Mini Ham sticks, 2011 Ford Super Duty

Discussion in 'Mobile Radio Systems' started by KC8QVO, May 30, 2011.

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  1. KC8QVO

    KC8QVO Ham Member QRZ Page

    Are there any mini ham stick antennas that use the 3/8x24 threads for the whip on top? The ones I have seen don't have a 3/8x24 connection, rather a couple set screws like the adapter on the larger ham sticks that goes from the whip to the 3/8x24 thread in the base.

    What I am after is linking a few of the smaller mini ham stick bases together to make a taller whip that breaks down. This would require 3/8x24 connections for the base AND whip. I am needing it to fit a space no more than 33" long. I am flying out to pick up a new truck and the biggest wheeled case I have has a diagonal length of 33" that I can stuff some antenna parts in to for the flight. The whip I have for my full size 10m ham stick is flexible enough that I can wrap it around inside the case, I just can't get the fiberglass base to fit.

    Just for reference I am using a tuner with the antenna - I just need a long enough whip to have something to load.

    On a side note, if anyone has installed a remote face plate somewhere around the center console on a 2011 Ford Super Duty I would like to see how you did it. I had a 2010 SD that I installed my radio in right to the inside of the center console on the left side. See the picture here:


    I have the full write-up of the install on my blog here: (more detailed pictures of the faceplate mount are towards the bottom of the page).

    I want to do something similar in the new truck, but there aren't any screws already there to mount to like my last one had. The whole console area has been redesigned. Ideas, outside of mounting the faceplate to the dash or using a goose neck type or RAM ball mount attached somewhere?
  2. K0BG

    K0BG Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've been at this well over 40 years, and I've never seen any.

    Hamsticks are a mixed bag of tricks. On the upper bands, they're passible, but on the lower bands they're about equal to a dummy load. If you try, and use one on a band it wasn't designed for, they coupler type notwithstanding, even a 10 meter one will be marginally better than a dummy load.

    What's wrong with a screwdriver?

    I looked at your install you posted the link for. One thing popped right off the page. You're using a 50 amp circuit breaker, on a #10 sized power cable. That circuit breaker will easily handle 100 amps for about a minute or so, in the mean time the wire will become its own fuse. I would suggest a 30 amp fuse. And, I'd put one of the negative lead too, or move the lead to the frame accessary ground location, rather than direct to the battery.

    One more thing. I see you're feeding the CB whip with coax for HF. On any frequency other than 10 meters, the losses through that piece of coax will be virtually 100%.
    Last edited: May 30, 2011
  3. WD5GWY

    WD5GWY Ham Member QRZ Page

    I agree with Alan, ditch the 50 amp circuit breaker before it toasts your radio for you. As for the 102" whip and Z11 pro autotuner, I have used that same setup
    on a big truck (18 wheeler) and while it worked OK, on 20-10 meters, it was poor on 40 meters. (even used it for a while in my pickup before getting an Alpine
    Screwdriver antenna) I have since replaced the whip/ auto tuner setup with a Little Tarheel II, and it works much better. (got the 56" whip to use instead of the 32" whip). It still is not as good as a full sized screwdriver antenna,(like the one on my pickup) but, a big improvement over the whip and auto tuner.
    After spending so much time working on your install, (from looking at your blog) you might want to consider using a screw driver instead of the whip/ auto tuner setup. Skimping on the antenna just won't be as rewarding to you if you take the extra time and expense (if you can) for a better antenna.
    You can use quick disconnects for the whip and even the main part of the antenna. (depending on the mount you use) So, removing the the antenna when going into a parking garage or public place where you think it might be stolen, is just as easy as breaking down multiple sections like you are talking about.
    Good luck and have fun.
  4. KC8QVO

    KC8QVO Ham Member QRZ Page


    Let me reiterate this thread. A few words first -

    I have a screwdriver antenna - a Tarheel model 200 that is 10 years or more old. I never had a chance to put it on my 2010 truck.

    The reason for this post is I am replacing my 2010 truck with a 2011 truck. I lost my 2010 in January in a roll over accident. Theres nothing left of it. I made it out OK, so lets put that topic to bed. I've tried for 5 months, thanks.

    I am flying to Texas to take delivery of my new 2011. I have a 1300 mile drive home and I want to run HF mobile on my trek. At some point, yes, I will have a screwdriver antenna installed on the new truck (whether my old beat up one or a new one) but I need an HF antenna for the drive home. I do not have 10 hours, the tools, and the materials to sit in the dealership parking lot installing my "dream HF set up". That will come, but for now I need an antenna to get me on the air. I have a stake hole mount for a 3/8"x24 antenna with a wire that I can run straight to the center pin of the antenna SO-239 on my tuner. This is the set up I ran for the 5 months I had my 2010 truck and it worked. I intend to run the same set up for the 2011 for my 1300 mile drive back home.

    I have used the 50 amp circuit breakers on every car I've had since I got my drivers license (I was a ham before I was able to drive). I have not lit one vehicle on fire since and yes, I have popped the circuit breakers several times - which is why I have them.

    So back on topic - the antenna options. My pelican case that I am taking as checked baggage has 33" of useable space for an antenna. If I can't use the mini ham sticks (joined together to make a longer whip) I have some Buddipole parts and the stinger off a full size ham stick that I can use instead.

    As to the faceplate mount in the new truck - if anyone has installed their faceplate around the area of the center console I would love to see some pictures, or get some ideas as to how I might go about making my mount to work. If you read the blog post I linked to above you would see the pictures of how I had my faceplate mounted in my 2010 super duty. That is a very similar route that I would like to explore in the new truck. I don't want any goofy RAM ball mounts or goose neck styles. I just want a nicely installed panel for my faceplate like I had.


  5. KC8QVO

    KC8QVO Ham Member QRZ Page

    On a side note, I had a fuse panel behind the rear seat in my 2010 truck with power pole connectors and 20 amp buss fuses. This is what all my gear tied in to. The 50 amp breaker was the main lead for the power strip. I just went back through the blog post there and see that was not detailed, only running the power line from the battery down the drivers side floor boards.
  6. WD5GWY

    WD5GWY Ham Member QRZ Page

    Sorry if my post was not what you wanted to hear. But, my reply was based on your post. Knowing now that this is a temporary setup, then my
    advice is simple, go for it!! Have fun on your trip back home. And as some of us old truckers say" keep the shiny side up and the dirty side down!!"
    Enjoy your new pickup and hope you get everything going the way you would like it.
    As for the faceplate mount, I have mine (1997 Dodge 2500 pickup) for an ICOM 706, mounted on the face of the in-dash ashtray. (don't smoke so
    it's good for something...........and in this case it's out of the way of everything else) Cable is routed in the power line channel on the driver's side
    and under the dash and comes in behind the ashtray.
    Glad to hear you have had good luck with the circuit breakers. Still, 50amps for a radio that at most, draws around 20+- amps, is taking a chance
    in my opinion.
    As for the antenna, I don't know if the mini-hamsticks will work together as you want. Depending on where in Texas you are going, you might be
    able to drop by a ham radio store and pick up a few hamstick antennas. Or you could bundle them up and check them with your baggage.
    Anyway, good luck .

    Edit: just saw where you posted about using the power pole setup.........skip my thoughts on the 50amp breaker.............
  7. K0BG

    K0BG Ham Member QRZ Page

    In the interest of being an Elmer, and pointing out a potential problem, I won't take back what I said. You may very well have gotten by using a 50 amp breaker, but that in itself isn't justification. What it is, is dangerous! A fact you should be aware of. If not, you are now!
  8. AC4RD

    AC4RD Ham Member QRZ Page

    You can get 3/8x24 masts in various lengths from DX Engineering. I don't know if they've got one under 33", but maybe. And they'd probably be able to MAKE you a few. Nice aluminum, knurled ends--I like them.
  9. KC8QVO

    KC8QVO Ham Member QRZ Page

    I think I solved my antenna issue. I took my old 6m hamstick base and chopped it down. I cut 6.5" off of it. At first I tried to twist off the brass fitting at the base after heating it with a torch but that didn't do me any good. I desoldered the wire that was attached to it but the fiberglass just ripped apart. So I tore the fitting off, drilled out the rest of what was in there, chopped the main rod down, and put it back together.

    All said and done my whip comes to 113". I have a stinger from a 10m hamstick on top, the cut down hamstick below, a short Buddipole arm, and a long Buddipole arm to complete the set up. Ah, gotta love piecing together parts to make something work!

    Being a little longer than a 102" whip should help out on 17 and 20 meters.

    Now I'm ready for the road trip. I have a buddy thats offered to give me a ride from the airport so that will be nice. I haven't seen them in 3-4 years.
  10. W1GUH

    W1GUH Ham Member QRZ Page

    "Hamsticks are a mixed bag of tricks. On the upper bands, they're passible, but on the lower bands they're about equal to a dummy load."

    Setting the record straight for all who want to try mobilling for the first time... (I've been doing this for over 40 years, too. Started mobil'ling in '70 with an HW-32 and a Hustler)

    That statement about "mixed bag" is simply not true at all. I've had plenty of good, solid, QSO's with great signal reports using an '857 and hamsticks on 75 - 20. They get out at least as good as the smaller hamsticks. I've had conversations with hams who've used both and they comfirm that statement.

    Screwdrivers are for those who find the idea of having to stop to change bands abhorrent. It's almost entirely a convenience thing. And that convenience will cost you dearly. A full complement of hamsticks (about $20/band) will cost a fraction of what even the cheapest screwdriver costs. Plus, hamsticks are practically un-breakable. The only thing that could possibly break is the resonator, and you'll have to work hard to do that. My particular mount will fold over before the resonator breaks. OTOH, a screwdrive has a bunch of active parts that can, and do break. And if that happens, you're off the air unless you've got a back-up (like hamsticks)....and will cost $$$ to fix. Even if a hamstick breaks you're only out $20 AND you'll still have all the other bands.

    If you've got a small car, a hamstick will not make it look as if it's going to topple over. I know...that's aesthetics, but that's important to some.

    Don't know where this myth about poor performance of hamsticks comes from, but it seems to be a pretty virulent one.

    So....if you're thinking about trying HF mobile, go cheap and easy (hamsticks) to check out that particular brand of hamming. You'll have loads of fun, and it won't break the bank. Then, if you feel that stopping to change bands is just too inconvenient, you can go for the berries and drop a bundle for a screwdriver.

    BTW....hamsticks require no tuner. On 20 and above they'll do just fine across the entire band. Don't think that's true on 40, but for illustration I'll say that my hamstick is tuned for about 7.200, but works just fine into ECARS and MIDCARS (7.255 and 7.258). Plenty of bandwidth for this ham.

    This is not true on 75 where the usable bandwidth is about +/- 25 kc. I solve that by having two 75 meter hamsticks, one tuned to 3.800 and one tuned for 3.885. Cost me an extra $ big deal.

    HF mobilling is lots and lots of fun. Using hamsticks and going mobile has a very, very high fun/$$$$ ratio. Enjoy!
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