D710 Lugable - Kenwood D710 "Lugable Go kit" for a Infiniti G35-S



This project had a few goals:

  1. Install a Kenwood D710 into my 2007 Infiniti G35 without tearing up the car to get DC power all the way from the front battery to the trunk
  2. Professional looking installation allowing for the head to be easily removed for theft prevention
  3. Clean installation using quality materials, low loss cables, power pole connectors, etc. for long life
  4. Minimal permanent damage to the car's interior/exterior (resale value, etc.)
  5. If activated in an ARES/RACES situation, have a "ready to go" high power radio kit

Radio Selection: Kenwood TM-D710 vs. Yaesu FT-350R

Starting out, I chose to go with a Kenwood D710. Why the older D710 say over a much newer Yaesu FT-350R? Though the FT-350R is nice and even supports more HAM bands, I feel the Kenwood still trumps it for the following reasons:

What's up with the batteries?

At 50watts, the D710 pulls 9.5amps at 13.8volts (the standard voltage of a mobile radios). That's a lot of voltage and current and the classic installation method to handle that kind of power is to run VERY heavy gauge wire from the car's main battery to the radio. That installation type turned me off for several reasons:

The design in this page meets all those objectives and then some but it's turning out to be an EXPENSIVE proposition! Why? The design connects the radio to 24Ah of battery capacity where it can pull the required current as needed when the PTT is asserted. When I let go of the radio's PTT, the charging system starts recharging the batteries. There are four significant complications when adding batteries to the design: Buying the batteries (their type), charging/isolation, source voltage and avoiding over discharging the batteries.

Parts list:

Here is the entire parts and tool list required to build all this out:

G35 Antenna mount:

As you would imagine, many people think that antennas are ugly, unsightly, etc. I agree to a point but it depends on the specific antenna you select. Personally, I think some of them can look pretty cool! Then again, I'm biased. Hi Hi. For example, I saw an Inifiniti G35 coupe with something similar to a Comet EM-5M mount installed on the top-middle of the trunk lid right next to the rear-view window glass. With his mount and the placement of it, no doubt he would get the best ground reflection compared to my chosen location but 1) I personally thought it looked pretty bad and 2) when he wanted to open the trunk, he'd need to remove the attenna first! No thanks! I personally chose the Comet HD-5M kit which uses the low profile RS-840 mount and comes with a PL-239 connector and some thin, low-loss coax to easily pass by the trunk seal. You might be asking why I chose a heavy duty mount. There is NO way I want this mount to fall off and be flapping around in the wind on the freeway! Imagine the damage that would cause. Skimping on the mount is a bad idea if you ask me!

Properly installing the antenna mount:

G35 Antenna:

In the antenna selection, I had to consider a few things:

  1. Max installed height that would still let me drive into the garage without hitting the antenna [very important you measure that for car, your tires, etc.]

  2. Antenna performance: My first "mobile" radio in the car was actually a Kenwood TH-F6A triband 2m/220/440 HT. Because I had that HT before the D710, I chose the Comet SBB-224 triband antenna (36" with 2m @ 2.15dBi:1/4 wave :: 220 @ 3.5dBi:5/8 wave :: 440 @ 6.0dBi:5/8 wave x2) for that specific HT radio. On hind sight, the selection of the triband antenna wasn't the best idea as the Kenwood D710 is only a dual band radio and most DUAL-band antennas have significantly better gain than triband antennas and if you can support a longer antenna, you can almost double the gain numbers! Oh well. At least I can still use the TH-F6A in the car on all bands though the coax connection is all in the trunk!

Cable Routing:

This setup has several wires going to the trunk: R710 head, microphone, RCA audio, and 12v DC drop. All of the cables that I've used come STOCK with the D710 radio. I did NOT buy the Kenwood cable extension kit as there is no need. All the stock cables reach just fine!

R710 Head mounting

Another requirement for this setup is to be able to remove the R710 head for theft prevention. I needed it to be easily removed but have the head in a position that I can use the radio without distracting my while driving.

  • A shot of the D710 MIC on top of the closedin center console

  • To remove the head, you would power off the R710, un-wedge the black foam, unclip the R710 from the mounting bracket but DO NOT pull out the bracket itself, undo the single RJ45 going from the HEAD cable into the D710-GPS unit, and your done. Simple stuff!

    Radio Crate Assembly:

    The primary reason for the use of a plastic crate is because it fit perfectly into the little corner of the trunk. I really didn't want to scrifice a lot of trunk space for this project. The Crate and Barrel unit fit perfectly!

    Here is an older shot of the bare plastic crate, the West Mountain Powergate PG40S, and the old TR12-12 (12volt 12aH) batteries

    That's it and the crate installation is DONE!

    Looking at the final Radio crate assembly pictures:

    Post installation tuning:

    Ok, assuming that everything is assembled up, it's time to turn it on.. SLOWLY.

    Alright, your rig sounds like it's initially working well! Now, we need to make some mechanical tests.

    Ok, return home.

    For the final step, the car needs to have been running a while and the starter battery is fully recharged. Why? We need to adjust the voltage output of the TG Electronics Booster to 14.5v for SLA/AGM batteries!

    That's IT! It's installed.. your now able to get on the AIR! You're DONE...no, not really. Now you have to program your radio for the local repeaters, your APRS callsign and SSID of -9, etc. All fun stuff though! Don't forget to backup your programed radio with Kenwood's free programing software (windows only though).