Mounting a Kenwood TM-D710 in a 2009 Subaru Legacy

Last year we bought a new car.  After careful evaluation we chose a 2009 Subaru Legacy.  Unfortunately, that evaluation didn't include checking where the ham radio would fit.  And it turns out that there is no "under dash" space where a mobile rig can be mounted!

Some searching with Google led me to this web page, where other people have reported their solutions to this problem.  From this page I learned of the ProClip product line.  The ProClip system consists of a "vehicle mount", which is custom-tailored to each model of car, and the "device holder," which is custom-made for a variety of handheld devices (cell phones, PDAs, iPods, and so on).  For most vehicles there are several mounting options; I was particularly interested in mounting on the side of the center console. 

Right away I realized that I'd have to use a rig that has a separate control head.  Well, we needed a new mobile rig anyway, so I started comparing features, and finally chose the Kenwood TM-D710.  But that's another story.

This left the question of a device holder.  ProClip supports many devices, but ham radios are not among them.  So I sent an email to ProClip Canada, asking their advice, and got a very helpful answer from Mark, who is also a ham.  Mark recommended attaching a "move clip" to the back of the radio's control head.  The "move clip" is ProClip's system for easily switching devices on a single mount (or one device in multiple vehicles) -- it consists of a clip that attaches to the vehicle mount, and a mating clip that attaches to the device.  This worked perfectly, as you will see below.

The Subaru console mount

This is how the "console mount" attaches to the passenger side of the Legacy's center console.  No drilling is required.  You can also see the move clip mounted on the console mount (more on this below), and the cable running from the back, which will plug into the rig's control head.

Photo of Subaru console mount

This is a view of the console mount from above.  The move clip is mounted sideways, on the lower half of the console mount, using two screws.  The move clip has a slightly angled slot, which is a bit wider on the right.  This lets the control head slide in from the right, which works a lot better than trying to slide the control head down from above.

View of console mount from above

The "Move Clip"

This shows the matching move clip on the back of the control head.  The move clip is fastened on the left side of the control head as it is shown here.  You can see that it has a slight wedge shape -- this wedge slides into the wedge-shaped slot on the matching move clip (on the console mount).  The clip is fastened to the control head with double-stick adhesive; I did a few "dry runs" to get the placement of the control head right before using the adhesive.  I was also careful that this didn't obstruct any connectors.

Move clips on mount and control head

The final result

This is the end result.  The rig slides onto the console mount, and friction holds it firmly in place.  All of the dashboard controls are accessible, the storage compartment above the stick shift is unobstructed, and the gear shift is unobstructed through its full range.

Control head when it is mounted

Here's the side view.  The passenger hasn't lost any leg room.  You can just barely see the cable that plugs into the side of the control head; it's the left side of the control head, but it's on the top side when the control head is mounted sidewise like here.  The cable runs back between the console and the passenger seat.

Side view of mounted control head

The "remote unit" of the TM-D710

I thought about mounting the remote unit in the trunk, but finally decided to mount it under the passenger seat.  (There's no room under the driver's seat.) 

Four cables go to the left,  The grey bundled-up cable goes to the control head; the excess cable is stored here.  From the rig you can see a red cable going to a white coupler; the microphone plugs into the top side of the coupler and runs forward between the console and passenger seat.  (The microphone cable by itself is not quite long enough to reach the rig; this provides a short extension.)  You can just see a skinny grey cable going under the center console; this is the speaker cable, and runs to the other side of the center console, and then forward to a small extension speaker next to the driver.  Finally, the red/black pair is 12v power, which runs to an accessory outlet inside the center console.

At lower right you can see the fifth cable, the coax to the antenna.  This runs back past the fold-down rear seat cushion into the trunk area, and then up to a dual-band antenna which is mag-mounted to the front of the trunk lid.  Subaru advised that the antenna be mounted on the back half of the car, because the front of the car has several air-bag systems which might be susceptible to RFI.

Remote unit mounted under passenger seat