On a recent off road ride, it became apparent that riding trails with a group without comms was a bad idea. After we got home from that ride the research into trail comms began. Between HAM, GMRS, CB and others, there were many options out there. Not wanting to go get a license and dig too deep into it, I landed on CB. Out on the trails I’d say it the most common option, the easiest to use, and extremely cost effective. Only wanting to spend about $50 or less on the radio itself, I hopped on Amazon and found their “Amazon’s Choice” the Uniden Pro Series. Within that series there were three options the Pro505XL ($29), the Pro510XL ($34), and the one I chose the Pro520XL ($43). While I think any of the three would have been fine for the extra $13 it was a no brainer for me. After it arrived I headed over to 4WheelParts in Marietta and grabbed a SO-239 Connector Stud, 3′ Firestik antenna, and an 12′ Connector Cable.
Wanting to keep the unit as out of the way as possible I decided to flush mount the unit into the empty location underneath my trust tape player. Once I had the dash apart I removed the slot where I was going to mount the radio. Down in the shop I decided to cut off the rear section of the compartment as it was shorter than the radio, thus allowing it to sit flush in the dash. Because the fit was a pretty close, I wanted to make sure the fan at the bottom of the radio could move air, so I drilled holes in the bottom of the dash compartment. Using (6) 9lb command strips I attached the Uniden to the top of the compartment, hoping this would also help create a space where the fan could work. Next was the antenna.
Using the off road light bracket we previous installed, the Firestik just screwed right into place on the passenger side. The trickiest part of this install was figuring out a way to run the thick antenna cable into the vehicle without drilling a hole in the roof. Running it down the side of the windshield was really the only option, as it worked well for the off road lights. Unable to really tuck the cable due to its size, we ran it close the edge and secured it with black electrical tape. We don’t know how it will hold up long term, but if it works and isn’t overly noticeable, we’re happy with it. Getting it through past the fender and into the engine compartment was a ballet of screw drivers prying and tucking.
Finally, it was time to wire it all up and finish the install. Once that was completed I tested for power, got my zip tie on, and reinstalled the dash. The only thing left to do was mount the handset. Drilling the self tap screws they include in the “tape holder” i was able to mount the handset low and out of the way. This was a fairly easy install, and can be adapted to many vehicles using similar techniques. I’m really happy with the way this turned out.