Installing the TuneMatic Lite in a 2016 Jeep JK Unlimited
This is Part 7 of Outfitting a Jeep JK Unlimited for Ham Radio. Because the antenna system on a mobile HF stations have very unique challenges, I have broken the antenna installation into several parts.
- Antenna Controller Installation
- Assessing Engine Noise
- Antenna Installation
- Preliminary Antenna Tuning
- Electrical Bonding
- Final Antenna Tuning
In this part, I will explain how to install a motorized antenna controller.
Amateur Radio Equipment to Install
- JT Communications TuneMatic Lite Motorized Antenna Controller
Tools and Equipment Used
- Phillips-Head Screwdriver
- 14 AWG Electrical Wire (Red)
- 14 AWG Electrical Wire (Black)
- 18 AWG 1/4-Inch Stud Loops
- Molex 0.156 KK Housing and Terminals
- Wire Coat Hanger, cut so you can use it as a wire snake
- Electrical Tape
Step One – Preparing the Bulkhead
As I discussed with the electrical installation of my FT-857D and the mounting of a dual band antenna, the Jeep JK Unlimited has a 3/4-inch hole in the bulkhead. The same process applies. Push a wire coat hanger through the Styrofoam until it comes out the engine side of the bulkhead.
Step Two – Snake DC Power Cables Through Bulkhead
Again, this is the same process we used before. Because we will snake the black and red cable separately, we should check them once they are through to make certain both are the same length through the bulkhead. First, Gorilla Tape the electrical wire.
Draw cable through the bulkhead.
Snake cable past door hook.
Tie off power cable because you have to pull the other end.
Step Three – Solder Loop Terminals to Battery Leads
From the engine side of the bulkhead, solder a loop terminal on each batter lead.
Step Four – Solder Molex Plugs to Antenna Controller
To connect the TuneMatic to the battery leads, use interlocking plugs to insure everything stays connected. I used Molex terminals for this task.
I found it easier to add solder to the cable before connecting it to the terminal.
Step Five – Connect the Loop Terminals to the Battery
Step Six – Connect Antenna Controller to the Power Cable & Test
The TuneMatic Lite only has one fuse in its electrical line. I suspect that any alternator noise my receiver picks up will start here. If a DC line noise filter becomes necessary, I can choose between the Yaesu LF-1 and Powerwerx LF-1PP. Either one is overkill at 20 amps, but necessary given the fact that the entire cable system is long enough to be resonate on the lower bands.
Step Seven – Draw Controller Cable Between Seat & Cargo Hold
The cable that runs between the controller and the antenna should be in a place where it will no couple with the coax. For an easier view, I pre-traced the route I took from under the front seat through the cargo hold. When I install the coax, it will run along the right wheel well, several feet from the control cable.
Step Eight – Snake the Cable Under the Carpet
Once you trace the path for the controller cable, bury it under the carpet until you get to the plastic molding at the end of the cargo hold.
Step Nine – Install RF Choke on Controller Cable
The TuneMatic Lite comes with a ferrite choke. The instructions call for four windings; I did five.
Step Ten – Connect Controller Cable to Screwdriver Antenna
Connect the control cable to the antenna, here a Little Tarheel II.