the noisy mobile environment.


Subaru Libery Legacy Amateur Ham Radio Installation Subaru Libery Legacy Amateur Ham Radio Installation


Written 19/10/2014