Two-Way Radio Landmark in Daet

Fellow amateur radio enthusiasts find this landmark very fascinating, featuring a two-way radio. It is located near the Daet-Basud boundary, along the Pan-Philippine Highway (do not confuse it with the new highway—Quirino Highway—which does not pass through Daet). The landmark was built by Kabalikat Civicom 139 Daet Chapter.

In case you wish to visit the landmark on your next DU4 visit, I’ve had it located in Google maps.

April 2019 Daet
I first noticed this landmark in the 90s, when we moved to Bicol

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ECOSPORT DIY SERIES
Isa na namang kaalaman sa ating minamahal na EcoSport
© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

 

Contact with Radio Enthusiasts in Bicol

It is always exciting to establish contact with fellow radio enthusiast especially if those contacts are from your home province. In a recent trip to Bicol, I was able to get in touch with a number of amateur radio enthusiasts in Camarines Norte, from the group CANORA (Dx4CN, 144.720 MHz, Camarines Norte Radio Amateurs, Inc.). Not only that I was given a warm-welcome-on-the-air, I was also given access to their repeater, which pretty much covers the whole of Bicol region!

I was also able to get in touch with the Kabalikat group in Camarines Norte.

IMG_7645
A landmark in Daet, popular among radio enthusiasts

To view all posts related to my amateur radio adventures, head directly to Amateur Radio.  To watch the video on how I installed a two-way radio on my EcoSport, head directly to Installing a Two-Way Radio (Advanced).

Related links:
EcoSport 200-km Range Mobile Setup
DIY Motorized Antenna Mount
Installing a Two-Way Radio (Basic)
Testing the Range of my Two-Way Radio 
Stock Antenna Modification

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Isa na namang kaalaman sa ating minamahal na EcoSport
© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

200-km Range Two-Way Radio in an EcoSport

In October 2018, I’ve performed a series of tests to determine if it is possible to get in touch with fellow amateur radio enthusiasts 200 km away, using only the equipment I installed in our EcoSport. Though the signal was very weak and almost unreadable, I was able to establish contact with stations in Baguio, while the vehicle is in a favorable location—cruising along the NAIA X elevated highway in Pasay! The straight-line distance covered, which is the radio’s effective range, is approximately 210 km. Baguio’s elevation of 1540 m coupled with good propagation, and my station’s vicinity to a body of water (Manila Bay) have likely contributed to the extended range of the radio.

 

210 km manila baguio 2

To watch the video on how I installed a two-way radio on my EcoSport, head directly to Installing a Two-Way Radio (Advanced).

Related links:
DIY Motorized Antenna Mount
Installing a Two-Way Radio (Basic)
Testing the Range of my Two-Way Radio 
Stock Antenna Modification

To view all EcoSport tutorial videos, click here.
To subscribe and receive posts about our beloved EcoSport, click here.

ECOSPORT DIY SERIES
Isa na namang kaalaman sa ating minamahal na EcoSport
© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

Stock Antenna Modification (Two-Way Radio)

Since I do not often use the AM/FM radio, I’ve decided to modify the stock antenna and replace it with an antenna that is tuned to amateur radio frequencies. This antenna shall allow me to use a hand-held transceiver (HT) for scanning and occasionally, for transmitting signals in the amateur band.

Recent tests showed that this antenna is capable of extending the range of my Motorola CP-1660 to about 30 km range, even with obstacles (I was in our garage in Bacoor Cavite, yet I can still use my HT to contact stations in QC, 30 km away, with just 5W!) .

AM/FM reception was not totally lost, as the stock antenna was relocated to the front left pillar of the vehicle.

stock antenna relocated

In the video, I have drilled through the stock antenna mount, and hand-tapped a thread to make it compatible with several of my antennas. Proper coaxial cables and connectors were also made to bring the signal to the HT, located at the left side of the driver.

To watch the video on how I replaced EcoSport’s stock antenna with an antenna for two-way radios, head directly to Stock Antenna Modification (Two-Way Radio).

Related link:
Testing the Range of my Two-Way Base Radio (75W)
Installing a Two-Way Radio (Basic)
Installing a Two-Way Radio (Advanced)

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ECOSPORT DIY SERIES
Isa na namang kaalaman sa ating minamahal na EcoSport
© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

Testing the Range of my Two-Way Radio

Any place with high elevation offers ideal conditions to test the range of a radio gear. I was in Tagaytay last week testing out the two-way radio equipment I have installed in my EcoSport. With multiple successful contacts from Tagaytay to other radio stations in Quezon City, I was able to determine that my current radio setup has an effective range of at least 70 km.

Tagaytay to QC Radio
Tagaytay to Quezon City, Distance: 70 km

The two farthest-ever distances reached by my radio setup is (1) about 135 km, when I accidentally received a “CQ” (a call) from a station in Calapan, Mindoro, while driving along Roxas Blvd., in Manila and (2) about 210 km QSO with local stations in Baguio, while driving along NAIA X elevated highway in Pasay.

Manila-Calapan
Manila to Calapan, Distance: 135 km
210 km manila baguio 2
Manila to Baguio, Distance: 210 km

The equipment I used for these tests are as follows:

Yaesu 2900R VHF 75-watt base radio
Diamond SG7000 dual band mobile antenna (1/4-wave VHF, 6/8-wave UHF)
Diamond K33 antenna mount
Diamond SX200 SWR meter
4 meters of RG8 cable

 

 

To watch the full-length video on how I installed a two-way radio in an EcoSport, head directly to Installing a Two-Way Radio (Advanced) and Installing a Two-Way Radio (Basic).

To view all posts related to my amateur radio adventures, head directly to Amateur Radio.  To view the reviews of other EcoSport-related accessories, click here.

Related link: Stock Antenna Modification

To view all EcoSport tutorial videos, click here.
To subscribe and receive posts about beloved EcoSport, click here.

ECOSPORT DIY SERIES
Isa na namang kaalaman sa ating minamahal na EcoSport
© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

Installing a Two-Way Radio

As a licensed amateur radio enthusiast (call sign 4G1AWN), I definitely would want to install a radio in my EcoSport! With a mobile-type radio and a proper antenna installed, it is possible to communicate with fellow radio enthusiasts within 10 to 15 kilometer radius (in a city). The farthest contact I was able to get was from Manila to Calapan, with a distance of about 135 km (I had to relocate the antenna to the roof to improve signal propagation and reception).

Antenna_EcoSport

To watch the full video on how I installed a two-way radio in my EcoSport, head directly to Installing a Two-Way Radio (Basic). To check out the second version of this radio installation (advance and more invasive), head directly to Installing a Two-Way Radio (Advanced).

Related link : Testing the Range of my Two-Way Radio 

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ECOSPORT DIY SERIES
Isa na namang kaalaman sa ating minamahal na EcoSport
© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

Sample EcoSport Tutorial Videos

This page features 12 sample tutorial videos. A free subscription using a valid email address is needed for me to send you a password (and send new passwords). To subscribe and get a password, click here. Please read about our disclaimer here.

1. Replacing EcoSport’s Engine Air Filter

EcoSport’s service manual recommends engine air filter replacement every 40,000 km.  Knowing how to replace the filter will not only save you on maintenance expenses, but also enables you to inspect (or clean) filters regularly.

To replace the engine filter:
1. Remove the engine air filter’s compartment cover secured in place by four screws.
2. Lift the cover to access the filter.
3. Remove the old filter and replace it with the new one.
4. Replace the compartment’s cover and secure it in place.

2. Dashboard Switch for Opening EcoSport’s Rear Doors

A dashboard switch for opening the rear door must be used with caution. Such a switch taps directly on to the wiring harness of the door-open button at the rear door. This modification is similar to the third button modification of the remote, which enables opening of the rear door, using the remote.

3. Repairing EcoSport’s Rear Door Actuator

This video demonstrates how to repair a damaged rear door lock actuator of an EcoSport,with a low-cost (250 pesos or 5 US dollars) generic actuator. In the video, I explained how to remove the stock actuator, mount the replacement generic actuator using cable ties, connect the wires for the power supply, and attach the lock-release cable to the arm of the actuator.

4.  Opening the Rear Door with the Remote

EcoSport owners are quick to notice that the third button in its remote is left unused. A simple modification, however, will activate this unused button. This modification will enable the remote key to open the boot door.

The hack is pretty simple—just put an eraser on the hollow space under the button! The whole process will only take a few minutes, and does not require any special equipment.

5. Installing a Dash Camera

This tutorial video shows how to connect wires on to an EcoSport’s fuse box, such that the dash camera turns on only when the engine is running, i.e., the dash camera turns off as the engine is switched off. If done improperly, this could likely void your warranty, so be very careful in following this modification.

This modification requires basic knowledge of electronics and must be carried out only by those familiar with it. Please do it at your own risk.

6. Cleaning EcoSport’s Cabin Filter

Like in any other air-conditioning system, the air filter in an EcoSport needs to be replaced every once in a while.  My local dealership recommends replacing or cleaning the cabin filter every 20,000 to 30,000 km, or 1 to 2 years, depending on how often the vehicle is used and the environment it is exposed to. Cleaning of the filter is included in EcoSport’s Periodic Maintenance Schedule (PMS). A technician usually replaces the filter when it is due for replacement, but you may also opt to perform the procedure yourself.

7. Shifter Knob Button

If you’ve been following this blog for a while now, you would know that I am also a licensed amateur radio enthusiast (Class A: DU1AU). A number of modifications done in this EcoSport are geared towards improving my mobile radio setup. In this video, I have shown how I placed a press-to-talk button in the shifter knob for a hands-free operation of the radio.

8. Installing License Plates in an EcoSport

After 2 years of waiting, the license plates (or more accurately, the registration plates) of our EcoSport have finally arrived (you can check availability of plates in the LTO website).

In this video, I have discussed how I installed the front and rear license plates using a theft-deterrent type of screw called security screws. Security screws are no longer supplied with the plates, thus, must be purchased separately (you can buy 4 stainless-steel security screws complete with nut and washer for 100 pesos or 2 US dollars). Installing the plates with security screws requires some effort since you need to drill through the plastic material then place and tighten a nut on the other side.

9. Installing LTO’s RFID Sticker

We have finally received the registration plate of our EcoSport. LTO-issued plates come with a pair of stickers, one of which has an embedded RFID tag. The stickers must be installed on the windshield, behind the rear view mirror (installing one sticker on top of the other). In this video, I have shown how I installed the sticker set (one transparent and one with the RFID tag) in an EcoSport.

10. Auto Power-Off 12V Port

EcoSport’s 12V port remains on (powered) even when the engine is off. While this could be an advantage as there is no need to turn the engine on in order to charge a phone, some would prefer a 12V port that turns off automatically. In this video, I have modified the 12V port of my EcoSport (Trend MT) to disconnect power when the ignition key is in off position.

This modification requires the use of a DIY jumper.

11. Emergency Rear Door Opener

EcoSport’s rear door (boot door) does not have a manual override. If the door’s actuator fails, the rear door won’t open until repairs are made. In this video, I have demonstrated how I installed an emergency rear door open knob that you can simply pull to open the rear door.

The DIY manual override knob features the following:

1. When the vehicle is locked, the knob will be automatically disabled. If a child pulls this knob, it will not open the rear door for as long as the vehicle is locked.

2. When the engine is running and the knob is pulled, a notification ‘door open’ appears on the dashboard’s console. The rear door will open only when the vehicle is unlocked.

3. It integrates fully with the alarm system, i.e., if someone pulls this knob when the alarm is active, it will trip the alarm. But then again, with the vehicle locked, the alarm sounds off but the door will not open!

12. Removing EcoSport’s Head Unit

EcoSport’s dashboard may be upgraded with compatible head unit replacement kits, some of which offer full integration to the car’s computer system (via compatible ports) as well as viewing monitors with touch screen functionality.

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To view all EcoSport tutorial videos, click here.
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caution

ECOSPORT DIY SERIES
Isa na namang kaalaman sa ating minamahal na EcoSport
© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

A visit at a Philippine Naval Base

In June 2019, I had a chance to visit the Philippine Naval Base Pascual Ledesma in Cavite. I was invited to demonstrate to members and officers of the Philippine Navy how to bounce a signal off a satellite to greatly improve a radio’s range, far enough to reach nearby countries such as China, Malaysia, Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and Japan.

Naval Sea Systems Command
Bouncing a signal off DIWATA2 satellite

For details about this event, head directly to my blog on amateur radio.

To view other road adventures with our beloved EcoSport, click here.

To view all EcoSport tutorial videos, click here.
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ECOSPORT DIY SERIES
Isa na namang kaalaman sa ating minamahal na EcoSport
© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

Receiving Transmissions from Space

I’ve used the two-way radio installed in our EcoSport to receive a transmission from the International Space Station (ISS), a satellite orbiting the Earth at a height of about 400 km. Tracking satellites is part of my hobby as an amateur radio enthusiast. Installing a powerful receiver in an EcoSport allows me to move around easily and find optimal places to conduct radio-related experiments.

Contact Camarines Norte (hi-res)

To watch the video on how I received transmissions from the ISS, head directly to Receiving Transmissions from Space.

Related link: View all posts about amateur radio

To view all EcoSport tutorial videos, click here.
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ECOSPORT DIY SERIES
Isa na namang kaalaman sa ating minamahal na EcoSport
© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

 

Removing EcoSport’s Antenna

There may be several valid reasons why you would need to remove the stock antenna of an EcoSport: (1) the antenna has been damaged and needs replacement, (2) you plan on replacing it with a fancy non-stock antenna, (3) you have no need for it and plans on installing a shark’s fin instead (antennas can damage car covers, and car covers can damage antennas).

To watch a video on how to remove EcoSport’s stock antenna, head directly to Removing EcoSport’s Antenna.

Related link:
Stock Antenna Modification
Amateur Radio

To view all EcoSport tutorial videos, click here.
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ECOSPORT DIY SERIES
Isa na namang kaalaman sa ating minamahal na EcoSport
© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines