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Il Rinforzo
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Vehicle Name Il Rinforzo
Year 2013
Make Jeep
Model Grand Cherokee
Color Bright white
Packages Customer Preferred Package 26X, Laredo E Group, Uconnect 430N
2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee
2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee
Exterior
OEM Mopar Class IV trailer hitch receiver

Interior
2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee Interior 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee Interior
Icom ID-5100 VHF/UHF mobile amateur radio and Uniden BCD996T (with RH96 control head) scanner

Previously had Kenwood D710 VHF/UHF mobile amateur radio.
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Old 05-13-2013, 01:56 PM
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Re: Il Rinforzo :: 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee

I've bucked my normal tradition of naming my vehicles in English. I'm naming this Grand Cherokee "Il Rinforzo," which is Italian for "The Reinforcement."
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Old 05-18-2013, 09:20 PM
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Amateur radio and scanner install

After having a 2011 Jeep Patriot for only about a year and a half, I found a good deal on a 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo 4x4 as the 2014 models were starting to hit the lots at the end of February. This was an especially good deal since the dealership bought out the rest of my lease. The Patriot was a really good and fun vehicle to drive, but I wanted something a little bigger with more power and modern amenities.

I've had various radios and scanners installed in my vehicles for several years now, so the time I went without that noise in my car between late February and May drove me crazy. If you're wondering what amateur radio is, there's a good thread on Expedition Portal and off-roaders may find it especially useful.

Main components:

Kenwood TM-D710A VHF/UHF mobile radio: Previously, I was using an Icom ID-800H radio for voice and a Motorola Radius VHF radio with the Argent Data OpenTracker USB for APRS. Space in the new vehicle is at a premium and the only reason I was using two separate radios were so I could have both D-STAR and APRS capability, so I decided to axe one. Well, D-STAR got the axe in the mobile and I stayed with APRS. The only logical solution was to use a D710 (which I had utilized in my Impala), and that radio gives me everything but D-STAR. I think it's a good trade-off, especially with the D710's control head and APRS functionality.

Uniden BCD996T digital scanner with RH96 control head: Used to monitor anything that's legal, including local, state, federal, military, FRS/GMRS, or commercial. Uniden stopped manufacturing the RH96 a few years ago. ScannerMaster bought out the remaining stock, and unfortunately the price for these units has really skyrocketed since I purchased this unit.

Argent Data Systems GM-1 GPS: This 5-volt GPS is split between the radio and the scanner, providing the location for APRS and to make use of the BCD996T's location-based scanning capability, locking and unlocking systems as I move around.

RAM POD I No-Drill Single Socket Mount with Diamond Base RAM-B-316-1-238U: There aren't a lot of mounting options for radios in the WK2, even for control heads. I am curious to see if the Dodge Durango radio consoles would fit the WK2 as some websites showed they were interchangeable, but I settled on using this RAM mount and AMPS-compatible diamond plate to mount the control heads. The control heads are actually attached to the RAM mount by stacking the control head OEM brackets together and then bolting those to the RAM diamond plate. It works out great because the control head faces turn out to be pretty flush with each other. The RAM mount can be sturdy, it just can't be too unbalanced otherwise it does wobble a little bit. It seems to do ok on city streets and rural roads with the weight that I have on it but I wouldn't put more weight on it than it already has. The malleable rod isn't actually very malleable, but it's bendable enough that you can make it go where you want to go. Don't go too crazy bending it otherwise you might spend a lot of time and energy trying to straighten it out (but it's good that it's rigid). I can't seem to get it balanced again after my passenger scooted the seat up too far and moved the rod. The only other issue that I had with the rod is that it tipped to the right every time I turned left. This was resolved by using a zip tie and a tie mount glued to the console trim. Not ideal, but it works. I didn't choose the "no-drill" mount option for any particular reason other than it's out of the way and I can still use slush mats in the winter. Not many complaints from passengers, but it's vulnerable to be bumped by passengers especially when pulling a drink out of the cup holders.

Everything is tied to the battery via a Havis ChargeGuard CG-X-100 on automatic detection mode. The ChargeGuard senses the AC ripple voltage produced by the alternator and then turns the equipment on when the voltage has stabilized. It also turns the equipment off after a specified amount of time after the AC ripple voltage has stopped. The length of time is determined by dip switches, which I have set to 15 minutes so there's enough time to squeeze out another APRS packet or listen to the radios without needing to idle. I put the ChargeGuard in the glove compartment for easy access. The ChargeGuard has an emergency button that will allow the equipment to be operated for an additional 15 minutes after the initial 15 minutes has expired.

For antennas, I'm using a Laird TRA7603 760-870 MHz Phantom antenna in white on the mounted using a Chevy Tahoe bracket on the driver's side fender connected to the scanner; Diamond NR72BNMO VHF/UHF antenna on the roof for the radio; and a Laird QWB430 430-450 MHz black quarter-wave antenna on the roof. The UHF antenna is currently just a placeholder in case I need to throw in an extra radio in the future and change the antenna (such as a 900 MHz ISM-band antenna for Motorola DTR radios that I use with non-licensed friends and family). I put the scanner antenna on the fender to avoid the problems I've had in the past with the radio overloading the scanner and eventually blowing out the front end. The Phantom antenna works well, but it's obviously not as good as the Laird B8065CN 806-866 MHz 5dB antenna I was previously using. The Diamond antenna works well for its size. I'm limited on antenna height as my work parking ramp has a clearance of 7'2" (if I'm remembering correctly). With the Diamond antenna, I have about two inches of clearance.

For speakers I am using two Motorola HSN4039 13-watt speakers, one for the radio and another for the scanner.

Some other notes... there are two cubbies below the front seats. The AGM battery is in the passenger's side cubby, but the driver's side cubby is empty. There is definitely not enough airflow in these cubbies to mount the transmitters, but the cubbie cover is convenient to mount the transmitters on. I was able to bolt all of my transmitters onto the cover, so if needed I can disconnect all of the cables and pull it out. A warning, though: the electric seats and seat warmers don't leave much clearance under there. There are pass-throughs in the firewall in the WK2, which I used to bring the coax for the fender antenna into the cabin as well as electric. I found them behind the pedals, and they're on both the driver's and passengers side. The roof stiffeners can make it a little difficult to mount antennas -- basically anywhere between the embossed stamps on the roof is ok to mount an antenna. The flat sections are where the roof stiffeners are. Also, in terms of RFI, I was dreading that I would have the same RFI issues that plagued the Durango, but so far that doesn't seem to be the case.



















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Old 05-18-2013, 10:37 PM
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Old 05-18-2013, 11:06 PM
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Re: Il Rinforzo :: 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee

I had an opportunity to get them at cost, so I jumped on it. There are some cheaper options out there, but you get what you pay for.
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Old 05-18-2013, 11:38 PM
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Re: Amateur radio and scanner install

Great job and nice pictures! Any problems with RFI, either RX or TX? IIRC the stereo amp is under the passenger seat which could pick up stray RF. How hard was it to get to the battery? I'm still thinking about putting my IC706MKIIG in my new Overland, but I worry about all the CPU's generating hash or getting trashed by RF.

de N6IE
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Old 05-19-2013, 12:41 PM
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Re: Amateur radio and scanner install

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeep4Ron View Post
Great job and nice pictures! Any problems with RFI, either RX or TX? IIRC the stereo amp is under the passenger seat which could pick up stray RF. How hard was it to get to the battery? I'm still thinking about putting my IC706MKIIG in my new Overland, but I worry about all the CPU's generating hash or getting trashed by RF.

de N6IE
No issues so far. I was concerned that I'd get the same RFI problems that plague the Dodge Durango. I'm actually pulling the electricity from the battery terminals in the engine bay instead of going direct from the battery.
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Old 07-15-2013, 09:46 PM
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Re: Il Rinforzo :: 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Got an OEM hitch installed, but in the process they bent one of my two-way radio antennas on the roof all to hell and pulled the mount back which caused the roof to become wavy and uneven in that one little spot. I have most of it bent back into place, but worried about some water damage or some other issue later down the road. They did agree to reimburse me for the antenna and also some PDR or other repair work if necessary.
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Old 09-02-2013, 10:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sndrsk View Post
Got an OEM hitch installed, but in the process they bent one of my two-way radio antennas on the roof all to hell and pulled the mount back which caused the roof to become wavy and uneven in that one little spot. I have most of it bent back into place, but worried about some water damage or some other issue later down the road. They did agree to reimburse me for the antenna and also some PDR or other repair work if necessary.
Thanks for posting. I have the panorama roof on a WK2 and tested a Larsen 2/70B 1/2 wave on a magnet mount but could not achieve an SWR less than 4 with my Yaesu FT-60R HT. I notice the Diamond dual band antenna you have says no magnetic mount. I am considering Larsen's dual NMO/GPS mount but hate to make a hole, plus not a whole lot of surface area available with the panorama roof. Do you think I might get a better SWR with the Tahoe hood bracket?
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Old 07-08-2014, 06:56 PM
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Re: Il Rinforzo :: 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee

I made a few changes. I got rid of the RAM Mount PODI since it was way too wobbly and intrusive, swapped out the Kenwood D710 for an Icom ID-5100, and moved the Uniden RH-96 to the glove compartment.

The mount for the ID-5100 display is two RAM Mount RAM-B-238U diamond plates with a RAM Mount RAM-B-201U-A short-arm B-socket (you can buy them together here). It's just bolted down in that awkward spare change holder (?) between the shifter and the center console. I removed the rubber insert, popped off the passenger's side center console trim, drilled, and bolted. It's pretty sturdy. I wish there were shorter arm options, since the display is the size of a large boat, so it sits up pretty high and takes up a lot of room.

I also changed the antennas. I now have two Sti-Co Flexi-Whip antennas that go to a Comet CF-4160J duplexer and then into the ID-5100. The front antenna is cut for 444 MHz, and the rear is cut for 146 MHz. They are guaranteed to bend but not break. So far, they've been going in and out of a parking ramp every day and through low-hanging branches with no problem. You can buy the "replacement" whip and nut from Tessco, you don't need to buy a full assembly if you already have NMO mounts.









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