New Radios

Early versions of Marconi's radio required use of a live human subject with a healthy spleen, such as one's butler, through which, one could pick up the local stations.




Although my Overlander came with a factory installed telescoping radio antenna, the antenna’s wire, located in the forward overhead bin, was not connected to anything .  While I imagine the Dealer, in 1967, was ready, willing, and able to install a radio for a modest sum, it appeared that, judging by the lack of original speakers, the previous owner had never pursued the installation of an AM/FM radio.

He was, however, a Citizen’s Band radio enthusiast as evidenced by the presence of, what appears to be, a separate, very nice, folding, CB radio antenna.  But there again the same cupboard held the antenna’s connector, and was bare of anything connected to it.

While not keen to talk on two-way radio, I do own a handheld CB/weather radio purchased several years ago to stay in contact with fellow boaters during extended river cruises.  Keeping the radio with us on camping trips has pleased my weather-watcher wife immensely as the computerized voice of the National Weather Service (NWS) during severe weather is better than no news at all.  Also, while we have never attended an Airstream company-sanctioned rally, it is my understanding that CB channel 14 is relied upon for various rally news items.

Although installation of a fixed-mount AM/FM/CD-player was in the Overlander’s master plan, after encountering severe weather on a few camping trips, it became obvious that a fixed-mount CB/weather radio in the Airstream would also have it’s advantages.

I started researching AM/FM/CD units designed for automotive use (i.e. the same unit would work in a travel trailer) at the same time the sound system was installed, and found the myriad of expensive choices to be packed with options that were neither wanted nor needed.  Although sure that the “right” unit was out there, I grew weary of the search, and relegated pursuit of the perfect receiver to the “another day” category since a boom box was filling the need for tunes & news on camping trips.

Coming home from 2005’s season finale camping trip, my Suburban’s AM/FM/Cassette receiver bit the dust.  Identification of the perfect AM/FM/CD receiver took on a new significance since having no tunes in the tow vehicle is a bad situation.  As luck would have it, Black Friday found the Boyz and me in Wal-mart replacing a dead riding mower battery.  While standing in line to get credit for the old battery, I noticed a Pioneer DEH-16, Supertuner III/CD player on sale for around $80.  Reading the box, the unit appeared perfect for replacing the ‘Burb’s radio.  So, we brought it home & installed it.  Perfect!  Functionally, it was just what I was looking for, and it’s performance was exceptional.

Noticing that the unit was also capable of driving the Overlander’s sound system, I returned to Wal-mart the following morning to purchase a second DEH-16, and noticed a Cobra 18WXSTII CB/weather radio on sale for $60.  Deciding I could purchase both, and fast-talk the double purchase past my wife (existing pre-approval on a pre-discussed deficit, and solid NWS coverage powered by the house battery), I did just that, and returned home to figure out how to permanently mount them in my American Classic.

Except for the factory-installed Battery Condition Meter, the radios’ home is a blank canvas:

Kitchen tables work well for designing mounting enclosures:

The enclosure is made out of 20 gauge sheet metal, and wired with a master ON/OFF switch, and source selection for the sound system (radio or TV):


The finished installation:

With me on the handheld CB, Number 1 son works the base-station to verify comm:

When not TXing, the bins’ cherry doors conceal the Overlander’s new radios: