New RV setup

Discussion in 'On the Road' started by KO4NFQ, Mar 2, 2021.

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  1. KO4NFQ

    KO4NFQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi guys

    I just took both my technician and my general test together so I have that done and am studying for the extra which is in 2 weeks right now.

    I am full time in a class A rv and want to do a nice setup for while im driving and be able to do hf while parked.

    That led me to a Yaesu FT-991A which I will run to a nr770 mounted on the side of the rv just below the roof line. for while I am underway vhf/uhf Then I will also run to the ladder where I can do a yaesu atas-120a on a raisable pole for hf when parked. ( any recommendations on how to accomplish this would be great like specific flagpoles or brackets or anything)


    I also want to get a handheld for walks and a mobile eventually in the jeep but I cant afford both right now.

    I was thinking if getting the FT-3DR handheld and then in the jeep doing a permanent antenna mount so when I get in there I can attach the mobile to the full size antenna at least until I get a dedicated rig for the jeep too.

    any thoughts or recommendations on any of what I just said? I am very new to this so I want to make sure I am thinking right.
     
  2. N7WR

    N7WR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I would recommend 3 things: #1. Go to K0BG's web site. It has ALL of the info on mobile operations you could ever hope for #2. Consider using an NMO mount for your V/UHF antenna and consider the Larson NMO2/70 antenna. It is the best #3. Look for an alternative to the ATAS 120A HF antenna. The track record on that antenna is not the greatest. The Little Tarheel II is a much better choice.
     
    K0UO and NB3R like this.
  3. K3XR

    K3XR Ham Member QRZ Page

    You might want to go back and read over the threads in this forum. There is some good information posted.
     
  4. AG6QR

    AG6QR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Consider your operating position. Personally, I like having a desk for HF operation, for taking notes, logging, etc. The driver's seat is rarely the most comfortable place for HF operating. Furthermore, I find HF too distracting to do while driving, but VHF/UHF doesn't require so much continuous fiddling with the knobs, so I'm OK doing it (carefully) while driving.

    Personally, I favor a little dual band up front for VHF/UHF while driving, and a separate HF rig at a comfortable work area in the back, connected to a deployable antenna for operating while parked. Power them both off the coach battery bank, not the engine starting battery. Most VHF/UHF rigs can be set to auto power off after an hour or so. A dual band rig can be fairly inexpensive and compact, and then you have more flexibility to select your favorite HF radio without having VHF/UHF as a "must have" feature. You may consider having the HF rig be a smaller portable one that you can take out for operating and stow away when not needed. An ideal combo might be an Elecraft KX2 or KX3 on the desktop, combined with a KXPA-100 permanently installed someplace out of the way for a full 100W. But depending on budget, desires, and available space, you could choose almost any HF rig on the market.

    Anyway, I don't want to steer you too hard in one direction or another. If you're comfortable that you want an all-in-one rig at the driver's position, go for it. I just wanted to bounce a couple of other possibilities your way to ponder.
     
  5. KO4NFQ

    KO4NFQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I appreciate the info!
     
  6. KO4NFQ

    KO4NFQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    How would I be able to mount the nmo mount on the rv? I am worried about the height as well
     
  7. K6EEN

    K6EEN Ham Member QRZ Page

    For quarter wave and 5/8 wave antenna designs, you need a ground plane which the fiberglass body of an RV does not provide. Most people will screw down a 2 ft by 2 ft or 3 ft by 3 ft sheet of aluminum or other metal to the roof (like a cookie sheet), caulk around the edges, and mount the NMO mount on the cookie sheet. For 1/2 wave antenna designs, you don't need the ground plane, so you just drill a hole in the roof and mount the NMO mount in the roof material. They make "extra thick" NMO mounts for thick (non-metal) composite roofs. Usually used for fiberglass emergency vehicles like ambulances.

    There are no half wave dual band designs, so if you want to go half wave, you probably want to mount twin antennas, one for 2 meters, one for 70 centimeters, and use a diplexer inside the vehicle to split the signal coming from the rig if it has a single output antenna port for 2m and 70 cm. Like a Larsen NMO150BHW and a Larsen NMO440CHW.

    The fix for this is a motorized mount on the roof, lies the antenna flat against the roof or raises it to vertical. For example, the Diamond K9000 motorized mount. Stow the antenna when driving on city streets, raise antenna on the highway. Slow down and lower antenna for low bridges. If a motorized mount sounds too complicated, Larsen has a spring (SKU "SPRINGB") you can add to their antennas if they tend to bang on low things.

    Check YouTube, there's lots of videos of how people mounted a "flip up" antenna on their RV roof. You may end up going with a "UHF" or "SO-239" mount rather than NMO if you go the flip-up route. Try to stick with half-wave antenna designs if you don't want to mess with creating a ground plane for the quarter wave and 5/8 wave antennas to "work against".
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2021
  8. K0UO

    K0UO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I use a plate bolted to my ladder or an L bracket bolted to my ladder. I also run additional ground strap from the ladder to the frame.
    The ATAS 120A HF antenna is 10db down from other good antennas on 40 meters.
     
  9. KD4UPL

    KD4UPL Ham Member QRZ Page

    I had an ATAS 100 antenna. I don't recommend it.
    Your plan to use an NR770 is just fine. Their a great antenna. I agree that an NMO is nice on a metal motor vehicle roof. I really don't see any advantage or appeal to putting one in a wood or fiberglass RV roof. I wouldn't put any additional holes in an RV roof if I could avoid it. Wood tends to rot when it gets wet, unlike galvanized/painted metal. Any leaks around a hole would be problematic.
    The NR770 is a half wave on 2 meters so it should do pretty well with the limited ground plane of an RV. If you have suitable mirrors you might try a mirror mount.
    I wouldn't want to use an FT-991A as a mobile VHF/UHF rig. I would want something smaller with less buttons and a less busy display to use while driving. I would mount the HF rig back in the RV on a table or desk for use while stationary.
     
    K6EEN likes this.
  10. KO4NFQ

    KO4NFQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    What did you replace the atas120 with?
     

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