Ham Radio - Yaesu FTM-10R Install in Gen2 Yamaha Super Tenere

Discussion in 'Japanese polycylindered adventure bikes' started by GSequoia, Nov 8, 2019.

  1. GSequoia

    GSequoia I know a few things about radios... Supporter

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    Those of you that know me know that I'm the radio guy for the Death Valley Noobs Rally. While I have this reputation as a ham radio guy I'm really quite terrible at it. I only use my radios directly with my outdoor activities. I hardly ever sit in a basement in stained underwear talking down to people on the airwaves. Pathetic, I know.

    Anyway one of the goals with the big bike was to get a big, full sized radio on it. We have a lot more electrical capacity on these beasts to handle the radio and while a full, sustained 20A draw may ultimately overwhelm the charging system (causing the battery to drain) I transmit briefly. When you're receiving the draw is minimal so you can monitor all day long.

    There aren't really a lot of good options for full power radios for motorcycles. Yaesu made the FTM-10R. The radio had a non-waterproof control unit and a waterproof remote-mounted head. It fits the bill perfectly. The only issue is it was discontinued several years ago and is rather hard to find. I paid dearly for a good example on eBay and started to work in getting it going.

    Please note that the radio mounting and antenna currently shown in this thread are temporary solutions. My ultimate plan will mount the radio in a less obtrusive way and have an antenna mount that does not interfere with luggage.

    For wiring I spring-boarded off of my existing wiring upgrades. Please see this thread for full details.

    After getting the radio I started planning my installation. My goal is to have the head mounted on the tube under the windshield (commonly use for GPS units) and the control unit mounted in a water-resistant box. For normal use I will join it to my pre-exsiting Sena headset using their SR-10 two-way radio adaptor.

    To do this the first step is to make the loom that joins the Sena wiring to the Yaesu. Luckily Yaesu still carriers the wiring to do this, the CT-M11 cable. I picked up a bare wire Sena (Sena SC-A0116) loom and proceeded to make it work. I left an unnecessary amount of wire on this connector as I may ultimately relocate components, when I have my permanent solution I will shorten the loom to its minimal necessary length.

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    Yaesu connector on the left, Sena on the right.

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    Next up is power. I have the radio set up on a switched circuit. The switch is a double-throw switch which gives me one position with constant power and the other tied to ignition power (more details on how I achieved ignition power in the thread referenced above).

    Since the radio is a high-load item the input power pin #30 for the relay comes directly from the battery with a 20 amp fuse before entering the relay. Both relay and fuse are in a small fuse/relay box noted in the above thread. From there pin #87 leads to the radio itself.

    Since I won't be running the radio all the time I staged a connector under the seat in a water-resistant Metri-pack connector carrying my ground and positive wires. When I'm not running the radio I put a blank capped connector over this to keep any risk of shorts at bay.

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    As an added benefit to this I also wired in an SAE connector cable as an alternate load on this wire (plug it in instead of a radio). These are normally used for battery maintenance chargers but I found a pretty nifty USB Outlet with voltmeter on Amazon that I could use to have more charging capability when camping off the bike as my other USB charge outlets only operate when the ignition is on.

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    This was quite helpful when I took the bike for a week camping in the Sequoia National Forest earlier this year.

    So back to the radio my ultimate plan is to hard mount it behind the right side pannier rack but I didn't have time to do my research so picked up a Seahorse box (knock off Pelican) from Amazon to house the goods. This box is then mounted to an 1/8" aluminum plate that replaces my rear seat.

    First I removed the rear seat and the pan underneath. Then I removed the four rubber bumpers that the seat rests on and ran some bolts with fender washers through them. Notching the fender washers where needed.

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    That done I put another set of fender washers on top and ran a nut down to hold the bolts in place. This also serves to act as standoffs to keep the plate from rubbing against the panel.

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    Next it was as simple as attaching the plate to the bolts.

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    Last I drilled a mounting pattern in both the box and aluminum plate and bolted them together with 1/2" standoffs in between them to give me room to route the cables.

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    With a few more holes in the box I was able to mount the radio bracket to the box and the radio to the bracket. This left enough room for my extra cable (for future relocation), the hand-held microphone for when I'm not wearing my helmet, and the Sena SR-10 two-way radio adapter with a little room leftover. I added a 3/4" hole so that the antenna, power, and head unit cables can pass through.

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    The next point is the antenna. If you know much about radios you've probably heard of ground plane. To cut to the chase there are two parts of an antenna, your radiating tip and your ground plane. You need both to get performance. Most mobile antennas use the sheetmetal of the vehicles body as a ground plane but this won't work for motorcycles. For this purpose you need a special No Ground Plane antenna (used in situations like this and also on stuff like RVs that have fiberglass bodies). I chose a Comet SBB-5 antenna as it was not obnoxiously long and is a reputable brand.

    Ultimately I will make a proper mount for this antenna. For now I use a truck mirror bracket attached to my RH pannier rack. I can't use my side box with the antenna installed but I don't use them off-road anyway so no big loss for now.

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    I used a short RG-58 cable to attach them and adjusted SWR (no pictured here).

    Last I just had to route the cable for my head unit and mount it. The cable has RJ-45 ends (think network cables) to attach to the radio box and head unit making for simple connections. I ran this cable along the frame and under the fuel tank to poke up through my front cowling and lead to my head unit.

    Radio installed with the handheld mic hooked up - You can hook it up here on the front of the radio (with the proper optional connector, Yaesu PN MEK-M10) or to the radio body.

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    I use the handheld mic only if the bike is parked, clearly. Day-to-day is currently through my Sena system although I ultimately would like to look into a hard-wired Rugged Radios setup. I used the radio for the Noobs Rally and it worked fantastically. The only thing I don't like about the radio is it lacks the capability to be programmed from a computer. I'd love it if Yaesu would re-vamp this model but I'm afraid there just aren't that many interested parties at the price point it would sell it (probably $350ish).
    #1
  2. NorthIdaho800gsa

    NorthIdaho800gsa Bad influence

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    Nice.
    Before I even started to read I was interested in how you were going to deal with the ground plane issue. So, how is the antenna doing? Is it effecting your range much?
    #2
  3. GSequoia

    GSequoia I know a few things about radios... Supporter

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    It seemed to be working well but to be honest I haven't really put it through proper paces. The Death Valley area is a bit challenging for making connections due to topography. I will say that it seems to perform just fine in L.A. connecting to repeaters. I'll continue to monitor performance as I'm using it.
    #3
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  4. NewEnglander

    NewEnglander Been here awhile Supporter

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    Nice install. I liked the idea of an FTM-10 on a bike mount but hadn’t followed through. I thought I had read at one time that it is Bluetooth capable but I’m not sure but I’m not sure how well that would work with Sena or Scala rider setup. Another possibility for an antenna mount might be off of a slightly bigger base plate like the one you made for the box mounting or a plate inside the top of the box with a thick mount NMO through it. Which band do you use primarily on your rally?
    #4
  5. GSequoia

    GSequoia I know a few things about radios... Supporter

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    A plate could work but the end goal has me mounting it vertically in a box behind the RH pannier rack. I should have just enough space to do that and clear the swing arm.

    The radio does have Bluetooth but first I understand it’s a bit handcuffed (likely because it’s so old) so I’m not sure pairing would even be an option. The second issue is the lack of a PTT button. I don’t think thr Sena can quite understand Yardi’s VOX usage plus a motorcycle helmet is a loud environment so I think it would lead to a lot of junk transmissions.

    For DVNR I’m 100% two meter. I have a 75W repeater that I set up on a mountaintop so we can have radio communication in between base camp and Saline Valley, a remote area that sees a lot of runs. It’s helped coordinate a number of recoveries.
    #5
  6. NorthIdaho800gsa

    NorthIdaho800gsa Bad influence

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    Do you just do the temp repeater in a can thing?
    #6
  7. GSequoia

    GSequoia I know a few things about radios... Supporter

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    Yup. 40mm ammo can with 72ah I’d sealed lead acid batteries, the radio, and the controller. A 30 watt solar panel keeps the batteries up to snuff.
    #7
  8. GSequoia

    GSequoia I know a few things about radios... Supporter

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    Antenna is a 5/8 wave Diamond on an NMO mount drilled directly into the top lid of the can.
    #8
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  9. GSequoia

    GSequoia I know a few things about radios... Supporter

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    I don't believe so. It's been on their website forever (along with other discontinued radios). I am not seeing it for sale anywhere.

    I ask them occasionally to bring it back with a few mods, most specifically a data connection to allow you to program via computer.
    #9
  10. CA-Cincinnatus

    CA-Cincinnatus Semi-retired GI-Bill student, husband, GSD-host Supporter

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    Yeah, with just a LITTLE more research (rather than taking for granted that the manufacturer wouldn't flat-out LIE to the customer), I found that it's not available. Which sucks.
    #10
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  11. GSequoia

    GSequoia I know a few things about radios... Supporter

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    Yeah they're really bad about, oh I dunno, maybe putting a banner up that says "Discontinued." I like that you can still pull up info on it but it sucks that they tease you thinking it's around!
    #11
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  12. GSequoia

    GSequoia I know a few things about radios... Supporter

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    BTW I see you're going to Noobs. I don't know yet whether I'll have the Super Ten there or the DR350 (I'd love to have both) but you're welcome to look the radio over if I have it. I run comms for the event.
    #12
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  13. Gone Troppo

    Gone Troppo Somewhat bemused observer Supporter

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    Very neat. What is your transmitted audio like through the Sena?
    #13
  14. GSequoia

    GSequoia I know a few things about radios... Supporter

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    The quality can be spotty. I really need to sit down and work with it some more to see if it's setup issues on my part or limitations of the equipment. My end-goal is to move toward a wired Rugged Radio setup, most likely.
    #14
  15. Gone Troppo

    Gone Troppo Somewhat bemused observer Supporter

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    Yes, you can't beat wired....
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  16. GSequoia

    GSequoia I know a few things about radios... Supporter

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    Yeah most likely where I'm going. The only benefit to the Sena kit is if I want to weave mobile phone/music, radio, intercom, etc. all together. In reality when I'm on a radio adventure all I'm using is radio, when I'm by myself I'm not using radio at all.
    #16
  17. CA-Cincinnatus

    CA-Cincinnatus Semi-retired GI-Bill student, husband, GSD-host Supporter

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    Sign me up for the gear-tour. :D

    I'm big into emcomm and have a mobile rig in my truck, a half-dozen HTs, two FRSs, and a rolling emcomm go-kit (Pelican 1610, Yaesu FT-857D, solar panel, etc.). Oh, and I'm in three ham clubs. Yeah, not enough time in the day/week/month/year to do all I want/need to do.
    #17
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  18. CA-Cincinnatus

    CA-Cincinnatus Semi-retired GI-Bill student, husband, GSD-host Supporter

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    The Rugged Radios seem to be based off a Chinese machine that doesn't get rave reviews (for some odd reason) - https://www.eham.net/reviews/view-product?id=10285
    #18
  19. GSequoia

    GSequoia I know a few things about radios... Supporter

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    Just their helmet kits. Their radios are re-branded Chicom radios. I can get the original versions for 1/3 the cost without having their restrictive firmware ;)
    #19
  20. GSequoia

    GSequoia I know a few things about radios... Supporter

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    An update to this thread. Last month I finally got around to moving the radio to its final intended location tucked in behind the RH luggage rack:

    To start with I removed the Givi mounting pucks from the rack (which I also do when putting my Wolfman bags on to minimize rub). The nutzerts for the lower pucks are not threaded entirely through so I got my M6-1.0 tap and Brough them all the way through.

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    When laying out a project it's always nice to have some friends to help. My buddies Snap, Crackle, and Pop assisted here. It's nice to work with them since they don't drink all my beer!

    I laid the box in place then used the old trick from making gaskets out of cardstock/gasket paper where you punch the hole locations to get a good impression.

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    Now simply slide the bolt through and trim the little bit of excess material off.

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    After getting all four holes in place I bolted the cardstock in place to lay out the shape by drawing the inside and key points of the outside around the bolt holes with a sharpie.

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    Since the radio head unit is not water proof I'm using a waterproof project box to next the radio. While heat is an issue I won't be transmitting a whole lot at full power so feel that I'll be alright here.

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    Now I used my trusty old tool (older than even most Super Tenere riders!) to guide me in making clean lines at the same angle.

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    Now as you can tell this is a minor fabrication project. When doing fab work it's really important to keep an open mind. After laying out my design and cutting the card stock as my template I started to become concerned that my design was insufficient. Mainly I was concerned about the materials I was using. I decided that maybe making the bracket out of cardboard wasn't the best way to go about things so I transferred the design to 16g sheet metal. :)

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    After cleaning up and going for paint.

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    While waiting for paint to cure I laid out my new antenna bracket to bolt to the Altrider luggage rack using the two holes intended for a Givi bracket (which I won't be using as this rack isn't fantastic for much weight) using the old radio case bracket in 1/8" aluminum.

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    Now was the time to start laying out my project box. I started by removing all of the bosses for mounting screws since I wouldn't be using them then scraped the plate smooth with a razor.

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    #20