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Just looking for some general advice for in-car radio mounting.

In my previous vehicle (06' Ford focus ZX3), I simply screwed the metal brackets into the dash which worked fine for an old beater car.

Now I have a 2014 Nissan Xterra X and want to be a bit more careful, especially since I have a loan to pay off.

Does anyone have any experience with this situation? I just want a non-permanent solution that wouldn't void any warranties. No drastic modifications.

I currently have a Baofeng UV5R+, Uniden BC880 CB, and a Uniden BC355n Scanner. I plan on replacing the Baofeng handheld with a small Yaesu or Kenwood Dual-band mobile unit at some point.

Below is a picture of what my interior looks like for an example.

Xterra Interior

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  • $\begingroup$ In addition to the above, I'm hoping to find some clever ways to wire the antennas. I have 36" antennas for the CB and Scanner that I mounted on the Focus with Mag mounts but I didn't have any elegant way of routing the wires. ended up putting them through the corner of the passenger and driver-side doors. Want to avoid NMO mounts for now, but the Mag mounts prevent a direct pass-through of the wiring to the interior. $\endgroup$ – Jacob K - KD2JAG Dec 29 '15 at 22:14
  • $\begingroup$ I have a 2015 Xterra and looking at similar options. Most mount the control heads under the center section (below 4x4, heated seat buttons). I plan to do that, and put the radio under one of the back seats. $\endgroup$ – Inisheer Jan 1 '16 at 2:41
  • $\begingroup$ Also, I'm planing on using a hatch mount that clamps on to the side of the rear hatch. No holes at all. $\endgroup$ – Inisheer Jan 1 '16 at 2:42
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Sometimes doing the right mount means getting the right rig. I am not familiar with the rigs you plan to install but when I decided to install a mobile rig in my truck, I studied my options before buying the rig and made my decision on what fits best. In my case, it was two rigs: HF Transceiver and VHF/UHF FM Transceiver.

I figured my favored configuration was to use my cup holder (between the seats) and a cup holder radio mount. Since I can see the entire range of the console unit between the two front seats, not sure if this method applies. Here is a photo of the kind of mount: enter image description here

Indeed, that is an Icom 706 in the image which is the HF radio I ended up getting because of the removable head piece (like shown).

My VHF/UHF rig is the Yaesu FT-7800R (no longer available new) and it would share the same space but no mounted, it just laid around some place convenient (such as the storage box between the seats) since I never had to look at it and could use the mic buttons to switch memory cells of favored frequencies.

What I liked about my solution is that absolutely no holes in plastic parts (see below, some holes drilled) and nothing permanent placed anywhere up front -- not even sticky tape. Only one cord for each radio followed under the carpet to the rear seat of my pickup truck (crew cab so extra space) and the main base unit of each radio sat under the seat with access to antennas and power -- nothing visible or in the way of any other activity.

The photo below shows under the rear seat of the crew cab extension on my Chevy Silverado (2004) pickup truck. This particular photo only shows the base unit for the Icom 706 but the Yaesu is about the same size and sits right next to it.

enter image description here

In the photo you can see my power distribution boxes from cables that run from the battery in the front of the truck, through the firewall (an opening already existed there) and then under and along side the main frame of the truck and then up through the floor to the distribution boxes which support fuses. Since this photo was taken (about 7 years ago) I have installed a fused West Mountain Radio Anderson Power Pole distribution box making it more convenient to add and remove equipment.

By the way, there to the lower right of the distribution box is a UHF extender about 2 inches long that goes through the floor of the cab and provides for PL-259 adapter hookup under and in the truck for the main HF antenna coax.

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Tim Seed, comment number two, is spot on. I used a standard Icom mobile mounting bracket, the MB-4, to mount the entire radio (the ID-880) down there in front of the gear shift, including leaving the control head right on the radio. The MB-4 merely tips the unit up to a nice viewing angle AND solves the problem that the radio will not quite fit in there down flat. Obviously it is totally unsafe to be looking down there or touching the control head while driving. I use the HM-154 NON touch pad mic. It does have Channel UP & DOWN buttons.. hold and press either to scan. That allows me to operate a radio that I essentially cannot see while driving. And I don't use an external speaker, I use the one in the ICOM 880. I saw that spot in front of the gear shift while dwelling on how my wonderful 2015 factory rock crawler offers no spot other than in front of the gear shift that does not take away from passengers and cargo. AF7RM Rich in Reno.

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Even though I have a 4-dr, space is limited for me as well. I only use radios with remote heads. Two heads are mounted up front with the microphone coming up from alongside my seat for one of them. I did drill holes for a Motorola Spectra head although some good double-sided tape would probably have worked. The Kenwood is attached to a spot on the dash with the double-sided tape it came with and it's pretty solid. You can see these at www.n0xmz.com. The radios themselves are in the trunk, mounted to the back of a back seat.

We probably won't talk you into it but through-hole NMO really is the only way to go when it comes to antennas. It's waterproof, sturdy, and looks like a professional install. You gotta admit, they look pretty sweet on my car. Lip mounts can bend the trunk's metal and when I used them, I always had problems with water seeping in when there was a good storm. As for the holes, if the day comes where I decide to sell it, I'll do what I did with previous cars and insert some black rubber plugs the fill the holes perfectly (Motorola part # 0580379B46). That's what they do with retired police cars and commercial vehicles.

I also recommend checking out www.k0bg.com, especially the photo gallery section. There are over 600 pictures submitted by hams showing off their mobile installs. I think my old Accord is still on there and it had an HF ball mount with an 8' whip. Alan has several in-depth articles on all facets of mobile operation. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in mobile hamming.

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Not sure just how much of a foot-print your rig will have but there looks like there is some space in of the gear lever.

In the past I made a block of wood - to fit that type of space and then using my rig's Brackets - attached the brackets to the wood. This fixed the rig/wood together but allowed me to move the unit in and out of the vehicle easily.

If that will not work - you may be able to mount the rig against the centre console - either on your (or the passengers side).

As I also hate drilling holes in plastic - some velcro strips may be sufficient.

Power and Antenna in both of these areas are quite easy as you will have access to the carpets. I would then look for a rubber grommet that will accommodate the power/antenna cables.

Good luck with the installation.

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