Chase Truck Radio Set Up - Power Source & Antenna Mount

SN8KE

Active Member
I'm looking to gear up a chase truck with a radio package. I am planning on mounting the radio in the center consul cup holder area.

My first question revolves around the power source. I have read that it is best to wire directly to the battery with an in-line fuse. I see that I have a power source (cigarette lighter) in the consul that I am not using. Is it a good option to utilize this as a power source? I also have upfitter switches that I could wire to instead of the battery. Would there be an advantage to wiring to a switch like this? Or I could simply wire direct to the battery....

2nd Question regarding antenna mounting. I was thinking of using a magnetic mount to the top of my crew cab roof body (as a nice flat surface); however, my rack hovers half way over the cab. I can simply move the antenna forward in front of the rack but I was told that the antenna should be mounted at the highest point on the vehicle which would actually be on the rack frame and not the roof body. What is more important a nice flat surface or mounting at the highest point?
 

RaptorLou

Well-Known Member
Straight to battery when ever possible for power. Many newer trucks limit the amperage the cig lighter has when it is not with key on, so you would key down and radio shuts off if you were just sitting waiting for your car. I personally use RG-8 coax and use the center conductor as the hot + and shield as - negative to lessen noise. Antenna, high and centered for best ground plane.
Lou
 

green787

Well-Known Member
At some point too many wires directly to the battery with inline fuses becomes a nuisance.... Run it off the damn fuse block.... I've never had a problem...
 

cjohnson

Well-Known Member
2 radios is best if possible. Once you have it going back to one sucks
100% agree with two radios in a chase truck even if one is a hand held. If your car/bike is overdue you'll want to get status from the Weatherman and monitor your race frequency too. Switching one radio between frequencies during a emergency is super nerve racking. I would recommend external speakers too.

I don't think it makes a huge difference within reason. Is the extra 6 or 8 inches of height going to be noticeable in the real world? Probably not. I have a Kenwood in my console and the antenna is mounted on a tab on my tire rack in the bed of my Raptor. It would appear that it's half blocked by the cab but I get good range. I used to use a magnetic mount in the center of the roof on my old F350 and it had the same range. Not scientific so take it for what it's worth.
 

jon coleman

Well-Known Member
Mag mount best, if your a stationery pitt, set up a tall poll( fiberglass extension type like on a pole pruner) with a 4" square metal pad on top. Clamp to chase rack.higher the ant.the better.just remember to take it down and stow before you go mobile chase mode
 

Crusty Shellback

Well-Known Member
Once you figure out where you want to mount your antenna, then you need to look at what it's mounted to and how big of an area. More metal in the area then you can get a ground plane antenna. Less or no metal, you need a zero ground plane antenna.

Because my K5 has a fiberglass top or a canvas soft top on it, I had to go with a zero ground plane antenna and mounted it from a small bracket bolted to the bed top sticking out to the side and fits under the top.
 

az_amsoil

Well-Known Member
Look into a dual band (or dual channel) radio so you can have one channel on Weatherman and the other on your race channel. This enables you to monitor two channels without having to worry about changing channels. I also keep a handheld on my person to talk to the car during pits and not be tethered to the truck all the time.
 

cjohnson

Well-Known Member
Look into a dual band (or dual channel) radio so you can have one channel on Weatherman and the other on your race channel. This enables you to monitor two channels without having to worry about changing channels. I also keep a handheld on my person to talk to the car during pits and not be tethered to the truck all the time.
We have a quad channel rugged radio in one of our race vehicles and I still prefer one fixed radio and a hand held over that setup for chasing. The multi channel radios are harder to setup. I'm a computer geek and trying to get the channels setup took me about 4 hours because the manual had bad Chinese to English translation. The single channel you set and forget.

The rugged is a true quad channel not a scanner but it still only transmits on the master so I have to keep switching frequencies to talk to Weatherman and chase. Being able to monitor the other channels is a step up from a single radio but two separate radios is another step up IMHO.
 

TMorford

Well-Known Member
Straight to battery when ever possible for power. Many newer trucks limit the amperage the cig lighter has when it is not with key on, so you would key down and radio shuts off if you were just sitting waiting for your car
I used a cig lighter as a temporary solution one time and the radio wasnt much better than a handheld.

2 radios is best if possible. Once you have it going back to one sucks
Agreed. I had two mounted on the lower part of my dash in my F150, sold the truck but kept the radios and mounted both of them in the center console of my Raptor.

If you do this, try to keep the coax cables away from each other as much as possible.

I don't think it makes a huge difference within reason. Is the extra 6 or 8 inches of height going to be noticeable in the real world? Probably not. I have a Kenwood in my console and the antenna is mounted on a tab on my tire rack in the bed of my Raptor. It would appear that it's half blocked by the cab but I get good range. I used to use a magnetic mount in the center of the roof on my old F350 and it had the same range. Not scientific so take it for what it's worth.
I never noticed a difference on my old truck either. Everything was exactly the same radio and antenna wise, the only difference was an over the cab chase rack about 8 or 9" above the roofline.

Mag mount best, if your a stationery pitt, set up a tall poll( fiberglass extension type like on a pole pruner) with a 4" square metal pad on top. Clamp to chase rack.higher the ant.the better.just remember to take it down and stow before you go mobile chase mode
And remember to check above you since lots of pits are on or near power line roads...
 

jon coleman

Well-Known Member
I was just thinking of over head lines!!, thats why you never use a metal pole extension type pruner, ive done tree trimming ,a co worker touched a branch that was rubbing up against a meengreen& got Zapped, woke up hanging from his climbing belt, was ok.dont play w electricity
 

TMorford

Well-Known Member
I was just thinking of over head lines!!, thats why you never use a metal pole extension type pruner, ive done tree trimming ,a co worker touched a branch that was rubbing up against a meengreen& got Zapped, woke up hanging from his climbing belt, was ok.dont play w electricity
Someone was seriously injured (or potentially passed away unfortunately) at a BITD race a few years ago raising a mast antenna into a powerline.

I personally saw a chase team forget to lower their mast antenna at the Baja 500 and run into a powerline while leaving. Luckily no one was hurt because the arc grounded out to the earth from the lowest part of the truck frame. There were a couple guys in the truck and what I am assuming was a full fuel tower in the bed since their car never cleared... I have seen plenty of arcs working in substations for over a decade, but that one will stick in my head forever.
 

cjohnson

Well-Known Member
Someone was seriously injured (or potentially passed away unfortunately) at a BITD race a few years ago raising a mast antenna into a powerline.

I personally saw a chase team forget to lower their mast antenna at the Baja 500 and run into a powerline while leaving. Luckily no one was hurt because the arc grounded out to the earth from the lowest part of the truck frame. There were a couple guys in the truck and what I am assuming was a full fuel tower in the bed since their car never cleared... I have seen plenty of arcs working in substations for over a decade, but that one will stick in my head forever.
My intention wasn't to diminish your comment but to reinforce it with comedy not to be that guy that makes a foolish mistake in hast.
 
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