Ham Radio Equipment and the Model 3

Rich M

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#1
Any other hams out there thinking of putting a radio or two in the Model 3? At first I thought with the 12v battery being up front, the frunk would be a good place to put the radio bases, then run the radio head wires through the firewall to the ample console space where they can be hidden by the doors if you're getting the premium package. It would also be a short coax run to do a front fender lip mount
m_vhf_uhf_ant_1.jpg
(Not my car, just example)
I'm not sure how easy it would be to remove the tub compartment and run cables through the frunk.
Tesla-Model-3-frunk_grande.jpg

Of course the trunk also has a "downstairs"
trunk_downstairs.jpg

For me it would come down to the location of the factory GPS, LTE, FM, and control module locations (and keeping my antenna away from them). Hopefully a 50w APRS data packet doesn't make the sensors go cross eyed and do an emergency brake in the middle of the highway. o_O
 

JWardell

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#3
Do you know of any installs in any other Tesla? I'm very curious how much interference the motors and controllers will cause. That's why Tesla doesn't include AM radio.
At minimum, go for the front, away from all the noise.
I have never had an issue finding grommets through to the front firewall in all of my cars. Then again I don't think this car really has a firewall!
 

Rich M

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#4
OE6TMF here ;)

I have thought about it, but I rarely operate in the vehicle. I am more like driving with my buttdipole somewhere, setup and then do some range hunting on a nice mountain side.
N3 XKU here. I don't talk much on the radio, but I do use an APRS tracker.

Do you know of any installs in any other Tesla? I'm very curious how much interference the motors and controllers will cause. That's why Tesla doesn't include AM radio.
At minimum, go for the front, away from all the noise.
I have never had an issue finding grommets through to the front firewall in all of my cars. Then again I don't think this car really has a firewall!
I'm not aware of any radio installs in a Tesla. (And it's hard to search the internet without coming up with a lot of Tesla coils) I imagine there could be some issues on AM and SSB. But here's the thing - I'd bet the 3 with it's permanent magnet motor may cause less noise than the induction motors in the S/X. Only a guess at this point though.
 

Thomas Mikl

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#5
I only know one guy with an S, but he only has a 2-Band FM and digital with a roof rack antenna. He says it is fine.
Same with a Taxi company here, they have 4 S and use their Taxi FM with roof rack antennas.
So my guess would be that bands below 2m are prolly fine, I cannot say for above.
 
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#6
I have been collecting parts to install my Yaesu FT-8800R in my Model 3 as soon as I get it. My plan is to install the transceiver under the back deck in the trunk with a lip mount antenna on the trunk. It looks like the control head and mic will fit in the middle compartment of the center console, which will be convenient and can be hidden when the door is closed. I won't know if this will work until I have my car in my garage, but that's the plan.

KB6CE
 

Rich M

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#7
Sounds like a good setup. The center console can definitely hold a lot of stuff. I'll likely do the trunk lip mount as well since that's what I already have, but it will need some creative coax routing to deal with the extremely high lid opening without either getting smashed or having two feet of cable swinging around in the trunk when closed.
21368597_10214482709685275_7820556050173463600_o.jpg
 
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#8
I will probably go the lip mount way too and I already have the Diamond K400 mount with me. As Rich points out... routing the coax from the mount might be a problem but will have to see.

There are other threads (On TMC I think) where other owners have posted their installs in S and X and almost everyone ended up using a lip mount.

Also, I plan to use the back deck for a go-kit.

73
AB3DC
 
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#9
I am looking to install a DMR radio in our 3, yet to be delivered. I will post photos when I get this done. I am looking at a smallish antenna so probably only a 1/4wave on 2m half wave on 440. DMR has such an advantage over FM that a small antenna does not make a big difference. DE N4YCI
 
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#10
KK6DA-Los Angeles is installing a Yaesu FTM-400XXR UHF/VHF transceiver in my new Model 3 #9999. Need any guidance from anyone on the installation of a device requiring a direct line to the 12V battery and maximum of 12A occasionally (that's 50W emit @ 440MHz). That capacity is probably beyond the cigarette lighter outlet. Has anyone found a path to the battery from the Frunk to the Cabin? Not worried about RF interferance with the electronics, but I am curious if there is 12V battery sensor control that this might upset. Also, how is the 12V battery charged in a Tesla? My experience is with the Prius Plug-In and the answer there was a standard hybrid/gas generator. Is there a small kinetic generator for the 12V, or does it charge via the big battery? Calling al Amateurs here...CQ, CQ, CQ...
 

Rich M

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#11
There's a DC-DC converter to top up the 12V battery from the traction battery. I do 50W now from the lighter socket in my current/past cars with a TM-V7a. The same socket also runs a TinyTrak, GPS and dash cam with no issues. I'm only doing packet bursts, so if you're long winded on voice, it may be a different story.
If you're going direct to the battery, make sure everything shuts off when you leave the car. The Model 3 only charges the 12v in short bursts when the car is off, and any unexpected draw seems to confuse the system that does this.
 

Dan Detweiler

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#13
Please forgive my ignorance, but I didn't even know HAM radio was still a thing. I just had those stereotypical visions of Smokey & The Bandit. "Cabover Pete with a refer on, and Jimmy haulin' hogs"!

(did I get that right?) LOL!

Dan
 

Rich M

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#14
Please forgive my ignorance, but I didn't even know HAM radio was still a thing. I just had those stereotypical visions of Smokey & The Bandit. "Cabover Pete with a refer on, and Jimmy haulin' hogs"!

(did I get that right?) LOL!

Dan
Nah, you're thinking of CB.
Here's a good start:
http://www.arrl.org/
 
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#18
Installed the Yaesu FTM-400XD powered from the console cigarette lighter port (only-on when powered up), and it handles 12 Amps at 50 watts like a breeze. BUT, the M3 punished me when I left the Yaesu on and powered down the M3. The next morning, power to the console port has been switched off by the M3. Verrrrry sensitive to any load, even a Yaesu that's off. Remedy: I pulled the plug out of the port for an M3 power-down period, and the port came back alive. Interesting. Slightly inconvenient, but we'll get there. Pixs of the install forthcoming.
 
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#19
More from KK6DA: so how does the M3 detect a load on the console cigarette lighter power port if the Yaesu FTM-400XD is turned off. Theory: the Yaesu has a small power draw when it is off. So I asked Yaesu if there is any power draw in the radio off state. And YES, there is. A huge, whopping 2mA of power draw in its off state. And that, my friends is enough for the M3s verrrrry sensitive power management system to disable the power port overnight. Not to worry, though -- it comes back on if you remove the load (pull the plug) in your next M3 power off/idle state. I may create a mini-switch or something to power off the plug entirely when resting. Verrrrry sensitive M3 power management.
 
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#20
Confirming: the M3 power management is so sensitive that it disables the center console power port with a mere 2mA load from the Yaesu FTM-400XDR in it's off mode. HA! Solution: pull the connector from the power port on your next M3 power down and let power management re-enable the power port and plug the Yaesu back in. I will have to develop a mini power cord on-off switch to accommodate this very sensitive power management system.