Lets talk about External Speakers

BogusBlake

2006 Expedition Trophy Champion
When I buy my ham rig, it will be remote mounted. Ill need an external speaker if I'm going to hear it up front. I have a few basic questions and would like to discuss some options.

Are these things powered, or are they just driven by the speaker output on the radio? If they're powered, do you have to manually turn them on?
Do they have some special impedance I should match like stereo speakers?

I'm thinking of using a Pioneer 4" 2-way low profile mounted above the headliner above my head. I'd poke a pattern of holes through the liner for the sound to get through.

What are you guys using, where are they mounted, and how do you like 'em?
 

goodtimes

Expedition Poseur
My 2M rig has a front firing speaker. It is almost loud enough to hear on the freeway, plenty loud anywhere else.

The aux speakers I have used in the past are driven directly off of the radio, no external power source needed.

One thing to keep in mind with the 2M and remote mounting...you will have to find a way to have easy access for adjusting volume, squelch, TX power, frequency, etc. I find myself adjusting power several times per trip. I usually start @ 75watts prior to making contact with the group (assuming we are coming from different directions), then lower it as we get closer. I typically stay at 5 watts on the trail....unless we are talking to someone out of range...then back up it goes. After leaving the trail, I again bump the power up to maintain contact. Having a remote mounted rig will make this sort of adjustment a pain in the butt.

I think I have seen a 2M rig which has a remote mounted faceplate....you mount the radio *somewhere*, then mount the faceplate on/near the dash for easy control. That might be a good option if you don't have the room up front...
 

articulate

Expedition Leader
goodtimes said:
One thing to keep in mind with the 2M and remote mounting...you will have to find a way to have easy access for adjusting volume, squelch, TX power, frequency, etc.
TX power and frequency can be adjusted with the mic handset . . . on most radios. Okay, at least the two I have. Yaesu.

Anyway, external speakers. I've got one in the Jeep and one in the truck. Both a little 1.5" or 2" cube from radio shack. Right here.

Mounted like this. That radio is the FT7800 with remote mounted face. Radio body is mounted under the seat. More about the install here
 

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gary in ohio

Explorer
It depends on the radio, some heads have speakers, most dont. some heads the audio comes from the heads, on some it comes from the RF deck. In all cases its speaker level audio. The best speaker is a communication grade speaker. If you use a "music" speaker you will be sorry. Your going to hear every his and pop from the other station. A good (that means no radio shack stuff) speaker, as big as you can fit. I prefer one on the overhead console pointing down at my ear. An upward facing speaker echo's to much for me.
 

BogusBlake

2006 Expedition Trophy Champion
articulate said:
That radio is the FT7800 with remote mounted face.
Yeah, that's the radio I'm getting, but I didn't want this to be another "what radio should I get" thread.


gary in ohio said:
The best speaker is a communication grade speaker. If you use a "music" speaker you will be sorry.
What makes a speaker "communications grade"? The dynamic range?
 

articulate

Expedition Leader
Sorry. I mentioned the radio for Brian’s sake since it has a removable face that he was talking about.

Correction, too about the speaker. It’s a Radio Shack #19-318A, which isn’t available any more. A few are on ebay, though.

So what’s the problem with the radio shack speaker, Gary? It’s 8 ohms, plugs right into the radio and blasts just fine. Care to elaborate, or was that an off-the-hip generalized opinion? Obviously RS is not the place to buy your HAM radio equipment, but in this case it worked beautifully.
 

spressomon

Expedition Leader
I picked up my second small Radio Shack speaker (1-for the CB and 1-for the 2M)...mounted my 2m just under the arm rest in my LC100...totally protected...great volume...attached with the special automotive grade Velcro...been there without issue for the past 2-months of off-roading!
 

vengeful

Explorer
I've also got one of the little Radio Shack cube speakers. I have it zip-tied to my Camera Mount that hangs off my passenger seat headrest posts. Sits right between the front seats, and fires forward. I can hear it perfectly, and it sounds great!
 

gary in ohio

Explorer
BogusBlake said:
What makes a speaker "communications grade"? The dynamic range?

The dynamic range is the key. You dont want the highs and you dont want the lows. Pick the middle. Your radio isnt a HIFI,
 

gary in ohio

Explorer
So what’s the problem with the radio shack speaker, Gary? It’s 8 ohms, plugs right into the radio and blasts just fine. Care to elaborate, or was that an off-the-hip generalized opinion? Obviously RS is not the place to buy your HAM radio equipment, but in this case it worked beautifully.
I can give you a resistor that is 8 ohms and plugs into the radio, that doesnt make it a good speaker. First the little RS speaker is small, usually passes lots of highs, which is where your noises are in a comm speaker. As for off the hip comment, NO. Its years of listening to crappy little cheap speakers and then getting a good comm grade speaker. Same is true of headphone, Little ipod ear buds are not good, go with a comm grade headset. There is a difference.

NOW, I will admit that if NEVER get out of range of a repeater and you have a full 20 over S9 quieting signal you may never hear the difference but put a little noise on a signal, move up to HF, get on simplex and you will hear the difference.

I know a lot of people balk at a $50+ for a speaker vs the $10 RS ones, but spend the money, its worth it.
 

PhulesAU

Explorer
It's only been 15 years since I was in your town, but if you have a major brand truck stop there. you might see if they carry Bearcat brand speakers. There are 3 sizes, they have pretty good voice quality and handle shock and dust pretty well. I have mine mounted to the main hoop of the roll cage, between the seats. easy to hear with no top and I don't have to turn the volume up too loud.
 

gary in ohio

Explorer
Andrew Walcker said:
Gary-

Introduce us to the good comm speakers, I only know my local RS:) Which brand are you running?
I like the kenwood KES-4. Its nice, big and has a heavy magnet. The smaller KES-3 and the newer KES-5 also sound good. Motorola has several nice, Again I prefer the older large speakers, many of the newer moto are smaller and dont sound as good. THe Icom SP-10, and yaesu MLS 100 are nice speakers.

Stay away from radio shack, workman speakers and most truck stop speakers
 

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Andrew Walcker

Mod Emeritus
Thanks for your guys recommendations, but I, like articulate, have a Radio Shack cheapo that works just fine for my use. Guess I shouldn't listen to the higher end ones since even if I wanted to I couldn't spare the extra room for a larger unit.
 
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