Six months after passing the amateur radio technician class exam (Class C), I have now finished setting up the two way radio in my EcoSport. I have made a number of improvements from my first version such as an increased range (with better SWR) and seamless integration with the vehicle.
I have been using this setup for more than 4 months now, and made consistent and reliable contacts with stations within a 30-km radius. The farthest contact made with this setup in this configuration is 135 km (simplex).
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.
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.
New gadgets and accessories may be safely added to an EcoSport by utilizing the fuse box. Knowing which fuse slots remain powered when the engine is running, and which fuse slots shut off as the ignition key is switched off, may be useful to DIY enthusiasts who want to add new gadgets that turns on and off with the engine.
To watch the full-length video, head directly to Ecosport’s Fuse Box . To learn more about other gadgets and accessories installed in an EcoSport, click here.
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.
The farthest-ever distance reached by my radio setup is about 135 km, when I accidentally received a “CQ” (a call) from a station in Calapan, Mindoro, while driving along Roxas Blvd., in Manila.
The equipment I used for these tests are as follows (as of September 2018).
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
Two-Way Radio EcoSport
Two-Way Radio EcoSport
Two-Way Radio EcoSport
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. To learn more about other gadgets and accessories installed in an EcoSport, click here.
Since only one 12V port is factory-installed on a Trend variant (in contrast to the Titanium variant which has two 12V ports, one for the front passenger and one for the rear passengers), I have decided to install two extra ports in my Trend EcoSport!
The port costs only about 130 pesos. A substantial amount, however, will be spent in 10 meters of gauge 12 stranded wire (500 pesos) and wire jacket (200 pesos).
Having extra 12V ports may be useful in powering gadgets and accessories, especially during long drives.
To watch the full-length video on how to install additional 12V ports in an EcoSport, head directly to Installing Extra 12V Port. To learn more about other gadgets and accessories installed in an EcoSport, click here.
Head up displays or HUDs are transparent displays that allow a user to view information without having to look down, keeping the “head up”. In automobiles, the display module is placed on the dashboard with its characters reflected off the windshield, overlaying real-time information such as the engine’s revolutions per minute (RPM), speed, and engine temperature.
HUDs have connectors that are compatible with the OBD2 standard. In an EcoSport, the OBD2 port is on the lower left of the steering wheel. Simply connect the display module with the OBD2 port (using a supplied connector), and place the unit on the dashboard.
Not much installation required since HUDs are designed to be plug-and-play. A typical unit costs around 2,000 pesos. An HUD is probably the best upgrade you can install on your EcoSport.
While most USB chargers are rated at 1.5 A to 2.4 A (for comparison, a typical USB port of a laptop is rated at just 0.5 A which explains why it takes a long time to charge with it), we seldom see one with a rating of 3 A! This is particularly useful when charging hi-powered mobile phones (such as an XPERIA). This ANKER dual USB charger, with one port rated at 3 A, and the other port at 2.4 A, is by far one of the most powerful chargers we’ve found in the local market (as of Sept 2018, Philippines).
You should try their USB cables, too, as they are also one the best ones in the market.