Amateur Radio

2011 Toyota Tacoma Ham Radio Installation

Control Head Mounted in ConsoleWell, the project is done and I think it turned out pretty well.  I wasn’t able to take any “in process” photos but I did take a series of pictures after completion and I’ve posted them on Picasa at the link below.

I was able to complete the install without doing any “permanent” changes to the vehicle aside from the hole drilled in the roof for the NMO mount.  The cup holder insert and the storage compartment in the back are both replaceable if ever needed.Fully Stocked Storage Compartment

Toyota makes some nice little plastic retainers for cable routing that are installed under the kickplates.  Using a flat blade screwdriver I was able to pop them open and route my cables through with no problem.

The GPS antenna receives a good signal on the back window and is mounted with the same Radio Shack SuperLock I used for the radio body.  I also mounted the 12VDC accessory outlet temporarily with SuperLock until I come up with a solution I like better.

All in all the installation went very well.  Some may feel that the control head is mounted too low to be very useful but I’m happy with it.  I wired the audio directly into the sound system, mainly because it was there, but it has actually worked out very well for me.

Hopefully there is another Ham out there that will find this useful.  If you have any questions I didn’t cover, please ask!

22 thoughts on “2011 Toyota Tacoma Ham Radio Installation

  1. Hi Kevin,

    Thanks for the pictures on the install of the D700 in your 2011 Tacoma quad cab pickup. I have the same truck that I bought in October and also have the same radio that I would like to install in the truck but was looking around the internet to see if anyone had published anything on installation procedures.

    I was wondering how easy it was to drill the hole in the roof ? I assume you went through the dome light area ? Did you use a drill or did you use a punch ?

    Also how easy was it to fish the coax into the back of the truck ? What mount did you use ?

    Thanks again for the detail pictures

    73 de Keith, AA1JF

    1. I prefer to use a drill to poke holes in the roof of my vehicles. I’ve actually never used a punch so I can’t really make a comparison between the two.

      Installing the antenna in the roof of the Tacoma was very easy. Drop the dome light using the two silver clips on either side. Pull out the hangers in the back by twisting them 90 degrees and pulling them straight out. Use a socket wrench to pull off the handles on both sides in the back. Once I did this, the liner dropped down far enough that it was relatively easy to work above it.

      I drilled through the roof a few inches behind the dome light to make sure I was drilling through nothing but sheet metal. I used an NMO mount and it worked like a charm.

      I ran the cable to the rear of the cab and across the back so that I could tuck it into the pillar on the drivers side. The only real issue I had running the cable was a little lack of manual dexterity :)

      There is a plastic support structure fastened above the headliner with channels cut into it for routing cables. It took me a little work to make it happen but I was able to thread my cable into one of these channels.

  2. Thanks Kevin,

    Appreciate the information, I will more than likely wait till the spring when things get a little warmer to do the installation. I live up here in Massachusetts and winter is upon us and I do not have the luxury of having a garage to do the work and it is something I do not want to rush.

    Again thanks for posting the pixs

    73 de Keith, AA1JF

  3. Just wondering if you had any issues with the SRS system. My 2011 has the SRS in the headliner, which im guessing yours does also. I have a Access cab, which should be close to the same design.

    Thanks,
    Wes, RN, w4bsn

    1. No issues at all. I just made sure to run the antenna cable just inside of the trim at the rear of the cab so as not to interfere with SRS deployment.

  4. Hey Kevin,

    I just bought a 2011 Tacoma less than two weeks ago. I was very pleased to find this information since I too own a D700. You have made this project a whole lot easier.

    I do have one question for you. You mention that the box in the back of the cab “pops out”. I removed the three bolts, but unless I am not exerting enough pressure to pop the top edge out (it’s new and really don’t want to destroy anything), it almost seems like I will need to remove the seat back so the box will pull straight out to clear the tie down hooks. From all appearances you had to remove the box to do the drilling and route the cables. Some words of wisdom here would be appreciated.

    Thanks.

  5. I did pull the box entirely out in order to punch the holes and get things positioned where I wanted them. The cover literally has to pop out. Once you pull out the three bolts, there are retention tabs along the top, I think there’s also one further down, and additional tabs that fasten it to the passenger side box. Once I disengaged those I had to pull the box out far enough to clear the tie down hook but it did come out without having to do any major surgery.

    Of course I’m not telling you to just yank it out…it’s your truck and you should do what you’re comfortable with… :) Who knows, yours could be a different design…

    1. Thanks Kevin. That’s the info I needed. My stuff from Powerwerx came today, so hopefully this weekend I can take the truck down to work and do all this inside rather than in the 18 degrees and snow we are currently experiencing. I will take some pics when all done and send you a link. Again, thanks. 73 de N4XI.

  6. Thank you for your install photos, I have an 06 Tacoma Access cab that I am going to be installing some equipment in.

    Eric

  7. Thanks so much for the nice install detail! I am about to purchase a 2011 Tacoma Double Cab, long-bed and was wondering about installation of my Yaesu FT-8800. Does the radio you installed have an external speaker and if so where did you mount it?
    Nice job and thanks again.

    1. Charlie,

      I mentioned in my write up that “I wired the audio directly into the sound system, mainly because it was there, but it has actually worked out very well for me.” No mounting required…I just ran a speaker cable to the audio input for the sound system.

      73,
      Kevin

      1. Woops! Sorry about that. I can see it in your excellent pictures now as well. I now have my truck and wondered if you considered puting the radio on the passenger side so as to save the storage space. Your particular radio may be too thick to do it. Also, did you just apply pressure to the black plastic piece to remove it? I’m nervous about breaking something in there.

      2. I considered the passenger side but ultimately decided against “sharing” a storage space and instead just dedicated the entire drivers side for the radio equipment. Once I removed the bolts holding the black piece in place it did still take some effort to pull it out. There are plastic fasteners holding it along the top and also connecting to the passenger side piece. When I was pulling it out the first time I consoled myself by saying “if I break it, I can always buy another one…” :)

  8. Kevin, your installation information with the included pictures was great. I am in the process of installing a Yaesu FT 8800 in my new 2012 Tacoma. One question I have is what kind of adhesive did you use for mounting the radio control head? Was it a removable type adhesive? I have tried using heavy duty velcro for mounting the control head in my Camary but the adhesive failed when the interior heated up from the sun. This was the case even though the mounting was not directly in the sun. By the way, I have not yet had the courage to drill a hole in the roof for the antenna. I fabricated a mount for the drivers side fender/hood gap. I may end up drilling the roof yet.Thanks again for your information.

  9. Great Pictures. Thanks!! Just bought an 06 double cab and want to put an FT-100D back there…what about heat load? Doesn’t look like there is a lot of air flow. I could add a double fan from the PC box perhaps.
    73,
    John
    WB5PDZ

  10. Excellent writeup. Thanks for doing all this. I recently bought a 2013 Tacoma Access Cab and am thinking of putting in a radio. 73!. K6RTN

  11. Kevin: I”m getting ready to do same install as you in a 2010, Icom 208H. I’m thinking of putting the radio under driver’s seat, with control head mounted in the small storage space to lower right of steering column. Thoughts?

    Also, I think there is a rubber firewall plug on driver’s side. Did you consider that due to shorter cable run?

    Finally, I”m going to put antenna on driver’s side fender, opposite am/fm antenna that’s on the pass side. I have garage clearance problems so can’t mount to roof.

    Thanks.

    Jeff, N7HQT

    1. Under the driver’s seat was not an option for me since there was a floor vent installed for the backseat passengers. I thought about using the the small storage space to the right of the steering console but ultimately decided against doing so. The sight line was bad, the control head was too large, and I really needed that space for the knee attached to my lead foot. :) I do use that spot as a mic holder though…

      I generally try to avoid running cables under the dash on the driver’s side if at all possible. Had a bad experience many years ago…

      I installed a fold-over antenna for garage clearance and it’s worked out pretty well. It’s a pain having to stop the truck, fold-over the antenna, and then proceed into parking garages but I’ve got it down to a pretty efficient operation at this point.

  12. Kevin:

    thanks for quick reply. I need to look under my driver seat to see if there’s an air vent like you mention. If so, I will have to rethink where the radio goes. I agree the small storage space isn’t ideal for sight lines, but looking further down and to the right may not be any better. But of course we shouldn’t be looking at the display while driving, anyway. Right? :)

    Do you recall the power cable length from battery to radio as installed in your truck?

    N7HQT

    1. No, it’s been long enough since I performed the installation that I don’t recall the power cable length. Reviewing the photos, it runs from the battery to the firewall, across and through the firewall, down the passenger side to the rear of the cab, and then back across to the driver’s side. Seems like it would be at least 20 feet…

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