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Let's see your mobile radio setup

Discussion in 'Mobile Radio Systems' started by N4CYA, Jan 17, 2012.

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  1. K0BG

    K0BG Ham Member QRZ Page

    Maybe I shouldn't tell this story, but since I won't use his name it should be okay with the staff.

    Here comes a long-standing amateur radio operator, that almost everyone knows of, but really doesn't know personally. I do, but in a casual way—I don't hob knob with him socially. He decides he's going to go mobile in his new Hummer (H2 as I recall). Ah! There is a perfect place to mount the antenna (not!), on the brush guard of the left rear tail light. A special (emphasis on special) bracket is fashioned which clips to the brush guard. Digressing....

    No thought whatsoever, about ground losses, how well DC and/or RF grounded the brush guard is, but by golly that special bracket sure is nice looking! I should add, that the antenna in question was an ATAS, so I guess it really doesn't matter whether there is a ground plane or not, as the coil losses are almost 90% to start with.

    Boy oh boy, did that installation look good! Had a bit of a problem with RFI, the SWR was a bit high as well, but let's see how it works. Pulling away from the curb, and suddenly crash-bang-thud! The antenna falls off! [At this point you're supposed to be asking yourself about that special bracket, and what it was bolted to?] Oh! Oh! Pulling over to the curb, the antenna is laying on the ground, all beat up. That special bracket still attached to the brush guard. So, what happened?

    Turns out that the brush guard is plastic! It was attached to the tail light lens with double-sided tape!! Plastic? Not made of metal? Not grounded? In any case you get the picture.

    If nothing else, it just proves that the best plans are not always the best of plans. Haste, does indeed, make waste!
  2. KC9TLP

    KC9TLP Ham Member QRZ Page

    Good laugh on the "radioactive" car, i think the car is likely to have lost value with all those drillled mounts as i would rather pick something a bit more roomy for that purpose, old box truck, ambulance, 15 passenger van, civil defense command vehicle, or school bus where it might have some emcomm value, eg: multiple folks can actually get into the vehicle and possibly use them:)

    here is my setup with the ft-8900 after installing under the drop down ashtray as it allows a second control head to be placed there with a simple extension plate. Not shown is the cobra external speaker you can't see under the kickpanel on the passenger side, right where all those empty cans are i didn't feel like picking up before taking the photo.
  3. WA7PRC

    WA7PRC Ham Member QRZ Page

    Exactly why I WON'T be posting photos.
  4. K0BG

    K0BG Ham Member QRZ Page

    Terry? I see the Mountain Dew cans, but where are the Twinkies wrappers? Man can't live by drink alone!
  5. KC9TLP

    KC9TLP Ham Member QRZ Page

    Most of the cans were from before/after work so very few food wrappers there:) Now if i won the lotto(little wins are practical here) and was to get an ideal vehicle for conversion for ham use on field day i'd likely look for a short school bus(used) as its plenty of room for a nice radio table, a fridge and generally fit in one parking space where a long bed truck would fit or close to it. 35+ foot vehicles are interesting but rarely prove economical as the cost of running them is scary to say the least, not to count fixing air brakes and front tires. I've heard that the best ones are 18 to 20 passenger models tend to be the most economical as their small enough for gas engines to work well,generally 1 ton chassis and if i recall correctly, 90% of the parts are interchangeable with a 1 ton ford or gmc truck as well.
  6. K0BG

    K0BG Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have often thought of the same scenario. I also looked into a step van. There was one here locally that used to be a linen truck. It was an International with a 6 cylinder Detroit diesel. Although it had 200,000+ miles, the engine only had 45,000, and the rest had bee well taken care of. It had a translucent roof which wouldn't be the best for antennas, but the first 4 feet was steel. The internal floor was diamond plate which might have been a drawback for roll around chairs. They were asking just $2,500 for it. One of my non-amateur friends bought it for use by his cabinet shop. I'm not kicking myself, but it would have made a very good emergency setup too for the local amateur radio club.
  7. KF5FEI

    KF5FEI Ham Member QRZ Page

    This is my portable station.

    Plenty of room for radios and plenty of roof real estate for antennas (except when driving). I've even got a computer mount and can do PSK31 going down the road.
  8. NI7I

    NI7I Guest

    Isnt that sort of like texting while driving?/ You would/should get a ticket for that here.


  9. KC9TLP

    KC9TLP Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've heard good and bad on the diesel motors, great overall if their moving all the time and in use, but get rather expensive if they sit around a lot. I did do a informal search for mpg on the gas engined models and they run about 12-14 which is fair for the size of the interior space it offers for ham radio use. I'd likely make openable compartments for the battery bank and heavy duty slide out "drawer" for my 300 lb 6500 watt generator as if that was my only vehicle, it might as well have AC power too. Would be great though for apartment use as then all of your antenans,etc and the like are in your "vehicle" to speak, and so is the shack but i'd need to be insured as a motorhome for sure then to protect your investment.
  10. KF5FEI

    KF5FEI Ham Member QRZ Page

    190,000 miles with no major issues and an average of about 24 MPG (it has a tiny 2.7 l motor) It was my daily driver for a long time, until diesel got pricy. I bought the wife a new car and adopted her old one, since it already had a radio installed and it was cheaper to drive. Sadly, with all the U.S. pollution rules on diesels, the newer vans get far worse mileage and have had issues with the emission systems clogging up -- not to mention they are about 25-30% more expensive now.
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