I just bought a 2008 Sonata, and I am planning to install my 2 meter
ham radio rig in it. Looking around under the dash and the firewall
area, I can see that the fit and finish is excellent - so much so that
I can't find an easy place to tap power for the radio. Note that
using the cigarette lighter/ power jack is not really an option
because the plugs tend to overheat when transmitting at 50 watts.
Is there some convenient place to tap power without having to
dismantle something, or alternatively, is there someplace where I can
run wires through the firewall to connect directly to the battery?
N4XTK here. :o) If it were me, I'd tap off of the battery with an in-line
fuse close to the battery. They have setups for feeding subwoofer amps that
will work. Getting through the firewall shouldn't be a problem. I haven't
looked in my Sonata, but there are usually grommets you can open up. Good
Go immediately out to your car, and lift the hood. Next to the battery is
the underhood fuse/relay box. There is a power tap in there. You'll need a
fuse http://www.littelfuse.com/data/en/Data_Sheets/BF1_42V.pdf I haven't
been able to find anywhere to buy them, but I asked for, and got samples
from them - you know the drill!!!
Depending on what kind of radio you have - split / non-split (where the head
goes on the dash, and the radio goes somewhere else, like the trunk) - you
might want to go a marine store (Boaters World is near me), and get some
marine grade #6, and go all the way to the trunk. The marine wire has lots
of strands compared to anything you'll get at an electrical store, and the
insulation is both tough and flexible. Put an 80 amp fuse in there. That way
you can put an inverter in for running the computer, etc. This is
important..... Run both positive and negative all the way to the front of
the car - even if you are just going to run the radio (probably #10, and a
30 amp fuse if only running the radio) This will help prevent alternator
whine, and other nasty noises when you transmit. You might be surprised how
much voltage drop there is through a steel car body.
Poke the roof. I've done it on many cars and traded them. I've usually put a
cell stick on the NMO mount, and never had a question when trade time comes.
The last one I removed the antenna from the mount, and epoxied a cover from
an XM antenna over the mount. Again, no questions. Where to put the antenna
with the curtain airbags????? Just disconnect the battery---- Wait 5
Minutes-----, and remove the rear plastic pillar covers. Then pull the
molding off the left and right sides of the rear part of the headliner after
removing the maniac driver handles above the rear doors. You can then get
your hand under the rear part of the headliner. You'll see the gas cylinders
on the rear pillars. Don't mess with the cylinders, or the side curtain bags
(they are rolled up), and you'll be fine. I poked the roof about a foot from
the back of the car, and ran the coax down the left rear pillar (my radios
are in the trunk - a 110 watt VHF and a 40 watt UHF ASTRO Spectra) If your
radio is really in the front, and you have no sunroof, you might get off
easier if you drop the dome light, and run the coax down the front pillar.
The only issue with the airbags is to make sure that you don't block the
airbag with the coax - it goes behind the airbag so it's not in the way if
it deploys. If going down the front, just follow the wiring for the dome
light. Use a real antenna drill bit, and vacuum the metal shards out. from
on top of the headliner, as well as from the roof of the car.
Thanks very much for the information. THe only remaining issue for me
is that I have yet to find any grommets or places to penetrate the
firewall. The radio is an ICOM 2720, which is a dual band 2M/70cm
unit with a separate control head. I am leaning towards poking the
roof. The trunk lid NMO mount I was using is not going to work
because of the contruction of the trunk lid on the sonata.
Well, I can see there's no water near you - you're like dead center of the
state, so no marine stores for you. Lowes has got an assortment of grommets
in the "drawers". Maybe car stereo shops. As far as trunk lid antennas....
If you can see the antenna, guess where much of your RF goes..... You should
be able to poke the firewall in the area of the brake, or maybe where the
HVAC goes through. Another possibility is on the right side where the HVAC
Before drilling, disconnect the battery for five minutes. When you snake
the floor, the seats come out easy..... four bolts, and the airbag
connectors. Again, battery disconnected for five minutes before unplugging
or reconnecting them. It would probably be best not to reconnect the battery
while the seat is out to prevent setting an airbag fault. Read up on it at
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