Whether you’re installing a radio or intercom system on your own or you’re a race team or fabricator, the end result is the same — you want to do it right.
Rugged Radios has put together a critical support installation guide to help you get your communications equipment installed correctly and get the best audio performance in your intercom system and distance range out of your two-way radio.
The easy to follow guide is constantly being updated, but the link below will always get you the latest version. Each page of the guide is carefully laid out to provide clear and simple instructions along with graphics to appeal to both the left and right brain installer.
So what topics and tips are covered in the installation guide?
Proper Zip Procedure
- do not over-tighten your zip ties
- proper trimming of excess zip tie material
Antenna Mounting Location
- ideal placement location
- avoid nearby obstacles such as light bars, air scoops, GPS antennas, etc.
Antenna Mount Grounding
- poor grounding decreases radio range
- unsure antenna mounting surface is bare metal
- use an antenna Ground Strap if mounting to a roof panel
Route Antenna Cable Independently
- keep cable away from power cables, ignition cables, ground cables, more…
- never coil or bundle excess antenna cable
Label All Cable Connections
- using a Tag Kit will color code all cables at the back of your intercom and help ensure proper installation locations
Wire Direct to Battery
- this often overlooked step is critical to best performance to reduce likelihood of buzzes and whines
- radio and intercom power must be connected directly to the battery
- do no connect radio or intercom to fuse box or bus bar
Power and Ground
- power and ground should be wired straight to the battery
- do not connect the positive to a battery switch
- use an Audio Filter to provide filtered power to your radio and intercom
- run coax, power, and intercom cables separate form each other and not touching
- route cables so they are not pinched, smashed, or kinked
- sample diagram illustrates one way to manage cable separation
PTT / Headset Connections
- this tech tip covers one of the most common problems of improper PTT connections
- Be sure to route driver and co-driver PTT (push-to-talk) buttons to the right seat position
- failure to connect properly will cause no voice during radio transmit
Strain Relief PTT
- this procedure relieves strain on the PTT cable to ensure cable and PTT housing do not pull apart
Radio Weather Protection
- use a Radio Cover to protect the face of your radio from rain, splashes, and moisture
- use a Speaker Shield to keep water out of your 60-watt radio
- use radio port plugs to plug front and rear radio ports
- use dielectric grease in the mic and data port to prevent water intrusion and corrosion
Intercom Weather Protection
- mount intercom in a location so rear connections are protected from water and moisture
- use neoprene Baja Boot in wet connections to protect connections
- use dielectric grease in radio and intercom ports to prevent water intrusion and corrosion
- moisture an connections can cause squealing and buzzing
- use OFF-PLUGs when cables aren’t in use to protect against water intrusion
Grounding Intercom and Cable
- if radio and intercom are mounted in plastic, use a Ground Strap Kit to ground the intercom and radio to the chassis
- for the benefit of anyone who may need to service your radio/intercom, cables should be long enough so the radio and intercom can be pulled away from their mounting locations without disconnecting (AKA: Service Loop)
Lock Your Radio
- follow this tip to lock your radio and prevent accidental changes
The same procedures you see here are the same ones we apply in the field when working on race vehicles. Whether your vehicle is for recreation or competing in the Baja 1000, the same guidelines apply. Following the procedures and tips in this PDF will ensure you’re doing a proper installation and getting the most out of your equipment.
Questions? Please comment below or give us a call at (888) 541-7223.