Completed* my first basic ham radio install on a motorcycle this weekend: a Yaesu FTM-10SR on my 2005 VStar. Fortunately, this transceiver keeps with my personal “All QRP All The Time” rule as it can only transmit up to 10 watts.
Don’t let the reviews fool you — it’s not that difficult to install or program. I think the majority of people who report problems simply didn’t bother reading and comprehending the manual (wait, there’s one button that does more than one thing?). Or perhaps they expect to get something for nothing (but I don’t WANT to buy any extra parts!). Or maybe they are of the mindset that everybody needs to think like they do.
In any case, it wasn’t at difficult to install on my VStar other than deciding where to mount the main transceiver unit. I opted to put it in my Givi E350 top case. I actually spent far more time deciding how and where I would mount the antenna than I did on the radio.
Back to the radio itself, installing the bluetooth module was an absolute breeze — I didn’t even bother cracking the manual for that part. I will need to re-read the four or five steps to pair bluetooth with it when my headset arrives.
I read the five steps in the instructions to install the mic plug on the control panel — there’s a ribbon cable that needs to be properly oriented (blue goes up) and a delicate two-wire connector that needs to be plugged in.
The point is: I recognize how dumb I am — and I still figured it out and it works very well so far. I’m just happy that it hits my normal repeaters from the house and, more importantly, that I have a ham radio on my primary mode of transportation now.
*Okay, it’s not fully complete yet. While the transceiver gets out just fine with a handheld mic (thanks, Ham City!), that’s not very useful on a motorcycle. Instead, I’ll be using a helmet headset for normal communications. I’d very much prefer a wired solution, but I’m going to try a basic bluetooth headset to see if it functions at all and to judge how well. Just waiting on delivery. So, while the installation is complete and technically functions, it’s not yet running as intended. Once delivered, though, I’ll be able to make my first official Motorcycle Mobile contact.
And, hey, if that particular headset doesn’t work with the FTM-10SR, I could always use it with my phone.