Any truck driver hams out there?

Discussion in 'Mobile Radio Systems' started by KG6TOP, Oct 10, 2010.

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  1. KG6TOP

    KG6TOP Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hey all, I'm looking into setting up a mobile hf rig in my semi truck. I have an IC-7000 radio and I'm planning on getting a little tarheel II antenna in the the near future. My truck is an International pro star with an all steel cab and doors. I'm not too sure but im guessing that would provide a pretty decent rf ground plane? I'm pretty new to the hf side of the hobby so any suggestions would be welcomed. One small problem I have is that being it's a company truck so I cant really do anything too I invasive such as drilling any holes in the body. Thanks and 73 too all!!!
     
  2. WD5GWY

    WD5GWY Ham Member QRZ Page

    HF mobile in a big rig is fun and frustrating! What year model is that
    International? If it's a very late model, one of the first things you
    may encounter is RFI from your engine's electronic fuel injectors.
    I tried it with a Kenwood TS-50s in a 2007 KW day cab with a
    475 CAT engine. Radio worked fine into an LDG Z-11 PRO Auto Tuner
    and a 102" whip mounted behind the cab. BUT, the electronic fuel injectors
    generated so much noise that on some bands, ( 40 meters the worst) it covered up everything. The Noise blanker didn't do anything. It wasn't even
    as good as my cheap CB's noise blanker! Ferrite beads, extra bonding didn't change a thing.
    I have talked to a couple of truckers that are hams that use the ICOM 7000 and both said the DSP and noise blanker in it eliminated RFI from their
    truck engines. So, I bought a 7000. (it should be here Wednesday!!)
    I would take a magnet and check the cab of your truck to see if it is really
    metal. Some are made from a plastic type of material that it really tough and useless for attaching a ground to.
    One of the guys that I mentioned uses the Little Tarheel II mounted on the passenger side of the cab and tilted at a 60 degree angle. He also uses a Better RF automatic controller with it. Very safe setup and less hassle than using a regular controller (manual) with a screwdriver on the truck.
    Good luck and hope you get your setup going.
    Drop me an email if you do.
    james
    WD5GWY
     
  3. KG6TOP

    KG6TOP Ham Member QRZ Page

    Its a 2009 pro star. I did the magnet test all over the cab and sleeper. The only things that are composite is the hood, upper air dam, and the cab extenders at the rear of the sleeper. I also took a closer look at the mirror mounts on the doors too. They look to be pretty well bonded to the doors. I'm hoping that will work well as a rf ground. The doors look to be pretty well bonded to the cab as well.
     
  4. AD6KA

    AD6KA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Are there "HF Watering Holes" where
    ham truckers hang out?
     
  5. WD5GWY

    WD5GWY Ham Member QRZ Page

    On 20 meters you might check out 14.302.5 plus or minus.
    There is also a group that meets on 40 meters, but, I don't remember
    what frequency.
    james
    WD5GWY
     
  6. KG6TOP

    KG6TOP Ham Member QRZ Page

    I almost forgot to mention, you're gonna love that 7000. It's a great little radio! I hooked it up to my friends dipole and tuner, it got out all over on all the bands! Another nice feature is you can pretty much control the entire radio from just the hand mic. 73!
     
  7. WD5GWY

    WD5GWY Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yep, looking forward to getting the 7000 and seeing how it handles the
    RFI in my truck. I really liked the Kenwood TS-50s as far as audio and
    ease of use. Also got good signal reports on it. But, the noise blanker
    not handling the injector noise really made it tough to use. Also, depending
    on where I had it mounted, the LCD display was really hard to read on a bright day. The back lighting for the display would wash out real bad.
    My ICOM 706 MKIIG is almost as bad with the display in bright sunlight.
    I had to angle the remote head mount towards the driver quite a bit to get
    it where I could see it on a bright day.
    At times, I wish I had another Yeasu FT-7 (20 watt) rig again. Not anywhere near as small as the ICOM, but, with an analog dial, it was much
    easier to use during daylight. And at the time ( 1975 or so) I worked a ton of
    DX with it when the sunspots were really getting high. Lots of fun talking to
    people from an 18 wheeler in Europe and all over the world.
    james
    WD5GWY
     
  8. KG6TOP

    KG6TOP Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hey james, what kind of antenna system are you running? I'm looking at getting that hustler hf mobile setup. I'm hoping they work good for me.
     
  9. K9FON

    K9FON Guest

    There used to be an owner op near me that was/is a ham and he ran a longwire with tuner from the cab to the end of the 48' trailer. He did CW while he drove, and had a key mounted on this right leg and sent 30 wpm while driving down the highway! :D:D
     
  10. WD5GWY

    WD5GWY Ham Member QRZ Page

    I use a 102" whip mounted behind the cab of the truck. The truck has a long wheelbase and it's a day cab, (no sleeper) and the trailer I pull is a belly dump with a sloping front. The antenna along with an LDG Z-11 PRO autotuner works pretty good 20-10 meters. And is fair on 40 meters.
    I have the antenna mounted on a cross bar and use 1" braid to ground to the frame. Works good. Not as good as my Alpine Screwdriver antenna on my pickup, but, well enough that I can make some good contacts.
    Still haven't put the 7000 in the big truck yet. When it arrived I was shocked as it looked BRAND NEW!! I haven't been able to convince myself to put such a nice radio in a truck that takes a beating all the time. Been using it at home. Works great with a dipole and LDG AT-200 autotuner.
    james
    WD5GWY
     
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