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Premium Member
2014 FJ Cruiser
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45 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Ok, time for a write-up.

I recently installed a Midland MXT-275 GMRS radio in my rig. I went with the GMRS as it's popular with the local Overland Bound group where I'm at and it's useful for family trips and such. I selected the MTX-275 mainly because all the controls are on the mic, which means I didn't have to mount the radio somewhere on the dash or console. Also the size of the mic/controls is fine for my hand. And the 15W max power it provides works fine for my purposes. Counter points to all this are that HAM and CB are more widely used than GMRS, and HAM affords more frequency/power options. I may eventually upgrade to a HAM if/when I get around to taking the test. But this satisfies the desire for additional range and signal clarity over CB and lower cost than the HAM rig I'd want considering how often I'll use it till my GMRS license expires.

Parts:
Midland MXT-275
Laird B4505CN antenna (NMO mount and no ground plane required)
12' of coax cable
10ft CAT6 cable
panel mount RJ45 jack
GZilla aluminum antenna mount
Orange Boxx dash panel

Process:
1) Radio mounting: this was the last step, but everything else is a result of the location. I mounted the radio on a Springtale MPAC rack on the right side of the trunk. It's high enough up on the panel so that the speaker is visible from the driver seat. The wiring runs to the radio from behind the interior panels.
2) Antenna cable: after installing the antenna mount on the rear door upper hinge, I ran the coax cable inside the right rear interior panel behind the tail light (think where the OEM inverter would be, which I don't have). From there it runs under the trunk door sill to a grommet inside the trunk tool box area. There's an identical opening in the right side of the trunk floor but I couldn't find a part number to purchase another grommet. After removing the electrical tape I fed the cable through and ran it behind the bumper. As you can see in the pictures, the cable runs straight up to the upper door hinge and is held out of the way of the hinges and door by some 3M tape. Initially I had some split loom covering the portion of cable exposed to the elements, but it was too large and didn't allow enough flex so I took it off. I may eventually put some smaller loom on there just for good measure.
3) Hand Mic CAT6 cable: I chose CAT6 cable for the shielding and ran it through the rear compartment/box and behind the right side interior panel from the wheel well to the right side door sill. It runs under the sill place to the passenger seat, and then makes a left turn towards the center console. Specifically, it's routed under the plastic flooring from the sill plate to the cable exit under the passenger seat. It then runs to the center console adjacent to the parking brake and then runs up to the switch bank and behind the dash to the RJ45 jack. From the passenger seat to the dash it's covered by split loom.
4) RJ45 Jack: initially I had this in portion of the switch bank console trim that's in the passenger footwell (in the location of the 12v outlet seen in the picture). But, being paranoid, I decided that it protruded too far into the footwell and was just asking to be damaged. At that point I moved it to the location in the picture and filled the previous hole with an extra 12v outlet. After removing the glove box and the interior shield above it, I fed the jack through the hole (1.25" I think) from the rear so that it wouldn't protrude as far and connected the RJ45 jack. While there was just enough CAT6 cable it was a tight fit for my hands and I would recommend also removing the stereo/climate control center dash trim panel.
5) Power: Several years ago I installed two 12V (10A fuse/wiring ea.) outlets and a dual USB (4A fuse/wiring) outlet in the bottom of the right side trunk MPAC rack. Since I've only used it a couple of times since I've had the vehicle, I removed one of the 12V outlets and used that wiring to power the radio. The remaining 12V and USB outlets I installed in the trim panel along with a switched relay so they would remain off when not in use. One thing to note here, the Midland owners/instruction manual doesn't say what the radio should be fused at. However, the inline fuse it comes with is marked for 5A at 12V.

I installed the Orange Boxx dash panel and use that to hang the hand mic. It's a convenient location and means that I can use the space for more than just that. Overall I'm pretty pleased with it. If nothing else, it works for vehicle to vehicle comms and works with the handhelds I got a while back.
radio_mounted.jpg grommet_inside.jpg grommet_outside.jpg cable_routing.jpg antenna_external.jpg dash_panel.jpg
 

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Premium Member
2014 FJ Cruiser
Joined
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45 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Looks nice. The coax on my ham is routed similarly.
Thanks. My only concern with it was if/when I eventually replace it with a HAM, whether or not I'll be able to use the same mounting location.
But I reasoned that I don't get out enough to justify the expense of switching over just yet, so I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.
 

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434 Posts
A guy in my work group of 4wheelers just got a dash-mounted GMRS unit - we used to all use walkie-talkies when going out together because I was the only one with a CB installed. The GMRS head units must be kind-of new, right? Never seen them before.

I'd totally prefer one to a loose walkie-talkie! How do you like it?

I would love to see a GMRS + CB unit from some manufacturer...
 

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Forum Beer Miester
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3,935 Posts
I use a HAM/GMRS combo handheld radios and I lobe em, 8 watts peak they really can reach out a good distance and if you use the repeater channels the sky’s the limit.
FYI there’s a sweet sweet 45 watt option out there too, thinking hard about it.
 

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Premium Member
2014 FJ Cruiser
Joined
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45 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
A guy in my work group of 4wheelers just got a dash-mounted GMRS unit - we used to all use walkie-talkies when going out together because I was the only one with a CB installed. The GMRS head units must be kind-of new, right? Never seen them before.

I'd totally prefer one to a loose walkie-talkie! How do you like it?

I would love to see a GMRS + CB unit from some manufacturer...
I really like it so far. It's good for convoying and other shorter range stuff. I picked this model because I could mount it in the back and control everything with the MIC. I hate clutter inside the rig so having less stuff up front was a plus.
I have noticed a little bit of a whine listening to one of the weather channels while driving. But then while communicating with a handheld and driving I heard nothing, so who knows.
It puts out 15 watts and the antenna has a 6dB gain. Midland makes a 40watt model but you can't control it remotely. Plus I figured that for my purposes, 15 watts would be adequate.
 
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