Nov 10, 2018

Golf Sportwagen Mobile Setup

It has been a couple years since the EPA v. Volkswagen mess, and now Volkswagen diesel TDI buy-back cars are hitting the market. I have been eagerly anticipating getting another TDI since selling my 2003 Jetta Wagen TDI to my son. With this recent opportunity, I was able to pick up a 2015 Golf Sportwagen SEL TDI with all the goodies and the DSG transmission, almost exactly what I was looking for. I would rather have a manual like the '03 TDI, but I do like the DSG, and it sure is nice to enjoy the 45+ mpg again, especially after driving the Jeep at an average 17.5 mpg!

Moving my mobile rig into the Volkswagen presents a number of issues. Unlike the Jeep which has a multitude of places to mount equipment, the Golf Sportwagen is much more refined and makes efficient use of all available space for VW gadgets and options. Finding even a little real-estate for the FTM-400XDR without blocking the use of VW gadgets, or sitting out of reach up on the dash, is quite a task. After a few trial setups, I have settled on giving up the use of the storage box in front of the shift console, as I think it is the least intrusive, and certainly the safest place for the radio head.


The radio head is attached with some Scotch permanent clear mounting tape (UPC 51131 76272), a thick, conforming, double sided sticky tape that, in spite of it's name, is not permanent in this application. It's like sticky-booger kind of stuff that cleanly rolls off if need be. A small 1/4" x 1" x 8 5/8 piece of oak rests against the sides of the compartment door opening with sticky tape. The radio head is sticky taped on the back to the oak bar and the bottom of the compartment opening. It is a perfect fit for height. The extra room on the right allowed me to add my FT-7900 radio into the mix with no issues.

Fortunately, the Golf Sportwagen has a great place to mount up to a few radio bodies. On the driver's side of the rear cargo area, there is a trap door in the sidewall, located behind the rear wheel well. Remove this trap door and you have a solid, removable mounting platform for radio bodies and accessories. It makes for an out of the way mounting location that is easily accessed for servicing the gear in your mobile "utility room". The bodies remain in the climate controlled area of the car, and are hidden when the rolling cargo cover is pulled to the rear.


Currently I have power supplied by the fused, ignition controlled, power outlet on the passenger side of the rear cargo area. In the near future, I plan on installing a RIGrunner 4005H on the top of the panel above the radio body as an expandable, fused power supply for the FTM-400 and any other rigs I may install. Maybe my MARS modified FT-7900, or a drop-in charger for the FT-70D, or FT-60, or MD-390 portable radios. Even power for the FT-991A or other HF rig on a field day. All of the wiring is temporary until I run everything hidden and protected in the car's wiring harness raceway. The main power supply will be running straight off the battery and back to the RIGrunner 4005H.


The Comet NMO antennas are mounted on two stainless brackets I made and attached to the roof rails. Everything is electrically grounded, so after running the Comet CAA-500 Mark II on the setup, both antennas are about as good as it gets.