Discussion in 'On the Road' started by K7OYZ, Jul 25, 2017.
i have kenwood ts480hx in each of my trucks and one in the RV. excellent radios for mobile operation
Made my longest ever SSB Phone QSO via Mobile. Longer than my Base rig with a Yagi. Of course, conditions were optimal & It took almost 40minutes of being patient with 100W & mobile in a pileup. Proper RF grounding made the difference. Counterpoise is everything when your mobile.. Rig: Yaesu FT-857 & an ATAS-120. Read, re-read the aforementioned http://www.k0bg.com/ website & follow his wise instructions. You'll be glad you did.
John - W5MTB/M
I have operated HF from home and mobile for over 50 years. I currently use ONE Kenwood TS 480SAT both in the shack and in my SUV. To make it simpler to move it from one environment to the other I bought an extra power cord and an extra cable to connect the control head to the radio. So to move it is a matter of unplugging 2 cables, the antenna, and bringing the control head with mic and the radio itself into the shack and plugging in 2 cables and connecting the antenna.
My mobile HF antennas are just hamsticks though in the past I have used various screwdriver antennas. Given the current state of propagation the only hamsticks I carry with me are for 17, 20 and 40 meters. Lots of folks invest a LOT of money in their mobile stations. Mine is minimal but on a recent trip I had no problem at all making as many Q's as I wanted on 20 and 40 meters. Used TS 480SAT transceivers can be had for a little as $500 and you can buy hamsticks made by Workman for $25 apiece. Like someone else suggested spend some time on K0BG's website and put thought and effort into how and where to install the antenna mount.
Finally, depending on your vehicle, noise suppression could become a time consuming and somewhat expensive proposition. In previous vehicles I had to do a LOT of work to resolve the noise problem. My current vehicle is an older Ford Escape SUV and I have done nothing in the way of noise suppression. What little noise there is the noise blanker in the TS 480 takes care of it without distorting the received signals.
At this point, until you get experience and find whether mobile operating (I go hot and cold on it) is for you I think you are wise to go the dual purpose radio route. One reason I like the TS 480SAT by the way is that unlike most of the other "mobile" HF rigs it has an auto tuner. On some bands a hamstick will give you an SWR under 2:1 over the whole band but on other bands it won't. On those bands having the built in tuner makes it a lot easier to move from one end of the band to the other.
The hamsticks seem to do fine, as you say, above 40 meters. They are simple, quick to install, easily stored. Below 40, not so much.
That's because they are tightly/closely wound coils (almost all of it is "coil") of fine, thin wire. They don't require much matching (another
"good[?] thing for the newly minted HF op). Tiny coils produce resistance, and much of it is up in that skinny loading coil. Oh, there's more, but the bulk of the impedance/resistance is in that loading coil. And the total impedance of the antenna is often just enough to add up to about......................50 ohms or so, depending on some other factors as well. And the higher the frequency, the less matching is needed (usually). And it makes sense. In layman's terms, higher frequency, less coil, less resistance, less matching! It adds up to convenience and a compromise antenna for those who desire that. The larger antennas--Bugcatchers, screwdrivers, et al..........that's another matter, and it gets more involved in matching, grounding, mounting, wind loading and such. Nothing the experienced HF ops don't already know. But for the serious op, the rewards are great. For them, the extra work is worth it. For those who think there are shortcuts to serious HF, yer gonna be disappointed; you'll get exactly what you bargained for. Shortcut antenna? Shortcut results! But, again, one must make the decision. Amateur radio is learning process and one reaps satisfaction from his labors. If it satisfies YOU, then your goals have been met. If it suits you, then it is the right antenna!