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Looking for suggestions for HF mobile rig

Discussion in 'Mobile Radio' started by WB5YIW, Aug 1, 2014.

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  1. WB5YIW

    WB5YIW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Greetings Earthlings. I am looking for some suggestions for an hf mobile rig. I don't really care what brand, and a new rig is going to be out of my price range, so something previously owned, and probably a little on the older side is what I'm going to be after. As I said, brand is of no importance, but there are a few features I'll need it to have. The first is will need to be relatively small, not much bigger than an IC-725 (unless it has a detachable faceplace). It will need an automatic antenna tuner, though I am willing to add an external one that can be operated easily. Since I'm a fan of 10 meters it will need AM/FM (which my 725 lacks). Beyond that, I don't much care. It needs to be easy to operate, don't want a couple hundred controls on the front panel. No time for that running down the road. I spend 10 hrs a day behind the wheel, and at nearly 80,000 pounds I don't need to be twiddling with knobs and buttons. I found a DX-70 on ebay that might fill the bill but was wondering what else might be out there.

    Thanks for any suggestions you might make.

  2. W0JMP

    W0JMP XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have a Kenwood ST-50 with matching auto-tuner. I bought it new about 1996 so it is approaching its 20th trip around the sun. As with most Kenwoods, it always receives excellent audio reports. I assume you will be operating voice modes primarily.

    The auto-tuner is very broad. I often put up a 40 meter ham-stick and operate all bands 40 through 10 without changing antennas.

    Since they have been around for a while, they are reasonably priced and probably a better radio than the DX-70.

    Danny, W0JMP
  3. AK4PX

    AK4PX Ham Member QRZ Page

  4. WB5YIW

    WB5YIW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Ill take a look for one Danny. i had forgotten about those. thanks.
  5. WB5YIW

    WB5YIW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Power level isn't a big concern. the rig i use now is one of those 12/10 meter imported rigs. i bought it 14 years ago. Great little radio, clean audio and super rcvr. Talked all over the world on it plus lots of 10 fm and only about 12 watts out. Just ain't much on 10 and less on 12 these. days. i will have a loik. thanks for the suggeztion.
  6. WD5GWY

    WD5GWY Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    A used ICOM 706 MKII G is a nice mobile radio or even the Alinco DX 70 ( T or TH). Skip the auto tuner thing and get a
    good screwdriver antenna for mobile use. I have used a Little Tarheel II on a 2007 KW (day cab) and it worked great.
    Multi-band and easy to learn to tune up. (Just not while in motion, but, that can be solved with an automatic screwdriver
    controller) Better to park the rig when changing bands and retuning the antenna anyway.
    Currently, I use an ICOM 7100 mobile and a HiQ 4-80 antenna(mounted on the driver's side mirror). That combo works
    great on my 2004 Western Star. There are buttons for all the basic functions on the radio and the touch screen is easy
    to use and see in almost any light.
  7. KO6WB

    KO6WB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

  8. WB5YIW

    WB5YIW Ham Member QRZ Page


    Hey James. I'm driving a 2012 Cascadia. Company truck so I can't drill any holes. What's your opinion on those brackets that some of the truck stops sell that go on over the mirror mount? Think they will handle a screwdriver? I was thinking maybe an 80 or 40 meter hamstick. That's why the auto tuner was in there. I've tried a couple different antennas mounted on the hand rails on the back of the cab but can't get them to load. I pull a reefer and there's just too much metal around it. Hamstick works great in the factory installed antenna mounts on the side of the cab but they stick up way too high. Would those mirror brackets hold a screwdriver?
  9. WB5YIW

    WB5YIW Ham Member QRZ Page

    In case you're wondering , no I wasn't hammered when I wrote those two posts with all the misspelled words. Was foolishly trying to reply using my phone instead of my tablet. Add the fact that I forgot my old man glasses and the tiny screen and keypad was not a good choice. ;)
  10. WD5GWY

    WD5GWY Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    If the mirror brackets are metal and not some plastic like I have seen on some rigs, then you should be fine. But, should you go with something like the Little Tarheel II, you can get a mount from Tarheel Antennas, that will mount on the mirror brackets. It is a small
    screwdriver antenna, and it really good for 40 meters and up. Just be sure to use plenty of ground straps between the cab and frame.
    (as much as you can get away with. But, even then, I have used one without any extra bonding and not had issues) As for the mounts
    sold in truckstops, the one that holds the bottom of my HiQ is a modified mirror mount that is mounted on the bottom of the mirror bracket and angled towards the front of the truck. And it also has a insulated bracket attached to the mast just below the coil. Otherwise, the bottom bracket would not hold the weight for long. That particular antenna is much larger than the Little Tarheel II, and I had to use a caphat on a 2' extension to shorten it up to avoid hitting overhead obstacles. But, with the Little Tarheel, that was not a big problem.
    A hamstick for 80 or 40 meters will be quite large and you would have to mount it on one of the grab rails on the side of the cab. (lower down) And it would preform pretty poorly. Plus, even though some have suggested using an auto tuner with a hamstick to use it on
    higher bands, you will find it won't work that well. I have used an auto tuner with a TS-50 and a 102" whip mounted behind the cab (daycab) of a 2007 KW which had a very long frame and since I was pulling a belly dump, I didn't have problems with the trailer being too close to the
    antenna. ( front of the trailer was angled towards the center of the trailer) While it would tune 20 thru 10 meters pretty well, it was lousy on 40 meters and all but impossible on 80 meters.
    The reason your hamstick worked great on the factory mount on your truck was the height. It was up high near the top of the cab.
    But, as you found out, it hit all kinds of things there. Those mounts are Ok for shortened CB antennas but, not so good for Amateur use.
    You can find a used Little Tarheel II at pretty decent prices. I keep one as a spare in case someone decides my HiQ is some kind of glorified
    CB antenna and swipes it. (hope that never happens!) Most think the HiQ is for some sort of Sat system on the truck. Depending on who it
    is, I let them keep on thinking that!! :)
    HF in an 18 wheeler is a challenge, but, it is doable. I see a lot of truckers on the road that are hams. And a lot of them hang out on 40
    meters on 7.195 both day and night.
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