HF in 18-wheeler....suggestions wanted for rig and antenna

Discussion in 'Mobile Radio Systems' started by WB5YIW, Aug 24, 2012.

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  1. WB5YIW

    WB5YIW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Update...got the rig installed (my old IC725 that is) and a 20 meter hamstick mounted on a hand rail behind the cab. Ran the coax, but then had to give it up because of the rain again. Its cleared off now, but the truck is at my home terminal 25 miles away, and I don't want to drive back in again tonight. At any rate, I don't think that handrail is grounded, so I'm going to run a ground wire from the mounting bracket down to the frame of the truck sometime tomorrow after I get to my first stop. Can't get the antenna to load even with a tuner, so I suspect that's at least one of the problems facing me on this trip. On the plus side, it seems to hear very well. Lots of activity for the Colorado QSO party today. I'll keep you posted.
  2. AB9VH

    AB9VH Ham Member QRZ Page

    Bought a Yaesu FT857 w/ ATAS120 screwdriver antenna off a local ham (it was in his 18 wheeler) - worked great !!
    Ran that mobile for 4 years. When I sold my pickup and bought a car, didn't want to set up HF in the new vehicle.
    Original owner bought it back from me and put it in his new big rig!! I still talk to him on 40m, MidCars when he's on the road.
  3. WB5YIW

    WB5YIW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Well, sorry for the delay in getting back in here. Been a lot miles and stuff going on, so I've been a little busy. Anyway, never got the antenna to work mounted on that handrail I mentioned earlier. Don't know if it was because there was just too much metal in close proximity or what but nothing I did would cause it to load. Remounted it on the mirror bracket, and that helped. Still didn't work very good, but it would at least load up with the tuner. While on my 10-hour break at a truck stop one night, I tried an experiment. Unscrewed one of the factory installed CB antennas and screwed the hamstick in. The thing worked fine. Talked all over the country with it. It was even useable on 10 meters that way, though the SWR was a little higher than I would have liked on 10. Unfortunately, it was too tall to leave mounted that way. The curious thing was that the mount I clamped on was on the same mirror that the factory (by that I mean the Freightliner factory) installed mounts were on. Don't know what the difference was. Doesn't matter now anyway, the company assigned me a different truck when I got back so now I get to start all over. Not complaining though, this one is an almost brand new 2012 Freightliner! Much nicer than the 2008 model I had before.

    Have decided that I'm going to pick up an FT-857 and the ATAS antenna though. Don't know where I"m going to mount it yet, but that's what I'm gonna use.
  4. W9MMS

    W9MMS Guest

    >>> Have decided that I'm going to pick up an FT-857 and the ATAS antenna though <<<

    Bryan, there is that old adage of being a "Penny wise and a pound foolish"!
    IMHO the better antenna is a Screwdriver.
    Initial cost is going to be higher, but you'll be spending only once and never have to spend on antenna again.
    You are familiar with Alan's site, I would strongly suggest you revisit it ,,,,,,,,
    Spend a little more time reading and researching the numerous options that are available to you before you go spending your hard
    earned money.
    You may be wondering how you are going to mount a Screwdriver Antenna, or any Antenna for that matter on the truck.
    Have no fear, there are those who have gone ahead and has leave behind their work of art for you and I
    Please note, I'm not endorsing any particular Brand of antenna here, only trying to illustrate some of the mounting position using the mirror mount.

    PS. You can Bond as much as you want on that truck without drilling any new holes.
    A friend of mine drove for KLLM and done extensive bonding without drilling one hole.

    Best of luck and Happy Trails!

  5. K7SWS

    K7SWS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Save your money on the ATAS...I never could get it to work in my truck....They need a great ground and truck are not the best venue to work with.
    I use ham sticks( yes the cheep 20 buck mfj ones) and they work.
    As far as the 857 goes...I like mine but I don't like the small display. If I had it to do over I'd go with a 480 hx
  6. K3SWS

    K3SWS Ham Member QRZ Page

    well , I wouldnt care much for the woman.
  7. N9NAQ

    N9NAQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Another website with a more trucking focus is N9GQR. At least you can see pictures of what others are doing with 18 wheelers..

  8. KA3VVV

    KA3VVV Ham Member QRZ Page

    I used a icom 746 pro it big. I went back to my Yaesu FT-857D. I uses a dk3 screwdriver antenna.And a ameritron al500m.
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