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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Enough people commented in my intro thread that there are a bunch of ham radio operators on the forum, so I thought I'd pick your brains on this one. I know, I just got the bike yesterday and I'm already looking to modify it!




Has anyone put a two-way radio setup on their bike? One of the first things I thought of when looking over my GL500i was that it would be really easy to mount a 2 meter antenna with a luggage rack clamp on the bars going around the trunk.
The trick is the rest of the setup. I own a Yaesu VX-1R handheld, and a Kenwood TM-271A mobile rig (two, actually - one's mounted in the dashboard of my car, the other temporarily in my work vehicle - easily removed if I need it). Certainly the best option would be to buy a mobile rig with a remote head, mount the rig in the trunk, the head on the inside of the fairing somewhere, plug in a headset, and away we go. I just can't justify installing a radio that costs more than the bike itself.
So I'm looking to use what I've got as much as possible. I may start with something more like a portable setup, where I ride to a scenic spot, pop open the trunk, then play radio while stationary. But I'm curious what others have done to get some ideas to use with my own setup. I'm mainly interested in 2 meter operation, as we have an excellent linked repeater system here in Maine that covers nearly the entire state. But the VX-1R is a dual bander - 1 watt maximum output running on 12v, though. Maybe a really good dual band antenna can help me stretch that out a bit.



73 de KA1ULT
 

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You could also use the radio/receiver pocket on the right side of the fairing as a place for the larger unit.
 

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I purchased my first GL500I new in 1982. At the time I was living in the Middle Georgia area and was very active in ham radio so I wanted to install a two meter capability. A Motorola HT-220 handie talkie was the main rig I used on 2M, and it did very well with its 5W out, but in some of the more remote areas additional power was warranted.



The solution was to install a 30W Vocom amplifier in the fairing and a quarter wave rod antenna at the rear of the bike. A BNC RF input connector and on/off switch was mounted on the blank radio cover plate. This required drilling holes in the cover plate; a spare plate was ordered so the bike could be returned to its original state. This cover plate is now obsolete - if you are considering modifying yours, you may want to consider fabricating a cover plate and keeping the original cover unmodified.



For safety reasons I made it a personal policy to not operate while riding. But when stopped I would run a short coaxial cable from the HT-220 to the fairing and hit the repeaters with ease.



Honda sold an antenna bracket as an accessory so one was purchased to mount the antenna. Here are a few photos of the bracket with the rod antenna installed.















The bracket was designed to mount to the right turn signal bracket as shown.







Clearance is an issue if a trunk relocation kit is installed, but this arrangement worked well at the time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Wow, neat stuff, Dave. I have the relocated trunk, but can probably mount an antenna to that. As I'm researching, there are any number of mounts out there. That Honda mount is cool, though. Probably made of unobtainium these days, but something similar could be fabricated. I'm trying to get back on HF myself, but I'm in "negotiations" with my girlfriend, who owns the house we live it, to put up a G5RV Jr. So far, negotiations have stalled.



I'd be perfectly happy with a "motorcycle portable" setup as well, I think. Though part of me wants to have mobile capability just for public service events, bicycle races and such, where a motorcycle mobile unit could move amongst the competitors far more easily and safely than a car.
Right now I'm leaning toward using just my Yaesu VX-1R, with external power to crank it to a whopping 1 watt, with a dual band antenna (I already own the antenna and haven't used it in years - just need the mount). I've also found a motorcycle headset available online for the VX-1R, so I may give that a try.



That's an amazing story of the Alaska trip, by the way. Thanks for posting it!
 

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Al, W1AB (formerly K3KMO) operates CW at 30 wpm while riding.



He rode his Goldwing to Alaska in 1992 while doing so. An article describing his trip was published in QST.
 

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So long as things are well grounded it should work out like a mobil installation. On a fiberglass surface like your trunk a small metal surface could be added for more gain. Like aluminum tape or a thin steal plate, You know, ground effects, reflected. Inside the trunk lid. Just my thoughts. K4nzb.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The bits and pieces are coming together - more virtually than physically at this point, but starting. Like Hannibal Smith, I love it when a plan comes together.




I scored a deal on an HTX-202 handheld plus many accessories. It's large compared to a modern HT but built like a brick you-know-what. Running external power it'll do an honest 5 watt output, which, with a good antenna, should be enough to hit the repeaters I want to hit. Being an older radio, it has a basic BNC antenna jack, which won't wear out like the VX-1R's SMA jack, and also standard 1/8" and 3/32" audio plugs for an external speaker and mic - or headset. I can either buy something, or wire one up myself. 20 years ago I yanked the headset from a 49MHz toy walkie talkie and adapted it to work with my Icom 2AT on the bicycle, so I have some experience with this!



For an antenna, I'm going with a mirror mount clamped to one of the rails on the side of my trunk with a 1/2 wave antenna. Less common than the more typical 5/8 or 1/4 wave, but the benefit is it will not require a groundplane to work properly. A car roof has a nice flat metal surface for that, but not so much with the bike.



I plan to attack this in stages. The radio is on the way, so I'll play with that (I justified it to the gf as a dual duty radio for home use, giving her son some exposure to ham radio as well
). The antenna will come next, as well as power wiring for the radio at the same time. I'll have to do some experimentation to figure out where to put the radio once I get it, then custom fit the wiring. From there, I could potentially run it with a speaker/mic - probably not while in motion, especially since I wear a full face helmet. I also intend to reinstall the GL's tape deck and speakers - partly because the radio installation won't interfere, and partly so that I can use a cassette adapter and pipe audio from the ham radio through the stereo and its speakers. Finally, the headset, either purchased or homebrewed.



This should give me something to fiddle with on the bike during the winter. I saw my first snow flakes of the season yesterday, so I'm pretty much done riding for the year.
 

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Hey Justin, just for giggles, I wonder if any of the RacingRadio type helmet mic/earpiece setups might be workable in this application? They seem a tad spendy, probably because of the usual customer base in that industry/sport. But I would imagine some research could come up with similar options for your use. Not sure if a VOX operation could function in that environment, but it sure would free up the experience, I'd think. Just an idea on my first cup of coffee....



Happy Thanksgiving!



Joel in the Couve, formerly WN7QAL
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks, Joel! A little research has turned up this for $30, a perfect fit for this radio and my purposes. I'd prefer a PTT to VOX, simply because I don't want to risk wind noise causing me to transmit by accident (not to mention the occasional unfit for radio words I might mutter at idiot drivers
).



For a good laugh, have a look at this listing for exactly the same item through another web site. If you're familiar with "Engrish," well, this is an EXCELLENT example of it.
 

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