[TenTec] Amateur Radio in a Saturn

Emory R. Schley ERSchley@worldnet.att.net
Mon, 09 Mar 1998 18:53:38 +0100

David Wright wrote:
> Ford's may be designed to accommodate 100w RF, but my 93'  Taurus has
> problems with the two meter rig (Kenwood TS-742, 50W on 145Mhz).  Seems
> the 50w gets into the computer, causing two problems, one minor, one
> very major.  The minor problem is it makes it idle rough.  The big
> problem is it causes the anti-lock braking system to glitch, typically
> locking up the right rear wheel in a panic stop.
> When not using the rig, the anti-lock functions normally rain or shine.
> I have talked to several mechanics about this, including two dealers.
> They tell me it -is a known problem-, and the fix is the $700 police car
> computer which is specifically shielded for high RF environments.  Not
> wanting to spend that much, I just have to remember to release PTT
> button when panic braking.
> This is not the easiest thing to do while panic braking!  (the freeways
> around here are wild, my commute traverses the Bay Bridge interchange
> which takes 300,000 cars daily.) You go through brake pads fast. Hi !
> The locals on the repeater have heard some choice comments from me when
> I forgot to un-key....
> Good for a few chuckles I hope...73
> de Dave KB6JOX

   What I failed to mention (and perhaps should have) is that the Ford dealers seem to be totally 
oblivious to potential RF problems and what to do about them. After all, these guys are mechanics, 
and NOT radio people. When I originally inquired about potential RF problems in one of their 
products, BEFORE I bought my 1993 Ford Ranger pick-up, all I got was a blank stare. When I persisted 
in obtaining an answer, they said that perhaps their "Technical Dept." could answer that one. So I 
said, "OK, so ask them."
   A phone call from the salesman the following day was unproductive. He said their Technical Dept. 
had no answers to RF problems. I got the phone number for Ford in Dearborn, Mich. (I think) and 
called them myself, since the local guys couldn't seem to distinguish the difference between CB and 
ham radio usage. I got the old "pass the call to someone else" routine at Ford, until I finally asked 
if they had any Ham Radio Operators working in the department. Paydirt!
   Spoke with a very knowledgeable fellow, (sorry, don't remember his name or call- this was five 
years ago) and he was the one who told me that ALL Ford products are "RF-proofed" up to 100 watts 
output, and the design covered HF, VHF and UHF.
   In my own case, I run a Kenwood 2-meter rig (45 watts out on a Bird meter), and experience no 
problems whatsoever. I DO run it at the 5-watt level most of the time. Florida is pretty flat, so 
repeaters are easy targets for the most part, but even when I do turn the wick up to 45 watts, 
there's still no problem.
   I would suspect that perhaps your local dealer isn't nearly as knowledgable about RF matters as 
one would hope he would be. Even at the corporate level (see above), it's not always easy to get a 
straight answer. But if you're having problems, I suspect the bumper-to-bumper warranty should have 
covered your particular situation, WITHOUT having to buy a special $700 computer. The guy I spoke to 
on the phone quoted me the specifications about the RF situation from some technical paper that was 
in-house, and should apparently be available to any dealer. The trick is getting them to plow through 
a huge stack of paper to find the appropriate reference.
   Sorry to hear the dealers in California are just as RF-ignorant as the ones here in Florida, but 
then again, they specialize in selling cars and trucks, NOT radios! 

   Good luck with your problem. 
               73,   Emory  

|                         Emory R. Schley - N4LP                               |
|                   EL88WX - 10-10 # 49984 - QRP-L #425                        |
|              ARCI #5962 - M-QRP-Club #405 - scQRPions #34                    |
|                                 -+-+-+-                                      |
|       ERSchley@worldnet.att.net   OR   ERSchley@cyberdude.com                |             
|                                 -+-+-+-                                      |

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