Motorola CDM1250 Install

I purchased a Motorola CDM1250 a while ago and finally got around to installing it in my 2103 F-150. Here’s the final result:

This radio is a GMRS radio – it’s is kinda like CB, but operating on higher frequencies and with more output power. In addition to the greater allowed power, another advantage of GMRS over CB is the ability to access repeaters. For those who aren’t familiar, a repeater extends the range of mobile radios with a radio and large antenna (usually on a mountain top, a tower, or building roof) that re-transmits your audio over a large area. 50-100 mile range between radios is common when using a repeater.

I mainly use GMRS when traveling highways or when camping and off-roading. I’m also part of a GMRS club that maintains repeaters for use by club members. There are also many owner-operated repeaters across the country which are open for use by the general public, check out mygmrs.com. This radio is also compatible with the cheap “bubble pack” walkie-talkies you can get at Wally World for close range trail comms. An FCC license is required to operate at the higher power and access repeaters in the GMRS band, however no test is required and the license is valid for 10 years.  Get your GMRS license here!

I chose to install the radio in the center console, so I made a mount from some 3/4″ MDF and some 1″ pine:

I laid on a few coats of Krylon textured flat black paint after a quick test fit. The whole unit drops in and out of the center console easily and fits snugly inside. To power the radio (and future radios) I installed a 50A sub panel inside the center console. I ran 10ga wire from the battery, through the firewall, and up the transmission hump to get power to the panel:

For now I’m running a mag mount with a 5/8 wave antenna. My truck has a sunroof which complicates antenna placement a little bit. My work also has underground parking, and the truck has about 1″ of clearance with the stock ride height. Any roof mounted antenna will be damaged if it is not removed before entering the garage. Not sure what I want to do about that yet… I’m also planning on installing a scanner in the console as well, using a front fender mounted antenna placed near the stock AM/FM antenna which I have removed.

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F-150: Every Day Carry

Recently I discovered reddit.com/r/VEDC, a community dedicated to discussing essential tools and supplies one should carry in their vehicle at all times – your “vehicle every day carry.”  I made a post in r/VEDC, but I will share it here as well.  I like to keep my truck pretty well stocked with tools and supplies that I may need to handle a car emergency, breakdown, or minor injuries.   Just about every item in my vehicle inventory has been used, or I was in a situation where I wish I had a certain tool or item so I added it to the collection for the next time.  I found some inspiration from the internet as well as from real world experience.  Flat tires, dead batteries, and small repairs are common when driving and camping in the Arizona mountains and desert.  I need to be able to repair my vehicle, or remain safe until help can arrive.  It’s also not uncommon to find a stranded motorist when off-roading, so I like to be able to offer help when possible.

First, the truck – a 2013 Ford F-150 3.5 EcoBoost:

Inventory:

And what isn’t pictured is probably the most important safety item you should be be carrying – water.  Living in Arizona this is especially important.  I learned this quickly after moving to this state when a serious accident backed up a mountain highway in both directions for miles.  It was summer, and highway patrol officers were walking up the highway, handing bottles of water to the motorists.  An unplanned extended stay in the desert in the summer time without water and air conditioning can get dangerous fast!  So if I’m going to be more than 15 minutes from a Circle K, I’m packing a gallon or two of water just in case.