New RV setup

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

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  1. K6EEN

    K6EEN Ham Member QRZ Page

    All great points in your post, but I'll disagree on this one. Given the large number of holes in an RV roof already for air conditioners, sewer vent pipes, bathroom vents/fans, TV antennas, ladder mounts, etc. etc. another small hole for a ham radio antenna and associated feedline is nothing. The technology to seal the roof is well known, and regular inspections are required anyway to maintain your roof warranty. I will say that being in the desert southwest (5 to 12 inches rain/year), I'm not as sensitive to the water intrusion issues as those who maintain an RV in wetter climates.
    KO4ESA and K0UO like this.
  2. N7WR

    N7WR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Little Tarheel II
    K0UO likes this.
  3. WQ6N

    WQ6N Ham Member QRZ Page

    Suggest that when/where you place your antennas think about trees. The passenger side of the RV is fair game to antenna eating trees. Been there done that. My VHF/UHF is driver side forward. I don't do HF while driving. There are enough distractions as it is without adding one more in the RV. I do have a Tarheel 100A-HP on a motorized tilt attached to the top of the back ladder. Low enough to step over if needed. When parked, I put up a screened patio room with the HF equipment sitting on the pelican cases in the rear corner. Plenty of room for those lounge chairs that often promote a instant nap. If parked long enough, I will put up a dual band 2m/70cm yagi for local packet radio links that is also attached to the back ladder. I have played with long wires and OCF antennas but always get the best reports from the screwdriver.
    The tow vehicle also has 2m/70cm and HF. The Little TH-II is small enough not to look funky. It is on a manual TH tilt hitch.
    Both screwdrivers are tuned using a TurboTuner-II that allows me to tune on the fly. ICOM interface for the RV and Kenwood interface for the tow vehicle.
    A couple of things I am trying in the RV is a Cap Hat for the screwdriver. The TH Cap Hat is too big to lay down. I found an old High Sierra dual Cap Hat and that does the trick especially for the low bands like 80m. I also sometime put up 1 or 2 elevated radials if conditions allow.

    Fully agree with Allens website. Learn how to wind a common mode choke, battery isolation and grounding techniques.

    I am sure you will have fun with your mobile solution. If anything, it creates some great conversations with the folks walking by.
    73, JohnF de WQ6N
    KO4ESA likes this.
  4. W3GAC

    W3GAC XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    KO4ESA likes this.
  5. W3GAC

    W3GAC XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    We have 34' DP and also use 991a but with single 40m ham stick up on top of ladder, or the mfj mount that does a hamstick dipole on a 15' painter's telescoping pole tied to the ladder for a total of 20' height.. Biggest issue has been RV Park RFI noise levels... can be S9! Learned to look at a Google Earth photo of the RV Parks to get a feel of what's around them. Then we use ALLSTAYS for getting more RV Park info, feedback comments, reservation #. Then when we call to make reservation I can ask for one of the spots where it looks like there might be open woods adjacent and I carry a 40m dipole and three coils of RG-8x. Just getting 50-100' away from other campers (switching power supplies/ battery chargers)makes a big difference... about 2 out of 10 stays I can get a pretty quiet RFI site. because of rfi noise I also have a DMR HT/ hotspot. Perfect no noise back to home TG and all over US/ World. W3GAC...
  6. KO4NFQ

    KO4NFQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    very cool everyone thanks for all the info!

    I ended up stopping at Ham radio outlet in phoenix and spending more than I intended lol

    Ended up getting the ft-991a, with the diamond k9000 mount and an nr770 antenna mounted on the drivers side front for vhf/uhf while driving. Then I will eventually run either the atas or little tarheel to the back ladder on a telescoping pole for when stopped.

    I also picked up a 400xdr with the nr770 again for the wrangler. mounted on the side of the hood since no ground plain necessary. ( This is the first thing I installed and am up and running on )

    and a ft-3dr for a handheld. (on the charger now )

    Literally have everything except an antenna for hf at this point !!
  7. N5VAF

    N5VAF Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Mobile HF operation is my favorite way to operate. I have a Kenwood TS-50 and AT-50 tuner and an MFJ 1699s multiband antenna. It's mounted on the side of my truck bed and I have it grounded to the chassis.
    I have made contacts all over the world with that rig and only 100 watts. The 1699s has a wander lead and an adjustable whip to change bands. it covers ten bands from 8 meters down to 2 meters.
  8. WE4E

    WE4E Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    The ATAS-120 can work, and the interface with a Yaesu radio is handy, but it requires a metric butt-ton of vehicle ground bonding. Any HF mobile antenna does, but the ATAS is especially needy. Tarheel is a good choice. Also consider the Diamond SD-330 for half the money.

    One thing to consider on the RV is ground plane. Most RVs are some combination of fiberglass, wood, OSB, etc. You need metal under any antenna you put up. the VHF/UHF antenna is gonna need a metal plate or radials or something. For HF, you'll also need to bond all of the body, chassis, and engine/exhaust components to within an inch of their lives. You need one solid mass under the antenna. K0BG's web site is a good read and he covers bonding.

    Another thing to consider is ride height. The NR770 is 41" tall. Will the tip of it be below 13'6" so you don't wang it on stuff? Same thing with the screwdriver, assuming you're going to use it while moving.

    If HF is going to be stationary only, antenna options really open up. Screwdriver antenna or a telescoping whip or even a length of wire hoisted up a tree, worked against wire radials on the ground is easy to deploy even in modest space.
  9. KO4NFQ

    KO4NFQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am using a diamond k9000 mount for the nr770 so height is not an issue. And the the hf will be only while stationary but i would like to keep it mounted on the ladder and essentially just extend it up to use.

    And for the ground plane the nr770 is a half wave so no ground plane required right?

    and for the atas here was my initial idea for a ground plane

    I would set it up kind of like this. But i would use rigid poles and have them hinge at the base so while i am driving they would fold up along the body of the antenna. Then when I lift the antenna up i would put the radials flat to create a ground plane.


    -- image wont seem to get added so here is a pic.

  10. K6EEN

    K6EEN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Urban height standard for bridges is 14 ft, rural interstate is 16 ft. Most states limit vehicle/appendages to 13.5 ft height, some exceptions for certain commercial and oversized loads. Vehicle Height.pdf
    With the NR770 extended fully on a 12 ft tall RV roof, you'll be at 15.4 ft total height, which won't bang bridges on most rural interstate routes.

    However, there's usually only one or two 16 ft interstate routes in a major metro area (interstate highway routing to military bases), all the rest of the overpasses in the metro area are allowed to exist at 14 ft per federal standards for bridges over interstate highways. So if you forget to use the K9000 mount to lower the antenna when approaching a city, you might bang the NR770 antenna on things.

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