2 Meter antenna on an RV

Discussion in 'RV Operating and Camping' started by KK6IMU, Nov 12, 2013.

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  1. KK6IMU

    KK6IMU Ham Member QRZ Page

    my name is Peter. I'm new to this forum and new to ham radio.
    I will have my technician license exam in a few weeks and get a US call sign.
    I live in Germany, but next year, I will travel through the US with my RV for 4.5 month.
    While on the road there, I want to use a ham radio, to get to know more Americans, than just those I meet at the campgrounds.
    Our trip will be about 20,000 miles long. That means several hours driving time.

    For that reason, my first interest is using a ham radio while driving.
    I have no idea, where to put an outside antenna to my car, without compromising the design.
    Or could it be, that the rubber duck antenna on a 2m HT would do the job?


    This is my RV
  2. WA9WVX

    WA9WVX Ham Member QRZ Page


    Looking at your van, about the only spot to mount a 2 m antenna would be the front hood on the righthand side using a hatchback or trunk lip mount with 5/8 wave length base loaded coil. The only one that comes to mind is a Larsen NMO150B & TMB34 ... unless you can find an equivalent antenna & mount in Germany. Our 2 m FM band for repeaters covers from 145.5 MHz on up to 148.0 MHz ... the first 500 KHz ... 144 MHz to 144. 5 MHz is set aside mostly for CW, SSB and Digital Modes such as PSK-31, JT65 and JT9. There are sections in the repeater portion for Satellite uplinks and downlinks. I'm just wondering how well your HT will be able to access the VHF repeaters. A lot of our repeaters have been removed from service due to a lack of activity / financial support. Several have been switched from FM analog to ICOM D-STAR Digital format. You should consider a D-STAR mobile transceiver since it's backwards compatible with the older analog FM systems too and if I were traveling around the U.S. like you intend too, I would want a transceiver that had 25 to 50 Watts Output.

    When I did drive years ago I had a 160 Watts RF amplifier and a 5/8 wave vertical for FM and a horizontal loop for SSB with a multi-mode transceiver on 2 m. I would cover roughly 5,000 miles in 14 days on vacation. I don't know what I'd do with 4.5 months except spent more time exploring the country side.

    You might want to pick up an ARRL Repeater Directory so you would some what know which repeater pairs are used in the areas that you will be driving in and around. It also provides the PL Encode Tone Frequency (CTCSS) for access into each repeater. Here's the website: http://www.arrl.org/ Here's one of our Amateur Radio Dealers so you can see what antenna & mount I'm recommending: http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/hamantm/larsenm.html

    Hopefully more people will make their comments on radios, antennas, mounting and repeater coverage around the United States so you can weigh the ideas being offered.

  3. KD8SLQ

    KD8SLQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    The rubber duck antenna on an HT typically don't work well from inside a car. Rubber ducks normally don't have very good signals to start with and the metal of a car frame will block most of the signal that is left.

    I can't tell from the pic, do you have a roof rack on there?

    That being said, the top section of your RV, the part that is above the original frame of the van body, is that made of fiberglass? You may be able to use that to your advantage. One idea would be to mount a 1/4 wave antenna on something to make a ground plane (a piece of metal 38" long, antenna mounted in the center) and stash it somewhere in your fiberglass top. You would have a lot less loss from the metal frame of the van up there. Not as good as getting the antenna outside of the van, but still better than rubber duck. Another option is to mount a piece of steel (again, 38" long ) to the top of your van to give you a ground plane and then place a mag mount antenna in the center.

    One other thing I would say is that even with a good external antenna, you can't only do so much with an HT. I would recommend that look at getting a good mobile radio. 50W will let you hit a lot more stuff than 5w of an HT would.

    Many RV stores in the US can install radio systems. Most of the time they are installing CB's, but if you supply the radio and antenna you want to use, they can figure out the how best to mount them. Talk to them about their plan to do so.

    Finally, as far as finding repeaters, your best option is to try to contact ham clubs in the areas that you plan to visit. They can give you the most accurate info on what is available in their areas.
  4. KK6IMU

    KK6IMU Ham Member QRZ Page

    No, just a solar panel


    That sounds brillant :)
    I already found a place for that. In the passenger side rear end of the car (marked with a red arrow)

    I will get the mobile :)

    Thanks for your help

    PS: some more pictures

    There are 2 screw threads to connect the antenna to the chassis. From there to the top are 80 cm = 31.5 inches, enough for a 1/4 wave antenna?
  5. KK6IMU

    KK6IMU Ham Member QRZ Page

    today I got my "Certificate fo Successful Completion of Examination". I'm a general class ham now :)

    That meens no more studying, more time for antenna placement ;-)

  6. KC8VWM

    KC8VWM Ham Member QRZ Page

  7. KD0CAC

    KD0CAC Ham Member QRZ Page

    You may want to rearrange your choices , since you have your general , using HF bands 20m - 10m in addition 2m & 70cm .
    You may want more range than what you would get with line of site bands 2m & 70cm , with using a antenna as low as on a vehicle ?
    One of the regulars here has a good mobile web site W0BG http://www.k0bg.com/
  8. KK6IMU

    KK6IMU Ham Member QRZ Page

    my main concern is using ham radio while driving. As I plan to be 20,000 miles on the road, that leave a lot time for that.
    I cannot imagine, that a 20m or 10m antenna can be placed inside our van. Outside is not an option, as it will affect the design, which is protected by my wife ;)

  9. G4ENS

    G4ENS Ham Member QRZ Page

    James I own a similar sized camper to yours that was built in Kreuzwertheim, Germany.

    E-mail me using QRZ lookup.

  10. KK6IMU

    KK6IMU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Email: (Ham members only)

    Hi Alan,
    unfortunately, I cannot E-Mail you, as I still didn't get my call-sign from FCC.
    Please contact me at krone *at* thavis *dot* com.
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